Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

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Lawrence Lee
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Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by Lawrence Lee » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:50 pm


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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by Enzo_FX » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:12 am

Not really worth the price as per usual Noctua solutions heh. Ah, and I remember my trusty XP-120, still had it up until a couple years ago, had the LGA775 adapter.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by rpsgc » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:08 am

At 93mm tall with the 120mm fan (only worthwhile solution considering the wallet rape) you might as well use a Thermalright AXP140.




P.S.: You should really review the new Big Shuriken 2. No more push pins!

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by faugusztin » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:45 am

@rpsgc: This really depends on where you buy them. For example NH-L12 is 49,68 € including VAT, while AXP-140/AXP-140 RT are pretty much nowhere to be found in europe, the only shop heise.de even lists is Scan in UK - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/thermalr ... thout-fan). That price equals to 50.56€ + you need to buy the fan, which for any good fan means +10€.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by rpsgc » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:55 am

Noiseblocker fans cost 6 € and Scythe SlipStreams cost 7 €. When you're spending >50 € on a heatsink, are you really going to complain about paying 7 € for a quality fan?


And the point was, the Big Shuriken costs 30 € and is almost as good as the Noctua with the 92mm fan. So yes, this is overpriced. An no, I don't care about the 120mm fan results because that would make the Noctua almost 100mm tall, and that is worthless for anyone wanting a low height cooler.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by faugusztin » Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:05 am

rpsgc wrote:And the point was, the Big Shuriken costs 30 € and is almost as good as the Noctua with the 92mm fan. So yes, this is overpriced. An no, I don't care about the 120mm fan results because that would make the Noctua almost 100mm tall, and that is worthless for anyone wanting a low height cooler.
You seem to be missing the point. There are different heights which some consider as low profile. For example, Your Big Shuriken 2 is too high for my PC-Q09. By that logic then, Big Shuriken 2 is not low profile. But for example if someone buys PC-Q08 or PC-Q25, he needs something which has maximum 11cm - and there is very limited list of options for this size as well. Sure, your AXP-140 is fine - but good luck finding one in the shops. NH-C14 is too high for this scenario, but NH-L12 is ideal for this case.

Simply put - just because you think it is not low profile enough or it is overpriced, it doesn't mean it doesn't have a market or that it is true for every use. By that logic no one would ever buy Thermalright or Prolimatech coolers, because they are even more expensive than Noctuas, and usually come without fans.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by ces » Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:43 am

rpsgc wrote:And the point was, the Big Shuriken costs 30 € and is almost as good as the Noctua with the 92mm fan.
The Noctua is designed to be easy to install. Even its fins are designed to accommodate a special screw driver that comes with the kit. For this reason alone, I don't think you can say the Big Shuriken is almost as good.

Also take a look at their relative performance here.
http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.c ... 662&page=5
I just don't think they are in the same league.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by KadazanPL » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:13 pm

So... Noctua... you keep coming up with bright marketing ideas like "vortex control notches", numerous serrated struts and "noise absorbing" corner pads and you can't even beat the good old Nexus? :lol:

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by ces » Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:18 pm

KadazanPL wrote:So... Noctua... you keep coming up with bright marketing ideas like "vortex control notches", numerous serrated struts and "noise absorbing" corner pads and you can't even beat the good old Nexus? :lol:
I can't remember any SPRC test where the Nexus reference fans didn't fail to best the stock fans. Can you?

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by ces » Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:37 pm

MikeC

1. Noctua NH-L12 vs. Noctua NH-C14.

It appears that you used two different test systems for the Noctua NH-L12 and the Noctua NH-C14.

In your opinion, how would the Noctua NH-L12 (with a single Nexus 120mm top fan) compare with a Noctua NH-C14 (with a single Nexus 120mm bottom fan).

They would both be close to the same height. Because the Noctua NH-C14 without a top fan would need less fan breathing clearance than the Noctua NH-L12 with a single top fan... perhaps their effective height would be about the same. What do you think about their respective cooling capacity?

