«Budget» cooler from Noctua — NH-U12S redux appeared on sale almost a year ago. But for certain reasons, he could not reach us earlier. And the terrible events taking place in our country delayed the release of this review even more. However, this model is interesting if only because it is the first case in the history of the company when it tries to make its cooler cheaper for consumers. In general, its marketing policy has always been focused on quality without compromise, even without regard to the final cost of the product. Some might say precedents have already been set before, with the advent of the redux fan series. But that’s not entirely true, since those fans were essentially just repainted models of past generations. No, really, why give up selling a quality and time-tested product just because you managed to make an even better one?

How did the cost reduction of Noctua NH-U12S redux happen? Compared to the original model, there is one less heat pipe. The fan uses the SSO design and bearing from the first generations of the company’s products. But it is painted in a neutral gray color, which will appeal to «non-fans» of the brand. The kit includes only the minimally necessary set of fasteners for all current processor connectors. But there is no second set of fan brackets, a screwdriver, a tube of thermal paste, adapters and the branded adhesive metal logo. So, let’s take a closer look at the design of this cooling system and test its effectiveness in practice.

Noctua NH-U12S back

Technical parameters

Name Noctua NH-U12S back
Product page NH-U12S redux
Compatibility with processor connectors Intel LGA 2066/2011-V3/2011/1700/1200/115X, AMD AM4
The size of the radiator (LxWxH), mm 158x45x125
Fan size (LxWxH), mm 120x120x25
Material and construction of the radiator Vertical construction of aluminum plates pierced with four copper heat pipes, 6 mm in diameter, arranged in a U-shape. The plates, heat pipes and solid copper sole are fully nickel plated
Weight of the radiator, g 550
Number of radiator plates, pcs 50
Plate thickness, mm 0,4
The distance between the plates, mm 1,8
Calculated radiator area, cm² ~ 5 625
Fan Model Noctua NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM
Fan speed, rpm 450~1700 s NE
Volume of air flow, m³/h 120,2
Fan noise level, dB (A) 25,1
Static pressure, mm of water 2,83
Fan bearing type SSO (hydrodynamic bearing with magnetic stabilization)
Operating time for fan failure, hours 150 000
Nominal voltage of the fan, V 12
Fan current, A 0,09
Fan limit power consumption, W 1,08
Features Warranty — 6 years
Average cost, UAH n/a

Supply set

The cooler is sold in a beautiful glossy gray package, which shows all the technical parameters and dimensions necessary for the user, as well as information about the complete set. To protect against damage in the middle, only a massive cardboard insert is provided on top and a box with spare parts on the bottom, which at the same time plays the role of a buffer for the radiator.

Noctua NH-U12S backNoctua NH-U12S back

In addition to the radiator, the kit includes the following elements:

  • instructions for installing the cooler;
  • 120mm Noctua NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM fan;
  • two brackets for fastening the propeller;
  • two mounting legs for AMD AM4 connectors;
  • two mounting legs for Intel LGA 2066/2011-V3/2011/1700/1200/115x connectors;
  • four black plastic supports for Intel LGA 1200/115x connectors;
  • four metal screw supports for Intel LGA 2066/2011-V3/2011 connectors;
  • four screw pins for mounting on Intel LGA 1700/1200/115x connectors;
  • four blue plastic supports for the Intel LGA 1700 connector;
  • six plastic fasteners for pins (two of them spare);
  • four nuts with a knurled head for tightening by hand or a Phillips screwdriver;
  • metal reinforcing plate for Intel LGA 1700/1200/115x connectors;
  • four gray plastic supports for the AMD AM4 connector;
  • four screws for AMD AM4 mounting legs.

Noctua NH-U12S back

Appearance and design

The Noctua NH-U12S redux is a classic compact tower with one radiator section and one fan located in front. Its height is 158 mm, the width, including the fan fasteners, is 125 mm.

Noctua NH-U12S back

Brackets of the fan retainers allow you to raise or lower it in a wide range of heights, but it is unlikely that this will be necessary, since a conflict with the RAM dies is not expected. The depth of the radiator together with one propeller does not exceed 71 mm.

Noctua NH-U12S back

It is in this perspective, from above (and a little from the front), that a potential user will see his cooler in the case, provided that there is a transparent side panel:

Noctua NH-U12S back

In order to decorate the utilitarian appearance of the cooling system, Noctua resorted to tricks and made a metal overlay on the top plate of the radiator, about 1 mm thick and fixed with four screws located in the corners. But this did not fundamentally change anything in the appearance of the cooler, it was quite possible to do without it.

The complete 120mm fan is called the Noctua NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM. This is the time-tested and well-known Noctua NF-P12 model in a gray color scheme. The propeller consists of nine slightly rounded blades with an average angle of attack. The speed is adjustable by PWM in the range from 450 to 1700 rpm. Up to about 900 rpm, the fan runs almost silently. It becomes noticeably audible starting from 1200 rpm. The first generation SSO bearing is hydrodynamic with magnetic stabilization. It does not emit any extra overtones or vibrations. Rubber vibration dampers are on the corners of the frame only on one side, because savings should be economical. Power cable for four contacts, 200 mm long and wrapped in rubber braid.

Noctua NH-U12S backNoctua NH-U12S back

This is what the body of the radiator looks like without a fan:

Noctua NH-U12S back

This is a common one-section design. All heat pipes, fins and sole are nickel plated to prevent corrosion. The total heat dissipation area is 5625 cm².

The radiator consists of 50 plates located with a clearance of 1.8 mm and four heat pipes with a diameter of 6 mm, evenly distributed in the shape of the letter U in four rows, two on each side.

Noctua NH-U12S back

The thickness of the radiator in the profile is 45 mm. The sides of the radiator plates are bent at 90 degrees in the middle, which strengthens the structure as a whole and prevents the plates from sticking to each other. There are two rows of vertical recesses on the front and back for fastening the fan latches. It is worth noting that the radiator is shifted 3 mm back relative to the central axis of symmetry of the sole, that is, it actually has a front and a back part, which is not immediately noticeable.

Noctua NH-U12S back

The ends of the heat pipes are not covered by anything, but they look quite decent. The tubes themselves are placed in the transverse projection as rationally as possible. The back side of the radiator is marked REDUX.

Noctua NH-U12S back

The cross plate, which presses the cooler to the processor, is fixed with one screw in the center. On both sides of the plate there is one nut (with a socket for a Phillips screwdriver) on the springs.

Noctua NH-U12S back

The sole of the cooler consists of two separate metal bars between which heat pipes are pressed. There are traces of solder in the contact areas, everything is done very carefully.

Noctua NH-U12S back

Again, in order to save money, the manufacturer did not put a separate syringe with thermal paste in the kit, but applied a thin layer of Noctua NT-H1 thermal interface to the sole of the cooler, which is enough for one installation of the cooler. It is protected from abrasion by a plastic overlay.

Noctua NH-U12S back

The cooler has a solid copper sole covered with nickel. Its size is 38×40 mm. The surface is not mirror-like, but quite smooth, covered with small radial traces from milling.

Noctua NH-U12S back

Separately for the cooler, you can buy a mounting kit called Noctua NA-FK1 redux with a second fan. It costs about a third of the recommended price of the cooler and is sold in a box like this:

Noctua NH-U12S backNoctua NH-U12S back

In the middle you can find a second Noctua NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM propeller, two brackets for it, a set of four rubber dampers, a Y-shaped power splitter, and two NA-RC14 LNA step-down adapters. The very presence of these elements is surprising, because what prevents you from adjusting the speed using PWM?

Noctua NH-U12S back

Let’s proceed to the installation and testing of the cooler.

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