Noctua NH-L12 Cpu cooler

Noctua NH-L12
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NH-L12 weighs 415grams (without fan) and roughly above 600grams with both fans installed. While not being the heviest cooler around, it is still quite a heavy cooler, considering the size. The benefit of not being a “tower”-cooler is the fact that the fans will also cool down the components on motherboard therefore (at least in theory) extending their life expectancy. The fins are made from aluminum and the heatsink is 66mm in height.
Noctua NH-L12
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The base of the cooler is connected to the fin area with four heatpipes made from nickel coated copper. As we can see, the heatsink are not directly connected to the cpu (like in some coolers they are), but instead are sort of inside the base. There has been lots of arguing whether the heatpipes should be in direct contact with the processor or not, but personally I have not found either of the options to be better than the alternative.

Noctua NH-L12
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The bottom of the heatsink is made from nickel coated copper. The surface is straight and we saw no apparent flaws or scratches on it. Also, the surface seemed to be very straight which will maximise the performance of the cooler since you don’t need much thermal paste in order to get a good contact on the surface as a whole.

Noctua NH-L12
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Top fan is modelnamed as a NF-F12. NF-F12 is a 120mm 1500rpm with the noiselevel of 22,4dB(A)  fan. You can read our thoughts about the fan from a separate review here

Noctua NH-L12
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We have also reviewed the second fan called NF-B9 before. The main specs of this 92mm fan are 1600rpm @ 12V with noiselevel of 17,6 dB(A). You can find the full review at


Following system was used during test sessions:
Intel I5-2500K
Asus P8P67
AMD Radeon 6850
4x2GB Patriot DDR3-1600MHz
Verbatim 120GB SSD SATA-III
Antec Solo II Case
Enermax ENM750AWT PSU

Testing was done using prime95 software to stress the CPU in maximum stress. Temperatures were taken from coretemp which reads the temperature sensors directly from the CPU.

We tested the NH-L12 against a similarly priced Noctua NH-U12P. NH-U12P was used in single fan operation mode while NH-L12 was in push-pull.

Noctua NH-L12

As we can see, the NH-L12 manages to keep quite close to the heavier and more efficient NH-U12P. The difference between them in idle temperatures is almost neglible while the room temperature in the testing environment was around 25c. In the ultimate stress test the difference is about 4 degrees which is still quite a good performance this low profile cooler.


Noctua NH-L12 is priced around 60€ here in Finland and is available for purchase as we speak. The performance is about on par with the very popular NH-U12P cooler so unless you are about to do some heavy duty overclocking and want a silent, yet low profile cooler, the NH-L12 might be just the cooler you’ve been looking for. It is silent, only 66mm in height and fits in most motherboards and cases on market. I installed mine on Antec Minuet case, which only accepts half height PCI-cards so the space in it is very limited to say the least. I had no problems installing the NH-L12 in it and now my HTPC is very silent indeed. If you want a nice cooler for your HTPC or desktop machine and 60e price doesn’t hurt you too much, consider NH-L12. You should be able to find this at Newegg.

+ Only 66mm in height
+ Push-Pull design
+ Compatible with most motherboards on market

– Price

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