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Noctua NH-L12S CPU Cooler Review

By: Chad Sebring | CPU Air Coolers in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Feb 18, 2018 2:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 97%Manufacturer: Noctua

Final Thoughts


All in all, we are pleased with the results the Noctua NH-L12S. Starting off with high-end materials, delivering superior build quality, soldering pipes to the base as well as the fins, using thicker fins, and ending with a cooler that can increase airflow around the CPU, or be used in a low-profile mode, makes it all worthwhile.




As long as you pay attention when purchasing the RAM to go under the MH-L12S, we foresee no issues in your future. It clears the PCI-e slot, there is access all around it, and the airflow direction can be changed based on needs. For those tiny boxes with a PSU on top of the CPU cooler, blowing air through the cooler and into the PSU is the best course of action.


For cases with a bit more room to draw air from, you can blow the fan down, which in our testing offered a two-degree drop on the sticks under the fan, and the same drop is found on the VRM section. Whatever layout you may encounter inside of your compact chassis, as long as things start off with slightly more than 70mm clearance, the Noctua MH-L12S is a great option.



Yes, we did exaggerate the amount of noise as we discussed the charts, but this is only because Noctua coolers are typically chart-topping when it comes to silent cooling options. Of course, they are starting with a 120mm fan, to begin with, and a 15mm thick one at that.


Compared to other similar fans, the noise level is still quite low and even compared to all the ones we tested, the NH-L12S still performs better than the averages. The fact that we took a cooler with a relatively low TDP cap, gave the processor the beans, and were still able to pass tests with results we were shocked by, in a good way, this compact Noctua cooler keeps looking better the more we discuss it.




In the end, whether limited by space or not, the NH-L12S is an affordable cooler with produces pleasing results. What more can you ask of a cooler designed to fit where others cannot?


When it comes time to deliver a verdict, we give the Noctua NH-L12S two big thumbs up. Able to run close to an AIO at near half the cost, and even with the 95W TDP limit advised, we were able to take this cooler to that point and beyond, and our CPU was still well in the safe zone.


Since we can sit here from the comfort of our desk and type in Amazon to the search bar and within a few seconds have the $49.90 CPU cooler a click away from a purchase, we have no issues with the price point either. Noctua makes enough changes to the NH-L12 to offer a new way of seeing the possibility of their compact CPU cooling solutions with the NH-L12S, and we have no reasons why anyone with the clearance should not opt for this cooler over all the other choices in this category.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Overall TweakTown Rating97%

The Bottom Line: The NH-L12S is a terrific option for those with limited space! Our testing went beyond the TDP limit and still passed with flying colors! With a minimal investment, this secure, easy to install cooler can be yours, and with all the latest motherboard hardware, Noctua leaves nobody out!

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