Summary: The Noctua NH-L12 is a great product that many will overlook or misunderstand. While its performance does not lead the pack, it does offer a small size and versatility. It is the smallest cooler I have reviewed thus far in terms of height and weight and offers backplate-less mounting for mini-ITX systems. The build quality is, as is usual with Noctua products, simply fantastic.
Pros: Good cooling for its size, Extremely quiet, Exceptional build quality, Versatile mounting options, Easy to install, Great warranty, Low profile option
Cons: Price, Not meant for high TDP processors, Single-fan configuration cannot handle overclock settings as tested, Single-fan configuration has limited usefulness for most users
Summary: The Noctua NH-L12 CPU Cooler is a perfect option for a tiny computer build. It comes with two quiet, long life fans (120mm & 92mm), copper base, heatpipes and many aluminum fins. This is truly is a super low-profile cooler as with top 120mm fan removed it's only 66mm in height.
Summary: Final Thoughts
When I first received this cooler I was expecting a decent cooler that would perform well on a CPU that would be in an HTPC, but could not compete with larger coolers to and cool my Core i7-3820. I was especially worried as Noctua even puts this warning on their website,
“Caution: The NH-L12 is a low-profile quiet cooler designed for use in small form factor cases and HTPC environments.
Pros: – Small and compact size, – Good performance, – Quiet operation, – Easy installation, – Low profile mode
Summary: As much as I sit here and try to find fault with the NH-L12, I really can't come up with anything. All I could remember were all the good things the cooler offers. While it is designed for 95W TDP processors, my testing shows, while on the warm side, it was capable of handling my 2600K overclocked pretty well.
Summary: High performance cooling has come a long way over the years and while most people associate aftermarket cooling options with overclocking that isn't always the case. In fact some coolers are best suited as high capacity alternatives to the cheap and unattractive OEM designs.
NH-L12 installation went incredibly smooth and features one of the best mounting systems we have used.
Pros: Low Profile Design, NF-F12 Focus Flow Fan Included, Dual Fan Cooler, 66mm Heatsink Height, LGA2011 Mounting Hardware
Cons: Four heatpipes limit cooling performance, Not intended for overclocking
Excerpt: 4 Flares 4 Flares × Noctua is considered by many in the enthusiast community as the finest manufacturer of high end air coolers. We have tested a number of their products in the KitGuru labs, including the mammoth NH-D14 , and have been very impressed with them all. So we were very excited when they offered us a sample of their latest CPU cooler for review.
Conclusion: NH-L12 je još jedan u nizu kvalitetnih Noctuinih hladnjaka, koji unatoč svojim malim dimenzijama i malenom toplinskom kapacitetu pod kontrolom može držati i moćnije procesore. Naš je 3770K tako držao i na 4.5GHz što je za svaku pohvalu. Ipak, najbolje će se snaći u kakvom HTPC-u gdje će hladiti procesor nižeg TDP-a. Uz to, i broj će okretaja ventilatora biti na nižoj razini pa će i buka biti manje izražena.
Excerpt: Cari lettori di Xtremehardware, oggi analizzeremo il nuovo dissipatore del famosissimo marchio austriaco Noctua, il modello NH-L12 ! Facente parte della categoria Top-Down ovvero HTPC con il corpo dissipante e le heatpipes in posizione orizzontale, è corredato da due delle migliori ventole in circolazione, i modelli NF-F12 ed NF-B9, in una configurazione Push/Pull dall’alto verso il basso.
Pros: Prestazioni interessanti data la superficie dissipante ridotta, Solita eccellente qualità Noctua, Pasta termica di eccellente qualità in un tubetto, l’ NT-H1, In dotazione sono presenti le migliori ventole in commercio