Noctua NH-L12 Mini-ITX CPU Heat Sink Review

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RedJaron

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These graphs can seriously be better. Having to cycle through six of them makes it very difficult to compare each heatsink across the different fan speeds. This could easily be reduced to two charts, one for temps and one for noise. Have each entry represented by three clustered bars, each bar representing a different fan speed. This means you can easily see how an individual cooler trends against itself at different speeds and how it compares to others at each speed as well.

Having said that, this may be pricey-ish, but those temps hardly fluctuate regardless what fans you have on it or what speed they run. A single 92mm fan @ 1000 rpm is just about as good as any other model with the speed cranked, and a whole lot quieter. Very impressive.
 

vertexx

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Sound measurement at a specified rpm is nice, but what would be more helpful is sound measurement at full load. Even better, set a benchmark running, and adjust rpm to give you a specified cpu temp. Measure sound level at that point. This will give you noise level required under a specified thermal load.

Otherwise, this has been an enjoyable series to read.
 

RedJaron

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This goes along with my complaint that the graphs have been confusing. On the temp graphs, it specifically says the machine was at full load. The acoustic graphs say no such thing. Now, if it was me testing, I'd have taken both readings at the same time, so the noise measurement would have been taken under full load.

I'd assume the noise measurements were taken at full load since the temps were too, but you're right, it doesn't specifically say.
 

Eggz

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Why test the i5-4430? An enthusiast air cooler like this one should be on an enthusiast chip like the i7-4790k.

By and large, there's no compelling reason to swap out the stock Intel cooler on a mITX build with the exception of this particular cooler, and only when larger coolers won't fit. If the temperature differential with this cooler remained within 1 C under load whether the larger (120mm) fan was attached or detached, then it seems that the "load" of the chip attached to the cooler produced inadequate heat to properly test the cooler's capabilities.

People probably more interested in knowing how much they can overclock a Steam Box on this cooler running a "K" skew CPU in a small-form-factor case like the Silverstone RVZ01B or ML07.
 

WithoutWeakness

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Intel specifies the PWM control of the CPU fan header on Intel boards. Why are these coolers not tested using the default PWM controls for the fans with the CPU at idle and full load? It would be far more meaningful than testing the fans at fixed RPM, especially since some of the fans max at 2500+ RPM.
 

T_h_e_S_k_u_l_l

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Noctua is my favorite brand of fans hands down....but i also use Cooler Master Blade Master 80 fans in some specific mITX builds with full copper very low profile heatsinks ( for a total height of fan+heatsink of 37.5mm) with direct air intake for the fan and specific fan profile in BIOS.
 

RedJaron

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Noctua specifically says this cooler is not designed to go above 95W TDP. The 4790K is 88W at stock clocks, so you're already close to its limit. You crank that CPU up and you're pushing this cooler farther than it's designed to go. Could it keep up? Maybe, but dissipating that much heat in a mITX case ( remember, this roundup was specifically about smaller enclosures, ) is not to be done lightly.


Look at the charts again. Even with just the smaller 92mm fan, this sink keeps the CPU under 32* C. The stock cooler can't do that even on max RPM. With this you can get a small cooler that puts minimal stress on the mboard while operating cooler and quieter than the stock solution. No, the 4430 may not throw a huge heat load out, but that's what makes it the perfect chip for a HTPC or Steam Box. Those are the exact cases where a tiny, quiet cooler are especially desirable.
 

Drejeck

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No wonder why is priced like that. The F12 and B9 are the best fans in their segment in all discipline a fan can be used. Check their prices.
 

logainofhades

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I thought I had seen this cooler reviewed before. :lol: The cost of this cooler just isn't worth it. The Zalman CNPS8900 Quiet is a far better value, as was shown in your review.
 

Crashman

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Can't really blame anyone but AMD if they went to a different style mount for their lowest-performance mainstream socket. Should we also keep an eye out for Bay Trail mounting updates?
 

vertexx

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Yeah, like you're going to buy a $40 cooler for a $25 cpu.
 
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