Noctua NH-U12A CPU Cooler
The front view of the NH-U12A is mainly of the maroon and tan 120mm fan and the unfinished industrial look of the exposed fan hub at the center of the nine blades. These fans have prominent rubber pads on all corners, which keep the fan from vibrating against the fins but also help isolate the fan clips as well.
From the factory, the fans are offset in height but are likely due to trying to improve on memory clearance behind the cooler for those with quad-channel memory systems. Between them is a stack of fifty aluminum fins, of which the ends have been bent over to trap all of the air flowing through the tower from escaping. Below the tower are a set of seven, nickel-plated, copper heat pipes, which seems like a lot for a single 120mm fan based cooler.
The back of the tower is also covered with a fan, a matching NF-A12x25 PWM fan to what we saw on the front. Below that fan, we can also see how the pipes are gently bent to make it through the base and into the fin array, and get a sense of the offset orientation as well.
As we look at the left side of the cooler, it is a mirror image of what was found on the other side. With little left to talk about visually, we will take this time to mention the braided cables coming from the fans as well as the ease of using the clips with the mounting groove very close to the leading and trailing edges of the fins.
The top of the NH-U12A takes all of the questions away from how the heat pipes are oriented inside of the fin stack. With three sets of two pipes following each other and a single pipe in the middle on either side, the staggered layout offers a good flow of air to all of the pipes, and with all soldered joints, heat transfer from the pipes to the fins is improved over pressed on fins.
Removing the fans allows us to have a look at the edge design of the fins. The fins start flat, then offer a skinny groove, before running into the three teeth before leveling out again. At either side, this can be seen, and in the middle, the fins curve inward to create a valley for building air pressure before flowing through the tower.
The top of the base of the cooler is made of a chunky block of aluminum, onto which the crossbar of the SecuFirm 2 mounting hardware is already attached. At either end of the bar is a screw which is spring-loaded, and is what adds all of the socket mounting pressure.
The seven heat pipes are also soldered between the aluminum top portion as well as this nickel-plated copper base. There are machine marks left in the contact area, and the base is intentionally convex to go along with the typically concave CPU IHS.