heading

The NH-L12 is a low-profile quiet cooler designed for use in small form factor cases and HTPC environments. With its flexible NF-F12 (120mm) / NF-B9 (92mm) dual PWM fan setup, the NH-L12 can be configured either for full performance in dual fan mode or extra-low profile (66mm) with the top fan removed. Bundled with the award-winning NT-H1 thermal compound and Noctua’s SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system, the NH-L12 packs everything a premium quality quiet cooler needs into a highly compact package.

  Caution:  The NH-L12 is a low-profile quiet cooler designed for use in small form factor cases and HTPC environments. While it provides first rate performance in its class, it is not suitable for overclocking and should be used with care on CPUs with more than 95W TDP (Thermal Design Power). Please consult our TDP guidelines to find out whether the NH-L12 is recommended for your CPU.
Details
120/92mm dual fan design

120/92mm dual fan design

Thanks to its exquisite dual fan setup consisting of Noctua's highly optimised NF-F12 (120mm) and NF-B9 (92mm) premium fans, the NH-L12 pushes the bar in terms of low-profile quiet cooling performance.
Extra-low profile in 92mm single-fan mode

Extra-low profile in 92mm single-fan mode

The NH-L12 can be used with the NF-B9 92mm fan only in order to reduce the overall height to 66mm. This way, the cooler is suitable for many typical µATX or Mini-ITX enclosures and ideal for whisper-quiet HTPC systems.
PWM support and Low-Noise Adaptors

PWM support and Low-Noise Adaptors

The NH-L12's NF-F12 and NF-B9 fans support PWM for convenient automatic speed control. In addition, the maximum fan speed can be reduced to 1200/1300rpm using the supplied Low-Noise Adaptors for even quieter operation.
SecuFirm2™ mounting system

SecuFirm2™ mounting system

Noctua's enthusiast grade SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting provides broad socket compatibility (LGA 2011, LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1150, LGA775, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+) and meets the highest demands in safety, performance and ease-of-use.
Mini-ITX mounting without backplate

Mini-ITX mounting without backplate

Some Intel based Mini-ITX mainboards don't allow for the installation of backplates. The NH-L12 thus comes with an extra set of Intel mounting bolts which make it possible to install the cooler without using the SecuFirm2™ backplate.
NT-H1 thermal compound

NT-H1 thermal compound

Noctua's much-acclaimed NT-H1 is a pro-grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease-of-use and outstanding reliability.
NH-L12
Cooler Specifications
Intel LGA2011-0 (Square ILM), LGA2011-3 Square ILM with NM-IPS2, LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150, LGA775 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required)
Height (without fan)
66 mm
Width (without fan)
128 mm
Depth (without fan)
150 mm
Height (with fan)
93 mm
Width (with fan)
128 mm
Depth (with fan)
150 mm
Weight (without fan)
415 g
Weight (with fan/s)
680 g
Material
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Max. TDP
see TDP guide
Fan compatibility
120x120x25mm & 92x92x25mm
Scope of Delivery
  • 1x NF-F12 PWM premium fan
  • 1x NF-B9 PWM premium fan
  • 2x Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • Y-Split Cable
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit
  • Mini-ITX Mounting-Kit
  • Noctua Metal Case-Badge
Warranty
6 Years
FAN Specification
Bearing
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
1500 / 1600 RPM
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
1200 / 1300 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%)
300 / 300 RPM
Max. Acoustical Noise
22,4 / 17,6 dB(A)
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
18,6 / 13,1 dB(A)
Input Power
0,6 / 0,96 W
Voltage Range
12 V
MTBF
> 150.000 h
NH-L12
Video Reviews
The following video reviews have not been created by Noctua. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the videos lies entirely with the authors.
language
01.06.2016 // PCElite.pl
test.gif

NH-L12 Review

NH-L12 posiada dwa wentylatory w zestawie, co dosyć rzadko trafia się w takich zestawach oraz ukierunkowane wydmuchiwanie powietrza, a NH-C14S posiada wygląd, przypominający literkę „C”, który ma poprawić jego wydajność.
Test verdict: "Chciałbym, czy też nie, to i tak muszę znowu pochwalić produkty tej firmy. Jakość wykonania i bogaty zestaw, jak zwykle robią na mnie spore wrażenie. Testy wydajnościowe również wypadają bardzo dobrze, a innowatorskie rozwiązania dopełniają całości." (Arkadiusz Byś, PCElite.pl)
21.03.2016 // SmallFormFactor.net
test.gif

