Noctua NH-U12P SE2
A veritable best seller, the Noctua NH-U12P is included in this roundup as a reference. The one we have tested here is the Special Edition 2, which comes with two 120 mm DC fans. As usual from Noctua, a tube of thermal paste, LNA and ULNA adapters, a screwdriver and a very clear user guide are bundled with the cooler.
Again, you attach the cooler to the SecuFirm 2 mounting system, which is attached to a plate at the back of the motherboard. It’s quite simple to mount, but note on AMD platforms the orientation of the cooler sends the flow of air towards the top of the casing, which isn’t necessarily for the best. Noctua supplies a free mounting kit on request to change the direction of the flow.
The NH-U12P covers one or two DIMMs depending on which direction you install it in, with 40 mm of space underneath, leaving the door open for average sized memory radiators.
The NH-U12P SE is just as efficient as the NH-C14. With two fans running, it's even a little better overall. While superfluous for the 2600K at base clock, this configuration will give a better noise/cooling ratio when cooling requirements increase.
The NH-U12P SE was included in this roundup as a very popular model to serve as a reference for the other coolers tested. It didn't disappoint. Striking an excellent balance between performance levels and noise, with one or two fans, it also comes with a high quality bundle, as is often the case with Noctua.