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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2990WX Precision Boost 2 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 2990WX running at its stock clocks using Precision Boost 2. Keep in mind we are literally doubling up on the number of cores to 32.

We have changed things up just a bit here. If you remember that our U14S was barely keeping up with the 2950X at both PB2 and PBO, we added another matching fan that we had on hand. I did not have a matching fans for the U12S, so we do not have data on that setup. However, once we see how the U14S does with two fans, we will see that two fans on the U12S would not have helped us out much.

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Honestly, I was a bit surprised here in just how well the U14S handled our 2990WX using two fans at full RPM. This should be telling of exactly where our CPU Package Power should be. We again see the Thermalright at 100% excel well with a single fan, and surely the XSPC is keeping our 2990WX nice and cool under full Prime95 PB2 load.

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We see a mere ~55MHz difference in our U14S clocks. We see the U12S fall flat on its face with the 2990WX, however, it does pick up the slack at 100% fan. With PB2 our air coolers are very much edging up on even the XSPC water cooling.

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Our standouts here are the U12S and the U9. We see that the U12S at stock fan profile is not even close to our 250 watt TDP specification, but it does get very close at 100% fan. A first blush it would look as if our NH-U9 is doing great, but keep in mind, we again do NOT have quad channel RAM enabled here due to the fans physically blocking the needed DIMM slots. I did monkey around with fans a bit on the U9, but by the time I could get my high profile RAM under the fans, the fans were only fully moving air across about half the cooler fins, and you can likely imagine that was not a good way to be doing things.

The U14S with 2 fans at 100% very much impresses us here. The U14S is able to carry the full ~250W TDP load. Its clocks are lagging ~150MHz behind the rest of the air cooler field, but still very impressive and we will discuss more on the conclusion page as to why.