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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, LGA2066, 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 Specification
Intel LGA2066, 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), AM4 with NM-AM4
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
MTTF
> 150.000 h
NH-L12
NH-L12
SecuFirm2™ Intel LGA2011 installation
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.
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07.05.2012 // LegitReviews.com
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NH-L12 Review

The NH-L12 from Noctua was a little surprise for me. With all the caveats, provisos, a couple of quid pro quo, I felt the little guy wouldn’t hold up to the heat. It did, and for users that have a smaller/narrower case and not interested in the least to overclock then the NH-L12 would be rather perfect. Top it off with Noctua’s 6 year warranty and awesome build quality, the NH-L12 has win all over it. [...] The HTPC and SFF crowd stands to benefit the most from the NH-L12. The overall height is rather low at 3.7 inches with both fans installed. Removing the upper 120mm fan lowers that to 2.5 inches. Couple the small overall size with the quiet operation of the Noctua fans, makes it perfect for HTPCs or Small Form Factor builds where low noise is a goal.
Test verdict: "If you are in the market for a quality quiet low profile CPU cooler, then Noctua has you covered with the NH-L12." (Shane Higgins, LegitReviews.com)
15.05.2013 // ComputerBase.de
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NH-L12 Review

+ Hohe Kühlleistung mit zwei Lüftern
+ Hervorragende Hardwarequalität
+ Leise Serienbelüftung
+ Umfangreiche Ausstattung
+ Moderater Platzbedarf
Test verdict: "Das beste Gesamtpaket aller Testkandidaten wird unserer Ansicht nach durch den Noctua NH-L12 verkörpert. Der erstklassig gefertigte Down-Blower überzeugt durch gute Kühlleistung in Verbindung mit einem bei Bedarf zurückhaltend leisen Betriebsgeräusch und ist dank 120-mm-Konzeption erheblich kompakter als die Kontrahenten von Phanteks oder Alpenföhn. Typische Kritikpunktkategorien wie die mangelnde Qualität der Serienlüfter, Komfortabstriche beim Montagesystem oder potentiell fehlende Ausstattungsmerkmale umschifft Noctua beim NH-L12 zielsicher, sodass wir in der Summe eine klare Kaufempfehlung für den knapp 50 Euro teuren Österreicher aussprechen können." (Martin Eckardt, ComputerBase.de)
19.06.2012 // KitGuru.net
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NH-L12 Review

Noctua have been able to create a steady stream of high grade coolers over the years, and the NH-L12 is no exception to the rule. We managed to maintain a substantial 4.7 GHz overclock via the NH-L12 without experiencing high temperatures that could affect the longevity of the CPU. This is quite remarkable for a compact, low-profile CPU cooler especially as compromises normally have to be made. The impressive thermal performance of the cooler is rivaled by the excellent acoustic performance. Even with the fans running at full speed, the cooler is inaudible when it’s installed in a case. That said, both of the fans are PWM models, so most of the time they will be spinning much slower, emitting low levels of noise. Noctua offer a 6 year warranty as standard which gives us peace of mind that the cooler will last a very long time indeed.
Test verdict: "[I]f you want to build an overclocked HTPC or small form factor PC, you need look no further. KitGuru says: Another excellent product from Noctua!" (Henry Butt, KitGuru.net)
15.05.2012 // ThinkComputers.com
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NH-L12 Review

To my surprise this cooler worked exceptionally well, even at full system load. With the 2 fans on full speed the idle temperature was 31 and the load was 47, which is very impressive for such a small cooler. Even more impressive is when I took the top fan off to run the cooler in “low-profile” mode the temperature only went up 10 degrees (41 idle, 57 load). This cooler is extremely small. You really should not have any issues fitting it inside your case or HTPC system. I installed the cooler on my ASUS P9X79 Pro motherboard without any issues at all. The heatsink is large enough that you can actually fit most memory that has smaller heatspreaders under it. Also if you are having height clearance issues you can take off the top fan for a very low-profile cooler that still provides great cooling.
Test verdict: "Right now the NH-L12 is selling for $71.99 at my favorite online retailer. At this price it is at the higher-end of air coolers, but in the end I do think that it is worth it if you are looking for a superior low profile CPU cooler that is very quiet in operation and can be mounted quite a few different ways." (Bob Buskirk, ThinkComputers.com)
04.05.2012 // TweakTown.com
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NH-L12 Review

