Eight Low-Profile CPU Coolers For Your Compact PC, Reviewed

NH-L12 Installation

Noctua’s LGA plate is slotted for Intel’s three consumer-oriented mounting patterns, using push-through bolts as stands for top-side hardware. Note that the LGA plate is notched in two places to clear the screws of Intel’s original support mechanism.

Another option would have been to install the cooler without a plate. To circumvent clearance problems seen in our System Builder Marathon last June, Noctua also includes a special screw and nut set to install the NH-L12 in the same fashion shown in the Gamer Storm Gabriel installation.

Regardless of whether you’re using bolts or screws, the next step is to install black plastic spacers and cross braces.

An exceptional 1.6” of clearence is reduced by around half under the 1”-thick inset bottom fan, though the fan can be slid a little to make more room at one end. Half an inch of offset also allows the cooler to be rotated to clear specific components.

Too thick for our M8 build, we might have retested the NH-L12 without the top fan, except that it’s already being retested with its included speed-reducing resistor wires.

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  • LePhuronn
    Zalman CNPS2X conspicuous by its absence - 28mm tall cooler that claims to be able to shift 120W?
  • Sayken
    Nice
  • tiu_sergiu
    There must be 2 winners
    Nocturna NH-L12 is best quality (Don't forgot about 6 ears of warranty)
    and Zalman CNPS8900 Quiet Smart Buy
  • Haravikk
    I'm a bit surprised by the Noctua offering, as they do have a much smaller only (37mm tall) but then I expect they wanted to use as much space as possible to ensure a good score.

    Also the NH-L12 I believe is compatible with Noctua's NF-A15 which is a 150mm PWM fan with 120mm mounting holes. In my perfect small form factor case I'd swap one of those as the top fan and just use a 150mm side vent as the only exhaust for the case, with other vents as intakes over the major components, or maybe leave off the top fan in favour of fitting an 200mm fan if space allows. That being for a high performance small case anyway, anything more modest I'd probably just go for the 37mm option.

    Another favourite option is Prolimatech's Samuel 17 cool (45mm) plus one of their 140mm x 15mm Ultra Sleek Vortex fans for a total height of ~60mm, which still tops out under 2.5"