NH-L12 Review

In dual fan mode, the NH-L12 easily trades blows with the Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev B, our best performing downdraft cooler that we have tested until now. Even in single fan mode, the performance is not to be sniffed at, being the 4th best cooler in our test database in this mode. No weird sonic anomalies were present during testing, and the cooler kept a nice, low, tonal note throughout.
Test verdict: "[T]he performance is fantastic, besting the Scythe Big Shuriken 2 rev B in dual fan mode, and only slightly under-performing it in single fan mode. This does come with a height penalty, however, but for the ultimate in downdraft cooling, this may be your best bet based on our testing to date." (John Morrison, SmallFormFactor.net)
07.03.2016 // MinimalisticPC.com
test.gif

NH-L12 Review

The Noctua NH-L12 is the best performing cooler in both setups averaging at 65 °C / 53 °C. This was somehow expected due to the coolers dimensions and its dual fan setup.
Test verdict: "Do you have a lot of place, a powerful CPU, want the best performance, the most premium accessories, comfortable installation and budget is not an issue? Then the Noctua NH-L12 is probably the one for you. It’s big with a dual fan setup and it will give you great performance with the possibility to alter the height by choosing the fan setup." (Johan Nyman, MinimalisticPC.com)
15.02.2016 // Noticias3D.com
test.gif

NH-L12 Review

Con todas las ventajas del fabricante (impecables acabados, rendimiento fuera de toda duda dado su perfil, versátil, con control por PWM, montaje fácil y seguro...), Noctua le suma al NH-L12 la posibilidad de colocar dos ventiladores activos, de 9 y 12 centímetros, para maximizar efectos, y personalizar así la experiencia, ya que el NH-L12 es capaz de amoldarse a cualquier entorno. Con todo, el único pero es que se trata de un disipador pequeño y, por lo tanto, no está preparado para procesadores con TDP muy alto, y mucho menos para overclock, tal y como hemos visto, así que ya sabemos a qué atenernos. Con todo, podemos encontrarlo a la venta por un precio aproximado de 50 euros. Como solemos hacer, les otorgamos al Noctua NH-L12 el Premio N3D Recomendado.
Test verdict: "¿Qué podemos decir de Noctua que no sepamos ya? Pues que nos aporta el rendimiento, la estabilidad y la seguridad que le debemos pedir a un disipador por aire. Desde siempre hemos estado muy contentos con lo que Noctua hace por nuestras CPUs, y esa calidad sigue presente a día de hoy." (Iván Aparicio, Noticias3D.com)
30.11.2015 // ixbt.com
test.gif

NH-L12 Review

Несколько лет назад мы уже рассматривали кулеры этой компании — NH-D14 и NH-C14, и надо сказать что с тех пор в ассортименте Noctua моделей прибавилось. Однако, в целом, новые модели во многом повторяют своих предшественников, и объяснение этому достаточно, простое. Эти кулеры изначально спроектированы правильно! Да, безусловно, стоимость моделей Noctua выше, чем у аналогичных кулеров других производителей, но, покупая их, пользователь может быть уверен, что данная система охлаждения будет служить верой и правдой очень долго без всяких нареканий.
Test verdict: "Согласно результатам нашего исследования, мы считаем, что среди всех представленных в этом обзоре решений для охлаждения топовых процессоров лучшим является кулер Noctua NH-D15S. Для небольших корпусов и производительных процессоров оптимальным решением станет Noctua NH-C14S, который успешно продолжил успех своего прародителя Noctua NH-C14. Флагманский процессорный охладитель Noctua NH-D15 подойдет всем любителям разгона и просто состоятельным пользователям. Наше тестирование не предполагало разгон процессора, но это основная задача для таких кулеров, и нет ничего удивительного в том, что эта система охлаждения выбилась в лидеры. Еще одну модель с двумя вентиляторами — Noctua NH-L12, можно отнести к универсальным компактным решениям для малых корпусов." (Максим Афанасьев, ixbt.com)
21.09.2015 // PCMasters.de
test.gif

NH-L12 Review

Noctua liefert mit dem NH-L12 einen weiteren CPU-Kühler in gewohnter Premiumqualität für gehobene Ansprüche. Die Verarbeitung ist sehr gut, die Kompatibilität in allen Belangen lobenswert und das Montagekonzept wurde einwandfrei umgesetzt. Die Leistung des Low-Profile Kühlers ist mit einem minimalen thermischen Widerstand von 0,168 K/W bei einem Schalldruckpegel von 54,6 dB(A) gut, sodass teilweise sogar massemäßig überlegene Kontrahenten am Markt einpacken können.
Test verdict: "Jeder Interessent, der auf der Suche nach einem kleinen aber dennoch potenten CPU-Kühler ist, sollte den NH-L12 auf alle Fälle in seine engere Auswahl nehmen. Wir können den Noctua NH-L12 bedenkenlos empfehlen!" (Tobias Mann, PCMasters.de)
24.06.2015 // GameIT.es
test.gif