The stock run delivered a terrific result for a cooler of this size and design. 57 degrees might be a bit higher than normal, but look at how little of a cooler is doing this job. As for the overclocked run, I think the NH-L12 did a really admirable job handling over 125 watts of power being delivered to this 95 watt cooler. Yes, 80 degrees is warm, but considering the abuse level, I am pleased with these results. [...] Silence and performance are what we expect from anything Noctua and they prove that you don't need a humongous cooler in the build to get either of them. With a trend from most manufacturers showing that bigger is usually more quiet and usually performs better, the NH-L12 outdid the Enermax solution and the Enermax solution is a much larger cooler and isn't as easy to install as this is. [...] I can take this cooler off the test bench and slam it into some of the tiniest HTPC solutions, it doesn't interfere with the memory and even when abused well beyond its specified limits, it takes it well. Even if you don't need a cooler that can get under a 66mm height clearance issue, the NH-L12 has its place in almost any build, so it is well worth considering this for its silence and its ability to handle almost any CPU cooling situation.
Test verdict: "It has two silent fans. It is convertible. It fits in almost any situation. There is very little reason not to buy the underrated NH-L12 from Noctua, it's just too handy of a cooler not to have on hand." (Chad Sebring, TweakTown.com)
28.03.2012 // PC-Max.de
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NH-L12 Review

Mit dem NH-L12 kann Noctua ein weiteres Mal einen hervorragenden Prozessor-Kühler präsentieren. Wer durch geringe Platzverhältnisse im PC-Gehäuse eingeschränkt ist, kann die Höhe des ohnehin schon sehr flachen Kühlers mittels der Demontage des oberen Lüfters nochmals um rund 25 Millimeter reduzieren. Vor allem für HTPCs dürfte dies interessant sein, da hier nicht das letzte Quäntchen Kühlleistung ausschlaggebend ist, sondern eher ein platzsparender und leiser Kühler.
Test verdict: "Wer einen Low-Profile-Kühler sucht und auf ein nahezu perfektes Gesamtpaket Wert legt, der wird kaum ein besseres Produkt am Markt finden." (Niklas Dietzek, PC-Max.de)
14.03.2012 // HardwareHeaven.com
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NH-L12 Review

We have seen a number of Noctua products in the past and on each occasion have been impressed by the build quality and design with more recent models excelling on both fronts. With the NH-L12 Noctua continue to impress and the cooler looks and feels high quality. Each of the components is soldered together well, the finish is exceptional and the fans fit perfectly to the heatsink. We also love the colour scheme that Noctua use, it looks great. In terms of installation the product is essentially flawless. We can install the cooler in less than ten minutes from start to finish and at each step Noctua make the process easy, whether that is down to the clear instructions, perfectly fitting components or thoughtful design such as the holes in our heatsink fins to pass the screwdriver through. We also appreciate the extra thought taken to supply screws for mini-ITX boards and socket 2011, ensuring every consumer is catered for... something which is further enhanced by the low profile option. For performance Noctua again excel, giving us low noise on the standard wires and adapters to lower it further if we wish. PWM compatibility is also present and the temperatures recorded on this heatsink are class leading. That brings us to value where the great bundle of extras means we have everything needed, regardless of the system, and a 6-year warranty tops it off.
Test verdict: "Another great cooler from Noctua which offers high performance and low noise for those with a compact chassis." (Stuard Davidson, HardwareHeaven.com)
12.03.2012 // HiTechLegion.com
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NH-L12 Review

First off, you need to understand what the Noctua NH-L12 is….and isn’t. The NH-L12 is a low profile, dual fan cooler made specifically for small case applications, most notably HTPC. It has the ability to run in a single fan mode that drops the height of the installed NH-L12 to a miniscule 66mm. It is not a behemoth made for overclocking. It is specifically meant to sit on lower wattage CPU/APUs in tight spaces and cool them effectively and efficiently in near silence, and do so in even the smallest and tightest of HTPC cases with a simple installation. This is what the NH-L12 was made to do, and it does it to perfection with room to spare. Looking at the cooling characteristics, they are absolutely outstanding. In dual fan mode the NH-L12 actually manages easily outperform its much larger sibling the NH-C12P and is in a whole different (and much better) cooling class than the other low profile coolers we have tested. At stock CPU speeds the NH-L12 cooling results look like they came from a similarly priced full sized tower, and a good one at that. Taking off the top fan and running the NH-L12 at 66mm in height, the cooling naturally took a hit, but remained impressive. Even under full load for extended periods, the CPU remained 14 degrees from its thermal danger zone at a cool 41 degrees.
Test verdict: "Put it all together, and we have what I feel is the finest low profile cooler to hit the market to date in the Noctua NH-L12. It is a stellar performer, beautifully built and engineered and simple to install. The NH-L12 stays dead quiet at all fan speeds, and even offers an LNA for those situations where even the minutest noise would be too much. Plus, it fits everywhere. In the world of HTPC/Low Profile cooling, the Noctua NH-L12 is king, and in my mind, it’s not even close." (George Cella, HiTechLegion.com)
21.11.2012 // eTeknix.com
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NH-L12 Review

