The Noctua NH-U12P SE2
Back in February of 2008 we had our first encounter with Noctua and their (at that time) flagship cooler, the NH-U12P. This cooler was initially release with LGA775 and AM2 platforms in mind. Since its release there have been new sockets come to market. When Intel released the LGA1366 socket, Noctua released a new version of their SecuFirm mounting system and a dual fan version of the NH-U12P, the NH-U12P SE. Now with the release of the LGA1156 socket Noctua has again updated their cooler mounting system to accommodate the new socket and released a new version of the NH-U12P, the NH-U12P SE2.
The NH-U12P SE2 is the same cooler that was released back in 2008; it just has the updated mounting system and a couple of extra accessories that the first release didn’t have. More on those in a minute, but first let’s take a look at the specifications before we get too far.
- Socket compatibility: Intel Socket LGA 775, AMD AM2 & AM2+, Intel Xeon on request
- Height (without fan): 158 mm
- Width (without fan) : 126 mm
- Depth (without fan) : 71 mm
- Height (with fan): 158 mm
- Width (with fan): 126 mm
- Depth (with fan): 95 mm
- Weight (without fan): 600 g
- Weight (with fan): 770 g
- Material: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints, nickel plated
- Application: Intel all frequencies, AMD all frequencies
- Fan compatibility: 120x120x25mm / 120x120x38mm (2 fans can be installed)
- NF-P12 premium fan
- Mounting-clips for 2 fans
- Ultra-Low-Noise-Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
- NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
- SecuFirm™ mounting kits for LGA & AM2(+)
- Warranty 6 Years
- Model: Noctua NF-P12
- Bearing: SSO-Bearing
- Blade geometry: Nine Blade Design
- Rotational Speed (+/- 10%): 1300 RPM
- Rotational Speed with U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%): 900 RPM
- Airflow: 92.3 m³/h
- Airflow with U.L.N.A.: 63.4 m³/h
- Acoustical Noise: 19.8 dB(A)
- Acoustical Noise with U.L.N.A.: 12.6 dB(A)
- Input Power: 1.08 W
- Voltage Range: 12 V
- MTBF: > 150.000 h
The NH-U12P come extremely well packaged, even if it doesn’t look like it from the outside. The artwork of the box has the specs and features listed, and with a window up front you get a glimpse of the fan.
When you open the box the parts are separated into two compartments -- a small box with the mounting accessories and a larger box with the cooler and the fan.
In the bigger of the two boxes is the cooler and one of the NF-12P 120mm fans. The base is protected by a plastic cover.
In the smaller box are the rest of the accessories. They are nicely separated, so figuring out what parts you need to use is almost a no brainier. Noctua also thoughtfully includes a long Phillips head screw driver to aid you in the install if you don’t have one.
In the common parts bag are silicone strips for between the fan and the cooler, inline resistors for the Low Noise features, a tube of Noctua’s NT-H1 thermal paste, as well as spring clips for the mounting of up to two fans. New to the NH-U12P SE2 is a Y cable for powering the fans from a single 3 pin source.
A slight change from the past Noctua kits I have seen; the badge is not a sticker this time around, but a nice metal badge.
With the NH-U12P out of the box we can get a good look at it. At first glance I thought to myself, "yup, it's another tower cooler." Then I started looking closer.
Looking from the top we can see the Noctua owl logo stamped into the cooling fins and the tops of the heat pipes sticking out. Now you most likely noticed there are a few extra holes in the cooling fins. The main ones of interest are the large holes to the outside of the heat pipes. This will allow you to access the tensioning screws that end up under the cooling fins due to the AMD socket orientation.
Looking at the bottom we can see how the cooling fins are soldered to the heat pipes.
Now surprisingly the cooler had no protective film on the base. Although the base was flat the finish was not all too great, but as we have seen in the past this cooler performs very well.
Now for the fan, the first thing you notice is the flesh tone plastic housing with brown fins. I know, not the most appealing colors in the world. The fan better perform exceptionally well for me to put up with these colors. The power cable is extremely long, ~12 inches. I think that it could have been good 6 inches shorter.