NH-L12 Review

Tenemos en nuestras manos un gran disipador, a la altura de los productos que nos presenta Noctua, que nos permitirá controlar la temperatura del procesador aunque el equipo sea compacto. Además, gracias a su reducido tamaño, permitirá usar el slot PCIe situado bajo el procesador.
Test verdict: "Noctua con su NH-L12 ha conseguido un disipador muy versátil, ya sea con la configuración de doble ventilador o la de un solo ventilador para conseguir un bajo perfil, el NH-L12 se comporta adecuadamente en ambos casos." (Miguel G. Mingorance, GameIT.es)
15.03.2015 // Donanimhaber Forum
test.gif

NH-L12 Review

MITX bazı anakartlarda ekran kartıyla sorun çıkartabilir fakat kasayla ilgili sıkıntı yaşamak imkansıza yakın. Performans olarak beklentilerimi karşıladı. İncelediğim soğutucular içinde bununla birlikte iki adet yatay soğutucu inceledim. Biri bundan önce incelediğin NH-C14'dü . Performans olarak ikisi kıyas kabul etmez çünkü teknik olarak bariz farklıklar var. Ses konusunda da çoğu kullanıcıyı memnun edecektir, memnun etmese bile voltaj düşürücü adaptörü kullanabilirler. NT-H1 en iyi termal macunlardan biri olduğu için ekstra macun masrafı da yok. 6 yıl garantisi olması da bir başka avantaj. İki fanlı olması da önemli bir artı. Eğer yükseklik bakımından sıkıntı olursa alttaki 92MM'lik fan ters çevirilerek soğutucu kullanılabilir. Aklıma gelen tek olumsuz sayılabilecek özellik ram slotlarının üstü kapanması.
Test verdict: "HTPC ya da SFF kasa kullanıp da dar alanda seçim sorunu yaşayanlar için NH-L12'yi rahatlıkla önerebilirim. Hatta yer sıkıntısı olmayan kişilere de fiyatından dolayıda tercih edilebilir çünkü oldukça zengin bir kutu içeriği var ve fanların kalitesi de ortada." (Ali Emre Alıcı, Donanimhaber Forum)
11.03.2015 // QWERTYmag.it
test.gif

NH-L12 Review

Si tratta di un ottimo dissipatore in grado di garantire prestazioni eccellenti su sistemi molto piccoli, e infatti vediamo come si sia posizionato bene tra dissipatori a torre verticale più comuni. La cura dei particolari è la solita a cui Noctua ci ha abituato, heatipes ben rifinite, torre radiante senza alcuna sbavatura o difetto di alcun genere e con un impatto acustico decisamente basso.
Test verdict: "NH-L12 rappresenta un punto di riferimento nel segmento della dissipazione in sistemi HTPC e Mini-ITX, garantendo performance molto alte che difficilmente è possibile trovare in dimensioni così contenute. Il prezzo vantaggioso e la configurazione dual-fans di cui è dotato lo rendono un must-have se siete alla ricerca di dimensioni contenute ed efficienza." (Davide Torno, QWERTYmag.it)
22.02.2015 // Yugatech.com
test.gif

NH-L12 Review

The mounting versatility and wide compatibility was a huge plus for us and, unlike other companies, Noctua delivered on their promise of near-silent performance which can be further tweaked thanks to the pre-bundled LNA.
Test verdict: "If you don’t have a lot of room in your case and you don’t want to worry about loud whirring noise coming from your CPU cooler’s fan, then the Noctua NH-L12 should be on the top of your list. (Abe Olandres, Yugatech.com)

Installation Manual (PDF)

Information Sheet (PDF)

FAQs

In which orientation should top-flow coolers (NH-C series, NH-L12) be installed?

How can I check whether my case is wide/high enough for the cooler?

I can't open the socket due to the mounting bars!

Does the package include a backplate for AMD AM2(+)/AM3(+)/FM1/FM2(+)?

How can I check whether my AMD mainboard has a standard AMD backplate that’s compatible with the SecuFirm2™ mounting system and how should I proceed with the installation?

I get a CPU fan error using my Noctua PWM fan, is it faulty?

How big is the NH-L12 and how much clearance does it provide?

Does the mounting-system support LGA2011 based Xeon CPUs?

Is it possible to install the supplied NF-F12 or other 120mm fans underneath the fin stack?

How should I clean my Noctua cooler?

Is the cooler compatible with AMD FM2+?

Which Noctua coolers are compatible with LGA1150?

I’ve used all the NT-H1 thermal compound that came with the cooler, can you send me more?

Which sockets are supported or can be supported using upgrade kits?

Is the NH-L12 compatible with the LGA2011-3 socket?

