The following system was used to test the cooler:
– Processor: Intel i9 9900K @ 5GHz
– Motherboard: ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming X
– RAM: Ballistix Tactical Tracer 16GB DDR4 @ 2666MHz
– GPU: MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gaming X Trio
– SSD: Crucial MX500
– HDD: WD 1 TB Blue
– PSU: Seasonic Snow Silent 750W Platinum
– Case: Phanteks Enthoo Luxe White
– Thermal compound: Noctua NT-H2
Software used for testing the cooler:
– AIDA64 Extreme Version: 6.20.5300
– Intel Burn Test v2.54
– Prime95 29.1
The cooler was tested with the CPU at the default turbo frequency of 4.9 GHz and overclocked to 5 GHz with a core voltage of 1.261 V.
Also, the included fans have been used at their maximum speed.
The room temperature was approximately 26°C (78°F), with 2°C margin of error.
The idle test consists of the CPU sitting idle at the desktop for 30 minutes, the temperature was measured at the end of the test.
The settings of the software used are the following:
Intel Burn Test v2.54 – Stress level: Maximum
Prime95 29.1- small FFT
AIDA64 Extreme Version – FPU Benchmark & Temperature monitoring.
Each test was conducted for 40 minutes.
Full Load – IntelBurnTestV2
Full Load – AIDA64 CPU, FPU & Cache
The noise level was measured at three different distances from the fans (10cm, 20cm, 30cm.) the noise was measured with a margin of error of ± 2 db.
The main benefit of the single tower design that the NH-U12S chromax.black has, is the memory compatibility once installed. While the fan is lower than many RAM modules that use a taller than average heatsink, the fan itself does not interfere with the RAM slot of the motherboard.
The PCIe expansion slot compatibility is also good, the heatsink remaining within the general CPU socket area of the motherboard. This is important, especially since many modern motherboards have a M.2 socket placed between the CPU socket and the first PCIe slot.
After the whole benchmarking process is completed, the spread of thermal compound is checked, for evenness and the spread pattern. The Noctua SecuFirm mounting system coupled with the stright copper base of the cooler, applies the pressure over the CPU surface evenly.
The Noctua NH-U12S chromax.black is available for an average price of 69 USD or EUR. And for that, it offers a good cooling performance with a silent fan, event at the maximum speed of 1500RPM. The chromax.black theme is tastefully implemented on all parts of the cooler, including the aluminum fins and the copper heatpipes. The fan is also part of the chromax.black series and has received the same all-black makeover.
Thanks to the shape of the heatsink and its size, the NH-U12S chromax.black has great compatibility for the RAM slots of the motherboard and for the expansion slots. In addition, at the back, there is plenty of space left for an additional fan, and the VRM heatsinks of the motherboard.
The cooling performance is good and will handle an Intel i9 9900K CPU overclocked to 5GHz on all cores, with ease. The performance can be improved by installing an additional fan at the back of the heatsink. However, this will increase the overall price of the cooler.
The installation process is very simple and easy to figure out. The SecuFirm 2 mounting system is using a small number of components, and is regarded as one of the best in the industry.
In conclusion, the Noctua NH-U12S chromax.black is a good CPU cooler that has the new Noctua chromax.black theme, and a good cooling performance. The 69 USD or EUR price does not make this CPU cooler cheap, but it still is good value, when considering the accessory bundle and the overall performance.