Noctua NH-U12S Redux CPU cooler review: Noctua enters the budget market with coolers
Noctua has a Redux series, which eventually includes coolers and fans that seem to be no longer new, but are still in demand by the market. In fact, these are the same ordinary devices, but with a limited configuration and in a faded gray color, so if you buy a device without claims to the quality of the packaging, you can save money.
Recently, the Redux series "launched" the model NH-U12S, which has as a basis - a 1-section tower radiator with 4 heat-conducting tubes and a nickel-plated copper base. We have already tested various variations of the NH-U12, for example, a 7-tube cooler for connoisseurs of beauty, NH-U12A, or a model for servers and workstations based on AMD Threadripper / EPYC (read our review) - the traditional tower works well with both one and two fans, and will also serve a wide audience.
The Noctua NH-U12S Redux cooler is interesting because by default it comes with one fan, but you can buy not just a second one, but a whole set for installing an additional fan on the radiator: yes, in the Redux version, neither the attachment for the second fan, nor the splitter in the bundle to the cooler is supplied.
Moreover, attention is drawn to the very cheap cardboard packaging, and we are always happy when the manufacturer saves on boxes, and not on the product itself. More importantly, the versatility of the mount is preserved, and the NH-U12S Redux is still compatible with platforms:
- Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 и LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1200, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150
- AMD AM4
This cooler is not intended for Threadripper, and the AMD AM3 socket has also disappeared from the compatibility list, although the mount itself remains the same - SecuFirm2.
The traditional 1-section radiator design with 4 heat-conducting tubes is a sign of the "middle class" among air coolers. The radiator design does not use soldering between the plates and heat-conducting tubes, as in the NH-U12A and NH-U12S models, and the overall noise level is 25.1 dB.
The cooler is equipped with a fan NF-P12 Redux with PWM regulation and a maximum speed of 1700 rpm. Interestingly, even the rubber pads on the front side of the fan, which give it a finished look, are not available, and I personally do not like such savings: if you already have regular Noctua fans in your computer, then it seems that you have lost the "ears" from the processor cooler.
The base of the cooler is nickel-plated copper, on which the NT-H1 thermal interface is applied with checkers. The paste is enough for exactly one application. The quality of the radiator is not to be found fault with: although soldering between the plates and tubes is not used here, the plates, due to the connection between themselves at the ends and sufficiently thick aluminum, retain a sense of integrity and rigidity of the structure.
To install a second fan, you can purchase the Noctua NA-FK1 Redux kit. The package includes the NF-P12 Redux-1700 PWM fan itself, a 4-pin PWM splitter and 2 step-down adapters. Interestingly, the rubber "ears" supplied in this kit in the amount of 4 pieces are thicker and denser than the usual corners of Noctua fans. This is done in order to slightly move the working surface of the second fan away from the array of plates, in order to reduce the parasitic howling noise.
Otherwise, the second fan is exactly the same as the first, so you can change them as you like. By design, this is the heir to the legendary model NF-P12, which is associated with the users of the company Noctua, but which has already been discontinued, and is only available in the Redux version. We discussed the NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM fan in detail earlier, this model, if you do not take the expensive NF-A12x25, can be considered the best and most versatile among the 120-mm Noctua.
Interestingly, the original NH-U12S uses NF-F12 fans designed to purge areas with high resistance (CBO radiators, air flow into the housing, coolers), and there it looked like the idea: "we installed such and such a fan, because here it is optimized for this and that". And in the Redux series, Noctua does not have an analog NF-F12, so although the famous, but universal NF-P12 Redux looks boring, but once again I will say-the balance of such qualities as noise, pressure and performance in this model is at a height: you definitely do not want to change it.
To test the budget cooler, we used the following configuration:
- AMD Ryzen 5 1600
- ASRock Taichi X470 Ultimate
- Windows 10
- DeepCool DQ850M
We will test the cooler at the regular processor frequencies and with overclocking, at maximum and minimum speeds. For comparison, we use the dropsy DeepCool Captain 240 Pro and the cooler Noctua NH-U12.
According to the results, the cooler shows itself to be average, and even the second fan does not always correct the situation.
Today, HEDT fans are massively switching to the CBO camp, because both technically air cooling has outlived its usefulness, and morally it is already fed up, so it is not surprising that Noctua descends from heaven to the sinful earth and goes to the middle price segment. However, it is not so simple: yes, of course, the company's reputation is such that it will sell sand in the desert, but such companies as Deepcool and Cooler Master have not been idle in recent years, and for example, for those who deny RGB, Deepcool has a chic series of two-fan Gammaxx 400, and for fans of "quiet and beautiful" - AS500 with a 140mm fan.
Against their background, the Noctua NF-U12S redux offers nothing special, except for a huge 6-year warranty, and even the Noctua logo on the radiator is squeezed out in small print, so that through the window in the case, it is almost invisible. Therefore, no matter how much I love Noctua, but I admit that their first cooler of the Redux series, turned out to be gray not only on the outside, but also in its essence: yes, it cools normally, but there is no zest or flight of technical thought here.
Michael Degtjarev (aka LIKE OFF)