Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile CPU Cooler Review
Looking closer at the NH-L12
Out of the box the NH-L12 comes assembled with the NF-F12 120mm fan on top and the NF-B9 92mm fan on the bottom. With both fans installed the NH-L12 stands a very short 93mm or 3.7 inches, which is 25.4mm or 1 inch taller than stock Intel coolers shipped with LGA1555 i5 processors. The Nh-L12 is 67mm or 2.6 inches shorter than the NH-D14 and 61mm or 2.4 inches shorter than the Zalman CNPS11X Performa. It is the shortest air cooler we have in the charts.
Pulling the fans off we can get a good look at the NH-L12. The overall height without the top 120mm fan is 66mm or 2.5 inches, roughly the same height as a stock Intel box cooler shipped with retail CPUs. The cooler is a lay down style, so the fans blow down on the CPU socket rather than front to back.
At the widest point the NH-L12 has 43mm or 1.7 inches of clearance to the bottom of the cooling fins. This is only in the area where the 92mm fan is not residing. There is room for RAM slots to be cleared as I will show in the installation section later.
Since the base and mounting screws are under the cooling fins there are small sections of the fins removed above the mounting screws. This allows for access to the mounting screws with the provided screw driver.
The NF-F12 120mm fan has its own vibration absorption pads. The lower NF-B9 92mm, however, does not. So Noctua put strips of white silicon rubber on the cooling fins for the vibration absorption duties.
One of the things I noticed is that the pre-installed mounting tabs did not have pressure springs on the mounting bolts. This is different from past Noctua coolers I have reviewed.
Here is the NF-B9 92mm PWM fan. This is the lower fan on the NH-L12. It operates at 300-1600RPM pushing a max of 37.8CMF at 17.6dBA. With the Low Noise Adaptor installed it runs at 300-1300 RPM pushing a max of 30.9CFM at 13.1dBA.
Along with the color scheme that is none other than Noctuas, the NH-B9 fan has the unique fan blade profiles that make the fans run as quietly as they do.
The top fan is the NF-F12 120mm PWM fan. It operates at 300-1600RPM pushing a max of 64.9CMF at 22.4dBA. With the Low Noise Adaptor installed it runs at 300-1300 RPM pushing a max of 43.7CFM at 18.6 dBA. You can read more about the Nf-F12 in our review.