Testing Results, Maximum Fan Speed (12 Volts)

Starting things off, let's take a look at the NH-U12A performance with the fans at their full speed (12 V).

Core Temperature, Constant Thermal Load (Max Fan Speed)

Noctua claims that the NH-U12A can compete directly against 140 mm coolers. Although it is not really quite as good as advanced 140 mm coolers – at least when compared to the likes of the NH-U14S and the Phanteks PH-TC14PE – the thermal performance of the NH-U12A definitely is excellent for a 120 mm cooler. Which, in turn, is good enough to just touch the performance of simpler or silence-oriented 140 mm cooler designs, such as the Thermalright True Spirit.

Average Thermal Resistance

The Noctua NH-U12A performs exceptionally well at the lower end of the load spectrum, outperforming even several 140 mm coolers at loads lower than 80 Watts. The gap widens as the load increases but the thermal performance of the NH-U12A always remains respectable. It is noteworthy to mention that the high thermal performance is complemented by respectable acoustics performance; even with the cooler's fans spinning at their maximum speed, the NH-U12A is audible but not too loud.

Fan Speed (12 Volts)

Noise level

Testing Methodology Testing Results, Low Fan Speed (7 Volts)
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  • Tunnah - Thursday, July 11, 2019 - link

    I was on board until the price. I paid £60 for my NH-D14 and expected a price bump considering it's now 8 years old, but nearly double the price is a bit too far. Reply
  • npz - Thursday, July 11, 2019 - link

    EACH fan alone is $30. So $60 out of the $100 of the MSRP accounts just for the fans and they are the best fans on the market. Reply
  • npz - Thursday, July 11, 2019 - link

    It's also more compact than the NH-D14 while having 1 more heatpipe (7 vs 6) Reply
  • sonny73n - Friday, July 12, 2019 - link

    Who gives a damn about 1 more heatpipes. These are buried under a nickel plated plate anyway. Reply
  • tamalero - Friday, July 12, 2019 - link

    It helps transfer heat you clown. Reply
  • SaolDan - Friday, July 12, 2019 - link

    This made me laugh in a crowded plane Reply
  • npz - Thursday, July 11, 2019 - link

    I don't think you'd get anything since the dual plates of the NH-D14/D15 have more surface area but if you're running the fans at high speed, you can replace the front fan with the NF-A12x25 Reply
  • Cellar Door - Thursday, July 11, 2019 - link

    I've been using a NH-D14 with a single fan for 10 years now. NH-A15 for last 5 years - and I have no intention to replace it.

    The upfront cost might seem high but when you realize a cooler like this will last you 10+ years, it is easily justifiable.
    Reply
  • Skeptical123 - Friday, July 12, 2019 - link

    It's a piece of metal... The only real reason a DIY style air cooler "dies" is because mounting hardware/form factor is out of date. The fan is another story but simple getting hit in shipping or ambient dust are big factors and are very replace able. Reply
  • sonny73n - Friday, July 12, 2019 - link

    $30 for a 12mm fan? I can make a fan out of scraps and sell it to you for $3000. Mine will be 100 times better than this Noctua fan, based on price. Reply

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