NH-U9 and NH-U12 can now be included in a class with the cooling elite; joining such well performing coolers such as the Zalman Fatal1ty, Thermalright HR-01, and Thermaltake Big Typhoon. I had a great first impression of the Noctua coolers from the moment I opened the box, and I was not disappointed once I had tested their performance. They certainly lived up to the press release!
When critiquing many coolers there are generally several negative aspects to address. Not so with the Noctua coolers, as the only negative I can find is with the size of them. Depending on your motherboard they might not fit, and this has become a common issue with oversize coolers.
The results I received with the NH-U9 and NH-U12 have surprised me, and makes Noctua
a company to watch. If their fist line of coolers is a good representation of what we can expect, Noctua will quickly become known as a top contender. The NH-U9 has found a home in my HTPC, making my HTPC nearly silent (there's still a little noise from the power supply and video fan).
Noctua has been selling its coolers in Europe for several months, and they are just beginning to become available in the US. Noctua's website has a list of etailers that are carrying their coolers, which includes FrozenCPU, Xoxide, and Voyeurmods.com. With prices of $49.95 (NH-U9) and $59.95 (NH-U12), they are comparable to many other high-end CPU coolers, although perhaps a bit on the high side overall, especially considering that fans are not included.
Given the performance and overall quality I award the NH-U9 and NH-U12 a final score of five out of five stars and the rating of "Highly Recommended".
Final Rating (5 out of 5 stars):
» Solid performance
» Potential noiseless install
» Alternate fan install configurations
» Universal install
» All necessary installation hardware
» Size - Might not fit all motherboards
Special thanks to Noctua
for providing the NH-U9 and NH-U12 coolers to Bigbruin.com for review!