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

CPU Cooler Design

With some notable differences, one will say this is a mini NH-C14S. It has four nickel plated copper heatpipes going through flat heatsink on one end and through the heatsink at the other. The bundled fan is a slim profile NF-A12x15 120x120x15 mm CPU fan. Because of the design of the heatsink, the fan can be installed underneath the heatsink, thus maintaining its 70mm height. But if you install the fan over the heatsink, it becomes 85mm.

GPU Cooling Fan Design

The Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM fan is a seven-blade design which uses its tried and tested SS02 bearing, of which you can see a part of it towards its air intake direction. Many of Noctua’s fans have a proven track record of having least possible noise and made for very long use. As a result, its retail fan kits have six years warranty. The Noctua NH-L12S kit also provides six years warranty.

Mounting System

The SecuFirm2 mounting system is the best installation experience you’ll get in a CPU cooler. Simple, quick and efficient installation. I would like to call it as an ‘idiot proof’ design. Many other CPU coolers take a bit more time but eventually leads to an easy installation, while others like the Gigabyte XTC700 is not user-friendly at all. This becomes important in a time when PC case manufacturers market their cases to have heatsinks and liquid coolers installed after installing the motherboard. Many would prefer mounting the CPU air cooler on the motherboard first and later to install it on a PC case, but the design will comfortably let you install in any way of the two.

Installation Experience and Layout Impressions

Because of the CPU cooler and NF-A12x15 PWM fan design, it allows its fan to be installed underneath the heatsink array. This is the fan setup that comes out of the box where the air is pushed upwards, away from the motherboard. While the nature of this CPU cooler is meant to be low profile, the fan would come in the way of many memory kits, as I was able to use only the heatspreader-less memory sticks (typical of the Value series). Not even the low-profile heatspreader memory kits will allow this fan configuration.

This is the common fan setup for such CPU heatsink design- like its bigger older brother the NH-C14S. The fan will push the air through the heatsink array, on the top of its heat base and the motherboard. As a result, you’ll have adequate space to accommodate those memory kits with standard size heatspreader. While its height is increased by 15mm, Its still low profile as its well under the height of a GPU’s I/O shield.

There’s another reason why you’ll prefer this fan setup over the former when you see the test results.

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  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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