2. Noctua NH-L12 with a Single Nexus Reference Bottom Fan

How did this combo perform? Can you add the performance of this combo to the test results. This looks like a real nice combination. The only real compromise is that you have to use low profile memory. That isn't so bad.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by MikeC » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:21 pm

ces wrote:MikeC

It appears that you used two different test systems for the Noctua NH-L12 and the Noctua NH-C14.

In your opinion, how would the Noctua NH-L12 (with a single Nexus 120mm top fan) compare with a Noctua NH-C14 (with a single Nexus 120mm bottom fan).

They would both be close to the same height. Because the Noctua NH-C14 without a top fan would need less fan breathing clerance than the Noctua NH-L12 with a simple top fan... perhaps their effective height would be about the same. What do you think about their respective cooling capacity?
We've had two HS test platforms for a while -- a 1366 high power one for the biggies and a 95W TDP AM3 one for the rest. In the past, there were many more biggies, but the need for them is declining, actually, even for low noise cooling of heavyweight CPUs, because cases and HSF both emphasize airflow so much now.

We are going to actually change the AM3 for an 1155 platform, mostly because we want something with even lower power -- 55W at AUX12 is typical for max load on 65W TDP CPUs from Intel these days, and that looks like a good chip to test the really small HSF with (like the ones from Scythe, and a few others). OC that chip by 16%, and we get ~80W at AUX12V, which is about what you see with 95W Sandy & Ivy Bridge, so that will make a nice mid-power HS test platform.

To answer your question, the two heatsinks are not the same size, with different cooling surface area. The larger one will have the higher cooling power, but the real question is whether it will show up in a significant way in actual use. Unless the HSF at a certain airflow/noise level is overloaded by the heat load, then there will be no appreciable difference between the two. Push them to the cooling limits, and the bigger one's advantage will show up. In other words, with a >95W TDP CPU, there will be a clear advantage to the Noctua NH-C14, but if we're looking at <65W, then no. In between those 2 points is a bit of a gray area...

All this assuming the same ambient temps as our lab -- which is too cool; need to add 10C or so to simulate conditions inside a case... but then our test conditions are extreme, too. Prime95 at max load is NOT a normal high load; it is a torture test.

An Aside -- When we do tests at multiple fan speeds (and fans), it makes for quite a complex set of resulting data. In the good old overclocking days (in still in many OC sites), the stress testing is done only at max speed. This provides a single C temp rise per watt of CPU heat number -- C/W. In our tests, we'd have a C/W number for every heatsink at every speed we test it at.

And that really is the way you have to think of it: If I want 15 dBA/1m with no more than 20C rise for my 95W TDP CPU, then what C/W do I need? You could calculate the C/W for various HSF combos we've tested, for each fan speed we tested it at, and answer that question.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:48 pm

MikeC wrote:In other words, with a >95W TDP CPU, there will be a clear advantage to the Noctua NH-C14, but if we're looking at <65W, then no. In between those 2 points is a bit of a gray area...
IVB 77W TDP: Welcome to the gray area :D

Thanks for the review, Lawrence.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by ces » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:00 pm

MikeC wrote:In other words, with a >95W TDP CPU, there will be a clear advantage to the Noctua NH-C14, but if we're looking at <65W, then no. In between those 2 points is a bit of a gray area...
What do you think about a Noctua NH-L12 with a Single Nexus Reference Bottom Fan?

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by rpsgc » Tue May 01, 2012 3:44 am

ces wrote:Also take a look at their relative performance here.
http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.c ... 662&page=5
I just don't think they are in the same league.
I just don't think you bothered to read my post at all. Say, like the part where I said "when used with only the lower 92mm fan (because of height restrictions)"? Missed that part did you? Because in that link the Noctua was tested with both fans.
With both fans it stands at 93mm tall. A Thermalright AXP140 + fan measures 95mm. Wanna compare the two?

