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Thread: Noctua NH-U12S redux

  1. #1
    Xtreme Reviewer
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Noctua NH-U12S redux


    Noctua is one of the most highly regarded manufacturers of CPU heatsinks, offering its customers precision-engineered designs that often stand amongst the best in the market. As it teased back in Feb, Noctua has launched the first member of its new 'redux' CPU cooler line. This is Noctua's approach to taking its highly-regarded PC cooling products and reducing them to the 'core essentials' to produce a streamlined range that delivers the goods while being highly compatible, easy to install, and accessibly priced. Noctua has presented its new NH-U12S redux, the first CPU cooler within its redux line of products. True to the spirit of the redux line, the NH-U12S redux takes the proven concept of the original, award-winning NH-U12S and reduces it to its essential core: a quiet, quality-made 120 mm cooler with streamlined accessories that are highly compatible, easy to install, and accessibly priced. With the NA-FK1 second fan kit, the NH-U12S redux can be upgraded to a push/pull dual-fan configuration for further improved performance.

    The NH-U12S redux has the following specifications:

    Packaging & Contents

    Those familiar with Noctua's redux or industrial lineup of fans will already know what to expect, which is not much. Fairly clean packaging greets us thus, with a predominantly gray color scheme and accents of brown for that Noctua flavor on top. There are no seals, but the combination of single and double flaps helps keep the contents inside in place during transit.

    On the back is more information about the product, including technical specs and contact information.

    The presentation and all the information regarding features are nicely illustrated on all of the remaining sides.

    Opening the box, we are immediately greeted to the fan that is kept in place inside a cardbox to protect it from the sides and the bottom, with the packaging adding more protection at the top.

    Underneath the fan box, we have the accessory box.

    You get everything you need to tackle any modern socket with SecuFirm2 mounting material and instructions. The heatsink does not ship with fan extension cables or fan speed reducers, and the heatsink does not ship with clips to attach a secondary fan for push-pull airflow. These factors reduce Noctua's manufacturing costs and allow the company to simplify its packaging.

    The NA-FK1 is a second fan kit for the NH-U12S redux CPU cooler. Upgrading it to a push/pull-style dual-fan setup makes it possible to further improve cooling performance or to reduce noise levels by having two fans running at lower speeds.

    The kit includes a second NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM fan, anti-vibration pads, fan mounting clips, a 4-pin PWM y-cable as well as two Low-Noise Adaptors -everything you need to boost the efficiency of your NH-U12S redux!

    A Closer Look

    One of the first things you will notice about the redux model is that it introduces another colour choice - plastics in a neutral two-tone grey alongside white metal parts. The NH-U12S redux offers most of the same design features as the standard NH-U12S. This model has compact dimensions as evidenced by its 125 (W) x 71 (D) x 158 (H) mm including the fan. As for weight, this model is not particularly light, weighing in at 755g.

    Pulling the fan off the heat sink, we see that the NH-U12S Redux follows tradition, using a baseplate with four U-shaped heat pipes that carry the thermal energy from the CPU through the base and into the fin array to be dispersed by the airflow through the large aluminum fin array. One thing you'll notice is that the fin array is not as dense as some offerings, but this does not seem to impact performance in the slightest. Using the high static pressure Focused Flow fan, there is no problem with airflow on this heat sink.

    The back gives you a glimpse at how dense the heat sink design is. You can also fully see the nickel plated heat pipes more closely.

    The top view of the tower shows the termination points for the four nickel-plated copper heat pipes. Noctua's logo and name are embossed in each of the fins and adds a nice touch if you have a case window. The hole in the top is used to access the retaining screw for the SecuFirm2 bracket on the heat sink base.

    Moving along to the metal parts of the CPU cooler, a BOM cost reduction is achieved here by reducing the number of copper heatpipes from five to four. Other than that I am happy to report that the build and materials carry though the same spec as the premium model, all the way down to the nickel plated copper base.

    Each of the four U-shaped, nickel-plated copper heat pipes are run strategically through the aluminum fin array to deliver the best possible cooling performance.

    The bottom features a machined flat nickel plated copper base. The nickel plated copper base is smooth with very fine machining marks that I have seen on each of the Noctua heat sinks I have looked at. So far this surface has not been an issue as far as cooling performance is concerned. The mounting hardware comes partially pre-installed on the CPU contact plate. Thankfully the Noctua SecuFirm mounting system hasn't been altered. Once at the base you will see another saving, NT-H1 thermal paste has been pre-applied, so you don't get a tube of this gunk in the packaging.

    The redux model uses a NF-P12 redux fan as the active component. This fan is actually capable of pushing 30 per cent greater airflow than the NH-F12 but to do so it uses a higher RPM and makes slightly more noise. Noctua doesn't include a second set of fan clips and adapters with the redux fan, which is another budget conscious change.

    The Noctua NF-P12 in its current redux form is the redux-1700 PWM, chosen primarily because it offers the largest range of operation as far as fan speed goes, which has it effectively encompass all others in its range of operation. Noctua is using their first-generation SSO ( self-stabilizing oil-pressure) bearing for this fan (more on it here), which does make one feel like this is definitely an older product given the NF-A12x25 launched alongside gets all the new tech, including the newer SSO2 bearing. This is not to say that the older SSO bearing is bad - on the contrary, it remains one the better fan bearings in use even today and has Noctua rate this fan's operation at an MTBF >150, 000 hours and back it with a nice 6-year warranty. The fan cable is sleeved past the edge of the frame in a heatshrink-style application and terminates in a standard 4-pin fan connector.