My Noctua PWM fan starts to spin when the PC boots but then stops, what is wrong?

My Noctua PWM fan runs at a much higher minimum speed than advertised, what is wrong?

What Thermal Design Power (TDP) is this cooler recommended for and how much Watt (W) of heat can it dissipate?

Can I install a Noctua cooler in my system from Acer, Dell, HP or Lenovo?

I'm experiencing fan speed issues with my motherboard from Supermicro, what can I do?

My Intel -K series CPU is running too hot although my heatsink supports the specified TDP, what's the problem?

Is the cooler compatible with the LGA1151 socket?

Why doesn't the supplied backplate fit my LGA2011 motherboard?

My case supports CPU coolers of up to XXXmm height, which model should I choose?

Can I use Low-Noise Adaptors with y-cables / multiple fans?

How to remove the base protection cover?

I have difficulties installing the cooler, can you help?

Should I take the cooler off before transporting my system?

Are there any concerns using Noctua CPU coolers on Intel Skylake (LGA1151) CPUs?

Is it a problem that the CPU heatspreader is not covered completely by the heatsinkbase on LGA2011-3?

Why doesn't the base of Noctua coolers have a polished, mirror like finish?

The supplied y-cable is missing a wire at one of the two connectors, is it faulty?

How can I check if my 4-pin fan header supports PWM?

Can I keep using the backplate / mounting system of my previous Noctua cooler for my new one?

How much torque should be applied when tightening the screws of a Noctua CPU cooler?

In which orientation should top-flow coolers (NH-C series, NH-L12) be installed?

When using top-flow coolers in a tower-style case, we strongly recommend installing the cooler with the heatpipes in horizontal position or with the bends of the heatpipes pointing downwards. Please avoid installing the cooler with the bends pointing upwards as this may result in reduced cooling performance. In desktop cases, the cooler can be used in any orientation.

Orientation

How can I check whether my case is wide/high enough for the cooler?

Most case manufacturers provide specifications for maximum CPU cooler height/clearance. Please refer to these specifications in order to verify that the cooler will fit the case. If no specifications are available, please contact the case manufactuer or measure the distance from the motherboard tray to the side panel (tower cases) or top panel (desktop cases). If this distance is bigger than the height of the cooler + 15mm (mainboard spacers + mainboard + CPU), the height/width of your case should be sufficient.

I can't open the socket due to the mounting bars!

Please first loosen one of the two thumbscrews that hold the mounting bars in place. Then untighten the second screw so that you can swivel the mounting bar and open the socket. Depending on the position of the mounting bars, you may need to swivel both.

Open Socket

Open Socket

Does the package include a backplate for AMD AM2(+)/AM3(+)/FM1/FM2(+)?

No. As most AMD mainboards come with a stock backplate preinstalled, the cooler doesn’t include an AMD backplate. If your mainboard doesn’t have a backplate, please contact our support team at support@noctua.at.

amd backplate

How can I check whether my AMD mainboard has a standard AMD backplate that’s compatible with the SecuFirm2™ mounting system and how should I proceed with the installation?

The SecuFirm2™ mounting system requires a standard AMD backplate (either plastic or metal) with screw threads as shown on the pictures below. These backplates are pre-installed on the rear side of most AMD mainboards (see first picture below) and fixed to the retention module with four screws (see second picture below). If your retention module is fixed with plastic bolts instead of metal screws, please contact support@noctua.at in order to obtain an appropriate backplate.

In order to proceed with the installation of your Noctua cooler, please remove the four screws and the retention module but keep the backplate in place so that you can see the screw threads from the top side of the motherboard (see third picture below). You can then proceed with the installation of the SecuFirm2™ mounting kit as described in the manual (see fourth picture below).

AMD backplate

AMD backplate

AMD backplate

AMD backplate



I get a CPU fan error using my Noctua PWM fan, is it faulty?

Noctua PWM fans feature a minimum speed of 300rpm to allow for ultra quiet operation when your CPU is at idle state and doesn’t require higher cooling performance. Some mainboards display error messages such as “CPU fan error” during the booting process when the fan speed is below a certain level. If you get such error messages using your Noctua PWM fan and if such options are available in your BIOS, please either adjust the minimum fan speed monitoring limit to 200rpm or increase the minimum PWM duty cycle. If your BIOS doesn’t offer these options, please disable CPU fan errors. For detailed information on BIOS fan settings, please consult your mainoard’s manual or contact your mainboard manufacturer.

How big is the NH-L12 and how much clearance does it provide?

Please refer to the following drawing for the exact measurements and clearance:

P14

Does the mounting-system support LGA2011 based Xeon CPUs?