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by faugusztin » Tue May 01, 2012 4:02 am

Except you missed the "NH-L12 (bot fan only)" in the list. Plus as i said before, good luck finding AXP-140 in shops.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by ces » Tue May 01, 2012 5:10 am

rpsgc wrote:I just don't think you bothered to read my post at all.
Actually I had read your post but the SPCR article. :)

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by KadazanPL » Tue May 01, 2012 10:03 am

I can't remember any SPRC test where the Nexus reference fans didn't fail to best the stock fans. Can you?
As a matter of fact, I can :) Keep looking, I'm sure you'll find them :D

Noctua should really consider selling their heatsinks without those fans as there are clearly better (ie. cheaper and better performing) products on the market. This would be fair to their consumers.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by lodestar » Tue May 01, 2012 12:53 pm

KadazanPL wrote:Noctua should really consider selling their heatsinks without those fans as there are clearly better (ie. cheaper and better performing) products on the market. This would be fair to their consumers.
To me having a cooler, fans, both Intel and AMD fittings and every accesssory that is likely to be needed in one box is a real convenience. And actually quite good value. How come? Here in the UK I can by the NH-L12 for £49. If I bought the two fans separately they would cost £29, a Y PWM splitter cable £3 and the PWM extension cable £3. So £35 worth of fans and accessories. And then there's the two low noise adapters, worth say £4 for the two. That leaves a basic cooler with both Intel and AMD fittings costing about £10. Yes, Noctua charge premium prices and they are a factor but even if the NH-L12 was sold as a bare cooler for say £20 it would represent poor value compared to the package price.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by ces » Tue May 01, 2012 1:29 pm

KadazanPL wrote: This would be fair to their consumers.
Maybe... but they are the only ones who give free new mounting kits to old customers as Intel move from CPU to CPU. You sort of get what you pay for.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by Mats » Tue May 01, 2012 6:20 pm

Lawrence Lee wrote:Many modern motherboards have large VRM and/or chipset heatsinks that might get in the way, although this isn't an issue for most mini-ITX and some micro-ATX motherboard models.
The problem is, can you find a mini-ITX board with enough clearence between RAM and rear connectors for a 120 mm fan?
Namnlös.jpg
I'd say it's next to impossible (unless you buy one of those unusual low profile boards).

Which brings me to the next point. I think the L12 will be popular among mini-ITX users who wants a low profile cooler.
But with the bottom 120 mm fan out of the question, is it really worth it?

Zalman CNPS8900 is smaller, lighter, cost €30 (L12 is €50), and seems to perform pretty well.

According to Frostytech:

Code: Select all

                                                150w      85W
Noctua 	NH-L12 (92mm) 	        1600 rpm 	 27.0°C 	16.3°C    40.7 dBA
Noctua 	NH-L12 (92mm) 	        1300 rpm  	32.9°C 	19.4°C 	33.1 dBA

Zalman 	CNPS8900 Extreme         1250 rpm     28.5°C    15.9°C    34.8 dBA
It shares a drawback with most Zalman coolers tho: the fan is noisy at full speed, but changing fan isn't that difficult on Zalmans.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by ces » Tue May 01, 2012 7:52 pm

Mats wrote:but changing fan isn't that difficult on Zalmans.
Please explain. How can that be?

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by Mats » Tue May 01, 2012 8:39 pm

ces wrote:Please explain. How can that be?
It's my opinion, the swap was easy to do for me.
While it's easier on most other coolers, I think the rumor about Zalman fans being hard to swap is exaggerated.
There are exceptions. IIRC, Zalman have some models where you can't remove the fan.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by ces » Tue May 01, 2012 9:04 pm

Mats wrote:
ces wrote:Please explain. How can that be?
It's my opinion, the swap was easy to do for me.
While it's easier on most other coolers, I think the rumor about Zalman fans being hard to swap is exaggerated.
There are exceptions. IIRC, Zalman have some models where you can't remove the fan.
Where do you get the replacement fan?

Don't you consider it to be a countervailing advantage that with the Noctua you can elect to swap in a 92mm Nexus fan or even a 20mm x 120mm Yate Loon fan?.... or I guess even a 12mm x 120mm Slipstream?

Also, with the Zalman you should give it one fan width of breathing room, making its effective height more like 85mm.

Whereas because of the location of the bottom fan in the Noctua you might not need any top side breathing room, especially if you aimed the fan upward. Something really handy for tight ITX cases like the Lian Li Q09, Apex 108 and others of similar ilk. I have a Lian Li Q09 and I just don't think the Zalman would cut it there.

