Noctua NH-U12P SE2 (LGA1156)
The Noctua NH-U12P SE2 is a very good looking cooler that showcases a rather conservative aesthetic, though the fan colour combination may not be to everyone’s preference. We do think that performance is where it counts, however, and this Noctua cooler does an outstanding job. In our testing we found that it handily beats every other LGA1556 we’ve seen to date, easily keeping a highly overclocked Core i7 870 in check, and doing it at very low noise levels, completely inaudible inside a case in fact. It is extremely rare to have a cooler that not only performs well but is also quiet. It’s been our experience that you can’t really have low noise levels and top cooling performance; the two are inversely proportional, gain one and lose the other to an extent. However, this Noctua cooler is a rare exception.
The installation of the NH-U12P SE2 is better than most other coolers we’ve reviewed due to its backplate mounting method, so it’s a boon to enthusiasts looking for quality and straightforward installation. However, it certainly is more cumbersome than any push-pin method, although you should only have to worry about installation once or twice during the lifespan of your system.
The NH-U12P SE2 has a bit more limited availability at online retailers, but it can be found at Frozen CPU for $70 USD, putting it at the top of the price range for LGA1156 coolers. That price is a bit high, but you do get two top quality fans that normally would run about $20 each. In fact, you really only need one fan on this Noctua cooler, leaving you an extra silent case fan to use in your system. Also factor in that the build quality here is second to none and you’re left with a very strong argument to justify the higher price tag.
If you’re in the market for a new heatsink for your new LGA1156 Core i5/i7 system, the Noctua NH-U12P SE2 is a product that will produce impressive cooling performance while maintaining very low noise levels. That is an extremely rare combination, and we highly recommend this Noctua cooler.
Noctua NH-U12P SE2
Our thanks go to Noctua for providing the NH-U12P SE2 for this review.