There are two different types of ILM (Independent Loading Mechanism) for Intel’s LGA2011 based Xeon CPUs: Square ILM with 80x80mm hole spacing and Narrow ILM with 56x94mm hole spacing. The Square ILM socket is mechanically identical to the LGA2011 socket for Core i7, so the mounting-system is fully compatible, but it is not compatible with Xeon mainboards that use the Narrow ILM:

Xeon Compatibility

Is it possible to install the supplied NF-F12 or other 120mm fans underneath the fin stack?

The NF-B9 92mm fan is used underneath the fin stack because it gives easy access to the mounting screws and sits within the 95x95mm (Intel) and 96x114mm (AMD) keep-out zones, thus providing full compatibility with standard height RAM and chipset/VRM heatsinks. In principle, it is also possible to put the supplied NF-F12 120mm fan underneath the fin stack instead, but in many cases, this setup will cause compatibility issues with RAM and/or chipset/VRM heatsinks. Similar issues are likely to arise with other 120mm fan models and in addition, some fans may be blocked by the mounting screws and/or block access to the screws. As a result, using 120mm fans underneath the fin stack may be possible in some cases, but is not officially supported.

How should I clean my Noctua cooler?

Dust: Fans and heatsinks inside computer cases tend to accumulate dust over longer periods of usage. In order to maintain maximum performance, please clean your fan and heatsink regularly. For cleaning, please first remove the fan from the heatsink and clean it using a duster, slightly moist tissue or canned air. Please be careful not to use too much force in order to prevent any damage to the fan. Please do not use a vacuum cleaner as this may apply excessive force to the fan and do not put the fan under running water as water residues inside the motor may lead to short circuits. Please also note that the fan is not designed to be taken apart by the user. Removing the impeller from the frame will break the sealing of the bearing and results in a loss of warranty. Before reinstalling the fan, clean the heatsink itself with a duster or vacuum cleaner. Do not use water to clean the cooler. Finally put the fan back on and connect it to your motherboard fan header or fan controller.
Thermal paste residues: Whenever you take off the heatsink from the CPU, we recommend to clean the CPU as well as the base of the cooler before re-applying thermal paste and re-installing the cooler. You can either just wipe the base and the CPU clean with a dry, lint-free tissue or, for more thorough cleaning, use a lint-free tissue moistened with either a mild solution of washing-up liquid or isopropyl alcohol. Do not put the cooler or CPU under running water. Note that both the base of the heatsink and the CPU should be dry, free from residues of thermal compound and free from grease before re-applying thermal paste and re-installing the cooler.

Is the cooler compatible with AMD FM2+?

As the hole spacing for CPU cooler installation on FM2+ is the same as on AM2, AM2, AM3(+), FM1 and FM2, the cooler is fully compatible with FM2+ out of the box and doesn’t require any modifications or upgrades.

Which Noctua coolers are compatible with LGA1150?

The mounting is identical on all LGA115x sockets (LGA1150, LGA1155, LGA1156). The following coolers are thus compatible with LGA1150 out of the box and don’t require any upgrades in order to be used on this platform: NH-C12P SE14, NH-C14, NH-D15, NH-D14, NH-L12, NH-L9i, NH-U14S, NH-U12S, NH-U12P SE2, NH-U9B SE2. In addition, all older models which have been upgraded with the NM-I3 kit can also be used on LGA1150 without any further upgrades.

The following coolers can be made compatible to LGA1150 using the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit and are eligible for Noctua’s free mounting kit offer: NH-C12P, NH-U12, NH-U12F, NH-U12P, NH-U12P SE1366, NH-U9, NH-U9F, NH-U9B.

The following coolers can be made compatible to LGA1150 using the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit but are not eligible for Noctua’s free mounting kit offer: DX-Series Xeon coolers, NH-D14 SE2011.

The following coolers are mechanically incompatible with the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit and can not be made compatible with LGA1150: DO-Series AMD Opteron coolers, NH-L9a.

I’ve used all the NT-H1 thermal compound that came with the cooler, can you send me more?

Please kindly note that the NT-H1 thermal compound supplied with our coolers is a consumable item so our manufacturer’s warranty does not include providing additional thermal compound. You can purchase NT-H1 from our resellers.

Which sockets are supported or can be supported using upgrade kits?

Please refer to our socket compatibility chart.

Is the NH-L12 compatible with the LGA2011-3 socket?

The NH-L12 features a special variant of the SecuFirm2™ that needs to be updated with the new NM-IPS2 spacers in order to be compatible with LGA2011-3. NH-L12 owners can now request these spacers free of charge here.

My Noctua PWM fan starts to spin when the PC boots but then stops, what is wrong?

