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Successor to the award-winning NH-L12, the NH-L12S is a compact low-profile CPU cooler that combines excellent compatibility, surprising efficiency and remarkable flexibility. Thanks to its NF-A12x15 PWM, slim 120mm fan, the NH-L12S provides even better quiet cooling performance than the previous model with its 92mm fan. At the same time, the NH-L12S is highly versatile: with the fan installed on top of the fins, the cooler is compatible with RAM modules of up to 48mm in height. With the fan installed underneath the fins, the total height of the cooler is only 70mm, making it suitable for use in many HTPC and Small Form Factor cases. Topped off with the trusted, pro-grade SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system, Noctua’s proven NT-H1 thermal compound and a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-L12S is a premium-quality low-profile solution for the highest demands.
The NH-L12S 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-L12S is recommended for your CPU.
Details
Based on the award-winning NH-L12

Based on the award-winning NH-L12

Having received more than 200 awards and recommendations from leading international hardware websites and magazines, the NH-L12 has become an established reference for low-profile 120mm top-flow coolers. Equipped with the new NF-A12x15 fan, the new S-version provides more flexibility and improved performance in low-profile mode.
Low-profile mode

Low-profile mode

Run with the NF-A12x15 fan installed underneath the fin stack, the NH-L12S stands only 70mm tall. The fan can be installed blowing upwards or blowing downwards in order to match the airflow direction inside the case.
High-clearance mode

High-clearance mode

Run with the NF-A12x15 fan installed on top, the NH-L12S provides extended clearance underneath the fin stack. This way, it is fully compatible with chipset coolers and RAM modules with heat-spreaders of up to 48mm in height (vs. 35mm in low-profile mode).
NF-A12x15 slim 120mm premium fan

NF-A12x15 slim 120mm premium fan

Featuring sophisticated aerodynamic optimisations such as Flow Acceleration Channels, the NF-A12x15 is a premium-grade slim 120mm fan. Its outstanding efficiency allows the NH-L12S to provide even better performance than the previous model with its 92mm fan.
PWM support and Low-Noise Adaptor

PWM support and Low-Noise Adaptor

The NF-A12x15 premium fan supplied with the NH-L12S supports PWM for convenient automatic speed control through the motherboard. In addition, the maximum fan speed can be reduced from 1850 to 1400rpm using the supplied Low-Noise Adaptor for even quieter operation.
120x25mm fan support

120x25mm fan support

The fan clips supplied with the NH-L12S work not only with the slim NF-A12x15 fan but also with 25mm thick 120mm fans. Users who have extra room inside their cases can thus boost the cooler’s performance by using a standard 120x25mm fan on top (increases total height to 95mm).
SecuFirm2™ mounting system

SecuFirm2™ mounting system

Noctua's SecuFirm2™ mounting systems have become synonymous with quality, safety and ease of use. Supporting Intel LGA115x (LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156), LGA2011 (LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3), LGA2066 and AMD (AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, AM4, FM1, FM2, FM2+), the SecuFirm2™ mounting included with the NH-L12S guarantees perfect contact pressure and maximum convenience on all current sockets.
Compatibility with past and future sockets

Compatibility with past and future sockets

Complying with the open SecuFirm™ standard, the NH-C14S can be made compatible with the older LGA1366 and LGA775 sockets using the optional NM-I3 mounting kit, which is provided by Noctua free of charge. If technically possible, Noctua will also provide upgrade kits for future sockets.
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. Chosen again and again by overclockers and enthusiast users worldwide, it has established itself as a benchmark for premium-quality thermal compounds.
6-year manufacturer’s warranty

6-year manufacturer’s warranty

Noctua products are renowned for their impeccable quality and outstanding longevity. Like all Noctua fans, the supplied NF-A12x15 features an MTBF rating of more than 150,000 hours and the entire NH-L12S package comes with a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty.
NH-L12S
General
Notes and warnings
The NH-L12S 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-L12S is recommended for your CPU.
Cooler Specification
Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, AM4, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required)
Height (without fan)
70 mm
Width (without fan)
128 mm
Depth (without fan)
146 mm
Height (with fan)
70 mm
Width (with fan)
128 mm
Depth (with fan)
146 mm
Weight (without fan)
390 g
Weight (with fan/s)
520 g
Material
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Max. TDP
see TDP guide
Fan compatibility
120x120x15 & 120x120x25
Scope of delivery
  • 1x NF-A12x15 PWM premium fan
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm2™ mounting kit
  • Noctua metal case-badge
Warranty
6 Years
FAN Specification
Bearing
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
1850 RPM
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
1400 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%)
450 RPM
Max. Acoustical Noise
23,9 dB(A)
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
16,8 dB(A)
Input Power
1,56 W
Voltage Range
12 V
MTTF
> 150.000 h
NH-L12S
SecuFirm2™ Intel LGA115x installation
SecuFirm2™ Intel LGA2011 installation
SecuFirm2™ AMD AM4 installation
13.10.2017 // Turkchip.com
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NH-L12S Review

