Overall and Final Verdict
When it comes down to it, the NH-U12S proved to be a very powerful tower cooler while managing to fit all of its performance in a smaller, lighter package than most of its competitors. The other knock against most performance tower coolers is the sheer amount of space taken up by the whole apparatus and to this end the U12S is a great addition with its size. The clearance all around the board from the RAM slots to the CPU power heatsinks and even the VGA slot is refreshing.
The only knocks I have against the NH-U12S the fan installation after the tower is screwed down which can always be an issue should you be installing the cooler in a smaller case without a removable motherboard tray. The only other issue I see is with no method to hold the backplate in place before you tighten down the screws on the installation bracket. Both of these, however, are personal preference complaints and neither actually affects the performance of the cooler nor feel like glaring issues.
All in all the NH-U12S is a quality product with that trademark Noctua premium feel. The larger amount of space is a pleasant thing to see and even in double fan mode the NH-U12S will provide clearance for the newer quad-channel RAM motherboards. With all this performance in a smaller, easy to install package it is nice to see that the age of the air cooler has not yet passed.