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Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile CPU Cooler
Author: Jason Kohrs
Manufacturer: Noctua
Source: Noctua
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June 15, 2012

We have been impressed by Noctua's CPU coolers and related products since we first got our hands on some back in 2006. Since then they have continued to offer products that keep each new generation of processor running cool in near silence. While many of the coolers follow the popular heatpipe tower design, the product provided for this review takes an entirely different approach.

Promo Image

The NH-L12 heatpipe CPU cooler is shown in the promotional image above, and the first thing you may notice is that instead of a tower orientation with the fan(s) standing upright, they are in a horizontal position. This allows the cooler to have a lower overall height, key since they are marketing this as a low profile cooler. You may also notice two fans installed on the cooler, and if possible, you can run without the top 120mm fan, and use only the lower 92mm fan for an even lower overall height (taking it from 93mm down to 66mm).

Before taking a closer look at the NH-L12 provided for review, let's cover some of the published data provided on the official product page on the Noctua website...

Features:

120/92mm dual fan design - Thanks to its exquisite dual fan setup consisting of Noctua's highly optimized NF-F12 (120mm) and NF-B9 (92mm) premium fans, the NH-L12 pushes the bar in terms of low-profile quiet cooling performance.

Extra-low profile in 92mm single-fan mode - The NH-L12 can be used with the NF-B9 92mm fan only in order to reduce the overall height to 66mm. This way, the cooler is suitable for many typical ATX or Mini-ITX enclosures and ideal for whisper-quiet HTPC systems.

PWM support and Low-Noise Adaptors - The NH-L12's NF-F12 and NF-B9 fans support PWM for convenient automatic speed control. In addition, the maximum fan speed can be reduced to 1200/1300rpm using the supplied Low-Noise Adaptors for even quieter operation.

SecuFirm2 mounting system - Noctua's enthusiast grade SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting provides broad socket compatibility (LGA 2011, LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA775, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1) and meets the highest demands in safety, performance and ease-of-use.

Mini-ITX mounting without backplate - Some Intel based Mini-ITX mainboards don't allow for the installation of backplates. The NH-L12 thus comes with an extra set of Intel mounting bolts which make it possible to install the cooler without using the SecuFirm2 backplate.

NT-H1 thermal compound - Noctua's much-acclaimed NT-H1 is a well proven pro-grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease-of-use and outstanding reliability.

Specifications:

Socket compatibility:
    Intel LGA2011, LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA775
    AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1 (backplate required)
Height (without fan) : 66 mm
Width (without fan): 128 mm
Depth (without fan): 150 mm
Height (with fan): 93 mm
Width (with fan): 128 mm
Depth (with fan): 150 mm
Weight (without fan): 415 g
Weight (with fan): 680 g
Material: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Fan compatibility: 120x120x25mm & 92x92x25mm
Warranty: 6 Years

Fan specifications
    Model: Noctua NF-F12 PWM & Noctua NF-B9 PWM
    Bearing: SSO-Bearing
    Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%): 1500 / 1600 RPM
    Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%): 1200 / 1300 RPM
    Min. Rotational Speed (PWM): 300 / 300 RPM
    Max. Airflow: 93,4 / 64,3 m/h
    Max. Airflow with L.N.A.: 74,3 / 52,6 m/h
    Max. Acoustical Noise: 22,4 / 17,6 dB(A)
    Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.: 18,6 / 13,1 dB(A)
    Input Power: 0,6 / 0,96 W
    Voltage Range: 12 V
    MTBF: > 150.000 h

Scope of Delivery:

1x NF-F12 PWM premium fan
1x NF-B9 PWM premium fan
2x Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
Y-Split Cable
NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
SecuFirm2 Mounting Kit
Mini-ITX Mounting-Kit
Noctua Metal Case-Badge

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