One of the more interesting aspects of the CPU cooler market is the truly international mix of products on the market. While Asian companies do dominate in the manufacturing side of the cooler marketplace, cooler designs come from all over the world. Noctua is a case, fan, and cooler company based in Austria, and designs for their new products are developed in their labs in Austria. Manufacturing is provided by a partnership with Kolink International, a cooling specialty manufacturer in Taiwan.

Noctua's "Designed in Austria" approach brings some very interesting resources to bear in new Noctua coolers. Rascom Computerdistribution Ges.m.b.H. is based in Austria and handles the design and distribution of new Noctua products. Kolink is also involved in R&D with Rascom, but the primary Kolink responsibility is the manufacturing and on-site Quality Assurance for Noctua products.

The Rascom design in Austria also brings additional advantages. Rascom is a principal in Österreichisches Institut für Wärmeübertragung und Ventilatorentechnik, ÖIWV (The Austrian Institute for Heat-Transmission and Fan Technology). This development partnership between Noctua and ÖIWV brings extensive scientific resources to Rascom that greatly enhances the product design process.

The current product line from Noctua features heatpipe tower CPU coolers based on 92mm and 120mm ultra-low noise fans, 80mm and 120mm low-noise fans, and a fanless chipset cooler which is basically a miniaturized CPU cooler. The NH-U12F that is the subject of this review is the top-of-the-line Noctua cooler, and it's a refinement of their earlier 120mm fan coolers.

Noctua packages and markets their ultra-low-noise fans through specialty cooling shops with noise suppression plugs to lower fan noise to incredibly low levels. Noctua fans are well-known for their super low noise, and they are normally among the leaders in fan reviews looking for low noise. Noctua attributes their success with low-noise fans to the design partnership with the Austrian Institute for Heat-Transmission and Fan Technology.

It should be abundantly clear to all readers at this point that Noctua as a company caters to quiet PC solutions. This is certainly obvious in the specifications and reviews of Noctua products. It is likely therefore that Noctua will have no problem at all meeting our expectations for low noise in a CPU cooler design. The bigger question for the Noctua NH-U12F is whether Noctua can also deliver the cooling performance needed to satisfy overclocking enthusiasts - with their kit fan or a quiet high-output fan from another manufacturer? We will try to answer that question as the Noctua is benchmarked and overclocked on the Intel X6800 processor.

Features and Specifications


View All Comments

  • tk11 - Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - link

    Enough with the heat sink reviews. They make something hot, cool... big deal... they're all virtually identical. Please review an interesting or useful technology before we all loose interest in the site. Reply
  • poohbear - Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - link

    lol they're all virtually identical eh? u obviously do NOT overclock. Reply
  • tk11 - Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - link

    Actually I do overclock... by identical I was referring to the lack of innovation. The main differences between these coolers are size and styling, neither of which require technical analysis. Being a long time reader I was simply expressing my lack of interest in the latest series of reviews in hopes that anandtech will return to covering some of the more interesting technologies. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - link

    Speak for thyself, not others. Plenty of people read these; if you don't, feel free to move on. Reply
  • Jesse3G - Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - link

    I'm amused that you freely speak for others, but presume to restrict the privlege from another? Your post flirts with hypocrisy and the person you addressed brought up a valid opinion.

    Personally I'm surprised at the management decision on this cooling coverage. Why handle one at a time when this topic can clearly be consolidated into a comprehensive discussion of cooling??? A true "round-up" would compile all of these reviews into an inclusive article for each major cooling system category, with Anantech's enclosed suggestions of the best setups available.
  • SurJector - Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - link

    That would be nice to have those noise ratings: how does the stock fan compares with the SilenX and how much more noise the push-pull configuration makes ?

    Thanks for the reviews.
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - link

    We did try SilenX with push pull and the noise ratings were still below the system noise floor set by the power supply. Cooling performance was roughly the same as the stock Noctua fans in push-pull and the overclock was not extended, so we saw no reason to pursue it further. The Noctua ultra low noise fan appears to push a lot of air and apparently generates high air pressure compared to some other low noise solutions. Reply
  • puffpio - Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - link

    So then..the ultimate review would probably be these Noctua 120mm fans on an Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme in a push pull? Reply
  • poohbear - Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - link

    well can u guys bug thermalright for an advance review of their IFX-14? u guys managed to review the TR ultra 120+ early, maybe u can do the same w/ the monstrous IFX-14? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, April 27, 2007 - link

    Thermalright has just advised us that the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme is in full production. The problem with the mounting plate has been corrected in the release cooler.

    "The 775 bracket issue has been addressed and Ultra-120 eXtreme is now in full production. We think it’s even better than the engineering piece you received back then. Would you be able to verify that if we were to send you the “production” sample with its own packaging and all? I think you’ll be pleased to see the results and the improvements."

    We have a final production sample with improvements on the way. We also have requested an IFX-14 for review.

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