In the test 15 years ago: The best CPU cooler came from Austria


The Noctua NH-U12P (test) tested 15 years ago was the best the CPU cooler market had to offer at the time. Workmanship, noise level, accessories and cooling capacity were beyond any doubt about the 50 euro model.

Table of contents

  1. Premium quality from Austria
  2. Quiet, quieter, NF-P12
  3. Conclusion

Premium quality from Austria

The Noctua NH-U12P was a single-tower cooler made of nickel-plated aluminum with a copper base plate. In total, the central cooling tower had 38 aluminum fins, which were connected to the base plate via four 6mm heat pipes. The dimensions were 70 × 126 × 158mm without the included 120mm Noctua NF-S12P fan. This worked at a speed of 1,300 rpm and, according to the manufacturer, conveyed 92.3 m³/h of air. In addition to the cooler and fan, the manufacturer also supplied the NT-H1 heat-conducting paste and detailed installation instructions, a Phillips screwdriver, the installation material and a voltage adapter with soldered resistors for speed and noise-minimized fan operation.

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Uniform look for the NH-U12P
Slim tower construction of the highest quality
Nickel-plated heat absorption as a seal of quality
Highlight: NF-P12 fan with newly developed blade shape
Distinctive Noctua duo
Unusually smooth running thanks to oil pressure plain bearings
High, even contact pressure thanks to spring screws
Compatibility problems can hardly be imagined in the spacious housing

The NH-U12P came with Noctua's “SecuFirm Multi-Socket Mounting System”, which allows for a stable mounting AMD and Intel systems guaranteed. The supplied manual described the assembly in an exemplary manner, so that it was easy to do, despite the need to remove the mainboard. The mounting system also allowed the cooler to be freely aligned in one of the four cardinal directions.

Quiet, quieter, NF-P12

In all three scenarios in which ComputerBase tested 15 years ago with reference ventilation, the NH-U12P cut a very good figure and placed at the front of the test field. The results were even better with standard ventilation: Here the NH-U12P offered one of the lowest temperatures with a significantly lower sound pressure level than its competitors. At a maximum of 1,300 rpm, slight air change noises could be heard. From 7 V down, the NF-P12 made absolutely no more noise. Crucial here: Annoying background noises such as rotor grinding, rattling or clicking seemed completely alien to the NF-P12.

Cooler comparison with the same fans

  • Silent: Scythe S-Flex:
    • Thermalright IFX-1469.00
    • Scythe Ninja Cu70,75
    • Noctua NH-U12P71,25
    • Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtr.72 ,25
    • Xigmatek HDT-S128372,50
    • Scythe Ninja Rev. A/B73,00
    • Scythe Mugen73.50
    • Enzotech Ultra X74.25
    • Scythe Andy Samurai80.00
  • Normal: Pope F2GLL:
    • Thermalright IFX-1465,50
    • Noctua NH-U12P66,75
    • Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtr.67.00
    • Xigmatek HDT-S128367.25
    • Scythe Ninja Cu67.75
    • Scythe Mugen68.50
    • Scythe Ninja Rev. A/B69.50
    • Enzotech Ultra X69.50
    • Scythe Andy Samurai71.75
  • Power: Sharkoon Power:
    • Thermalright IFX-1462,25
    • Noctua NH-U12P62.25
    • Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtr.62.50
    • Xigmatek HDT-S128363.00
    • Scythe Ninja Cu63.25
    • Scythe Mugen63.75
    • Scythe Ninja Rev. A/B66.00
    • li>

    • Scythe Andy Samurai66,25
    • Enzotech Ultra-X66.50

Unit: °C


The Noctua NH-U12P was not cheap at around 50 euros, but based on the test results 15 years ago it was worth every euro. It left virtually no points of criticism unanswered and offered the best that was possible 15 years ago, from processing to assembly and cooling performance.

In the category “In the test 15 years ago”, the editors have been taking a look at the test archive every Saturday since July 2017. The last 20 articles that appeared in this series are listed below:

  • The Radeon HD 3870 HD X2 as the high-end prize king< /li>
  • Sapphire's Radeon HD 3870 with vapor chamber
  • The GeForce 8800 Ultra twitched and sweated in 3-way SLI
  • The Logitech G51 fought the devil
  • li>

  • What brought cheap multi-GPU 15 years ago?
  • ZEROtherm kept graphics cards loudly cool
  • Intel's Core 2 Extreme on 45 nm steroids
  • The GeForce 8800 GTS 512 with the secret G92 full expansion
  • Scythe Ninja Cu , the limited copper block
  • Allow me, Radeon HD 3850, the 135-euro miracle weapon
  • With the Zalman VF-1000 against Arctic Coolings S1
  • With the Radeon HD 3870, ATi made a comeback
  • Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GT was almost perfect
  • Intel's 45 nm process made Penryn fast and economical
  • The Thermalright IFX-14 two towers were not enough
  • The best Radeon HD 2600 XT were blue
  • Thermalright's Ultra-120 Extreme was the reference
  • 249 euros was too much for the Radeon HD 2600 XT X2
  • Devil's elegant 2.1 system with great sound
  • Arctic Cooling's Accelero S1 was colder than the competition

More content of this kind and many more reports and anecdotes can be found in the retro corner in the Comp forum uterBase.