Great news from the Noctua team today, as the much-anticipated NH-P1 CPU cooler as well as the optional NF-A12x25 LS-PWM 120mm fans are here at last! The cooler features fanless operation and the NH-P1 is capable of cooling modern high-end CPUs with low to moderate heat dissipation completely passively. Of course, you’ll still want to put it in a case with some ventilation though, as the heat has to go somewhere!
However, they have their new zero to low RPM fans too. You could effectively put these fans on the passive CPU cooler. The fans will sit at zero RPM and only fire up when absolutely required. However, even then, they’re designs to run at lower RPM than their normal fans. Staggeringly, the fans are rated at a maximum of just 12.1 dB(A), and I think my ambient room tone is louder than that… impressive!
“The NH-P1 is our very first passive cooler, and it should be easy to see that we didn’t just take a regular heatsink and omit the fan”, says Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). “A lot of engineering work went into designing this unit for fanless operation from the ground up and we’re truly proud of the end result. In our completely fanless demo system, the NH-P1 cools an Intel Core i9-11900K running Prime95 at more than 3.6GHz – this is a lot of processing power and a whopping 125W kept in check with zero fan noise!”
The NH-P1 isn’t just a regular heatsink without a fan: featuring much thicker, much more widely spaced fins, it achieves both the mass and the minimal airflow resistance that are required in order to excel in natural convection cooling. In fully optimised fanless systems, the NH-P1 is capable of cooling high-end CPUs with low to moderate heat dissipation using natural convection only (see setup guidelines and CPU compatibility list). This makes it ideal for powerful builds that have no moving parts and run absolutely silent. Topped off with the new, Torx-based SecuFirm2+ mounting system, Noctua’s award-winning NT-H2 thermal compound and a 6-year manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-P1 is the ideal cornerstone for premium-grade fanless or semi-passive builds.
“While we’re very excited about the possibilities that the NH-P1 opens up, we also need to stress that building a passively cooled system is not as straightforward as building a regular system. For optimal results, components must be selected more carefully, and certain principles should be respected”, Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO) explains. “Therefore, we offer detailed setup guidelines, a build guide video tutorial, a list of recommended cases as well as an extensive CPU compatibility list that will help customers to get the best possible results.”
In addition to the NH-P1, Noctua released the optional NF-A12x25 LS-PWM 120mm fan, a low-speed, PWM-enabled variant of the award-winning NF-A12x25 that is ideal for enhancing the performance of the NH-P1 in semi-passive systems. At a maximum noise level of only 12.1dB(A), the NF-A12x25 LS-PWM is nearly inaudible but will still significantly boost the performance headroom of the cooler. As the fan stops at 0% PWM, it can easily be set up for semi-passive operation so that it will only spin up when necessary. This way, the system will work fanless most of the time but still provide the flexibility to make better use of the turbo modes of more powerful CPUs that require some extra airflow to be cooled adequately under full load conditions.
I think many would agree that when it comes to PC components, power supplies are…