A quick look at Noctua's NH-L12 makes it clear that this heat sink was designed for HTPCs and compact cases. It’s the only cooler in this round-up that comes with two fans, but it’s the lowest-profile design as well, standing only 93 mm tall. If that's even too much for your compact system build, the top can be removed, leaving the bottom fan to operate on its own.
Installation is the same as Noctua's NH-U9B SE tower cooler, which we covered in a review published on Tom's Hardware Germany, but also have data for in our CPU Cooler 2011 charts. In AMD systems, two braces with spacers are attached to the motherboard's included backplate with a pair of long screws. The screws needed to fasten the cooler are already attached to it. The top fan has to be removed in order to gain access to the holes you use to tighten those screws.
A backplate is included for all Intel-based platforms, except for LGA 2011. If you have a Sandy Bridge-E-based platform, Noctua requires that you buy a separate mounting kit. Other than that, Notua packs its kit with everything else you need, including thermal paste in a small application syringe, a screwdriver, mounting hardware for different types of fans, and two fan speed controllers. The fans can also be controlled via the motherboard’s PWM signal.
- Down-Draft Coolers For Compact Cases
- Enermax ETD-T60-VD: In The Box And Installation
- Noctua NH-L12: In The Box And Installation
- Scythe SCKC-2100: In The Box And Installation
- Benchmark System
- Enermax ETD-T60-VD: Cooling Performance And Noise
- Noctua NH-L12: Cooling Performance And Noise
- Scythe SCKC-2100: Cooling Performance And Noise
- Benchmark Overview
- A Down-Draft Cooler For Everyone