New, slimmer Noctua coolers provide extra DIMM clearance

Noctua makes some of the nicest air coolers around, and it's announced a couple of new designs that will be on the market shortly. These additions have been on a diet, resulting in slimmer radiator towers that leave plenty of clearance for taller memory modules. The most conventional of the two is the NH-U12S, which is a skinnier version of the NH-U12P that's been around for several years.

With a fin array just 1.8" (45 mm) thick, the NH-U12S promises to avoid overhanging adjacent DIMM slots even with dual fans installed. Only a single 120-mm fan is included with the cooler, but it's one of Noctua's fancier examples. This "Focused Flow" unit has a custom PWM controller, anti-vibration pads, and a maximum speed of 2,000 RPM. The fan blades and frame are both loaded with little tweaks to improve airflow and reduce noise levels.

Like other Noctua coolers, the NH-U12S features a nickel-plated copper base and heat pipes. Five pipes snake through the base and into the radiator tower, and the whole thing measures 6.2" (158 mm) tall.

The six-pipe NH-U14S stands a little taller, at 6.5" (165 mm), but that's because it sports a larger 140-mm fan. This specimen is actually Noctua's first conventional tower to use that fan size. The spinner shares a number of features with the Focused Flow unit found on the NH-U12S, although its rounded frame is clearly different.

With a radiator thickness of 2" (52 mm), the NH-U14S is only guaranteed to steer clear of DIMM conflicts on systems with LGA2011 sockets. The cooler comes with only one fan, so I'd expect it to work with most motherboard and DIMM combos; you can always put the fan on the far side of the tower.

Noctua says the NH-U12S and NH-U14S will cost $65 and $75, respectively. That's on the pricey side for air coolers, but these ones are covered by a six-year warranty, and Noctua has a history of providing free mounting bracket upgrades when new sockets are released. That said, overclockers are probably better off with closed-loop water coolers, which can be had for about the same price. Water coolers typically produce lower CPU temperatures than traditional heatsinks, although their pumps tend to generate slightly higher noise levels.

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
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