When people talk about Noctua coolers, which one comes to mind? You probably think about the little L9, the huge C14, or even the mighty D15. Noctua's original CPU cooler was the U12, though. It was one of the first 120-mm tower coolers in general, and it set the stage for what would become the all-but-standard form factor for enthusiast CPU air coolers with its high performance and low noise. Now that the company has its new A12 fans out of their five-year development period, it's time to update the U12, and thus we now have the NH-U12A.
Despite the simplicity of what I just wrote, the NH-U12A isn't just a fan upgrade to an existing model. Noctua says the thick 2¼" (58 mm) heatsink is an all-new design using no less than seven heat pipes to transfer thermal energy from your CPU to the cooler. Noctua describes the NH-U12A as a "deluxe choice" and says that despite being a 120-mm cooler—with all the benefits to case compatibility that affords—it performs as well as its competitors' towers with 140-mm fans. Even still, Noctua says that the cooler tops out at 22.6 dBA, which is well below the noise floor in most environments.
The NH-U12A includes two of Noctua's latest NF-A12 fans, the company's SecuFirm2 mounting system, and a tube of NT-H1 thermal goop. It also comes with a six-year warranty. If you're after the latest and greatest from Austria, it's already available at Newegg and Amazon for a cool hundred smackeroos.