Just recently, Noctua released its fully Chromax Black variants of its popular coolers. The models include the Chromax Black versions in the NH-D15 as a high range dual tower, the NH-U12S as mid-range single tower and NH-L9i as a low-profile cooler.

We recently published the review of the NH-D15 Chromax Black, the enthusiast grade cooler. However, today we are going to take a look at the Noctua NH-U12S. It is regarded as one of the most efficient cools on the market; the finest selection for those who are looking for a 120mm cooler with full compatibility.

The Noctua NH-U12S Chromax Black is a suitable option for high-end systems with average space. The build quality is what we have come to expect from Noctua. It is single tower cooler that comes equipped with Noctua’s one NF-F12 PWM 120mm Chromax Black fan to push the heat out of the case. There are five pipes going . The Noctua NH-U12S is fully compatible with all AMD and Intel modern and legacy sockets.

The contents of the box include:

NH-U12S Chromax Black air cooler, 1x NF-F12 PWM 120mm Chromax Black premium fan, SecuFirm2 mounting set with Low Noise Adaptor (L.N.A), NT-H1 high-grade thermal paste, a user manual and a Noctua metal case badge.

By default, the NH-U12S Chromax Black comes with black anti-vibration pads but you can change them according to your choice – The Noctua NH-SVP3 anti-vibration’s pads are sold separately. The NH-U12S Chromax Black is fully compatible with high profile RAM kits.

Technical Specifications:

Specifications are classified in two groups, cooler specifications and fan specifications.

Cooler Specifications:

Socket Compatibility Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required), AM4
Height (158mm) with and without fan
Width (125mm) with and without fan
Depth (45mm) without fan, (71mm) with fan
Weight (580g) without fan, (755g) with fan
Material Copper (base and heat-pipes), Aluminium (cooling fins), Soldered Joints & Nickel Plating
Fan compatibility 120x120x25
Manufacturer Warranty Period 6 Years


Fan Specifications:

Model Noctua NF-F12 PWM Chromax Black
Bearing SSO2
Max Rotational Speed (+/- 10%) 1500RPM
Max Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%) 1200RPM
Min Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%) 300RPM
Max Airflow 93,4 m³/h
Max Airflow with L.N.A 74,3 m³/h
Max Acoustical Noise 22,4 dB(A)
Max Acoustical Noise with L.N.A. 18,6 dB(A)
Voltage Range 12V
MTTF > 150.000 h


Inside the Package:

Similar to the NH-D15 Chromax Black, the Noctua NH-U12S Chromax Black also comes in a full black box. You can see that the front side of the box shows the NH-U12S Chromax Black – support 100% RAM compatibility with SecuFirm2 mounting system inside. Both the sides of the box illustrate the features, provide the view of the heatsink. Lastly, the rear side of the box provides a detailed product specifications and scope of delivery. It is without a doubt the new packaging for the Chromax Black lineup is alluring.

Inside the box, the one and only SecuFirm2 mounting kit that comes up with all the necessary tools and manuals needed to mount the cooler in your system, the NH-U12S Chromax Black heatsink with 1x NF-F12 PWM 120mm Chromax Black fan.

Accessories and Contents:

  • 1x NH-U12S Chromax Black Heatsink
  • 1x NF-F12 PWM Chromax Black 120mm Fan
  • 4x NM-APS4 Plastic Spacers for AM4
  • 4x NM-APS5 Plastic Spacers for AM3
  • 4x NM-ALS1 Screws for AMD
  • 2x NM-AMB11 Mounting Bars for AMD
  • 1x NM-IBP2 Backplate for LGA115x
  • 2x NM-IMB3 Mounting Bars for Intel
  • 4x NM-IPS1 Plastic Spacers for LGA115x
  • 4x NM-ITS1 Thumb Screws for Intel
  • 4x NM-IBT2 Bolts for LGA20xx
  • 1x NM-SMT1 Screw Driver
  • 1x NT-H1 High Grade Thermal Compound
  • 2x NM-SFC11 Clips for Second Fan
  • 1x NA-RC6 Low Noise Adaptor
  • 4x NA-AVP2 Chromax Black Anti-Vibration Pads for Second Fan
  • 1x Noctua Metal Case Badge


The installation process is pretty simple if you follow the provided manuals. The process is similar to the NH-D15 but with a different mounting bracket.

For an AM4 platform, you will have to remove the pre-installed brackets on the motherboard and hold the backplate in place while placing in the four AM4 (Gray) spacers on top and with the spacers in positioned on the board you will be able to fix the mounting bars with the included screws. Make sure you use the Noctua NM-SMT1 screwdriver.

Now apply the Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste on the processor and carefully mount the NH-U12s on the mounting bars with the Noctua’s logo facing to the rear of the case. Now mount the NH-U12S Chromax Black, tighten the screws and then attach the NF-F12 PWM Chromax Black fan on the right side of the heatsink of the cooler and power it from the CPU fan header on the motherboard.

Test Bench and Methodology:

The test bench and methodology remain identical to our last review of Noctua NH-D15 Chromax Black. We used the Corsair Obsidian 500D mid tower case with 4x Aigo DR12 Pro 120mm fans in which three fans were set at the front to intake the air and last one at the back exhausting the air. All the fans were controlled by the integrated fan controller and were set at 100% fan speed. The ambient room temperature was 23-degree Celsius. The thermal paste being used is the Noctua NT-H1.

The tests were conducted on AMD Ryzen 1700 at stock frequency of 3.00GHz at auto voltage and overclocked to 3.80GHz, voltage set at 1.33V. In order to find the minimum and stabilized temperature, we let the system to idle for about half an hour and to ascertain the maximum temperatures we used AIDA 64 to stress the system for 30 mins. The RAM kit used was the Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB (2x8GB) 3000MHz. The results are demonstrated in delta temperature by subtracting the ambient room temperature. The same method was used for other coolers.

Detailed System Specifications:

  • AMD Ryzen 7 1700
  • Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB (2x8GB) 16GB 3000MHz
  • Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200RPM
  • Asus Prime Pro X370
  • MSI GeForce GTX 1070Ti Duke
  • Western Digital Black 500GB M.2 NVMe SSD
  • XPG SX950U 480GB SSD
  • Antec EAG 650W 80+ Gold
  • Corsair Obsidian 500D

Software Used:

  • AIDA64 Extreme
  • CPUID HW Monitor


Here in the idle temperatures testing the NH-U12S ran 2-Degree Celsius cooler than the original NH-U12S which is an notable improvement.

In the Aida64 stress test the NH-U12S offered same performance as the Reeven Ouranos in both stock and overclocked configurations, the results are quite surprising as Noctua NH-U12S comes in 120mm compact size compared to Reveen Ouranous 140mm.


The Noctua NH-U12S Chromax Black packs a strong blow while being relatively compact. The excellent build quality shows when it is in use as it remains quite and your CPU stays cool. The NH-U12s Chromax Black is currently considered the best cooler in this size and price bracket due to its ability to tame any processor. Similarly, it removes the compatibility issues of high-profile memory modules and full height radiators. In terms of aesthetics, the NH-U12S Chromax Black looks really cool and stunning in black. The NH-U12S Chromax Black is recommended for those who admire quietness, build excellence, maximum productivity and gorgeous black look. The NH-U12S Chromax Black is a suitable choice for mid-range and high-end users. The NH-U12S Chromax Black 120mm CPU air cooler is available at a suggested price of $70.00 by Noctua and it is acceptable by performance and quality. Noctua also provides 6 years of official product warranty.


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