The new Austrian cooler Noctua NH-D12L was created to solve the problem of installing vertical cooling systems in «narrow» cases. Unlike classic towers that are up to 160mm or more, this little guy is only 145mm tall and will fit into most 4U server boxes. At the same time, it supports 120 mm fans and has a significant heat dissipation area thanks to the two-section structure of the radiator. Previously, under similar conditions, it would have been necessary to use coolers with 92 mm propellers such as Noctua NH-D9L or NH-U9S, or horizontal NH-C14S, which also impose a number of restrictions on other components of the motherboard and change the airflow in the case. Besides, we haven’t seen such low towers since Thermalright True Spirit 120M. And the shape of the radiator directly resembles the smaller SilverStone Heligon HE-01. It remains to find out only one thing — how well this cooler is capable of cooling. But first, let’s take a closer look at its design features.

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Technical parameters

Name Night NH-D12L
Product page NH-D12L
Compatibility with processor connectors Intel LGA 2066/2011/1700/1200/115X, AMD AM4/AM5
The size of the radiator (LxWxH), mm 125x113x145
Fan size (LxWxH), mm 120x120x25
Material and construction of the radiator Two-section vertical structure made of aluminum plates pierced with five copper heat pipes, 6 mm in diameter, arranged in a U-shape. Plates, heat pipes and solid copper sole are fully nickel-plated, joints are soldered
Weight of the radiator, g 686
Number of radiator plates, pcs 38/40
Plate thickness, mm 0,45
The distance between the plates, mm 2/1,9
Calculated radiator area, cm² ~ 8 135
Fan Model Noctua NF-A12x25r PWM
Fan speed, rpm 450~2000 s NE
Volume of air flow, m³/h 102,1
Fan noise level, dB (A) 22,6
Static pressure, mm of water 2,23
Fan shaft type SSO2 (hydrodynamic shaft with magnetic stabilization)
Expected earnings per refusal, h 150 000
Nominal voltage of the fan, V 12
Fan current, A 0,14
Power consumption of the fan, W 1,68
Features Warranty — 6 years
Average cost, UAH 3150

Supply set

The cooler is sold in a beautiful, glossy package, drawn up, decorated in the brand’s signature colors. All technical parameters and dimensions necessary for the user are indicated on the sides of the box, including information about the complete set. To protect against damage, there are two massive additional boxes made of thick cardboard in the middle, which act as dampers for the radiator. You can not worry about the integrity of the product.

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In addition to the radiator and fan, the following items can be found in a separate inner box:

  • two separate instructions for installing the cooler on Intel and AMD connectors;
  • two additional brackets for the second fan;
  • metal sticker with the Noctua logo;
  • metal reinforcing plate for Intel LGA 1700/1200/115x connectors;
  • four blue plastic supports for the Intel LGA 1700 connector;
  • four screw pins for mounting on Intel LGA 1700/1200/115x connectors;
  • six plastic fasteners for pins (two of them spare);
  • two fixing legs for Intel LGA 2066/2011/1700/1200/115x connectors;
  • four black plastic supports for Intel LGA 1200/115x connectors;
  • four nuts with a knurled head for tightening by hand or a Phillips screwdriver;
  • four metal screw supports for Intel LGA 2066/2011 connectors;
  • Phillips screwdriver with a handle bent at a right angle;
  • four screws for AMD AM4 mounting legs;
  • four gray plastic supports for the AMD AM4 connector;
  • two mounting legs for AMD AM4 connectors;
  • syringe with thermal paste Noctua NT-H1;
  • four-pin resistor to reduce the maximum speed of the NA-RC14 fan.

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Appearance and construction

Noctua NH-D12L is a classic compact «tower» with two radiator sections between which a single complete fan is located. Its height from the processor is 145 mm, the width, including the fan latches, is 125 mm.

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The fan is placed at the minimum possible height so as not to protrude beyond the ends of the heat pipes. Brackets of fasteners allow you to adjust the height of the fan, as well as to install additional propellers of a similar type in front or behind. The depth of the radiator together with one propeller is 113 mm.

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It is in this perspective, the «top» view (and a little from the front), that a potential user will see his cooler in the case, provided that there is a transparent side panel.

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The complete 120mm fan is called the Noctua NF-A12x25r PWM. This is a rounded corner version of the Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM with a non-standard frame and unusually placed mounting holes. This was done in order to increase the compatibility of the cooler with other elements of the motherboard, and currently this fan is a unique model that fits only Noctua NH-D12L. Actually, this is where the differences between them end. The NF-A12x25 series is the best in the company’s range in terms of efficiency to noise level. This is achieved by combining the specific shape of the blades and their material together with the SSO2 (second generation, hydrodynamic with magnetic stabilization) shaft. The speed is regulated by PWM in the range from 450 to 2000 rpm. Up to about 1200 rpm, the fan runs very quietly, without any vibrations or extraneous noises. Rubber vibration dampers are installed at the corners on both sides of the frame. The 200 mm long four-pin power cable has a rubber braid.

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The front section of the radiator is made narrower so as not to conflict with the RAM slots. The rear section is wider and pushed back relative to the sole. They are combined with five 6-mm through-hole heat pipes, which, like the ribs and the sole, are covered with a layer of nickel to prevent corrosion. The total heat dissipation area is 8135 cm².

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The radiator consists of 40 plates located with a clearance of 1.9 mm in the rear section, and 38 plates with a clearance of 2 mm in the front section. Heat pipes are evenly distributed in the body of the radiator. All connections of plates and tubes are made by soldering.

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The thickness of the radiator in profile is 113 mm. The clearance between the sections is 33 mm. The sides of the radiator plates are bent at 90 degrees in the middle, which strengthens the structure as a whole and prevents the plates from sticking to each other. The front and back of each section have a row of vertical recesses for fastening the fan latches.

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The ends of the heat pipes are not covered by anything, but they look very decent and neat. The Noctua lettering and logo on the top plates clearly hint at the correct orientation of the cooling system.

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The cross plate, which presses the cooler to the processor, is fixed with one screw in the center. On both sides of the plate there is one cap nut with a slot on the springs.

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The sole of the cooler consists of two separate metal bars between which heat pipes are pressed. There are traces of solder in the contact areas, everything is done very carefully.

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The cooler has a solid copper sole covered with nickel. Its size is 38×40 mm. The surface is not mirror-like, but quite smooth, covered with small radial traces from milling.

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Noctua provided us with an additional Noctua NF-A12x25r PWM fan for testing. It is completely similar in characteristics to the complete propeller, and it was created purely for this single model of the cooler. The package shows all the important parameters of the device, its completeness and shows the efficiency diagram in comparison with other Noctua fans.

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There is an important warning on the side of the box that you should pay attention to. There it is indicated that the distance between the centers of the mounting holes here is 93×83 mm, so the fan cannot be a replacement for the usual 120 mm propellers with a standard frame and a distance between the centers of the holes of 105×105 mm.

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In addition to the fan itself, the kit includes an instruction manual, four special NA-AV2 vibration silicone mounts for the case, four screws, one NA-EC1 300 mm extension cable, one NA-YC1 one-to-two splitter, and one more NA- RC14 to reduce maximum propeller speed. All cables and adapters are designed for standard four contacts.

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Let’s proceed to the installation and testing of the cooler.

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