Noctua NH-L12 L-Type Low Profile CPU Cooler Review

/ 4 years ago

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Noctua is a brand name that is very often associated with three things: silence, quality and performance. Yet there is a lot more to Noctua than the NH-D14: that world renowned dual tower heatsink that is the yardstick by which air CPU cooler performance is measured.

In recognition of the growing Home Theatre Personal Computer (HTPC) and Small Form Factor Personal Computer (SFF PC) markets, Noctua has introduced three CPU coolers in recent times which are of note. The newest additions are the NH-L9i and NH-L9a and a slightly older addition is the NH-L12.  We will have a review of the NH-L9i coming very soon but in today’s review we have with us the NH-L12.

The NH-L12 is a top down low profile CPU cooler measuring in at just 93mm high with the option to drop down to 66mm by taking off the top fan. Whichever way you configure it, 93mm or 66mm, that’s a very low profile CPU cooler. The NH-L12 features two fans, a 92mm NF-B9 PWM fan and a 120mm NF-F12 PWM. The NF-F12 fan, like the NH-D14, is one of the most respected enthusiast products on the market. We have a review of the NF-F12 fans coming very soon too so watch this space.

Without any more blabber, lets head on off into this review of the Noctua NH-L12. If you are interested in checking out in technical specifications first then please feel free to visit the specifications page here.

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  • Noctua are a premier brand hence the premium price but I feel it’s still too harsh on the back pocket for what you’re getting. Also you can only take this heat pipe technology so far before there’s nowhere else to go & it looks like they’re there already. If only Noctua would also do something about their god awful colour scheme…

    • Well if you consider its about 50mm smaller than the Shadow Rock TopFlow and is only 1 degree worse on an overclocked CPU I think that’s impressive indeed. The colour scheme is one of those age old debates, You either love it or hate it I guess. You’re right it is expensive, but lets face it, it really is a niche market and its a niche market product done very well.

  • KL Tah

    are all the comparison heatsinks non-pwm? how is it that they’re oc fan noise is pretty much unchanged from stock fan noise?

    • “Fans are always left to operate at PWM speeds, if this is not supported then 100% fan speed is used” To my knowledge every heatsink on the graphs uses PWM. So all these comparisons are PWM. If it was non-PWM the stock/load acoustics would be identical.

  • KL Tah

    it would’ve been nice to throw in some top performers like the silver arrow extreme or nh d14 just to see where this cooler stands. i’m looking for a cooler for the asrock z77e itx, but most of them do not fit because the pci-e slot sits right up against the cpu block. asymmetrical ones like the l12 seem to give some hope.

    • Unfortunately the NH-D14 is too old to sample. The other one is a possibility I will look into it.