Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile CPU Cooler - Final Thoughts

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Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile CPU Cooler
Final Thoughts


Noctua NH-L12 Final Thoughts:

Over the past few years I've reviewed pretty much every product that Noctua has produced, and even after years I am still left pleased at the end of each of my reviews with the latest and greatest from Noctua. Today I took a look at the Noctua NH-L12 low-profile cooler which we found to offer a very nice low-profile design without the traditional low-profile performance.

The performance of the NH-L12 is really quite good for a low profile cooler, which is what we've come to expect from Noctua. Obviously if you compare it up against some of Noctua's huge "heatpipe tower" coolers the performance is a bit lower, but when compared to every other low-profile cooler we've reviewed in the past the NH-L12 is undoubtedly the winner.


In our testing we used one of the hottest CPU's available and this low-profile cooler was able to handle it without too much trouble. We did however run into some pretty high numbers when we removed the top fan and were running with only a 92mm fan on the bottom of the heatsink and were actually unable to complete our full load testing before the CPU started throttling itself back to reduce temperatures. We can't really be too hard on this cooler for low performance while running only one small 92mm fan on a 140 Watt CPU, obviously the fan was just unable to keep. Using a high wattage CPU in an application where you needed to remove the top fan would be a bad choice, but if you went with a lower wattage CPU you would probably be able to run with only the 92mm fan quite easily. While the NH-L12 didn't set any records on our charts overall, we were extremely happy with the performance when compared to any other low-profile cooler that we've ever tested.

As far as quality goes, well, it's Noctua quality. I really have no concerns whatsoever with the build of this cooler and it should have no problems taking a little bit of abuse if need be.

Installation at first glance appears like it might be a bit tricky, however, thanks to a nice and long screwdriver that Noctua includes with the NH-L12, installation is very simple and you most definitely won't need an engineering degree to get this cooler strapped to your CPU. In the past I've always found that low-profile coolers are always the worst to install due to the lack of space they use, but the NH-L12 is completely the opposite, it's just as easy to install as every other Noctua cooler I've ever tested.

At the end of the day I can quite easily declare the Noctua NH-L12 low-profile cooler a winner. For a cooler that sports a low profile even with both fans installed (and an even lower profile if you remove the top fan), the NH-L12 doesn't sacrifice performance like most other low-profile coolers we've tested in the past have. Thanks to great performance, a low profile, and quiet operation, the Noctua NH-L12 has easily earned our "Editor's Choice - Gold" award. If lack of space is an issue for you and you need a cooler that can fit into small spaces but still cool like a champ, you'll definitely want to check out the NH-L12 low-profile cooler from Noctua.



  • Good Performance
  • Low-Profile design
  • Super Easy Installation
  • Extremely High Quality Construction



  • Nothing Major





I'd like to thank Noctua for sending us the NH-L12 to test. If you have any questions, comments, or general feedback, please leave it at the "Comments" link below.