Review : Noctua NH-D12L


The NH-D12L

As far as the packaging is concerned, we find the usual Noctua boxes based on brown, white and black… At least for their classic series. With their range the packaging is different.

Inside, the heatsink is clearly safe! Indeed, the heatsink is packed in a cardboard protection, itself strapped in cardboard. Moreover, it is rather constraining since we have struggled a bit to remove the heatsink from its protections.


Once the NH-D12L is out of its packaging, we are literally facing a mini NH-D15. The double tower structure, the distribution of the heat pipes and the shape of the fan(s) remind us very strongly of this model!

Weight and dimensions

In spite of its label of double tower heatsink, which can be frightening at first sight, this NH-D12L remains quite compact… Especially in front of a NH-D15 for example. This new heatsink displays 125 (W) x 113 (D) x 145 (H) mm, all with its fan. If we add a second one, the depth increases to 138 mm. In short, a good surprise, especially in terms of height.

As for the weight, it will not be enough to tear off a motherboard with its 890 g on the scale.

The base

Noctua NH-D12L base

The base is the same as that of the other heatsinks of the brand. Thus, we find a nickel-plated copper construction, but no mirror finish. Moreover, if we look closer, we notice the traces of machining, but very very fine. Although, you can hardly feel them when you pass your finger on it.

Otherwise, this base offers dimensions of 41 x 38 mm, which is enough to cover the entire IHS of an AMD Ryzen CPU. For the Core i12, same story, the capsule on the top of the processor will be well covered by the NH-D12L base.

Otherwise, we notice the presence of a total of five nickel-plated copper heat pipes. These have a diameter of 6 mm each and are evenly distributed at the base. However, this is two less heat pipes than a NH-U12A and one less than the NH-D15.

The radiator

As you can see, the radiator adopts a rather singular shape with a first fin stack thinner than the second. The objective behind this is simple: to limit the compatibility problems with the RAM. Moreover, we can see a second advantage: less restriction on the airflow for the fan.

Finally, the second tower is thicker with saw-tooth shaped fins to increase the exchange surface.


As we are not dealing with a Chromax range, the finish remains quite classical with an aluminium grey color for the fins and a full nickel plating for the base and the heat pipes. On the first fins, we notice the presence of a Noctua logo on the two cooling towers and that’s all. By the way, speaking of fins, when you receive them, be careful where you put your fingers, by experience, we know that the Austrian models are very sensitive to traces.


Now we come to talk about the compatibility of the sockets of this heatsink. On this subject, Noctua mentions:

  • Intel : LGA-115x – LGA-1200 – LGA-1700 – LGA-2000
  • AMD : AM5 – AM4

Platform compatibility remains fairly standard on the Intel side. On the AMD side, as usual, we are missing support for the brand’s high-end platforms: TR4 and derivatives. Otherwise, for those who would be surprised to see theAM5 already supported, know that this new socket shares the same mounting points as the current AM4.

The fan:

Basically, the NH-D12L comes with a single fan already installed. This fan is sandwiched between the two cooling towers. Moreover, it is a fan that we know well in the editorial office since it is a NF-A12x25… But declined in another format. This time, instead of having a square frame, it is rounded. In its general shape, the frame reminds us very strongly the NF-A15 of the brand.

Otherwise, except for the shape of the frame, there is no change compared to the classic NF-A12x25. We always find nine thin blades, elongated and strongly curved. The central hub is also very massive since it has been reinforced. Note that on these fans, the blades are 0.5 mm from the frame!

Noctua NF-A12x25r
The original model comes with only one of these fans

Here, no change in characteristics against the fan with a square frame. Indeed, we still have a PWM powered mill operating from 450 RPM to 2000 RPM. At full speed, the airflow will reach 102.1 m3/h (60.09 CFM after conversion) while the static pressure will be 2.34 mmH2O.

Of course, it is always possible to reduce the operating speed to gain in silence. With an L.N.A adapter, the speed goes down to 1700 RPM, the air flow increases to 84.5 m3/h and the static pressure decreases to 1.65 mmH2O.

Finally, for customization, it will be necessary to turn to NA-SAVP3 silent blocks, the same as for a NF-A15


The bundle:

In terms of bundle, once again, the accessories are present in a cardboard box that contains:

  • Two leaflets as assembly instructions
  • One backplate for Intel platforms
  • The mounting arms
  • A screwdriver
  • A syringe of thermal paste
  • A resistor to reduce the fan speed
  • A Noctua badge
  • Two steel claws for mounting a second fan
  • The necessary screws and bolts for the assembly

And if you decide to buy a second fan, you will find :

  • A manual in the form of a leaflet
  • A splitter to connect two fans to a single fan socket
  • A resistor to reduce the fan speed
  • A PWM extension cable
  • Four siliconized nipples
  • Four screws for case mounting

The accessories provided with the air cooler and the fan are therefore very complete. They will allow you to deal with all situations while being complementary to each other. Special mention to the screwdriver available in case of need or to the set of claw for the assembly of a second fan!

Roughly speaking:

Noctua continues to offer well finished products with a complete accessory section. Moreover, despite its dual-tower format, this NH-D12L should not pose a big problem of compatibility with the motherboard. By the way, we see that now, see next page.