Noctua AMD Threadripper Air Cooler Roundup

Author:Kyle Bennett

Date: Tuesday , October 09, 2018

We take all three Noctua air coolers built for AMD Threadripper CPUs and put these to the test on both the 2950X and 2990WX. We run the NH-U14S, NH-U12S, and NH-U9 through the paces with both Precision Boost 2 and Precision Boost Overdrive using multiple fan configurations and compare these to the Silver Arrow and Wraith Ripper too.

Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3

The NH-U9 TR4-SP3 is our smallest Threadripper cooler in this review. It is diminutive in size compared to the others, but that also brings with it some difficulties. It is 125mm tall, 95mm wide, and 120mm deep from front to back with the fans installed. The NF-A9 PWM fan is noted as ranging from 400 RPM to 2000 RPM.

The NH-U9 comes in a complete kit with everything you will need for your install including its own TIM. The NT-H1 TIM is a very good thermal paste. It is easy to lay down and does not require any curing time. The included Allen wrench is a ball-type so that you can lean it over a bit and still turn the hold-downs into place. Mounting this cooler is literally as easy at lining up your threads and screwing those down till the screws hit the built-in stops. You "can't" over-tighten. Noctua have included a Y adapter as well as a "Low Noise" adapter that will keep your max fan speed to 1550 RPM.

The fans come installed on this cooler, and do not require you to uninstall those in order to mount it onto our TR4 socket.

The finish on the cold plate is extremely well done, but if you looking closely, you can make out some machining marks. If you run your fingernail over these, you can make out a tiny bit of pattern, but you have to be paying attention.

The cold plate is just about perfectly flat. You can make out it being the tiniest bit concave, by you have to look really hard.

The NH-U9 rides very low and close to the socket. This of course makes our fans stick over into our DIMM slots. The fans in the stock location are still high enough to not interfere with standard height DIMMs, but if you have a tall coolers on your RAM you are going to likely run into issues. And the fans do stick out far enough to disturb the second DIMM slots back from the edge of the socket. So, if you are going to run quad channel RAM, which you most certainly should with your Threadripper, you are going to have issues with tall RAM. Of course the first remedy that comes to mind is moving the fans up a bit. If you look close however, you will see that our fans already run a bit "high" on the face of our cooling fins. Moving the fans higher is almost assuredly going to impact your cooling ability.

Our mating footprint is excellent as to be expected from Noctua.