Noctua NH-U12F and MSI K9N SLI Platinum don’t mix!

This one’s for the search engines…

I have purchased an MSI K9N SLI Platinum motherboard. I also purchased a Noctua NH-U12F heatsink from Quietpc.com for use with the motherboard. The motherboard has an AM2 socket and the heatsink claims compatibility with AM2 sockets. However, these two items aren’t compatible. There are a series of resistors on the rear of the motherboard, underneath the CPU socket. Most of these fall into the square cut in the rear mounting plate of the heatsink. Two do not, so the rear plate rocks back and forth on the resistors. I didn’t try attaching the heatsink but the whole weight of the heatsink would have been pressing on the resistors and they would almost certainly have cracked and come away from the motherboard.

Interestingly, the stock heatsink rear mounting plate supplied with the board has an extra half cutout section to accommodate the problematic resistors. The squares in the centre of the back plates are exactly the same size though. I’m not familiar with the specification for AM2 sockets, so I don’t know if MSI have broken the specification by placing the resistors outside the square or whether it’s sloppy design from Noctua.

Either way, I’ve had to send the heatsink back and I’d welcome any comments recommending quiet heatsink models that are tried and tested with the above motherboard.

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    2 Responses to Noctua NH-U12F and MSI K9N SLI Platinum don’t mix!

    1. Angelo says:

      I would like to thank you for this information.
      I had another kind of compatibility problem with a Scythe Ninja Plus Rev. B and a MSI K9N Platinum (not SLI): the Ninja AM2 clip cannot be locked to the bracket on the motherboard because two high capacitors are located in the space that should be occupied by the heatpipes. I was thinking to replace the Ninja with a Noctua NH-U12F, so I wrote to Noctua asking about clearance issues with K9N Platinum and they answered that there is no such problem with NH-U12F and it is compatible, but they didn’t mention the problem you wrote.
      Now I’m searching another quiet cooler, possibly with a 120mm fan to be run slowly. Did you choose one?

    2. Tony says:

      Hi Angelo,

      I’m still using the fan supplied by AMD with the CPU. It’s actually not that noisy and as I selected a quiet PSU and case etc. the whole thing runs very quietly. I might fit a quieter fan in the future, but it’s not urgent to me.

      Actually, a guy from Noctua did e-mail me about this blog post and was very friendly. The conversation ended with him saying I could use the backplate provided with the CPU with their heatsink. I wasn’t so sure about this as the backplate that came with the CPU is only plastic and didn’t seem as sturdy as the metal one supplied with the NH-U12F. I’d already returned the NH-U12F by that point so I couldn’t try it anyway.

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