Some mainboards feature 4-pin fan headers that actually don‘t use a PWM signal on Pin 4 to control the fan speed but rather reduce the voltage on Pin 2 (like a standard 3-pin fan header). In this case, it may occur that the mainboard reduces the voltage so much that the fan stops. Please refer to your mainboard manual to check whether or not your mainboard has 4-pin fan headers that control the fan speed by reducing voltage on Pin 2 rather than by changing the PWM duty cycle on Pin 4:

4 pin fan header types

Note that mainboard manufacturers use different terms to indicate that Pin 4 is not being used for PWM control (e.g. “+5V”, “VCC” or “NC”), but if one of these terms is used, you can be sure that the fan header does not support PWM. If Pin 4 is described as “Speed Control” or “PWM” or the like, you can be sure that the fan header supports PWM.

Unfortunately, the description of Pin 2 is not always a clear indication as some manufacturers use terms such as “Fan PWR” or “Power” for both types of fan headers. However, if Pin 2 is described as “Speed Control”, you can also be sure that the fan header does not support PWM based speed control. If Pin 2 is described as “+12V”, this is a clear indication that the fan header supports PWM.

Please also note that in some cases, the descriptions of the pin layouts in the mainboard manuals may not be correct and some models actually allow you to switch the fan headers from voltage control mode to PWM control mode in the BIOS even though the pin descriptions do not indicate PWM support. We thus recommend to look for these options in the BIOS before taking other measures. In case of doubt, please contact your mainboard manufacturer.



To resolve the issue, you can:

  1. Choose a higher fan speed profile in the BIOS (e.g. „normal“ instead of „silent“, etc.) or deactivate automatic fan speed control and use a Low-Noise Adaptor instead.

  2. Use the mainboard‘s fan speed control software or 3rd party tools like Speedfan to regulate the fan speed. Unlike BIOS based fan speed control, the supplied software usually checks whether the fan has stopped and increases voltage accordingly or at least offer more options to set up the fan properly.

  3. If your mainboard features other 4-pin fan headers that use PWM for speed control, you can run multiple fans from these headers using Y-split cables. Make sure not to exceed the specified maximum power draw of the fan headers (usually 10-12W) though.

My Noctua PWM fan runs at a much higher minimum speed than advertised, what is wrong?

The specified minimum speed refers to the speed at 20% PWM duty cycle. There can be several reasons why the fan doesn‘t go as low as indicated:

  1. Many mainboards do not go below 40%, 50% or even 60% PWM duty cycle on case fan headers. Please refer to your mainboard manual to verify whether the fan header actually goes down to 20% duty cycle. If that's not the case, in some cases you can use the fan speed control software supplied with your mainboard to overcome these limitations and reduce the fan speed even further. However, 3rd party tools like SpeedFan offer greater flexibility and better options to work around the limitations imposed by the mainboard vendors.

  2. Some mainboards feature 4-pin fan headers that actually don‘t use a PWM signal on Pin 4 to control the fan speed but rather reduce the voltage on Pin 2 (like a standard 3-pin fan header). As the fan speed at minimum voltage is usually higher than the speed at 20% PWM duty cycle, the fan can not reach as low minimum speeds under voltage control as under PWM control. Please refer to your mainboard manual to check whether or not your mainboard has 4-pin fan headers that control the fan speed by reducing voltage on Pin 2 rather than by changing the PWM duty cycle on Pin 4:

    4 pin fan header types

    Note that mainboard manufacturers use different terms to indicate that Pin 4 is not being used for PWM control (e.g. “+5V”, “VCC” or “NC”), but if one of these terms is used, you can be sure that the fan header does not support PWM. If Pin 4 is described as “Speed Control” or “PWM” or the like, you can be sure that the fan header supports PWM.

    Unfortunately, the description of Pin 2 is not always a clear indication as some manufacturers use terms such as “Fan PWR” or “Power” for both types of fan headers. However, if Pin 2 is described as “Speed Control”, you can also be sure that the fan header does not support PWM based speed control. If Pin 2 is described as “+12V”, this is a clear indication that the fan header supports PWM.

    Please also note that in some cases, the descriptions of the pin layouts in the mainboard manuals may not be correct and some models actually allow you to switch the fan headers from voltage control mode to PWM control mode in the BIOS even though the pin descriptions do not indicate PWM support. We thus recommend to look for these options in the BIOS before taking other measures. In case of doubt, please contact your mainboard manufacturer.


    If your mainboard features other 4-pin fan headers that use PWM for speed control, you can run multiple fans from these headers using Y-split cables. Make sure not to exceed the specified maximum power draw of the fan headers (usually 10-12W) though.

What Thermal Design Power (TDP) is this cooler recommended for and how much Watt (W) of heat can it dissipate?

Please refer to our TDP guide for information on maximum recommended TDP and heat dissipation.

Can I install a Noctua cooler in my system from Acer, Dell, HP or Lenovo?

