Noctua NH-L12S Review

Instead of releasing a completely new product to the market, Noctua recreated the NH L12 cooling fan and called this the NH-L12S. The company claims that they’ve enhanced the cooler’s features and performance which is why we’re going to see if the NH-L12S is better than its predecessor. Today, we’re going to focus on the newest CPU cooler from Noctua which has a completely new design that is said to provide better performance. The fan of the NH-L12S can also be utilized above or below the films which makes it an even more interesting device from this well-known company.

The NH-L12S is actually a very promising cooler but before we learn more about the product, features, specifications and how well it performs, let’s first check out what’s included in the package of this new CPU cooler from Noctua.

Noctua NH-L12S Review – What’s in the Box?

We were expecting to have the typical packaging from Noctua and that’s exactly what we got for the NH-L12S. At the top of the box, you’ll see that the device is an L-Type, low profile cooler: it also features a sticker mentioning that the NH-L12S is a successor to the award-winning and highly popular NH L12. Other details that you can find on the package are the device’s features such as whether it can be run in high-clearance or low-profile mode with the NF A12 x 15 PMW fan; it also informs you that the NH-L12S makes use of the Secu Firm 2 mounting.

When you check the right side of the box, you will also find the features that appear on the package’s front portion yet in a more detailed manner. There are images for your reference plus various descriptions that discuss the advantages of each feature available. When you look at the back of the box, you’ll see theories as to why the company created and designed the cooler this way; these are all written in eight different languages for everyone to understand. There are panels on the package that still feature details about the Noctua NH-L12S and the larger portion of this has been utilized to provide the specifications of the heatsink, as well as the NF A12 x 15 PMW fans; there are also details about the other contents that are included in the package. To the right of this, specifically underneath the product’s name, you’ll find a pair of renderings which are utilized to exhibit the dimensions of the NH-L12S.

Now let’s go ahead and check out the contents of the package: when you open the box, the first thing you’ll see is the accessories box and marked hardware. The accessory box carries all the mounting hardware for the two camps, as well as a couple of extra items that are necessary for the installation process. Beneath this is a piece of cardboard that is made specifically to surround the cooler’s base, keeping the hardware from touching this. For the lowest portion, it houses the fan and fin stack while the NH-L12S’ pipes are revealed in this area. We can say that overkill works great, and with an extremely detailed packaging, we weren’t surprised to see just how well-protected the NH-L12S was.

The Product

Noctua NH-L12S Review – Noctua, Still Ahead of the Game

Since the NH-L12S is a product from Noctua, you can definitely expect it to be a high-quality cooler that is durable and efficient. Compared to the previous model, the NH-L12S has a depth of 146 millimeters from 150 millimeters but its width of 128 millimeters is left unchanged. Without the fan, the cooler weighs 390 grams and with the fan, it weighs 520 grams; its base and heat pipes are made from copper yet these have also been nickel-plated in the process. The company has also set a total of fifty-eight aluminum fins on the cooler’s body, and just like its predecessor, it features a total of four 6-millimeter nickel-plated copper heatpipes. The Noctua NH L12 utilizes the NF B9 92-millimeter fan that is set at the bottom of the device while the NH-L12S makes use of the latest NF A12 x 15 slim-120-millimeter model. By default, the NH-L12S’ fan faces upwards but you can readily change this based on the airflow within your case.

We’re now going to look at the specifications of the Noctua NH-L12S: when it comes to the socket compatibility of the cooler, it’s good with the LGA-1156, LGA-1151, LGA-1155, LGA-1150, LGA-2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA-2011-0, and the Intel LGA-2066; it is also compatible with the AM2+, AMD AM2, AM3, AM4, AM3+, FM2, AM4, and the FM2+. With the fan, the NH-L12S has a measurement of 70 x 128 x 146 millimeters for its height, width, and dimension; the cooler also weighs a total of 520 grams.

The device has four units of six-millimeter heatpipes and its base is made mainly of copper. When we talk about the Noctua NH-L12S’ fan, this is the NF A12 x 15 PWM that measures 120 x 120 x 15 millimeters; its fan rate speed when it is PWM-controlled is from 450 to 1,850 RPM. The fan’s actually a good element of the NH-L12S since it worked efficiently and without problems when we tried out the device. It wasn’t much of a disturbance when it came to its noise levels since it only reached around 16.8 to 23.9 dbA when we were using the NH-L12S even for prolonged hours.

