NOCTUA NH-L12S CPU Cooler Review

  1. About the Noctua NH-L12S CPU Cooler...
  2. CPU Cooler Design and Layout Impressions
  3. How its tested??
  4. Temperature Readouts and Observations
  5. Conclusion
  6. Online Purchase Links

Disclosure: The NH-L12S CPU cooler is sent by Noctua.

About the C-Type CPU coolers

I love C-Type CPU air coolers because of a used Thermaltake Big Typhoon during the end of socket 939 days. Due to the platform jump towards AM3+ and TtBT’s incompatible mounting kit, I purchased a Noctua NH-U12P-SE2 CPU cooler. Years have passed and after I’ve started Hardware BBQ, eventually I got my hands on another C-type CPU cooler- the Noctua NH-C14S which I use regularly. While I prefer using the NH-U12S, NH-U14S and the NH-D15 to show the motherboard’s layout compatibility, NH-C14S is a good performer and a great CPU cooler to look at. Unlike CPU tower coolers, it made a good impression and also was a solid performer, but a limitation of mounting a single fan.

The NH-L12S CPU Cooler…

This is the Noctua NH-L12S, a smaller and slimmer version of the NH-C14S. While it maintains that low-profile look, it isn’t as low profile as many ‘pancake coolers’ like the NH-L9x65. it is bundled with a 15mm fan where you can install it underneath or over the heatsink.

The TDP limitation is somewhere between 95-Watts and 112-watts for mainstream CPUs and 165-watts for Skylake-X. Noctua has a detailed list of that which you’ll see in its specifications.


Noctua’s packaging is quite an attraction in itself design to protect its CPU coolers and organize its tools and screws. Noctua bundles few things that others wouldn’t, such as NT-H1 thermal paste syringe, a Philips head screwdriver and metal brackets and backplate.



  • Cooler Specification
    Socket compatibility
    Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, AM4, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required)
    Height x Width x Depth (without fan)
    70 mm x 128 mm x 146 mm
    Height x Width x Depth (with fan)
    70 mm x 128 mm x 146 mm
    Weight (without fan)
    390 g
    Weight (with fan/s)
    520 g
    Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
    Max. TDP
    see TDP guide
    Fan compatibility
    120x120x15 & 120x120x25
    The scope of delivery
    • 1x NF-A12x15 PWM premium fan
    • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
    • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
    • SecuFirm2™ mounting kit
    • Noctua metal case-badge
    6 Years
  • FAN Specification
    1x Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM
    Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
    1850 RPM
    Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
    1400 RPM
    Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%)
    450 RPM
    Max. Airflow
    94.2 m³/h
    Max. Airflow with L.N.A.
    70.8 m³/h
    Max. Acoustical Noise
    23.9 dB(A)
    Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
    16.8 dB(A)
    Input Power
    1.56 W
    Voltage Range
    12 V
    > 150,000 h

Noctua mentions in its specifications about its fan compatible extending up to 120 x 120 x 25 mm fans. It is bundled with NT-H1 thermal paste, a screw driver, a Low-Noise Adapter and a metal case badge.

The fans are interesting, its a slim profile 120MM PWM fan with its proprietary SSO2 bearing with maximum speed up to 1850 RPM and minimum 450 RPM without the Low Noise Adapter which reduces maximum speed to 1400 RPM.

1 comment
  1. Thank you for testing it both ways. I have had this thing installed for years and when I saw the fan underneath the sink I wondered had I done it incorrectly.
    However it’s coming back to my now for both the reasons you listed, why I put it on top!

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