Noctua NH-C12P CPU Cooler Review

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Installing the NH-C12P

Noctua NH-C12P mounting brackets

I will be installing the NH-C12P on our Intel Core2 Quad test platform. Noctua made a small, but very nice improvement to the SecuFirm mounting system that is worth mentioning. In the previous version the brackets had a tapped hole and when the retaining screw was tightened it came within a couple of millimeters from touching the capacitors around the socket. They have changed it so that the bracket uses threaded stud and barrel nut combination instead. This prevents anything from protruding below the bracket and possibly making contact with motherboard components.

Noctua NH-C12P insulators

To start the install you have to prepare the brackets by applying the insulators. In the previous version Noctua used the old tried and true red fiber washers, which was a little annoying to keep in place while installing the brackets. This time they have changed to a small plastic washer with a sticky backing to keep them from sliding around during installation.

Noctua NH-C12P brackets for horizontal mounting

Once the brackets are prepped you can install them on the board. Now would be a good time to figure out what way you want the cooler to set. With the brackets installed like in the above image the cooler will set horizontally with the heat pipes running front to back. Installing the cooler this way will allow the down draft of the fan to blow air across most of the components around the socket, but it also prevents you from removing the CPU as the release lever is blocked. If you decide to change or upgrade you CPU down the road you will have to completely tear down the system.

Noctua NH-C12P brackets for vertical mounting

Turning everything 90 degrees so the heat pipes now run top to bottom gains access to the CPU. The fans’ down draft now cools all of the area around the socket.

Noctua NH-C12P motherboard clearence

With the cooler installed in we can see how the NH-C12P fits rather nicely and clears everything with room to spare.

Noctua NH-C12P horizontal mount

Looking from the top with the NH-C12P in the horizontal position the front of the cooler comes to where it just covers the first RAM slot. This may be an issue to those with tall RAM or who run an active cooler for their RAM.

Noctua NH-C12P vertical mount

Looking from the top with the NH-C12P in the vertical position it opens up the area above the RAM for whatever we want to put there. I think this is way is the best to mount the cooler as it provides the most accessibility to the system.

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