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Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile CPU Cooler Review - Specifications, Availability and Pricing

Noctua drops into the low profile and low power CPU cooling segment with the release of the 95W capable NH-L12 CPU cooler.

| CPU Air Coolers in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: May 4, 2012 7:26 am
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Noctua

Specifications, Availability and Pricing

 

TweakTown image content/4/6/4677_01_noctua_nh_l12_low_profile_cpu_cooler_review.png

 

The NH-L12 is a C-type cooler like others we have seen from them, but this time the low-profile design of this cooler takes precedent and thus the cooler is a NH-L rather than an NH-C. The list of socket compatibility means it will work with all of those sockets CPUs, but be wary that overclocking isn't something this cooler is specifically tailored to doing.

 

The NH-L12 has a relatively small footprint measuring from 128mm on the skinny side and 150mm measuring the side with the heat pipes. The height of this cooler is variable and with both fans installed, it stands 93mm tall and with the top fan off, it measures in at only 66mm tall. This copper and aluminum, along with the fans included with this weight, the NH-L12 won't stress the socket too bad at 680 grams of total mass.

 

The NH-L12 ships with both fans installed from the factory and it sits in the middle of the inner packaging. Below the cooler is where the hardware box can be located. Since the NF-F12 PWM and NF-B9 PWM fans are on the cooler, that leaves the pair of low noise adapters, the Y-split cable, NT-H1 thermal compound, the SecuFirm2 and Mini-ITX mounting hardware and a Noctua case badge made of metal.

 

Two things I want to get a bit deeper with are the Y-split cable and the Mini-ITX mounting hardware. The Y-split cable allows both fans to be connected to a single fan header allowing both fans to do their thing via their PWM functionality or allowing manual control to both fans at the same levels. As for Mini-ITX hardware, Noctua found that some boards won't allow for the back plate, so they include extra "pins" to be used in the instances where Mini-ITX boards have resistors or phase chips in the way such as a few Zotac motherboards I have seen.

 

Getting down to the most important things for most buyers - where can I buy it and how much is it going to set me back? The answer to the first question, as to where to get one, at the moment, that is limited. If you don't want to filter through e-bay sales, I found two locations selling this cooler at the same exact base price. Our new found friends over at FrozenCPU.com list it at $74.99 and so is Xoxide.com. Both offer pretty good shipping prices so it's really just a matter of picking one of the two and going for it. I expect a premium price with a Noctua cooler, but is the near $75 pricing a bit high for a cooler made for HTPCs with a 95W cap imposed on it?

 

Well, we are going to find out exactly what it holds for us in cooling capabilities as I overpower the designated limits and push this cooler for everything it is worth. Hopefully by the time I am finished you will see that the 95W limit implied on this cooler is a "safe guesstimate" as the NH-L12 is a cooler that can even tame my 2600K and even outpaces a much larger contender already on the new charts.

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