Installation and Finished Product
Since the backplate is all one piece, all we had to do was turn the motherboard over, align the studs with the holes, and ensure the notch of the backplate was at the bottom to clear the CPU retention mechanism screw. From here, we flip the motherboard right side up again and continue on.
After sliding the black risers over the studs, we made sure to install the top brackets on top of them with the bows outward. Once set into place, you take the four knurled nuts and secure the top brackets to the backplate. At this point, you should have a solid and secure hardware assembly with no movement.
To access the cooler mounting screws, you will need to remove the fans to access them. Alternate sides every three to five turns until the springs are fully compressed and the screw runs out of threads. Also be sure to apply paste under the cooler, as we did, but forgot to mention as the first part of this series of steps.
Now that the NH-U12A is installed on the motherboard, and we take a peek past the memory to see what it looks like, we are pleased to see the fan is sitting behind the RAM with no hassle. The cooler does indeed look compact like any other 120mm air cooled CPU tower, but hopefully, the performance is better than what one would assume this cooler could produce.
In front of the NH-U12A, we see that memory clearance, no matter how tall the heat spreaders may be, will not cause one single issue for mainstream motherboard users. For those using HEDT systems, Noctua does mention a potential issue behind the cooler but states there is 42mm of room there.
As we step back to have a look at the rest of the clearances, we have no issues with the motherboard screw access, but the depth of this design does start to infringe on the 8-pin connection, but it is not impossible to access. From this view, we can also see that RAM behind the cooler will have to ride under the fan, and is why the limitation is mentioned.
With the NH-U12A now mounted inside of the chassis, we always have, and still, do like the industrial look of the Noctua coolers. While many complain about the color combination, not one person does not know who made it at a glance. Of course, Noctua does also offer options for cloaking their coolers under covers and offers black fans, but that does also increase the overall price.