The real magic behind the NH-U12P, and one of it's biggest selling points, is the very quiet Noctua NF-P12 fans. If you've read my past Noctua reviews, you will know that I've grown very loyal to their fans and how quiet they operate. This version of the NH-U12P cooler, the Special Edition SE2, includes not one, but two of their NF-P12 fans.
The NF-P12's are the same light/dark brown colours we've seen on all the other Noctua fan models. It's a unique colour scheme and you always know they're Noctua fans when you see these colours! Some people love it, some hate it - I think it's unique and have no objections to proudly displaying many Noctua fans in my one system.
Like the last few Noctua fans I've reviewed, the NF-S12B and NF-P14, the tips of the NF-P12 blades are beveled out at a few points (see pictured above). This beveled design aids with smoother airflow over the tips, which cuts down on turbulence, and in turn cuts down on the noise associated with turbulence. Since Noctua already has a very quiet bearing design in their fans, the noise generated by air turbulence is their next big feat to conquer when it comes to making quieter fans.
Due to the two-fan design of this heatsink, Noctua wasn't able to use a more standard 4-pin PWM design on the fans (although I haven't actually seen them do that on any of their fans yet). A Y-cable is provided in the box to easily connect both 3-pin fans onto your motherboard's single 3-pin CPU fan power header. Also, like their other fan models, the two L.N.A (low noise adapter) and U.L.N.A (ultra low noise adapter) cables are included. These are short male-female 3-pin fan cables with resistors in them to slow down the fans to two lower RPM options. Although a few adapters are included, if you are using the Y-cable you must use two of the same type together to prevent damage to your motherboard! You may be tempted to use different fan headers for each to mix and match the adapter cables for different noise levels, but keep in mind this will create some weird pressure effects between the fans and likely decrease the cooler's performance. Later on I will run tests with and without both adapter types so we can see the performance difference.
(Fan cable adapters seen above, along with a few other installation accessories we'll be using soon)