Cooling AMD EPYC With Noctua Coolers: NH-U9 TR4-SP3, NH-U12S TR4-SP3, NH-U14S TR4-SP3

Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 12 March 2018. Page 1 of 4. 14 Comments

While Austrian PC cooling manufacturer Noctua is mostly known for their high-end enthusiast/gamer oriented cooling products, they do offer a line-up of heatsinks for both AMD Ryzen Threadripper and EPYC server processors. In this article we are trying out the NH-U9 TR4-SP3, NH-U12S TR4-SP3, and NH-U14S TR4-SP3 heatsinks on a 32-core / 64-thread AMD EPYC platform for seeing how well these air coolers will do with AMD's promising server platform.

We have used Noctua's premium cooling products on many systems over the years, but never any of their workstation/server products. Fortunately, Noctua recently sent over their three TR4-SP3 heatsinks that are compatible with AMD Threadripper and EPYC processors. For putting these heatsinks through their paces they were tested with an AMD EPYC 7551, the 32-core / 64-thread server CPU with a 2.00GHz base clock frequency, 2.55GHz all core boost speed, and a maximum boost clock speed of 3GHz. The TDP on this CPU that is one step below the flagship EPYC 7601 is 180 Watts.

The NH-U9 TR4-SP3 is the first heatsink up for testing with this EPYC cooling test. The NH-U9 TR4-SP3 fits within 4U height requirements making it ideal for a 4U rackmount system while still being capable of cooling the 180 Watt TDP CPU. Last year I had picked up a NH-U9 TR4-SP3 for cooling the Threadripper 1950X and it continues working out very well on that rackmounted system. The NH-U9 TR4-SP3 measures in at 125 x 95 x 71 mm not counting the dual 92mm fans.

This Noctua heatsink has a copper base and heatpipes with aluminum fins, soldered joints and nickel plating. This heatsink weighs 895 grams with the two included 92mm fans. Included with the heatsink and NF-A9 PWM fans is a low-noise adapter, Y-split power cable, NT-H1 thermal compound, and the SecuFirm2 mounting kit designed exclusively for the TR4 and SP3 AMD sockets.

The NH-U12S TR4-SP3 is the next larger heatsink from Noctua for Threadripper and EPYC systems. As implied by its name, this heatsink relies upon a 12cm fan -- just one, but you can optionally mount a second one on the heatsink too. We ended up running tests with both one and two NF-F12 PWM fans.

This NH-U12S TR4-SP3 heatsink measures in at 158 x 125 x 45 mm, placing it just outside of the height requirements for being able to fit in a 4U chassis, but still fine for most desktop cases out there. This heatsink with a single NF-F12 PWM fan weighs 870 grams. Construction is similar to the smaller NH-U9 with having a copper base and heatpipes, aluminum cooling fins, and soldered joints with nickel plating. There are also similar accessories with the low noise adapter, NT-H1 thermal compound, etc.

The third and final Noctua heatsink for Threadripper/EPYC systems is the NH-U14S TR4-SP3 with a mighty 140mm fan. This heatsink with 140mm fan measures in at 165 x 150 x 78 mm and weighs 1030 grams. Construction is similar to the other two heatsinks as is the SecuFirm2 mounting kit designed for the TR4/SP3 sockets.

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