In January of last year I was introduced to the original concept of the newest cooler to leave Noctua's design lab when we looked at the NH-C14. There are quite a few changes that were made to that original design concept, but in the most basic form the cooler we are going to see in just a page or two is a die shrink of the NH-C14.
The amount of heat pipes were dropped, along with the coolers overall height and is where this new cooler derives its "L" designation in the naming; it simply means this cooler is low-profile. This time around the design stayed under 100mm in height and that is with both of the accompanying fans attached.
If you were to go to the Noctua product page for this cooler you would see that one of the limitations to this silent solution is that it is rated for processors up to 95 watts only. Now with anything Noctua builds I have an inclination that this is just an under-estimated figure to keep them safe should temperatures get out of control. So even though this cooler is meant for HTPC use, or even to silently cool a web browser and e-mail reading rigs, I am going to test this cooler in the same fashion I do every other cooler I get to abuse. That is to say that I am not removing the 2500K and I will be running it at 4.5GHz and delivering over 125W of heat load to this new arrival. I know it's a bit mean to do, but I can't play favorites. Knowing what I have seen previous to this, I don't think the temperatures will get that out of hand at all, I am going to say that I truly believe this cooler to be underrated and I plan to prove this isn't just for the HTPC lovers out there.
Enough with the explanations and guessing and let me introduce the NH-L12 CPU cooler from Noctua. While this cooler may be low on heat pipes and not the largest cooler to arrive at my door, it may just surprise you how well this cooler can keep up in the real-world, even with its lame rating of being intended for use with only 95W processors.
With the basic concept in your mind, let's jump over to the specifications, so I can get into more detail about what the NH-L12 from Noctua has to offer.