Intel LGA 115x installation is always the trickiest (it’s also the most popular socket), so that’s the one we’ll go over.
Unlike previous Noctua models we’ve tested, the SecuFirm bracket comes pre-assembled with the four bolts already attached to the bracket. This is probably for the best, since they would often fall out of the brackets otherwise. So if you are installing on an LGA 1155 or 1150 socket, all you have to do is place the bracket into the mounting holes, and place the four plastic spacers.
Next, install the LGA brackets in the correct position, and fasten them with screws. At this point you can choose the direction of the NH-U14S. In most cases you will want to expel the hot air out the back of the case, but you may also want to consider using the top exhaust if your case has one.
After that, install the heatsink and you are pretty much finished! All you need to do is install the fan by clipping it in:
The angle of this photo shows just how slim the NH-U12S is. You can easily fit even the most ridiculously oversized memory heatsinks next to it.
If you have a second NF-F12 fan, be sure to install the brackets properly so it blows air in the same direction as the first one. Note that the extra offset rubber feet are not shown here, because I didn’t RTFM before putting it together for the first time to take these photos.
If you’re wondering just how important those offset rubber pads are, here’s our video demonstrating the effect they have on the NH-U14S. Expect results to be similar with the U12S:
With the pads, the turbulence noise is significantly reduced, but not eliminated completely. In dual fan mode, the NH-U12S goes from being a silent CPU cooler to a performance CPU cooler though, which we’ll look at now.