Noctua is a truly international cooling company, with design in Austria, manufacturing in Taiwan, and marketing throughout the world. Some markets may know the Noctua brand better than others, but where Noctua is well established its name is synonymous with quiet. That is a good reputation to have in a market with segments obsessed with silence.

As quiet as Noctua's solutions proved to be in our review of the NH-U12F, Noctua has knocked at the top performance door but has not yet managed to break through. Top air-cooling performance continues to belong to Thermalright, with Tuniq, Scythe, and a few others following close behind.

Noctua does have some significant resources in its "Designed in Austria" approach. Rascom Computerdistribution Ges.m.b.H. is based in Austria and handles the design and distribution of new Noctua products. 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.

These resources come into play with the latest Noctua design, which is the subject of this review. Noctua is determined to produce the top air-cooler on the market, period. The company also believes it can do that without compromising the low noise for which its coolers are already famous. The result of these latest design efforts is the Noctua NF-P12 fan.

Noctua fans are already justifiably famous for low noise and long service, but the NF-P12 adds a number of innovations to move the design to new performance heights - and they say they have done it without compromising noise. These include a pressure-optimized Nine-Blade design, SC (Smooth Continuous) Drive to reduce torque variations, and a new SSO (Self-Stabilizing Oil-pressure) bearing for exceptional quietness and long-term stability.

Perhaps the most interesting innovation is the notches you see in the blades of the above fans. Noctua calls these Vortex Control Notches. These notches are "psychoacoustic optimizations", staggered to reduce noise levels from the fan.

All of these fan innovations have one real goal in mind: to run the NF-P12 fans faster without introducing more noise. In the end, such optimizations can skirt laws of physics but they can't really break the laws. For improved air-cooling, you need to remove heat efficiently with a great heatsink design, but that heat must be dissipated with sufficient airflow to be effective.  Higher airflow means higher noise, but the large fan size and fan design innovations aim to provide the needed high air flow while still maintaining low noise.

Noctua believes their current top heatsink design, which we first saw on the NH-U12F, is as good as anything on the market. They have coupled that heatsink with the NF-P12 fan and they claim this combination will move them into serious competition at the top of our performance charts while still maintaining lowest noise. Does this work; has Noctua found a way to accomplish both highest performance and incredibly low noise? This review of the Noctua NH-U12P will find out if Noctua has accomplished the seemingly impossible.

The Noctua NH-U12P Cooler


View All Comments

  • Xpl1c1t - Friday, March 21, 2008 - link">
    It would be interesting to see this benched with a high quality oldschool delta fan. I think you might be surprised about the number of people who are still interested in seeing the results of a voluminously high cfm fan... apart from their criticisms...
  • poohbear - Friday, March 21, 2008 - link

    dude, deltas are a thing of the past, nobody will tolerate a helicopter 1m away from them for a few mhz more, not w/ near silent 120mm fans around. Reply
  • bigboxes - Sunday, March 23, 2008 - link

    LOL, truth. Reply
  • KainAT - Friday, March 21, 2008 - link

    I already did that when doing Noctua Review.
    What I mean, is that as the autor says, Noctua fans working on TRUE are the best but Noctua already impressed me out by far going well on results.

    Now, Im keeping TRUE with 2 fans. It was not difficult to addapt. You can put one clip in one direction and the other to the other direction.
    The, just put 2X-NF-P12 fans and tight them by zip ties and all the work is done. Then, you will have the ultimate performance air cooling with very low noises.
    I love this kit.
    The main part from noctua this time, are the fans for sure. The cooler is very good of course, compared to the top with others but still cant beat Thermalright.
  • takumsawsherman - Friday, March 21, 2008 - link

    I think we would all be interested in that result. Reply
  • PCTC2 - Friday, March 21, 2008 - link

    Now all that needs to be done is put two of these Noctua fans on a TRUE in Anandtech's test and see how well it performs... Reply
  • poohbear - Thursday, March 20, 2008 - link

    thanks for this awesome review! love to see high end cooler reviews! i gotta get me one of those noctua NF-P12 fans to use on a TRUE. i'll skip their heatsink cause u need 2 fans for best performance, but for ultra silence and best overclocking i dont think u can do any better than a noctua NF-P12 combined w/ a TRUE. gotta love progress and technology! Reply
  • trexpesto - Thursday, March 20, 2008 - link

    They Tight! Reply
  • Jedi2155 - Thursday, March 20, 2008 - link

    The "vortex control notches" remind me of the of same design in the newest jet you really are getting bleeding edge technology ;).

  • stevemedes - Thursday, March 20, 2008 - link

    Now if only they made it in something other than pink... Reply

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