Noctua Releases Low-Profile NH-L12 Heatsink

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Today, Noctua announced the latest addition to their family of cooling products, the NH-L12. Having already produced several of the top air coolers on the market, Noctua shifted their attention to the growing HTPC market.

The NH-L12 is Noctua’s first low-profile heatsink focused specifically on SFF or HTPC systems. This is a market that lacks “suitable high-quality quiet CPU coolers”, according to Noctua’s CEO. While there are several options out there, it never hurts when a top manufacturer like Noctua enters the space to create some healthy competition among the usual suspects like Thermalright and Cooler Master.

Features

(Courtesy Noctua)

NH-L12 120/92mm dual fan design
Thanks to its exquisite dual fan setup consisting of Noctua’s highly optimised NF-F12 (120mm) and NF-B9 (92mm) premium fans, the NH-L12 pushes the bar in terms of low-profile quiet cooling performance.
NH-L12 Extra-low profile in 92mm single-fan mode
The NH-L12 can be used with the NF-B9 92mm fan only in order to reduce the overall height to 66mm. This way, the cooler is suitable for many typical µATX or Mini-ITX enclosures and ideal for whisper-quiet HTPC systems.
NH-L12 PWM support and Low-Noise Adaptors
The NH-L12’s NF-F12 and NF-B9 fans support PWM for convenient automatic speed control. In addition, the maximum fan speed can be reduced to 1200/1300rpm using the supplied Low-Noise Adaptors for even quieter operation.
NH-L12 SecuFirm2™ mounting system
Noctua’s enthusiast grade SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting provides broad socket compatibility (LGA 2011, LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA775, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1) and meets the highest demands in safety, performance and ease-of-use.
NH-L12 Mini-ITX mounting without backplate
Some Intel based Mini-ITX mainboards don’t allow for the installation of backplates. The NH-L12 thus comes with an extra set of Intel mounting bolts which make it possible to install the cooler without using the SecuFirm2™ backplate.
NT-H1 NT-H1 thermal compound
Noctua’s much-acclaimed NT-H1 is a well proven pro-grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease-of-use and outstanding reliability.

Specifications

 

NH-L12 Specs

NH-L12 Specs

Fan Specs

Fan Specs

Photos

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NH-L12 Dual-Fan Setup

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NH-L12 Low-Profile Mode

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NH-L12 Low-Profile Mode

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NH-L12 Without Fans

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NH-L12 Heatpipes

 

Performance Outlook

It’s tough to predict actual cooling performance of this unit, but judging by the $59.90 MSRP it should be one of the top low-profile coolers out there. The NH-L12 offers a lot of flexibility between the dual-fan setup, mini-ITX mounting kit and almost universal current generation compatibility. Not to mention, this heatsink comes equipped with high-quality fans, like the NF-F12 PWM that we looked at last week.

My biggest peeve with HTPC’s is the lack of power, but maybe this will allow users to put a strong SB under the hood. Perhaps even a bit of an overclock?

For more information check out the Noctua NH-L12 product page.

Matt Ring (mdcomp)

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Discussion
  1. The Cooler Master GeminII S524 , if it isn't too tall sells around $30-35 and is equivalent to a Corsair A50 on most charts with stock fan.

    The Enermax T60 is reputedly louder than it should be and can infringe on memory slots.

    The Samuel is the lowest and good for its size.
    The biggest problem with this heatsink is that Noctua is late to market for HTPC heatsinks. Prolimatech has had the Samuel 17 out for a year or better and it's a lower profile cooler to boot. The Samuel 17 doesn't have room to mount a fan underneath, but it does have 6 heatpipes versus 4 on this heatsink. And Thermalright has had the AXP-140-RT out for quite a while too and it's height profile is very similar to this one.