This is my first encounter with a Noctua CPU cooler here at eTeknix and I can honestly say I am thoroughly impressed with the Noctua NH-L12. As always I’ll start off by revealing to you the price, if you don’t already know. The Noctua NH-L12 costs £43 from Scan, and between £40-50 more broadly from other retailers. Thus you can safely say this Noctua CPU cooler occupies a high end part segment of the market, priced similarly to other high performance CPU coolers. Being a Noctua product, it is widely available across Europe and North America as Noctua are a big brand in the world of computer cooling. At that price you are getting a unique , yet cost effective proposition. On the one hand you have a CPU cooler that is compact enough to fit into the smallest of systems of mini-ITX, micro-ATX and ATX form factors, and on the other you have a CPU cooler that is capable of running Ivy Bridge at 4.5GHz without breaking into a sweat. We agree if you consider other cooling solutions for the same price, the performance is below-par however this is a foolish way of looking at it since this cooler is specifically designed for small form factor systems where the height of your CPU cooler is an important consideration. You wouldn’t spend £6000 on an Nvidia Quadro GPU and complain it sucks at running games, so why make a similar mistake here?
Test verdict: "Acoustic performance was excellent, and we really can’t rave about how good it was. The Noctua NH-L12 was probably the quietest CPU cooler we have ever tested. Add to that the fact it looks the business, is extremely high quality, offers highly competitive performance for its unique form factor and is well priced. Awarding the Noctua NH-L12 is a tough one. It could have our innovation award for being such a unique product in the HTPC/SFF market. It could snatch the Bang For Buck award for being one of the best performing and best value HTPC cooling solutions on the market we have ever seen. Yet the Noctua NH-L12 ticks so many boxes that we feel it is more than deserving of our highest award, the Editor’s Choice award." (Ryan Martin, eTeknix.com)
12.04.2012 // Tech-Review.de
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NH-L12 Review

Trotz der sehr kompakten Abmaße besitzt der Winzling von Noctua mit zwei Lüftern bestückt ausreichende Leistung, die selbst moderates OC von Prozessoren mit 130 Watt TDP ermöglicht. Nur extreme Settings erlaubt der Kühler nicht, was wenig verwundert. [...] Die Lautstärke gefällt ebenfalls. Beide Lüfter laufen angenehm und fallen dank der guten Lager sowie der Entkopplung akustisch nicht auf. Selbst die Maximaldrehzahl ist lediglich hörbar, aber keinesfalls störend laut. Das Zubehör fällt wie die Verarbeitung gewohnt edel aus. Selbst an Entkoppler, um einen der Lüfter im Gehäuse zu montieren, wurde gedacht. Die bewährte, zweistufige SecuFirm-Halterung lässt ebenso wenig zu wünschen übrig und gewährleistet zusammen mit den verbesserten Lüfterklammern einen hohen Benutzerkomfort. [...] Der NH-12 ist deshalb für Besitzer kleiner oder sehr kleiner Gehäuse eine gute Wahl.
Test verdict: "Wenn hohe Leistung bei geringem Platzbedarf gesucht wird, führt wohl kaum ein Weg an diesem Kraftzwerg vorbei." (Max Doll, Tech-Review.de)

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

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

Installation Manual (PDF)

Information Sheet (PDF)

FAQs

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

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

I get a CPU fan error despite the fan is running!

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

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

Is the cooler compatible with AMD FM2+?

Which Noctua coolers are compatible with LGA1150?

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

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

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

Should I take the cooler off before transporting my system?

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!

Can the cooler be installed turned by 90° on AMD sockets?

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

How to remove the base protection cover?

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

Does the mounting-system support LGA2011 based Xeon CPUs?

How should I clean my Noctua cooler?

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?

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?

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

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?

I have difficulties installing the cooler, can you help?

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?

Which Noctua fan or CPU cooler should I buy? How to choose the right model?

