Noctua NH-L12 Cooler – Installation and Performance
We are testing the NH-L12 on an 1155 motherboard with the highest specification CPU for that socket but the steps for other sockets are very similar. The main difference being that for 2011 CPUs we use the stock Intel clamp and screw Noctuas bolts into it.
Our install starts by adding four screws to our backplate, positioning them appropriately for the socket to be used. We then add the backplate to our motherboard, passing the screws through the pre-drilled holes and then we flip the board over and screw on our brackets.
After applying thermal paste to our CPU we place the heatsink on it and pass the bundled screwdriver through the heatsink, tightening the pre-applied screws on to the brackets from the last step. The final step is simply a case of plugging in our fans to the CPU header on the motherboard.
In terms of thermal performance the NH-L12 easily outperforms the stock Intel cooler, at load dropping CPU temperature significantly in comparison. Comparing it to a high performance tower cooler the Noctua also does well. When we move to an overclocked scenario this gap increases slightly as the dual fan NH-L12 tops out at 59°C, 3°C lower than the nearest competitor and in a different class to the standard Intel cooler.
For noise levels Noctua continue to impress, the video below was taken at around 1ft from the cooler in an open environment at full RPM.