Noctua AMD Threadripper Air Cooler Roundup

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.

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2950X Precision Boost Overdrive Results

Wow, that's a lot of numbers. But bear with us. We will make it through it. Using Precision Boost 2 and Precision Boost Overdrive truly requires that we dig this deep to actually find out what is going on. And sure, we could just give you a temperature here, but I think that many of you will use PB2 an PBO, and want to get the best clocks you can with your cooler, or at least know what you are leaving on the table if you are not ponying up for true water cooling. Conversely, all this data might also likely show you that you can save a few bucks on cooling and be perfectly happy where you end up clock-wise.

You will notice we have "100% bars" outlined in yellow. For our non-100% bars, we are using the MEG X399 Creation's stock fan curve. For the 100% bars, we ditched the fan curse and ran the fans at 100% RPM.

We have also included data from our Threadripper Air Coolers-Silver Arrow TR4 vs. Wraith Ripper review and added the 100% fan RPM for those as well. (We also updated the original review.)


On this page we have the Threadripper 2950X running overclocked using Precision Boost Overdrive. You need to download the Ryzen Master program to use PBO, and this does void your warranty. What PBO allows you to do is exceed the CPU specified TDP. Here in our 2950X PBO tests, we will not be bound by the 180W CPU Package Power. We have dropped our coolers that would not support 180W CPU Package Power under Precision Boost 2.

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Under PBO, we see that we hold a temperature ceiling again of ~68C.

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Interestingly, we see about the same delta as we did using PB2; ~375MHz. Of course if we had our two other coolers, the delta would be much bigger. What we have learned is that when these cooler will not at least support the rated TDP, that we actually see PBO clocks that are slower than PB2. It seems that the PBO algorithm freaks out a bit and wants to make sure that it keeps power in check so as to not damage the processor, which is certainly a good thing. Our gains with the NH-U14S are not exactly huge here, but we do have to keep in mind the Prime95 load we are using.

The standout in our chart is assuredly the Silver Arrow with the 100%, and we will discuss that more in the conclusion.

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Looking at the U14S, we see that once again, with the stock fan curve we are not able to support 180W CPU Package Power, and with the U14S with 100% we do boost a little above TDP. The Thermalright 100% and the XSPC are surely the standouts in this chart, as we see just how many watts of power those last couple hundred MHz cost us. Those are expensive MHz in terms of wattage.