Final words and conclusion
Final words and conclusion
This Noctua NF-D12L delivers a high degree of dual-tower performance in a reasonably small size. As always the quality oozes the minute you open the Noctua box. Overall, the cooler is almost unquestionably recommended, however, has a hefty price tag. If you have the room, you can also locate the larger and somewhat stronger Noctua NH-D15, or for a little less money, the be silent! Dark Rock Pro 4. However, none of these coolers will fit into older or smaller cases as securely as the NH-D12L. Compared to LCS, this unit is only 3-4 Degrees C away from liquid cooling.
Aesthetics & Design
This section will be repetitive: We've said it before and we'll say it again: Noctua's color palette for their products is at the very least controvertible. Brown/beige hues are just out of step with today's high-end desired and colorful items. Regardless of the hues, end-users are prepared to look aside since the quality of the coolers themselves is simply too amazing. We certainly appreciate Noctua's dilemma; Gigabyte uses Blue, ASUS ROG uses Red, and each firm has its own house color scheme and so trademark for corporate branding.
Cooling-wise, the NF-D12L does well with the difficult-to-cool a 90W processor. The performance of the default clock frequency is great, nothing more, nothing less. Overclocking with a CPU like this on heat-pipe cooling is usually not a good idea. The NF-D12L kept everything in line though even at 1.35~1.40 Volts / 4600 MHz temps remains okay, though not advised for long-term (hours and hours) CPU load, but is certainly comfortable enough for brief use spurts. Acoustic are darn fantastic as well. Especially at processor default, you'll be hard-pressed to hear or notice this unit. On the outer edge of overclocking with more voltage, here you can tell it has a bit less cooling capacity, but even then managed to impress us.
The NH-D12L is priced at EUR/USD 89.90 by Noctua. That's not bad given that it contains the NF-A12x25r PWM fan, which retails for EUR/USD 29.90 on its own. It certainly is a lot of money for a heatpipe cooler though. It comes with a six-year guarantee and is being sold by various global merchants as we speak.
The NH-D12L is 145mm tall – 13mm shorter than typical Noctua models – and uses a custom-built NF-A12x25r fan with rounded edges that can be lowered between the fin stacks without tainting neighboring components. Yep, it doesn't quite beat a water cooler, but the gap is not that big with a 3-4 Degrees C delta. The regular NT-H1 thermal compound and low-noise adaptors are included, as are SecuFirm 2 mounting kits for the latest Intel/AMD sockets – including LGA1700 and the impending AM5 – and the entire package is backed by a fantastic six-year guarantee. There's no word of an all-black Chromax variant just yet, but the NH-D12L is available now for $90 in the US or £80 in the UK, and that does make this cooler a bit expensive. You do purchase sheer quality though, Noctua products also come with excellent after-sales service. If you require an upgrade kit for a future socket and the cooler supports it, Noctua will almost always get you one for free. It's a very competitively performing cooler and comes recommended by us.