A couple of years ago I came up with the bright idea of making my own quad-core workstation. At the time dual-core processors were just starting to make their way to market and I was still in my balls to the wall stage; power transformers feared me. For years dual-core to me meant dual socket and dual socket workstation boards with just enough overclocking potential to keep me happy. So while everyone else was ready to start getting their first taste of SMP, I was ready to experiment with four processor cores, or dual, dual-core systems.
My first attempt at quad-core computing wasn't really anything special, but two foot notes did come out of it. The first was shattering FutureMark's 3DMark06 CPU Score Record while using a pair of passive heatsinks and the second was teaming up with Noctua, then a little known company with just two CPU coolers on their product list. While the CPU record lasted only a couple of months, I still look to Noctua to cool my high performance workstations. The relationship is now on its third generation of high performance Opteron processors.
Prior to Noctua's announcement this past week, I'd come to the realization that it was time to build another workstation, this time for testing hard drives and NAS servers here at TweakTown. An article that will go into the details of all of the components used and why they were chosen will follow in the coming weeks, but since I have an exclusive pair of Noctua's first heatsink designed specifically for the Opteron, we might as well take advantage of having the only pair outside of Austria.
After reading the press release I figured the new NH-U12DO (D. O. for Dual Opteron) was exactly like the NH-U12P we reviewed back in December with new mounting hardware for the Socket F Opteron; I was wrong. When I contacted Noctua about them supplying a new set of coolers for my latest build, I was worried about a couple of clearance issues with the NH-U12P and NH-C12P and I showed Noctua some photos taken with my digital calipers measuring the problem areas.
Jakob quickly replied with firm, "We have something just for you, an Opteron only heatsink we have been working on. I will have it there by next week."
At the time specifications were not available and if someone would have told me Noctua would have a workstation heatsink coming so quickly, I would have thought it came from FUD.
Let's take a look at the new Noctua NH-U12DO and see what makes this cooler different from the enthusiast NH-U12P.