Looking a little closer to the fan blades we can see one of the things that gives the fan its amazing low 19.8 dBA rating: the Vortex Control Notches (you can read more about the design HERE on Noctua’s site). The other noise reducing feature is the self-stabilizing oil-pressure bearing (SSO bearing) of the Noctua NF-S12 and NF-R8 series surpasses current types of ball, sleeve or liquid bearings in terms of long-term stability and quietness. You can read more on the design HERE.
Here we have the biggest change, the new NM-I3 SecuFirm2 mounting system. This will allow you to mount the NH-U12P to any Intel socket. If you currently own a NH-U12P you can get the new mounting system free from Noctua by going to their site (HERE) and filling out a form and providing proof of purchase. Let’s take a little closer look at the new mount.
Let’s start with the backing plate. It is made of steel with a layer of plastic and foam. The center of the foam can be removed to clear the socket backing plate of the LGA1156 and 1366 sockets.
Noctua also has made notches in the backing plate to clear the mounting screws for the LGA1156 socket backing plate.
To allow the mounting system to work with the 3 Intel sockets that are all different sizes Noctua made the backing plate with 3 positions needed to fit each socket.
To take some guess work out of what hole is for which socket Noctua labeled them and placed a Key on the backing plate itself so you can’t lose it.
Installing the SecuFrim2 system is easy and very straight forward. Here I have it installed on our Intel DX58SO motherboard. It easily clears the components around the socket.
This cooler is by no means small. At a whopping 158mm (6.2 inches) tall it would be in your best interest to measure your case to see if you will have enough room for this cooler.
The Legit Reviews Core i7 Test System
Here are the parts that make up the Legit Reviews Core i7 test system:
|Intel Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Core i7 920||Click Here|
|Motherboard||Intel DX58SO||Click Here|
|Memory||Kingston DDR3 3GB 1333MHz ValueRAM||Click Here|
|Video Card||ATI X1950 XTX||Click Here|
|Hard Drive||Western Digital 250gb SATA||Click Here|
|Power Supply||PC&C Silencer 750 Quad||Click Here|
|Chassis||Ultra M998||Click Here|
|Operating System||Windows Vista Ultimate (64bit)||Click Here|
To test the coolers I ran them on our Intel Core i7 test platform, which was then set to run at both default and overclocked settings. As a baseline all coolers will be compared to the retail boxed Intel cooler.
All of the temperatures were obtained by using Core Temp v0.99.3 after the system sat at idle for 30 minutes and then again under 100% load while running Prime95 (64bit) v25.8 for 30 minutes using the blended test. The room temperature was kept a constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22c) for all benchmarking. All of the coolers were tested with Arctic Silver Lumiere as the thermal interface material.
Results and Final Thoughts
With the system running at the stock speed the NH-U12P SE2 is in second overall to the Titan Fenrir. Running at 56.25*C the NH-U12P was 13.25 degrees cooler then the stock Intel heat sink.
With the system overclocked to 3.5GHz the NH-U12P SE2 is third overall behind the monster Cooler Master V10 and the Titan Fenrir. Running at 67.5*C the NH-U12P SE2 is still within a degree of the Titan Fenrir and 10.25 degrees ahead of the stock Intel heat sink.
We first tested the NH-U12P on the E6300 CPU almost 2 years ago, then again later on the Q6600, then with the release of the Core i7-920. Each time it was at the top of our charts. If you bought one in 2008 it could have served you across 3 different systems and performed very well on each. To me that is a good investment, and makes paying the $74.99 plus shipping price tag a little easier to swallow.
You will notice that I did not test the cooler with the low noise adapters. I don’t see the point. The fans run at 19dBA; that is quieter than a whisper. The other case fans (if they are not Noctua as well), along with the video card, will be more of a concern for noise than making the cooler quieter.
The new configuration of the NH-U12P SE2 can be found online for $70 to $75 plus shipping. This may seem steep for an air cooler, but for that you get the NH-U12P and two NF-12P fans. The fans themselves, if bought separately, are $20 plus shipping each.
Legit Bottom Line: Noctua NH-U12P, 2 years of great performance and great service and counting.