Systems from Acer, Dell, HP or Lenovo often use motherboards which differ slightly from the specifications issued by Intel and AMD. While those changes are usually subtle, they can led to compatibility issues with coolers that where built to comply with these specifications.

Even in case the cooler is mechanically compatible and can be installed, other issues can occur, e.g. proprietary fan connectors, BIOS errors due to a low fan speed, shutdowns, etc. Some of these problems can be avoided with some technical knowledge, but especially BIOS related can often not be resolved.

Due to the large number of possible issues with systems from Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo, which can't be resolved with different mounting parts alone, Noctua does not officially support such machines.

I'm experiencing fan speed issues with my motherboard from Supermicro, what can I do?

The BIOS of many motherboard models from Supermicro expects a certain minimum fan speed (usually 700rpm), which is higher than the minimum fan speed that can be achieved with Noctua's PWM fan models. The BIOS may interpret the low minimum RPM of Noctua fans as a fan error and thus try to run the fan at 100% for a short period before going back to automatic control.. This can result in oscillating fan speeds and fan speed warnings in the BIOS or the fan management console.

Unfortunately there is usually no option to set a lower minimum value that would suit the low minimum speed of Noctua PWM fans.The issue can thus only be resolved by either disabling automatic fan speed control in BIOS, which will cause the fans to run at a constant speed, or by requesting a modified BIOS file from Supermicro, which takes the minimum fan speed of Noctua fans into account (charges might apply).

My Intel -K series CPU is running too hot although my heatsink supports the specified TDP, what's the problem?

Intel's unlocked -K series CPUs can dissipate more heat than indicated by the TDP specification if a) the TDP limits are extended or disabled in the motherboards' BIOS or b) the motherboard applies some overclocking by default, e.g. by raising the supply voltage of the CPU and using higher Turbo-Mode multipliers. This can lead to temperature issues.

The actual power draw of the processor can be monitored with software provided by the motherboard vendor or with 3rd party tools like HWInfo or HWMonitor. If you encounter temperature issues and notice a higher than specified power draw, please limit the TDP to the specified value by choosing appropriate BIOS settings. In doubt please contact your motherboard vendor for details on how to do this.

All our TDP recommendations are based on thorough testing with the default values specified by Intel.

Is the cooler compatible with the LGA1151 socket?

Yes. Due to the heatsink mounting mechanism being identical on LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155 and LGA1156, the cooler also supports LGA1151.

Why doesn't the supplied backplate fit my LGA2011 motherboard?

The supplied backplate is for LGA115x only and there is no backplate required for installation on LGA2011. Please refer to the installation manual for how to install the heatsink on LGA2011.

My case supports CPU coolers of up to XXXmm height, which model should I choose?

Please refer to our TDP guide in order to select the cooler that offers the best cooling performance at a given height.

Can I use Low-Noise Adaptors with y-cables / multiple fans?

Yes, Low-Noise Adaptors (L.N.A.s) can be used with y-cables, but please make sure to use one L.N.A. per fan and to place the L.N.A.s between the y-cable and the fans as shown below. Never use one L.N.A. for two (or more fans) by placing it between the mainboard and the y-cable!

D15S

How to remove the base protection cover?

Noctua CPU coolers are shipped with a plastic protection cover at the bottom side of the cooler, which protects the contact surface against scratches and other damage.

The base of Noctua CPU coolers is made from hard-wearing nickel plated copper, so there's nothing to worry about if you buy a Noctua cooler from second hand or if your cooler didn't come with a protection cover. Please proceed with the installation as explained in the manual.

You can simply remove the cover as shown below:

Base Protection Cover

I have difficulties installing the cooler, can you help?

Please refer to the installation manual and our video installation guides for detailed instructions on how to install the cooler.

Should I take the cooler off before transporting my system?

Due to the low weight of the cooler, it is not necessary to take it off for transport.

Are there any concerns using Noctua CPU coolers on Intel Skylake (LGA1151) CPUs?

Our SecuFirm2™ mounting systems undergo comprehensive compatibility tests before being approved for new platforms. We have neither detected any problem with regard to the Intel LGA1151 platform (“Skylake”) during these tests nor have we received any reports from our customers, sales partners and system integrators that would indicate any possible issue. Our SecuFirm2™ mounting systems (with the exception of some compact L-type models) rely on coil springs to create the required contact pressure, which gives a certain flexibility both with regards to tolerances in stackup height and shocks or other forces. Compared to spring-less mounting systems, which exclusively rely on the bending of the mounting brackets in order to create contact pressure, this allows to reduce the mechanical stress on CPU, socket and motherboard and thus helps to prevent possible damage from excessive forces. However, as it is not possible to reliably calculate or control the forces that act upon a system during transport (e.g. in shipping), we generally recommend, due to safety reasons, to take off coolers with a total weight of more than 700g (incl. fan).

