Cooling specialist Noctua has launched a new low-height dual-tower CPU cooler. The new Noctua NH-D12L is just 145mm tall, yet manages to wield a 120mm fan. Additionally, the company announced its plans for AM5 socket support.
Previously, for a tower cooler of these vertical dimensions, a 92mm fan would have been used. Alternatively, if builders were certain they wanted to use a 120mm fan tower cooler from Noctua, they would have to make sure of at least 158mm of clearance. With the trend for more compact PC builds, we think this reduced height offering may be a popular new air cooler for PC upgraders and DIYers.
Other design niceties here are the asymmetric design of the tower to allow for plenty of RAM slot clearance on most modern motherboards. Noctua assures users of even the tallest DIMMs with RGB frills and hulking heatspreaders will enjoy "100% compatibility."
"So far, all our 120mm class coolers were 158mm high, but as of recent, more and more PC cases only support up to 150 or even 145mm – this is where the NH-D12L steps in," explained Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). A key innovation to enable the reduced height was the introduction of the round-frame version of the NF-A12x25 fan, said Mossig. The reduced frame size allows the larger fan to be "installed at a very low position between the two towers."
Noctua has already looked around at the new build options its NH-D12L will fit into. The 145mm height will allow for the new cooler to be used in 4U rackmount servers, it observed. For more mainstream use, the reduced height means the Noctua NH-D12L looks like it will be a possibility for a number of the more capacious Small Form Factor (SFF) and Mini-ITX chassis.
We mentioned it in passing earlier, but the new round-frame version of the NF-A12x25 fan is worth a closer look. Noctua says the new round-frame variant of the 2018 classic is officially named the 'NF-A12x25r PWM'. The fan frame changes don't impact the cooling by any measurable degree, it seems. Noctua says that the new round frame model "provides the same renowned quiet cooling performance, as its square frame sibling.
On the topic of performance, Noctua says the new NH-D12L "easily outperforms 92mm coolers," and will surpass single-tower 120mm designs like the NH-U12S, and often match the larger flagship NH-U12A.
Socket Compatibility: OK for LGA1700 and AM5 (as Are Most Current Noctua Coolers)
Socket compatibility is in the spotlight in 2022, as Intel has yet again produced a new socket – LGA1700 for its Alder Lake-S platform. Meanwhile, for the first time in a long time, AMD is going to change sockets – to LGA 1718 for AM5 packages.
Noctua lists the new NH-D12L as being compatible with Intel LGA1700/LGA1200/LGA115x and AMD AM4/AM5 based motherboards. The boxed cooler comes with Noctua's SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system. It is noted that all current Noctua coolers will support AM5 except for the low profile NH-L9a-AM4 and NM-AM4-L9aL9i designs.
Lastly, Noctua has set the pricing for the new NH-D12L at EUR/USD 89.90. It adds that the NF-A12x25r PWM, the round frame fan, has a recommended price of EUR/USD 29.90. Both these products have a five-year warranty and are available today from Noctua direct, or via its Amazon stores in various regions.
Then what's the point? Don't get me wrong, I'm an overt Noctua loyalist, but I don't see the point of creating new products just to create new products. If the round version of this fan has exactly the same performance characteristics as the square version, and is the same color scheme, and doesn't have any other purpose to it other than being an additional model to offer, then it makes zero sense. This is not something Noctua is known for doing. They invest a great deal of time into engineering and developing new products and it baffles me that they'd do that for a product that doesn't offer something, anything, new.
Additionally, seems like time that would have been better spent on actually developing something that was new, or improved. Have we come to the point where we feel that's not possible anymore so now we have to be like EVGA (Power supplies) and create 50 different models of something simply to have a larger product stack?
Perhaps is just an aesthetic design?, The round corners sorta follow the lines of the most external heatpipes at the base of the cooler. A square frame may or not make the cooler perform the better but it will protude out.
I know this is not Noctuas usual thinking but, Who knows right?
After all they finally made the black fans an heatsinks not so long ago.