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Went crazy and installed a monster cooler (pic heavy)


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For months, I've been wanting to replace the noisy cooler in my server but there's always work and just plain laziness in the way. I've previously replaced two case fans with a pair of Noctua NF-P12's I bought at a bargain. One is pulling air in front of the HDDs, while the other expels hot air to the back, just below the PSU. Though, that took care of most of the vibration and case noise, the stock CPU cooler still cuts through the silence, especially when the CPU is at full load and it's spinning at 6,000+ RPM.


Anyway, in one of our trip to the mall and while the wifey was busy window-shopping, on impulse, I bought a Noctua NH-U12P.


So now, less talk, more pics:




This is the puny but noisy stock cooler from AMD (Came with the Athlon II X4 630)



Old cooler removed. Lots of dust and residue of the old thermal grease



Cleaned up the CPU



Installed the new mounting brackets, put in a drop of new thermal grease (not shown) and secured the heat sink



Part 2:


Installed one 120mm fan (Noctua NF-P12). I would've preferred a front-to-back airflow but unfortunately the motherboard cooler mounting holes didn't support such. Anyway, the PSU fan should be able to pull the hot air equally well



This shot shows the clearance between the cooler and the cover. It's literally just millimeters! Crazy...



A 2nd NF-P12 fan (included in the package) can be optionally installed on the cooler configured for push-pull. But since I'm not overclocking or anything, a single fan on the cooler should suffice. I used the 2nd NF-P12 to replace the stock case side fan








Another feat of precision; The side fan missing the fan on the cooler by mere millimeters





So now, the results. This is the before and after recording of the noise.


NOTE: The difference may or may not be that apparent on the video, but if you're standing here, the BEFORE video would have a loud high-frequency whine coming from the 4,000+ (to 6,000) RPM stock AMD fan. Now, considering that my sever has five 120mm fans (including the PSU) and seven HDDs spinning, the AFTER video is silent!


BEFORE - Stock AMD CPU Cooler:



AFTER - Noctua NH-U12P Cooler

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Love Noctua. I have 4 NF-P12's in my box controlled by Fan xpert 2. Best cooling system I have ever had. No noise and very cool.

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Looks a lot like the Corsair 212 EVO I just installed on my main desktop. It cooks well, but is a little loud, but not obnoxious.


With the i7 now in my server the stock cooler wasn't cutting it. Bought the Corsair H80 from PC Doc and it was DOA new in 

the box. Guess what, Corsair never responded to my inquiry.


Bought the H80i so I wouldn't have to disassemble the server to install a different backplate. It cools quite well like the 212 EVO.

By default it was set at a constant 2000 RPM or so and sounded like a jet engine. Installed the Corsair Link software and set

it to quiet mode. It now cools at the same level, but is quite a bit quieter. 

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Love Noctua fans. Great fans. Put one in my Norco case, as my AMD CPU was running hot (shock). Couldn't get the full sized one you have, I think mine was the C12, but I'm not sure.

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Noctua has excellent aftersales service as well. I asked about their fan's reliability when running 24x7 while mounted horizontally, as is the orientation of my CPU cooler. They responded back, and I quote:




One of the advantages of the SSO bearing is that it is better suited than other bearings for exactly the position you are using your fan. Thus there is no need to worry that the fan will age sooner than in another position.


They then went further and offered me a FREE conversion kit (the NM-A90) that will allow me to rotate the heatsink 90 degrees (AM2/AM2+/AM3 motherboards only), I ordered it of course, but I tend to like how it is now as the CPU fan is practically getting fresh air from the side fan below it.


Needless to say, I'm their customer for life.

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What I noticed from the 2 recordings is that the AFTER one is lower pitched. I didn't notice a whole lot of difference in volume, but that could be the recordings. Noise level comparison is a difficult thing to do.

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Well, I noticed difference in sound on my server when I installed the Noctua Heatsink. I also noticed a 20-30C drop in temperature from the AMD stock heatsink. 


That, and the heatsinks and fans feel very solid. Worth every penny, IMO.

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What I noticed from the 2 recordings is that the AFTER one is lower pitched. I didn't notice a whole lot of difference in volume, but that could be the recordings. Noise level comparison is a difficult thing to do.

Yeah, sorry about that. The camera I used (Samsung EX1) produces a lot of background hiss, or otherwise, have an overly sensitive mic. I can re-record the 2nd video using a better camera or audio recorder.


Anyway, let me just say this bit... I can now hear the system drive (WD Green) when there's activity. In the 3 or so years I've had this rig, this is the first I actually heard the head actuators working. And we all know how inherently silent these drives are to begin with. In that respect, the WD Reds are even less perceptible, but also there.

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This may look a bit cheesy by now but, I've posted a follow-up video below. Try out the instruction in the description.


The humming sound starts to become apparent at about a meter away, but unlike the high pitch noise from the old fan, the particular noise produced by Noctua's NF-P12 fans aren't centered on a specific frequency, and so it blends in and dissipates fairly easily in the background. This is best described by Noctua in one of their technical doc:



Due to the Vortex-Control Notches, trailing edge vortices are split up into several smaller vortices. Thus the noise is spread over a wider range of frequencies and therefore perceived as much less annoying. - http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=nine_blade_design&lng=en


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