Question Noctua NH-U12A versus Coolermaster 120mm AIO

reforger1974

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Would the Noctua NH-U12A be a better cooling solution than a Coolermaster 120mm AIO for cooling a Ryzen 9 5900X..??

My mid tower case with a micro atx MOBO has very limited space for cooling options, a 240mm AIO simply isn't going to fit in the top of the case, though I believe I could front mount one if that's a better option than the NH-U12A or 120mm Coolermaster. I would opt for the Noctua NH-D15, but there just isn't near enough room for it.

Just looking for some suggestions.
 

reforger1974

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Noctua heatsinks are widely reviewed. Very easy to find benchmarks.

Yes, the U12A will outperform the CM 120mm.
Thank you.

In anticipation of a cooler swap I purchased some Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut thermal paste, do you think the Conductonaut liquid metal would offer enough of an advantage to make it worth using instead of the Kryonaut..??
 

Phaaze88

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Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut thermal paste, do you think the Conductonaut liquid metal would offer enough of an advantage to make it worth using instead of the Kryonaut..??
Stick to using Conductonaut for cpu delids/direct die mounts.
https://www.gamersnexus.net/guides/3362-how-liquid-metal-affects-copper-nickel-and-aluminum-corrosion-test
The gallium in Conductonaut will either react lightly, or heavily, depending on the composition of the cooler cold plate, the IHS, and the LM itself.
Are you any good with Chemistry? I'm not; I can only go by what I read on such topics - like the following:
Threadripper has aluminum in the IHS. Well, it was from 2 years ago, so the newer ones may be different.


Kryonaut: You'll end up having to change this stuff often, due to how aggressive Ryzen 5000's boost algorithm is.

Kryonaut dries out faster with higher temperature operation - around 80C and higher.
Step down to TG Hydronaut, as it does not share that weakness, or use a different paste.
 

DSzymborski

Polypheme
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Definitely the Noctua. I wouldn't use any 120mm AIO on a high-end Ryzen or Intel offering unless I absolutely had no other option. The lessened surface area is a big deal no matter who implements it.

Phaaze is spot-on about the thermal paste. Using anything electrically conductive is for very advanced use. Your use is not such that thermal transfer at that point is your cooling bottleneck, so go with the traditional, electrically insulative thermal paste.
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Moderator
Yeah, I covered 4-5 liquid metals in my compound roundup, they do work well, but they can make a terrible mess and they don't play well with some metals.

Spoiler alert - there was only a 4C difference between the best and worst thermal pastes, including normal compounds and all liquid metals, so just pick one that fits your budget and is easy to use for what you want. Unless you absolutely demand the highest performing compound, nearly all known brands will do very well...and most are really cheap and offer multiple uses from a single syringe (up to 20 or more), while liquid metals might have 2-3 applications in a 0.5g syringe.
 

reforger1974

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Thanks guys, the info is very much appreciated.

Would arctic silver be an option...?? I just happen to have some of that on hand, and it worked like a champ on my i7 9700k with a DH15 cooler.
 

tennis2

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Arctic silver is perfectly fine.

I buy thermal paste based on workability and dry-time. I like less viscous pastes because I feel they squish out better under the cooler. And, if tied, I'll take the one that purportedly doesn't dry out as quickly (FWIW)
 

reforger1974

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What is the make/model of your case?
And, what is your intake fan arrangement?

Noctua NH-U12A is an excellent cooler, and it comes with some very good paste.
No need to spend money on paste elsewhere.
The case is unbranded and came with a Cyberpowerpc "instant ship" gaming system. It's a mid tower atx with an ASUS micro atx MOBO, which is part of the reason space is so tight inside of the case, if they had allowed a standard atx MOBO as an option I would have got it, but they don't offer much in the way of customizing on these "ready to ship" systems unfortunately.

The intake fans are two cooler master rgb 120mm fans that spin at about 1500 rpm, mounted in the front of the case. I installed 2 exhaust fans (a 2000 rpm 140mm corsair and a 120mm 1500 rpm Noctua chromax) at the top of the case, and they seem to do a fine job of sucking heated air out of the case at the top.

It came out of the box with a Gigabyte RTX 3070 8gb graphics card, a Ryzen 9 5900x CPU, 16 gb of 3200mhz gddr4 RAM, and a cooler master rgb 120mm AIO with 2 fans in a push/pull configuration. I'm not a "hardcore" gamer by any stretch, but I do play several games on Steam regularly, and despite the need for a more efficient cooling solution this "ready built" system more than meets my needs and budget.
 

tennis2

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Equally good, but you need to check the height available in the case for your cooler.It is 165mm tall.
Indeed! My brother just installed a NH-U14S in his (Ryzen 5600X) system last night and although I'm usually pretty good at checking on the case manufacturer's website for CPU cooler height limits, I forgot to before he bought his U14S. Luckily, the max cooler height for his case......165mm on the nose (dodged a bullet there)
 

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