|by Supergrover | June 25, 2007|
Noctua NC-U6 Chipset Cooler Review
Noctua NC-U6 Chipset Cooler Review
Price:$29.99 CDN @ NCIX.com
Manufacturer's Part Number:NC-U6
Table of contents:
5: Test System
"Noctua aims at establishing a new level of quality and performance "Designed in Austria" through paying attention to the users' needs in a market burdened with all kinds of frills and furbelows and providing sound-optimized premium components, which serve their purpose in a smart, precise and reliable manner.
Noctua arises from a cooperation between the Austrian Rascom Computerdistribution Ges.m.b.H and the Taiwanese Kolink International Corporation and entertains a development partnership with the Austrian Institute of Heat Transmission and Fan Technology (Österreichisches Institut für Wärmeübertragung und Ventilatorentechnik, ÖIWV). These connections form the key to the achievement of our goal: The partnership with the ÖIWV permits the application of scientific measurement instrumentation, methods of calculation and simulation technology in the R&D process. Rascom's long, customer-oriented experience in developing and distributing sound-optimised high-end products ensures a clear focus on the users' needs. The use of Kolink's advanced manufacturing technology and ultra-modern production plants allows us to efficiently implement our technical edge and provide solutions of the highest standard in quality and performance."
The Austrian designed Noctua NC-U6 seems to have what it takes to make it in todays overclocking world, with two copper heatpipes and twenty nine aluminum cooling fins, it's footprint is a mere 85 mm tall and 70mm wide, it sure looks the part. But in todays world of hot chipset looks mean nothing without results. So lets find out how it stacks up.
Height: 85 mm
Width: 70 mm
Depth: (cooling fins) 23,5 mm
Depth: (socket) 33 mm
Weight: 130 g
Material: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints
Mounting System: Push-Pins & Mounting-Hooks
Scope of Delivery: NC-U6
Warranty 6 Years
The NC-U6 comes in a cardboard and plastic package, the front offers little in the way of protection if the item were to be dropped. This one had a slightly bent bottom fin when it arrived, It was easily bent back but if it had been packaged in it's own box, as some heatsinks are, instead of a thin plastic front and cardboard back this might have been avoided. The back contains the NC-U6 Features and specifications in six languages. Now lets get it open have a look at the actual product.
Both the base and the twin heatpipes are made of copper while the twenty-nine cooling fins are aluminum. The base's contact area while not a perfect mirror finish it is still more than adequate for most users, those looking to squeeze all they can from this cooler would want to look into lapping it as there are some imperfections from the manufacturing process. Be sure to clean any residue left from the protective sticker with isopropanol alcohol before installation.
Hinged Retention Bracket, if the "arms" were not bendable like they are the cooler would have never fit the Motherboard. This feature allows the cooler to be "offset" along with fitting a variety of motherboards. Unfortunately to mount it to the NF4 motherboard, the motherboard must be removed from the case and the Vantec Iceberg can then be removed and the chipset cleaned of any TIM residue.
You will need a tall thin screwdriver to attach the retention bracket to the heatsink. Insert the screwdriver in the hole at the top of the cooler. Do not fully tighten the screw until it is fully installed, the bracket needs to be able to rotate to accommodate the videocard.
Since the NF4 chipset has no heat-spreader and is a naked die the supplied spacer gasket needs to be used, it is as simple as peeling the paper backing off and making sure the spacer is on square. Next the manufacturer's TIM needs to be applied a simple matter of applying a thin coat on the die only. The cooler was then attached to the motherboard via the push-pins, the tension was a little weak but a quick tweak to the bracket and it was fine. Now to see if the videocard is going to fit.......
A very tight fit. It took a combination of bending the retention bracket's hinges and rotating the cooler forward. If it wasn't for the NC-U6's bendable retention bracket it wouldn't have fit, the cooler's base sits 2mm off center and slightly rotated in order fit the videocard. Once the NC-U6 and the videocard are installed now do the final tightening of the retention bracket to the cooler's base.
After the initial testing at stock, the stock TIM was removed and ArticSilver5 was applied. A 60mm x 60mm x 25mm Panaflo 19.1CFM fan was applied. This proved to be a very good thing as you will see in the Testing section. It's a shame Noctua didn't supply any form of retention clips with the cooler, but hopefully this will be recognized in a later revision.
AMD 3800+ X-2 939 @ 2500Mhz
Thermalright SI-128 W/ 120mm Panaflo
2x1G PC-4000 Mushkin Redline
Thermaltake Xaser III Case
5x80mm Coolermaster Case Fans
FSP 600w Epsilon
Testing was was accomplished by running Orthos CPU test, Small FFT's, and 3DMark05. The tests ran for approximately 30 minutes. The Noctua NC-U6 stock tests used the supplied stock TIM, while the NC-U6 W/ 60 mm Panaflo Fan and Vatec Iceberg test used Articsilver5 as TIM. Ambient temperature was 23 Celsius.
As we see in the chart above the Noctua NC-U6 Stock beat-out the Iceberg in load temperatures but lost at idle temperatures. But this was very close , +/- 1c in both tests. What is interesting is that the NC-U6 is a passive cooler as apposed to the Vantec Iceberg which sports a 5000RPM fan. The NC-U6 achieves active cooling performance but without active cooling noise. When a 60mm fan and ArticSilver5 is added to the NC-U6 it truly shines, beating out the Vantec Iceberg by 2c and 4c respectively. One thing to note is the NC-U6 Stock took a long time to cool down after being subjected to a load, while the Vantec Iceberg and NC-U6 W/Fan took mere minutes to shed 90% of the heat.
The Noctua NC-U6 is definitely a worthy Chipset cooler with or with out a fan attached. It is a simple installation if you have the clearance to accommodate this monster cooler. I highly recommend this product if you have the clearance. It does a Damn good job of cooling hot chipsets, but I would ditch the stock TIM and apply AS5, as always. Unfortunately if I wanted to upgrade my videocard the cooler would have to be removed, but until I do, I will be keeping it on my motherboard rather than the Iceberg, the Panaflo fan is quieter than the Iceberg. This is more a motherboard fault than the NC-U6, Noctua has done all it can to make this a universal installation, from hinged arms on the retention bracket, to the ability to be turned 120 degrees. I will also be retiring this case within the next couple of weeks and be using the NC-U6 in a Tt Armour, with the 120mm case fans as opposed to the 80mm case fans in my Tt Xaser I hope to knock off another degree or two. This review will be updated at that time.
- Excellent Passive cooling
- Simple Universal Installation
- Can easily attach a 60mm fan
- Quality build
- Bling factor
- System Clearance
- No 60mm Fan Clips
I would like to thank Noctua for providing Hardware Canucks Forum with this review sample.
Please feel free to discuss this review here: Comment Thread for Noctua NC-U6 Chipset Cooler Review
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