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Low-Profile Cooler Noctua NH-L12 Review

Noctua, an Austrian developer and supplier of high-end cooling systems, is well-known for the design of versatile products which are able to satisfy the needs of any consumer, starting from average home users and finishing with devotees of overclocking. The recent Noctua creation is the low-profile CPU cooler destined to be employed in HTPC systems and other compact chassis. This cooler is characterized by the horizontal localization of radiator that allows its installation into a quite narrow casing. At the same time, the model is efficient enough to manage high-performance advanced processors.

Design and Framework

Noctua NH-L12 is notable for the classic design and framework. It features 150x128x93 mm dimensions (with two fans) which barely speak of low-profile form factor. NH-L12 is compatible with different CPU sockets, including Socket AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, LGA 2011/1366/1156/1156/775. This cooler consists of horizontal radiator, four copper heat pipes which pierce the bottom, and sixty aluminum plates. The whole structure is covered by nickel. In addition, the framework includes a couple of fans: the first 92 mm fan should be installed at the bottom, while the second 120 mm – at the top. Both fans are fixed to the framework by means of dedicated bails. The most advantageous thing is that the delivered brand bails allow the customer to decide by himself which fan to fix at the bottom and which at the top.

All heat pipes have got linear localization at equal distances. This promotes for equal heat dissipation. Quite the contrary, plate profiles are non-linear in structure to promote for better cooling efficiency. Framework solidity is also achieved by the implementation of two steel rods that pierce the plates.

It should be stated that the top part of the radiator is not equipped with anti-vibratory paddings. This is explained by the fact that the manufacturer delivers the fan with the integrated vibration suppressors. The lower part of the cooler accommodates anti-vibratory stripes. The cooler's base has got a reflective surface.

Cooler Noctua NH-L12 is supplied in a compact cardbox that contains as standard, so additional components. Hence, the user will find a standard user manual, a thermal compound Noctua NT-H1, a backplate, a screwer, silicon nails for fans installation, adapters for the decrease of fan rotational speed, and fixing sets for Intel and AMD platforms.

Fans Specifications

As it was mentioned above, this model is furnished with two different fans. The first large 120 mm fan (Noctua NF-F12 PWM) is a brand development of Noctua. It contains seven blades and is based on SSO-Bearing of the second generation. This fan is characterized by low power consumption (0.6W), the possibility to regulate the rotational speed and by the outstanding fool-proof operation which approximates 150 000 hours. Fan rotational speed can fluctuate within the measures of 300 rpm up to 1500 rpm. The noise level approximates 22.4 dB.

The second small 92 mm fan (Noctua NF-B9 PWM) is based on hydrodynamic bearing of the fist generation. All other specifications are analogous to the 'elder brother', except for the rotational speed which can be increased up to 1600 rpm. The average noise level equals to 17.6 dB, while the power consumption does not exceed 0.96W.

One peculiar thing: when used with L.N.A. adapter, the maximal speed decreases to 1200-1300 rpm.


Noctual NH-L12 is compatible with all up-dated platforms, including the newest Intel LGA 2011. The installation will not take much time due to the user-friendly framework and availability of necessary tools. The initial step to fulfill is to place the cooler's fixing frame with the help of backplate. It is also feasible not to employ the backplate when it comes about 'mini' form-factor casings. Fixing frame consists of two steel plates. The nominal delivery kit offers four of them: two for Intel and two for AMD platforms. After this it's time to install the radiator with the assistance of clamping screws. Once this done, the user is able to fix the fans. One of the beneficial characteristics ascribed to this model is the real possibility to install the cooler with the most efficient localization.
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  • 11 September 2012, 13:53
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