Testler esnasında AMD Ryzen 1800X işlemci normal, webde gezinirken ile oyun oynarken ve 3D Mark testlerindeki sıcaklık değerlerini amd'nin wraith soğutucusu ile karşılaştırarak gözlemledim. Küçük yapısı, ince radyatörü ve fanına göre kaslı amd wraith soğutucuya göre biraz daha başarılı olan soğutucu beni oldukça şaşırtdı. Aslına bakarsanız biraz geride kalacağını düşünmüştüm. Birde noctua soğutucunun gürültü seviyesinin daha düşük olduğunu unutmayalım.
Test verdict: "Noctua NH-L12S işlemci soğutucusu fanı, 4 adet bakır ısı boruları ve kaliteli ısı tabanı sayesinde iyi performans gösterirken, oldukça da sessiz görevini yerine getiriyor. Ayrıca Mini ITX, HTPC kasa kullanıcılarına çok iyi bir çözüm sunuyor. " (Murat Yildirim, Turkchip.com)
11.10.2017 // HardwareMAX.it
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NH-L12S Review

Come avete potuto vedere il nuovo dissipatore Noctua NH-L12S, è capace di far fronte ad un buon overclock tenendo le temperature nella norma e dando la possibilità di spingere ancora più in la CPU praticando anche un leggero overvolt. Le temperature registrate vanno a confermare l’ottima costruzione e l’ottimo utilizzo dei materiali, non ché la loro qualità.
Test verdict: "Per tanto non possiamo che consigliarlo a chi vuole un ottimo dissipatore da montare in un Mini-PC o in un HTPC, senza rinunciare alle prestazioni ed utilizzarli anche per il gaming." (Da Igor Lucifaro, HardwareMAX.it)
11.10.2017 // JotaReviews.pt
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NH-L12S Review

O Noctua NH-L12S é um cooler com um preço aproximado de 50€ com uma ventoinha slim PWM de 120 mm. Tem grande compatibilidade com os sockets da Intel e AMD, incluindo o mais recente AM4. É um cooler de baixo perfil com apenas 70 mm de altura, boa qualidade de construção e instalação fácil graças ao sistema SecuFirm2. Os resultados estão dentro do esperado para um cooler deste género, contudo, como foi possível ver nas temperaturas quando o CPU está em stress, não é apropriado usar este cooler em sistemas com overclock.
Test verdict: "O Noctua NH-L12S é uma alternativa nas caixas estreitas onde não cabem os tradicionais coolers de 120 mm e onde o silêncio é importante." (João Teixeira, JotaReviews.pt)
10.10.2017 // RealHardTechX.com
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NH-L12S Review

El NOCTUA NH-L12S es el refrigerador de CPU con el que los usuarios de HTPC soñábamos. Los ingenieros de Noctua han potenciado el ya excelente NH-L12 para conseguir llevar a sus clientes un producto de excelsa calidad y con unas prestaciones inigualables. No sólo su rendimiento es buenísimo, sino que además la presión sonora que emite es tan reducida que resulta inaudible. El excelente ventilador Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM realiza su trabajo de manera excepcional. El proceso de montaje esrápido y sencillo. El sistema de montaje multisocket SecuFirm2 acompañado por unas completas y claras instrucciones hace que el proceso sea un juego de niños independientemente del nivel que se tenga. Así mismo, la gran compatibilidad y adaptibilidad del Noctua NH-L12S es un aspecto que queremos resaltar. Su inteligente diseño permite, instalando el ventilador sobre el disipador, que sea compatible con módulos RAM de gran altura manteniendo despajada la ranura PCIe principal de cualquier placa base incluso microATX.
Test verdict: "En definitiva, el NH-L12S es fantástico en todos los sentidos. Vale cada céntimo que pagues por él. Super recomendado." (José Romero, RealHardTechX.com)
07.10.2017 // PCnet.com.tr
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NH-L12S Review