What do you think?

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by Mats » Tue May 01, 2012 9:23 pm

ces wrote:Where do you get the replacement fan?

Don't you consider it to be a countervailing advantage that with the Noctua you can elect to swap in a 92mm Nexus fan or even a 20mm x 120mm Yate Loon fan?.... or I guess even a 12mm x 120mm Slipstream?

Also, with the Zalman you should give it one fan width of breathing room, making its effective height more like 85mm.

Whereas because of the location of the bottom fan in the Noctua you might not need any top side breathing room, especially if you aimed the fan upward. Something really handy for tight ITX cases like the Lian Li Q09, Apex 108 and others of similar ilk. I have a Lian Li Q09 and I just don't think the Zalman would cut it there.

What do you think?
- I used a regular case fan.

- I don't see the advantage when the price is so high already. 12mm x 120mm Slipstreams aren't really known for being quiet.
And as I already have shown, 120 mm fans won't fit in the bottom of the L12 on a mini-ITX board.

- I intend to have an intake above the cooler, so that won't be an issue for me.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by ces » Tue May 01, 2012 9:28 pm

Mats wrote:I used a regular case fan
You mean something like MikeC's Nexus 120mm fan mod to the Stock Intel CPU cooler?
viewtopic.php?p=539859#p539859

Or do you mean some other way?

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by Mats » Tue May 01, 2012 9:33 pm


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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by MikeC » Tue May 01, 2012 11:09 pm

Yeah, swapping out "embedded" Zalman fans was popular when they made great heatsinks with bad fans. We covered at least 2 versions:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article284-page1.html
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article209-page5.html

But I have to agree that the cost of this -- time and effort and the extra fan -- puts the Zalman up to the same price as the Noctua. Some people just don't want to mess with hardware like this.

Even with the smaller fan on the underside, with the CPUs most folks use in low profile m-ITX boards, the Noctua will run plenty cool, imo. Even a i5-2500/2600 really won't pull more than ~80W w/ Prime95 (unless you OC it of course), and all the lesser models are way lower. Typically 55W on Prime95. Our AMD test CPU actually runs hotter than just about all 1155 Sandy or Ivy Bridge CPUs.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by faugusztin » Tue May 01, 2012 11:56 pm

Mats wrote:
Lawrence Lee wrote:Many modern motherboards have large VRM and/or chipset heatsinks that might get in the way, although this isn't an issue for most mini-ITX and some micro-ATX motherboard models.
The problem is, can you find a mini-ITX board with enough clearence between RAM and rear connectors for a 120 mm fan?
Namnlös.jpg
I'd say it's next to impossible (unless you buy one of those unusual low profile boards).
1) The only cooler which doesn't conflict with standard height RAM, doesn't block PCI-E connector and works with the stupid current Sandy Bridge ITX board layout (CPU socket right next to RAM and PCI-E) is AXP-140. Everything else, including all low profile coolers which are bigger than then stock cooler will and do block the PCI-E slot. You can even find that in the NH-L12 motherboard compatibility list. But again, good luck finding AXP-140 in shops.
2) There are 3 boards known to me, which don't have compatibility problems like the boards above, has a H6x/Z7x Sandy/Ivy Bridge chipsets are the ones with non-standard layout. They are Foxconn H61S, Foxconn H67S and the yet unreleased ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe. Even on these, you will of course need to use low/standard height RAM, no fancy coolers. But at least you will have your PCI-E socket usable, plus majority of RAM modules will be fine too.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by Mats » Wed May 02, 2012 4:22 am

AXP-140 isn't really comparable to L12 or CNPS-8900 in terms of height.

Noctuas compatibility list have nothing to do with putting a 120 mm fan under the L12.

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Re: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler

Post by faugusztin » Wed May 02, 2012 7:06 am

Mats wrote:Noctuas compatibility list have nothing to do with putting a 120 mm fan under the L12.
True, But Noctua's compatibility list have something to do with the cooler itself hanging over the PCI-E area, don't you think ?

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