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Noctua NH-L12 Review

Wazzup Dawfreaks..
I hope you all are doing well and that the music production is flowing.
Today we are going to have a look at a CPU cooler from Noctua named NH-L12
This image was borrowed form Noctuas press page.

About Noctua

Designed in Austria, Noctua’s premium cooling components are internationally renowned for their superb quietness, exceptional performance and thoroughgoing quality. Having received more than 1000 awards and recommendations from leading hardware websites and magazines, Noctua’s fans and heatsinks are chosen by more than a hundred thousand satisfied customers around the globe.

This text was taken from http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=unternehmen&lng=en


This image was taken from the Noctua NH-L12 page.

Package and content
The NH-L12 package is the same as all Noctua CPU coolers.
Inside the box we find the NHl12 cooler with the pre-mounted NF-B9 PWM / NF-F12 PWM.

Here is the NH-L12 from above showing the NF-F12 PWM that I reviewed here!

Included with the NH-L12 is 2x Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.), Y-Split Cable, NT-H1 thermal compound, SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit, Mini-ITX Mounting-Kit, Noctua Metal Case-Badge.

Noctua delivers mounting setups for most common sockets on both Intel and AMD.

A important note about the NH-L12 from Noctua I want to ad.

The NH-L12 is a low-profile quiet cooler designed for use in small form factor cases and HTPC environments. While it provides first rate performance in its class, it is not suitable for overclocking and should be used with care on CPUs with more than 95W TDP (Thermal Design Power). Please consult our TDP guidelines to find out whether the NH-L12 is recommended for your CPU.  Source

The Test system

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA A-A75-D3H
CPU: AMD A8 3870K (APU)
Ram: Corsair vengence 8GB
PSU: Antec HCG-620
HDD : Kingston SSDNOW V+100 128GB
Case: Antec Solo II (With two intake fans at 750RPM and one exhaust fan at 950RPM)


Installing the NH-L12 on AMD socket FM1 is very easy, it does require you to remove the AMD plastic brackets and then use the same screw holes with the included AMD Set.
But as always with Noctua coolers the installation is very simple and takes about 10 minutes.
The only concern I had was that the space between the NH-L12 heat pipes and the ram is tight but it works without any problems with my setup.

Testing and Results.
I use Prime95 in blend mode to stress the CPU, this will push the CPU above normal conditions and this allows us to find out how well a CPU cooler work.
Since the NF-B9 and NF-F12 are both PWM and are connected to CPU Fan connector with the included Y-Split Cable on the motherboard only one of the fans are shown in HWMonitor.

I first run Prime95 with the stock AMD cooler for 10 minutes and then with the NH-L12 for 10 minutes, this is more then enough time to see how the two coolers handles the pressure.

The stock AMD cooler had issues keeping the AMD A8 3870K (APU) cool with the cores peeking at 68c, and the fan included on the stock AMD cooler is not very quiet ether.

The Noctua NH-L12 did not have ay issues Keeping the AMD A8 3870K (APU) at nice temperatures, after the 10 minute test the cores had peeked at 48c

Now to really test the NH-L12 I let Prime tick on for 20 more minutes and a total of 30 minutes, and the results was very nice.
None of the cores had reached 50c after 30 min stress testing, Good job Noctua.

Now as you probably can tell in the image above One of the fans on the CPU cooler had been running at 1445RPM during the test, the good thing is that compared to the Stock AMD cooler the NH-L12 is much quieter. during normal conditions like music production and light gaming the fans does not go above 1000RPM and still keeps the AMD A8 3870K (APU) cool.

When it comes to CPU cooling Noctua knows how to make great coolers and the NH-L12 is set out to be used in non Overclocking PC´s like HTPC, light / medium gaming rigs, and of course studio pc´s. The cooling performance is very good but what makes the NH-L12 a winner is the size. Installing the NH-L12 is easy, the included NT-H1 thermal compound is great and the fans are fairly quiet under load and extremely quiet during normal use.


  • Easy to install
  • NT-H1 thermal compound
  • PWM fans
  • quiet
  • The height will make it be able to fit in many HTPC cases


  • None

The verdict
”The cooling performance is very good but what makes the NH-L12 a winner is the size”


I want to thank Noctua for letting me do this review!

And to my readers… THANK YOU!!!

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