Categories: FeaturedCooling

Noctua NH-L12 Ghost S1 Edition CPU Cooler Review

A Closer Look

Out of the box, the Noctua NH-L12 Ghost S1 Edition is a very unusual creature indeed. While ‘differing’ designs are not entirely out of the ordinary for low-profile coolers, what immediately strikes you first is the fact that the fan is mounted underneath the radiator. In other words, it’s not visible when installed.

In addition to this, possibly to allow more clearance between the contact plate and the fan, the cooler does pitch outwards a little. Likely no more than 2-3 degrees, it’s another interesting factor that I don’t understand, but I’m sure Noctua did it for a very good reason!

Being a low-profile design, when looking at it from a flat surface this is very clearly evident. Given it’s rather small stature, however, like all coolers this does still have the basic key components of any design. Let us, therefore, take a closer look at some of them.

Contact Plate

Starting with the contact plate, while the cooler itself is quite small on the whole, no compromises have been made here. Be it Intel or AMD, this should provide perfect coverage for your processor with the only exception likely being the AMD Threadripper TR4 platform. Then again, if you were looking to install this on that, then you might need some better professional advice!


To compliment the low-profile design while the radiator does provide excellent coverage, it’s remarkably thin. As you might expect, however, Noctua did still find some space to put a little branding goodness on it!


Perhaps the most technically curious aspect of the design is that while the radiator is quite large, the fan doesn’t provide total coverage of it. Being a 92mm x 92mm x 12mm design, while it certainly falls within the small-factor remit, I think I might have preferred to see a larger fan here. I mean, there’s nothing within the design that suggests that it wasn’t possible. Albeit, the smaller fan may have been used to allow for better RAM compatibility. In that regard, we all know that small-factor builds are often not particularly forgiving when it comes to free space and, as such, I can only presume that this was the reason this particular model was used. As noted above, Noctua doesn’t make these decisions without a very good reason!


So, on the whole, the Noctua NH-L12 Ghost S1 Edition certainly would (at least in appearance) be an excellent option for small-factor PC designs. At the same time, however, it clearly has the pedigree to work just as well within a full-sized PC. Before we get onto the testing, however, there is the factor of just how hard (or easy) this is to fit.

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Mike Sanders

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