Just finished installing my third Noctua CPU cooler during the past year … the reason for three in the past year is that I have tried all sorts of stock CPU coolers ‘n my fair share of aftermarket CPU coolers, and 99.555555% of them have been terrible experiences. Maybe it’s just me, but even a simple Intel stock Celeron CPU cooler gives me fits. Most AMD stock CPU coolers have been a lot easier, but they seem incredibly loud…my first AMD aftermarket CPU cooler looked sorta like my old airboat, but a little smaller, and seemed to take forever to install it (it was easier to install the engine, propeller ‘n cage onto the airboat!!!).

Noctua is a manufacturer of CPU coolers and computer fans primarily for the Enthusiast market. “Noctua” refers to the scientific name of the little owl.

Anyway, just 4 weird-anchor/screws to tighten down the stock Celeron CPU cooler, but there always seems to be at least one that won’t go in, and that one causes others to come out – DURN! Then, I have read about 400 articles ‘n over 5,000 forum posts over the years on the proper ways to apply Thermal Paste, and 99.999999999999% of those ‘eXpErT’ opinions all agree that the applied Thermal Paste cannot be ‘disturbed or messed’ up too much because that will cause the CPU and possibly the MoBo to burn up (?!?).

The ‘eXpErTs’ never agree on what the best Thermal Paste is, but spreading it evenly all over the CPU seemed to be the method all agreed on. They all seemed to have different Thermal Paste ‘Spreaders’ they would suggest, e.g. old credit cards achieved a very evenly spread Thermal Paste. Took me forever to get it sorta looking “even” ‘n then I would ‘disturb or mess-up’ trying to install the darn CPU cooler!? That, of course, required cleaning both the CPU ‘n the CPU cooler whilst re-prepping for a fresh installation.

Now, in more recent years, these newer stock CPU coolers all seemed to come with Thermal Paste applied to them already. Naturally, humble me didn’t know it when I started pulling the first 1 or 2 CPU coolers out of their packaging, until noticing a dark greasy looking substance on my hands!?! Like I said earlier, maybe it’s just me.

Last October I started building a ‘New Computer’ and wanted it to be my main computer. To make a long story longer – this Intel Core i9-9900 Processor – ‘Intel’s Boxed Fan Heatsink vs Noctua NH-U12S cooler’ post describes some of the problems the Intel stock cooler for an i9 9900 had. Basically, ended up doing some quick CPU cooler searching (dreading one of those difficult aftermarket huge CPU cooler installs!!!) ‘n starting seeing lots of recommendations for the Noctua CPU coolers. They seemed pricey compared to most.

As I looked around the Noctua website, I started noticing *LOADS* of helpful info ‘n easy reads. Then I came across the Noctua Support page! Here’s the video that sold me on the Noctua – and it explains why I have now installed three of them in the past year (for 2 Intel mobos ‘n 1 AMD Ryzen mobo):

Did you see how they installed Thermal Paste!?! No credit card ‘Spreaders’ … no time consuming evenly spreading of Thermal Paste … just a simple ‘Plop’ onto the middle area of the CPU. No telling how many wasted hours I have spend methodically evenly spreading Thermal Paste…certainly less than the wasted hours spend cleaning up after ‘disturbing or messing-up’ whilst trying to install the darn CPU cooler, and then reapplying Thermal Paste!?!?! Over 400 articles ‘n over 5,000 forum posts over the years, and not one word about the ‘Plop’ Thermal Paste method!?!

OK…as mentioned in the AMD’s new Ryzen ‘XT’ 3000-Series Processors post, I am also preparing for upgrading the ‘Apevia’ Ryzen™ test machine’s CPU to…probably a Ryzen 9 3900X, so I went ahead and purchased the NH-U9S. The stock cooler for that APU/CPU Ryzen 5 3400G’s Radeon™ RX Vega 11 Graphics was so noisy that I had already added a Noctua Low-Noise Adapter … they work great on all types of fans. Anyway, I went ahead and pulled the old stock Ryzen 5 3400G cooler ‘n fan, and installed the new NH-U9S … it was possibly easier to install than the NH-L12S I just finished installing in the new ‘Rose’ upgrade. Here is the video for installing the SecuFirm2™ AMD AM4:

Apparently the AMD AM4 MoBos already come with the metal stock backplate; however, it mentions “short” mounting bars, but mine only came with the long bars…which worked for me, but I could see needing “short” bars if I wanted the CPU cooler facing another direction. Something to consider ‘n check on, since the “short” may have to be purchased separately. Yeah, just checked ‘n some kits have them, but other don’t. The NH-L12S came with them, so I have some if ever needed. The CPU coolers come with both Intel and AMD parts…also, there are other kits available for purchasing. AMD ‘stuff’ can be problematic…

Almost done…tho this could’ve been a 2-parter. Also, cases can make a difference on types of CPU coolers you can use and/or how easy they are to install. ‘Apevia’ is opened with a flip-top for full MoBo access, but ‘Rose’ was a tight fit…needed to start the CPU cooler’s screw closest to memory first, then the second screw towards the rear of computer, and turning them evenly after that. In real tight cases, pulling the MoBo and then installing the CPU cooler may be easier…in fact, some MoBos need pulled in order to add the Intel backplate if there is no access to the rear of the MoBo. After CPU cooler installation then you can put the MoBo back in.

Another problem I had was Fan settings in BIOS…some MoBo’s offer Auto or Voltage or PWM under CPU Fan Control mode, and Noctua didn’t seem to like the “Auto” setting for some reason. The fan would just stop at certain times (usually @ idle), so I set it for “PWM” … as they suggest.

Here is a pic of the ‘Apevia’ with the NH-U9S installed – easy access with the X-QPACK3Flip Top’:

Here is ‘Rose’ with the NH-L12S installed…will have Part 3 of ‘Rose‘ gettin’ Upgraded ‘n goin’ Mobile done soon:

Am not sure what CPU coolers the OEM computer manufacturers use on the newer ‘n faster powerful processors, but be wary of the stock coolers. The Enthusiast computing market apparently drives the “extremely high-end computers” market, which also includes the gaming markets and/or “to design an aesthetically pleasing PC, or even simply to obtain the best possible performance at a variety of tasks.” They certainly push the PC markets!