How can I determine if the motherboard’s UEFI BIOS is overclocking my processor by default and deactivate this automatic overclocking?

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

Which Noctua CPU coolers are compatible with Intel LGA2066?

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

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?

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

Which Noctua CPU coolers are compatible with AMD AM4 (Ryzen)?

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

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

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.

I get a CPU fan error despite the fan is running!

Some mainboards display a CPU fan error when the fan speed falls below a certain threshold, e.g. 900rpm. If you want to run the fan below this speed (e.g. using the supplied U.L.N.A.), please adjust the threshold in the BIOS or disable CPU fan error warning.

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

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.

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.

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

Intel's unlocked CPUs (K, X and C suffix) can dissipate more heat than indicated by the TDP specification if
  1. the TDP limits are extended or disabled in the motherboards' BIOS.
  2. the motherboard applies automatic overclocking by default, e.g. by raising the supply voltage of the CPU and using higher Turbo-Mode multipliers.
  3. some software creates untypical loads, e.g. Prime95 with AVX2 support and a) and/or b) apply.

This can lead to temperature issues, especially when using smaller coolers or compact cases.

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 (>90°C) and notice a higher than specified power draw, please ensure that no automatic overclocking is applied and limit the TDP to the specified value by choosing appropriate BIOS settings.

For Kaby Lake CPUs, it may also help to lower the CPU clock speed for applications that heavily use the AVX instruction set, which can lead to higher loads and power draw. This option is usually referred to as “AVX offset” and makes it possible to lower the multiplier specifically for AVX based applications without reducing performance when using other instruction sets. Depending on the quality of the CPU and the programs being used, a reduction of 2-3 steps usually gives very good results.

Please contact your motherboard vendor for details if you have trouble finding the appropriate settings in the BIOS.

All our TDP recommendations are based on thorough testing with the default values specified by Intel using popular applications such as Asus Realbench and prime95. Please note, however, that prime95 creates a particularly high load that goes beyond typical application scenarios and this leads to elevated temperatures. We thus recommend using other programs such as Realbench for checking the stability and temperatures of the CPU in realistic scenarios.

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

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.

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

Can the cooler be installed turned by 90° on AMD sockets?

No. The new SecuFirm2™ mounting system for AM2, AM2+ and AM3 uses the same standardised hole spacing as the Intel system and thus allows for a much easier installation, but the cooler cannot be installed turned by 90°.

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 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 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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

Which Noctua fan or CPU cooler should I buy? How to choose the right model?

Not sure which Noctua product to buy? Our detailed buying guides for fans and CPU coolers help you to choose the model that works best for you.

How can I determine if the motherboard’s UEFI BIOS is overclocking my processor by default and deactivate this automatic overclocking?

Most motherboard vendors allow their overclocking-enabled products (e.g. those with Intels X- or Z-series chipsets) to run the processor at increased clock speeds by default, without requiring any user action at all. Since TDP (Thermal Design Power) limits are usually also disabled by default, this leads to the CPU exceeding the rated TDP to a varying degree, depending on the used applications and their workloads. Due to the increased heat output of the CPU, you may see higher CPU temperatures than expected.

In order to find out if your motherboard is overclocking your processor by default, please enter the UEFI BIOS and select the “advanced” or “overclocking” menu. There you should be able to find options such as “MultiCore Enhancement” (options: enabled/disabled), “CPU Ratio Apply Mode” (options: all/per core) or similar. To disable the automatic overclocking, adjust the settings either to “disabled” or “per core” and make sure that the individual multipliers match the original specifications.

In doubt, please contact your motherboard vendor for detailed instructions on how to disable this feature.

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

Intel's unlocked CPUs (K, X and C suffix) can dissipate more heat than indicated by the TDP specification if
  1. the TDP limits are extended or disabled in the motherboards' BIOS.
  2. the motherboard applies automatic overclocking by default, e.g. by raising the supply voltage of the CPU and using higher Turbo-Mode multipliers.
  3. some software creates untypical loads, e.g. Prime95 with AVX2 support and a) and/or b) apply.

This can lead to temperature issues, especially when using smaller coolers or compact cases.

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 (>90°C) and notice a higher than specified power draw, please ensure that no automatic overclocking is applied and limit the TDP to the specified value by choosing appropriate BIOS settings.