Now we can focus on the Noctua NH-L12S’ features which are really great and highly notable. Let’s start off with the fact that the NH-L12S was based on the popular NH-L12. This cooler is just as effective and durable as its predecessor but it offers better performance and more flexibility in low-profile mode; plus, it is also equipped with the NF A12 x 15 fan.

Let’s talk about the low-profile and high-clearance mode: if this is installed beneath the fin stack, your NH-L12S will only stand around seventy millimeters tall; this fan can actually be installed in a position to let it blow upwards or downwards depending on your preference though generally, this is to match the directional airflow within the case. For the high-clearance mode, you’ll run the cooler with the fan installed right at the top; here, the NH-L12S will provide a comprehensive clearance beneath the fin stack. This way, your Noctua cooler will be completely compatible with the RAM modules and chipset coolers that have heat spreaders of up to 48 millimeters in height.

Now for the NF A12 x 15 fan which is one of the highlights of the NH-L12S from Noctua, it is actually a premium-grade fan that measures around 120 millimeters, featuring refined aerodynamic optimizations such as the Flow Acceleration Channels. Because of this fan’s notable efficiency, it allows the Noctua NH-L12S to offer a more enhanced performance compared to the previous model. The fan clips that are included with the NH-L12S don’t only work with the NF A12 x 15 fan, but it also works perfectly with the 120-millimeter fans that have a thickness of 25 millimeters.

If you have additional room in your case, you can readily boost the NH-L12S’ performance simply by utilizing the regular 120 x 25-millimeter fan on top. Just remember that this will increase its height to 95 millimeters.

The NH-L12S also features the Secu Firm 2 mounting system which has become synonymous with ease of use, safety, and quality; plus, it also ensures that you will receive excellent contact pressure, as well as full convenience when it comes to all of its current sockets. What we liked and greatly appreciated is that Noctua made the device compatible with future, newer, and older sockets. The cooler also features the NT H1 thermal compound which is a pro-grade TIM solution that readily offers the lowest thermal resistance, excellent reliability, and it’s also very user-friendly. Lastly, what we really loved is that the Noctua NH-L12S has a six-year manufacturer’s warranty for everyone’s convenience.


  • Socket compatibility Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, AM4, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required)
  • Height (without fan) 70 mm
  • Width (without fan) 128 mm
  • Depth (without fan) 146 mm
  • Height (with fan) 70 mm
  • Width (with fan) 128 mm
  • Depth (with fan) 146 mm
  • Weight (without fan) 390 g
  • Weight (with fan/s) 520 g
  • Material Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
  • TDP see TDP guide
  • Fan compatibility 120x120x15 & 120x120x25
  • Scope of delivery
  • 1x NF-A12x15 PWM premium fan
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm2™ mounting kit
  • Noctua metal case-badge
  • Warranty 6 Years


The NH-L12S from Noctua is one of the CPU coolers that we were so eager to try out since we were highly impressed by the capabilities and performance of the Noctua cooler that was based on (the NH L12). This new model definitely exhibits a lot of improvements and enhancements which include a better cooling fan, tighter dimensions, as well as a wider range of supported processors and sockets. Of course, we tested the cooler to see if it’s better than its predecessor and it offered better compatibility, performance and a lower noise level despite having smaller dimensions. It was also able to maintain the stability of our processor throughout our whole testing process and of course, it also maintained its noise level which was more silent compared to the other CPU coolers that we’ve tested in the past. We didn’t encounter any issues the whole time we tried the NH-L12S and it’s quite amazing that it was extremely quiet the whole time. Overall, the Noctua NH-L12S performed extremely well so we’re giving this two thumbs up.

Using the Product


Overall, we were greatly pleased with the NH-L12S’s results starting off with its high-end, quality materials, excellent build quality, low noise levels, and generally, its performance. Not only that, but this cooler from Noctua also comes at a very affordable price which makes us give the company a double thumbs-up for making an even better and highly efficient CPU cooler. Noctua made all the perfect changes and enhancements to the NH-L12S and we really have no reason to not recommend this CPU cooler to you.

Where to Buy

Time to beef up your gaming rig? Grab yourself the NH-L12S from your favourite PC retailer. For more information head on over to the official product page.

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