Noctua releases low-profile CPU cooler for SFF builds — NH-L12Sx77 has better clearance for RAM, VRM heatsinks

Noctua NH-L12Sx77 Low Profile CPU Cooler
(Image credit: Noctua)

Noctua has launched the NH-L12Sx77 low-profile CPU cooler for small form factor systems. It provides better clearance with added height and two more heatpipes for better cooling. The height increase is much needed since mini-ITX motherboards have more densely packed features for expansions and VRAM heatsinks, giving less legroom or being an obstacle for certain low-profile CPU air coolers.

As said in our NH-L12S review, the pre-included fan can be installed underneath the heatsink or above it, depending on the user's preference and the case's dimensions. While it is still a low-profile CPU cooler, it may have clearance issues with some SFF builds, like the Fractal Ridge. However, Noctua says it would be preferred for cases like the Fractal Design Terra or the Louqe Raw S1

The NH-L12Sx77 is designed to fill the gap left by NH-L12s. Noctua uses its own performance rating formula instead of TDP, called NSPR, but its chart shows that this new CPU cooler has better cooling potential. It will be interesting to see how the NH-L12Sx77 performs with modern Intel Core i9 CPUs, as the original CPU cooler performed well with acoustics and cooling

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Noctua NH-L12Sx77 CPU Cooler Specifications
Socket compatibility Intel LGA1851, LGA1700, LGA1200, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 and AMD AM5, AM4 socket_compatibility
Height (with fan)77mm
Width (with fan)128mm
Depth (with fan)131mm
Weight (with fan) 520 gms
Material Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating material
NSPR100 nspr
Fan compatibility120x120x15mm / 120x120x25mm
Scope of DeliveryNF-A12x15 PWM premium fan
Row 9 - Cell 0 NA-RC7 Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
Row 10 - Cell 0 NT-H2 high-grade thermal compound
Row 11 - Cell 0 SecuFirm2™ mounting kit
Row 12 - Cell 0 Noctua metal case-badge
Warranty6 Years warranty

Downdraft CPU coolers have been around for a long time, both in full size and low profile,  from the AMD 939 days when Thermaltake had the original Big Typhoon to the low-profile CPU coolers like the Thermalright AXP100 with a height of 55mm, including the fans. But managing to accommodate some, if not all, cases while balancing the support for the clearance of the VRM heatsinks and DIMM slots on a mini-ITX build is not a small task. The cooler's suggested retail pricing is $74.90. In comparison, the NH-L12S sells for $64.90 via Amazon.

Apart from the new cooler design and added heat pipes, Noctua includes NT-H2 thermal paste, the NF-12x15 PWM fan rated to have a max acoustical noise of 23.9 dbA, a low-noise adapter, its well-known mounting kit, a metal case badge, and a six-year warranty. 

Freelance News Writer
  • Notton
    The differences summed up: 7mm taller, 6vs4 heatpipes, socket offset is greater

    The L12S couldn't be used in 70mm configuration with the 120x15 fan mounted underneath, unless you used very low profile ram (good luck finding any for DDR4/5).