Is it a problem that the CPU heatspreader is not covered completely by the heatsinkbase on LGA2011-3?

No. Depending on the orientation of the cooler, 1-2mm at the outer edge of the heatspreader may not be covered by the heatsink base. As the heat is concentrated at the center of the CPU and the outermost parts are irrelevant for heat-transfer, this is no problem at all.

Why doesn't the base of Noctua coolers have a polished, mirror like finish?

As most of today's PC enthusiasts use high-viscosity thermal compounds, the contact surface of Noctua coolers is optimised for use with this type of pastes. The micro-grooves at the contact surface ensure that high-viscosity thermal compounds are dispersed to a uniform thin layer across the whole contact area and that no air pockets remain between the cooler and the CPU. With a polished, mirror like surface, the risk of uneven dispersion is much higher. As too thick layers of thermal paste and air pockets drastically deteriorate heat transmission, the micro-grooves are is of vital importance to the overall cooling performance of Noctua coolers when used with today's high-viscosity thermal pastes.

The supplied y-cable is missing a wire at one of the two connectors, is it faulty?

No. As mainboards can process only one rpm-signal per fan header, it would cause problems if the cable transmitted rpm-signals of both fans. For this reason, one of the two connectors does not have an rpm wire and only the fan on the other connector will transmit an rpm signal. Automatic speed control of both fans will work independent from the second fan’s rpm signal.

How can I check if my 4-pin fan header supports PWM?

Some mainboards feature 4-pin fan headers that actually don‘t use a PWM signal on Pin 4 to control the fan speed but rather reduce the voltage on Pin 2 (like a standard 3-pin fan header). As the fan speed at minimum voltage is usually higher than the speed at 20% PWM duty cycle, the fan can not reach as low minimum speeds under voltage control as under PWM control. Please refer to your mainboard manual to check whether or not your mainboard has 4-pin fan headers that control the fan speed by reducing voltage on Pin 2 rather than by changing the PWM duty cycle on Pin 4:

4 pin fan header types

Note that mainboard manufacturers use different terms to indicate that Pin 4 is not being used for PWM control (e.g. “+5V”, “VCC” or “NC”), but if one of these terms is used, you can be sure that the fan header does not support PWM. If Pin 4 is described as “Speed Control” or “PWM” or the like, you can be sure that the fan header supports PWM.

Unfortunately, the description of Pin 2 is not always a clear indication as some manufacturers use terms such as “Fan PWR” or “Power” for both types of fan headers. However, if Pin 2 is described as “Speed Control”, you can also be sure that the fan header does not support PWM based speed control. If Pin 2 is described as “+12V”, this is a clear indication that the fan header supports PWM.

Please also note that in some cases, the descriptions of the pin layouts in the mainboard manuals may not be correct and some models actually allow you to switch the fan headers from voltage control mode to PWM control mode in the BIOS even though the pin descriptions do not indicate PWM support. We thus recommend to look for these options in the BIOS before taking other measures. In case of doubt, please contact your mainboard manufacturer.


If your mainboard features other 4-pin fan headers that use PWM for speed control, you can run multiple fans from these headers using Y-split cables. Make sure not to exceed the specified maximum power draw of the fan headers (usually 10-12W) though.

Can I keep using the backplate / mounting system of my previous Noctua cooler for my new one?

Most Noctua SecuFirm™ mounting parts are cross-compatible, so if you’re replacing one Noctua cooler with another, it is usually possible to keep the original backplate and/or mounting system in place in order to re-use it for the new cooler. If you had your previous Noctua cooler installed on an Intel LGA115x (LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150), LGA2011 (LGA2011-0, LGA2011-3) or LGA1366 system and replace it with an NH-U14S, NH-U12S or NH-U9S, you only need to replace the original mounting bars with the NM-IMB3 ones supplied with the new cooler. For all other models, you can keep the entire mounting system in place on the aforementioned Intel sockets. On AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+, you only need to replace the original mounting bars with the ones supplied with the new cooler.

How much torque should be applied when tightening the screws of a Noctua CPU cooler?

All screws should be tightened gently until they stop without using excessive force. Please do not exceed the following values for maximum tightening torque:
Screw typeMax. torque
NM-SSC1 screws for fixing the fastening brackets to the base of the heatsink0.5 Nm
NM-ITS1 thumb screws for fixing Intel mounting bars0.5 Nm
NM-ALS1 screws for fixing AMD mounting bars0.6 Nm
Spring-loaded screws for fixing the heatsink to the mounting bars0.6 Nm

Do you have a question concerning one of our products? Please use this form to pose a question!