UPDATE 06/28/2020: Am reclaiming Media Library space by deleting old pics.


The $60 Noctua NH-U12S is an ugly color, but not ugly enough to pay $70 for the Black one tho. Recently ‘Built a Computer’ using the 65W Intel® Core™ i9-9900 Processor that comes with a stock Intel Fan Heatsink. It was $439 and the non-fan heatsink i9 9900K was $489. Was hoping to avoid messing with the big bulky coolers required for those 95W and over processors, and had had luck with the stock fan heatsink processors in the past.

Since it was a new processor I wanted to make sure the stock fan heatsink was working well, and started searching for some info on what the operating temperatures should be. I could find absolutely no reliable information on what the temperatures should be – only that the i9 9900K ran hot. Searched for some temperature and performance apps, and settled on Core Temp, CPU-Z, Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool (IPDT), plus a few more…mainly just Core Temp, CPU-Z and IPDT now. Looked like it ran hot, but the tech sites & forum talk was ‘all-over-the-place’ in advice. Nothing I could find from Intel either. Am not a gamer, tho most gamers suggested that the i9 9900K was a hot running processor, but could be cooled somewhat. Info on my i9 9900 seemed to always default to the i9 9900K.

My first tests with Core Temp and CPU-Z were scary looking, i.e. they seemed incredibly high even tho I didn’t know what “high temp” or “idle temp” should be. Celsius (°C) was the scale being used, and the colors changed from black to an orange look on benchmark and stress tests. Here are some pics:


Again, I am just a layman on this CPU temperature stuff, so this is just my opinions after researching. I wanted to know what the color changes represented, and the Core Temp app provided that info under settings. Hot (orange) and/or Critical (Red) – neither sounded safe for my i9 9900 processor. More research revealed that the CPU would ‘Throttle Down’ at 100°C … water boils at 100 °C (212 °F) – YIKES!!! Well, this thing was running hot even on idle, it seemed … from 31-35°C whilst idling, but seemed to only get hot during tests. Normal surfing and apps seemed to stay below 60°C. At this point I decided to get another cooler, and the Noctua NH-U12S was the most recommended fan/air cooler I could find – ugly color, but highly recommended by gamers. I’ve installed 3 or 4 of these big fan coolers – probably a dozen times over the past 20 years, and they have always been a *MAJOR* pain…often left wondering if I had actually made a good connection. Here’s the video that sold me on the Noctua NH-U12S:

That looked a lot easier than any Fan Heatsink that I had installed before … even the stock Intel and AMD ones, with one exception – Antec Jr. only had one removable cover, so I would have to remove the MoBo to install this cooler. Antec Sr. has two removable covers, so you can get to the back of a MoBo in order to install the coolers backplate. Stock coolers can just be pushed in and set, but these bigger coolers need a good backing to hold them firm and steady. Antec Jr. is my only desktop that lacks two removable covers. No biggie, since I want to cool this great processor down. Here is the Before and After pic:


Lowered idle temps by 3-6 degrees and now it seems to mostly stay below 30°C whilst idling. The biggest drops in temperatures have come on benchmark and stress tests…here are some pics:


94-100°C on even basic tests with the Intel stock fan heatsink. Here’s another after pic:


68-73°C after Noctua NH-U12S compared to 94-100°C before results – some big drops in temperature there! During the entire IPDT test the temps averaged between 45-60°C under 100% loads, and only went above that average during the CPU/Load test portion. Runs extremely quiet, even under full loads. Here’s the i9 9900 in a Bench CPU test against the i9 9900KF:


Here’s the i9 9900 in a Bench CPU test against the Ryzen 3700X:


As you can see, the i9 9900 is no slouch on performance. The performance tests (w/o temps added) remained the same, even after the Noctua NH-U12S was added, so the stock Intel fan heatsink would’ve probably been fine under normal conditions; however, as a layman, I don’t know how the CPU would’ve handled the heat over a long time, even under normal conditions. Now, under normal surfing use, office use, etc. the temps stay in the same area as idle, i.e. 28-30°C where before they would get over 40°C. I would recommend buying the Noctua NH-U12S and just installing it to begin with for such a powerful processor…maybe even a lower profile Noctua cooler if you have a smaller case. Great company, IMHO, even tho that brown and tan colors suck!