For Kaby Lake CPUs, it may also help to lower the CPU clock speed for applications that heavily use the AVX instruction set, which can lead to higher loads and power draw. This option is usually referred to as “AVX offset” and makes it possible to lower the multiplier specifically for AVX based applications without reducing performance when using other instruction sets. Depending on the quality of the CPU and the programs being used, a reduction of 2-3 steps usually gives very good results.

Please contact your motherboard vendor for details if you have trouble finding the appropriate settings in the BIOS.

All our TDP recommendations are based on thorough testing with the default values specified by Intel using popular applications such as Asus Realbench and prime95. Please note, however, that prime95 creates a particularly high load that goes beyond typical application scenarios and this leads to elevated temperatures. We thus recommend using other programs such as Realbench for checking the stability and temperatures of the CPU in realistic scenarios.

Which Noctua CPU coolers are compatible with Intel LGA2066?

Due to the heatsink mounting mechanism being identical on LGA2011 and LGA2066, Noctua’s SecuFirm2™ mounting systems for LGA2011 also support Intel’s upcoming ‘Basin Falls’ X299 HEDT (High End Desktop) platform for ‘Skylake-X’ and ‘Kaby Lake-X’ processors. Most current Noctua coolers already include SecuFirm2™ mounting systems for LGA2011 and can thus be used on LGA2066 motherboards without any upgrades or modifications.

The following models include a mounting-kit for socket LGA2011/2066 and are thus compatible out of the box:

NH-C14S
NH-D14 SE2011
NH-D15
NH-D15S
NH-D9L
NH-L12
NH-L9x65
NH-U12S
NH-U12DX i4
NH-U14S
NH-U9DX i4
NH-U9S

The following models can be made compatible with the LGA2011/LGA2066 sockets free of charge using the NM-I2011 upgrade-kit:

NH-C12P
NH-C12P SE14
NH-C14
NH-D14
NH-D15 SE-AM4
NH-U12S SE-AM4
NH-L9x65 SE-AM4
NH-U12
NH-U12F
NH-U12P
NH-U12P SE1366
NH-U12P SE2
NH-U9
NH-U9B
NH-U9B SE2
NH-U9F

The following models can be made compatible with the LGA2011/LGA2066 sockets using the NM-I2011 upgrade-kit but are not eligible for Noctua‘s free mounting offer, so users have to purchase the kit at local resellers:

NH-U12DO (Note that the A3 version is not compatible!)
NH-U12DX
NH-U12DX 1366
NH-U9DX 1366
NH-U9DO (Note that the A3 version is not compatible!)

The following models are not compatible with the LGA2011/LGA2066 sockets and can not be upgraded:

NH-L9a
NH-L9i
NH-U12DO A3
NH-U9DO A3

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

Systems from Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo or other major brands often use motherboards which differ slightly from the specifications issued by Intel and AMD. While those changes are usually subtle, they can lead 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 issues can often not be resolved.

Due to the large number of possible issues that cannot be resolved with different mounting parts alone, Noctua does not officially support systems from Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo or other major brands.

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



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.

Which Noctua CPU coolers are compatible with AMD AM4 (Ryzen)?

The following models include a mounting-kit for socket AM4 and are thus compatible out of the box:

NH-D15 SE-AM4
NH-U12S SE-AM4
NH-L9x65 SE-AM4

The following models can be made compatible with the AM4 socket free of charge using the NM-AM4 upgrade-kit:

NH-C12P
NH-C12P SE14
NH-C14
NH-C14S
NH-D14
NH-D14 SE2011
NH-D15
NH-D15S
NH-D9L
NH-L12
NH-L9x65
NH-U12
NH-U12F
NH-U12P
NH-U12P SE1366
NH-U12P SE2
NH-U9
NH-U9B
NH-U9B SE2
NH-U9F

The following models can be made compatible with the AM4 socket free of charge using the NM-AM4-UxS upgrade-kit:

NH-U14S
NH-U12S
NH-U9S

The following models can be made compatible with the AM4 socket free of charge using the NM-AM4-L9aL9i upgrade-kit:

NH-L9a
NH-L9i

The following models can be made compatible with the AM4 socket using the NM-AM4 upgrade-kit but are not eligible for Noctua‘s free mounting offer, so users have to purchase the kit at local resellers:

NH-U12DO (Note that the A3 version is not compatible!)
NH-U12DX
NH-U12DX 1366
NH-U12DX i4
NH-U9DX i4
NH-U9DX 1366
NH-U9DO (Note that the A3 version is not compatible!)

The following models are not compatible with the AM4 socket and can not be upgraded:

NH-U12DO A3
NH-U9 DO A3

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.

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