    The fan has an exterior look which use a gray frame and darker rotor of the same color, and the frame and rotor are the same as well. It is an 120 x 120 x 25 mm fan. The rotor has nine blades designed with pressure-optimization in mind, with Noctua's "Vortex Control Notches" on the trailing edge of each individual blade, which they claim helps "spread the fan's noise emission over a wider range of frequencies" to theoretically make for a more pleasant tone that is not a quantifiable metric, but one that will go appreciated nonetheless if it works for everyone. There is a Noctua logo on the side of the frame, as well as arrows to depict the direction of rotor motion and airflow through the fan should you need it. No vibration-dampening rubber pads on the corners here, but there are places to slot in optional Noctua fan corner accessories should you wish to purchase and use them.

    Users are able to boost the NH-U12S redux's cooling capabilities by adding the new optional NA-FK1 kit that contains a second NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM fan (making a push-pull fan system), fan clips, anti-vibration pads, a y-cable and Low-Noise adaptors.

    Installation Process

    Installation of the NH-U12S redux is for all intents and purposes, one of the easiest heat sinks to install thanks to Noctua's oft-copied SecuFirm2 mounting system. As long as you have a chassis with an opening in the motherboard tray behind the socket (most do these days), you will not need to remove the motherboard for installation.

    Simply push the back plate through the heat sink mounting holes around the socket, place the spacers on the studs, place the brackets on the studs, thread on the retaining nuts, and then tighten in an alternating sequence until the nuts bottom out on the spacers.

    All that is left is to use the supplied screwdriver to tighten the NH-U12S redux onto the mounting brackets. Mount up one or two NF-P12 Focused Flow fans and you are ready to go. Once installed, the reasons for putting the successful U12 series on a diet was to provide clearance for high performance memory modules that use larger-than-normal heat sinks.

    Test System & Methology

    Test System:

    Cpu:Intel Core i7-6700K@4.6 GHz.
    Motherboard:Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z170
    Memory:16Gb Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2666Mhz
    Graphics Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB SC2
    Power Supply: EVGA SuperNova 1200 P2
    Storage Drive: 3TB Seagate Barracuda
    Boot Drive: SSD 850 PRO 2.5" SATA III 2TB
    Chassis: Dimastech Bench Table Easy V2.5
    Windows 10 64-bit


    CPUID HW Monitor 1.23
    CPUID CPU-Z 1.65
    Prime 95

    I am testing the performance as follows:

    Ambient temperatures are kept at 23C throughout my tests.
    The CPU Fan is set to 100% to eliminate inconsistencies as a result of PWM control.
    Idle temperatures are obtained after booting the PC and idling on the desktop for 30 minutes.
    Load temperatures are obtained after running Prime 95′s for 30 minutes.


    At stock we weren't very adventurous. We simply used the default PWM profile and let the test run its course. For a single-tower cooler, the NH-U12S redux performed exceptionally well. Our 6700K CPU is kept around 61C most of the time, when running the Prime 95 stress test.

    Out of the box PWM performance with one fan was surprisingly good. Adding a second fan shaved some more heat off and at maximum fan speed even more heat was removed and we saw an extra 2 degrees of performance.

    Those excellent results came with no noise penalty either. The addition of a second fan does increase noise obviously but not by a large amount. It is also important to note that these measurements were taken at 100% RPMs without using the Low Noise adapter which means these numbers could be even lower if silent operation is your priority.

    Final Thoughts

    When it comes to choosing an aftermarket CPU cooler there are a lot of things to think about. One of the biggest concerns is if it will fit with your current memory. A lot of enthusiast memory has larger heatspreaders, which can get in the way of many CPU Coolers. Noctua knows this and guarantees 100% RAM compatibility. Another concern is how easy a cooler is to install. While most of us will only have to do it once no one wants to waste an hour trying to get a cooler installed. Noctua uses their SecuFirm2 mounting system with the NH-U12S, which makes installation extremely simple. It took us all of 5 minutes to get the cooler installed on our system. This is a universal cooler so it will work on both Intel and AMD setups. Of course the most important thing when it comes to a CPU cooler is the performance. The Noctua NH-U12S redux performs great given its size. Even with a single fan (the default setup) the cooler had no problem handling our Intel Core i7-6700K@4.6GHz processor. The cooler can also be upgraded by adding a second Noctua NF-P12 fan via NA-FK1 fan kit. When it comes to noise the NH-U12S redux is not loud at all. I’m sure you’ve heard so coolers that sound like a jet engine taking off! The NH-U12S redux is not one of those. Even when you add a second fan the cooler is not loud at all.

    Right now the Noctua NH-U12S redux is selling for around $49.90 online, which seems very fair as Noctua products are always quality. Now if you want to add the second fan with the NA-FK1 fan kit that will cost you another $16.90. All in all the NH-U12S redux is a quality product with that trademark Noctua premium feel. The larger amount of space is a pleasant thing to see and even in double fan mode the NH-U12S redux will provide clearance for the quad-channel RAM motherboards. With all this performance in a smaller, easy to install package it is nice to see that the age of the air cooler has not yet passed. Overall Xtremesystems gives the Noctua NH-U12S redux CPU Cooler our Well Done Award!

    Last edited by testman78; 04-22-2021 at 06:18 AM.



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