Soğutucunun yüksekliği NH-L9a-AM4 kadar düşük olmasa da bakır ısı boruları sayesinde belirgin biçimde yüksek performans, iki şekilde takılabilen yüksek hava akımlı fan, farklı yönlerde montaj seçenekleri gibi artıları var. Bu sayede normal modda 58C ve tam sessiz modda 60C değerlerini aşmadı. Aslında çok fazla zorlamadıkça overclock bile denenebilir ama kasa içi havalandırması iyi olmak zorunda. 49.9 Avro fiyatla satışa sunulmuş durumda.
Test verdict: "Noctua'dan bir diğer birinci sınıf işlemci soğutucusu. Kasası dar olup çok çekirdekli işlemciden vazgeçemeyenler, hem sessiz hem de serin tutabilmek adına bu soğutucuyu gönül rahatlığıyla kullanabilir. Farklı montaj seçenekleriyle engel tanımıyor." (Gorkem Yildirim, PCnet.com.tr)
06.10.2017 // HWready.it
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NH-L12S Review

Il piccolo L9 si comporta alla grande e si candida per essere il più piccolo dei dissipatori per socket AM4. Nonostante le dimensioni i risultati ottenuti sono molto buoni e il dissipatore riesce a rimanere silenzioso. NH-L12S: Questo è un dissipatore completo che riesce senza molti problemi anche a reggere il nostro test in overclock. Una grande compatibilità con quasi tutti i socket lo rendono sicuramente un acquisto molto appetibile per la longevità.
Test verdict: "I due dissipatori si comportano entrambi molto bene, L12 permette anche un considerevole overclock, quindi un ottima scelta per chi vuole dilettarsi in questa pratica. Per quanto riguarda il piccolo L9 invece è un ottima alternativa per PC molto compatti garantendo dissipazione migliore del dissipatore stock originale." (Mauro Santoro, HWready.it)
06.10.2017 // El Chapuzas Informático
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NH-L12S Review

El disipador Noctua NH-L12S está enfocado a chasis compactos que solo permiten disipadores de bajo perfil, pues con sus 70 mm de altura debe entrar en prácticamente todos los modelos. Si bien la marca no recomienda realizar overclocking al procesador que le coloquemos debajo, nuestras pruebas demuestran que lo podremos hacer sin problemas, al menos en cantidades moderadas. Eso sí, lo mejor del disipador es la nula sonoridad de su ventilador también de perfil bajo (15 mm), algo que pocas o ninguna marca puede ofrecer.
Test verdict: "Desde del El Chapuzas Informático le otorgamos el Galardón de Platino al sistema de refrigeración por aire Noctua NH-L12S." (Iván Martínez, El Chapuzas Informático)
04.10.2017 // XtremeSystems.org
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NH-L12S Review

With the stock Intel i7-4770K cooler as the reference, all the other aftermarket coolers understandably fare a lot better. The Noctua NH-L12S beats the Raijintek Pallas(which consist's of 6 heat-pipes) by 1C and manages to run quieter as well. As can been seen by the fan noise and speed charts, the Noctua NH-L12S is the quietest cooler I have tested to date. This, coupled with its size, makes its performance truly outstanding.
Test verdict: "I can honestly say I am thoroughly impressed with the Noctua NH-L12S." (Ambrosidou Nat, XtremeSystems.org)

Installation Manual (PDF)

Information Sheet (PDF)

FAQs

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?

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

How to remove the base protection cover?

Does the mounting-system support LGA2011 based Xeon CPUs?

Why is the cooler’s contact surface slightly convex?

Is the cooler compatible with LGA775 and LGA1366?

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

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

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

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

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?

How should I clean my Noctua cooler?

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

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

I have difficulties installing the cooler, can you help?

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

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

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

Can I upgrade my existing Noctua cooler to socket TR4 or SP3?

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

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?

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

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

How much RAM clearance does the NH-L12S provide?

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.

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.

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

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

Why is the cooler’s contact surface slightly convex?

As the Integrated Heat Spreaders (IHS) of today’s CPUs are slightly concave, the cooler’s contact surface has been deliberately designed to be slightly convex in order to ensure optimal contact. This way, more contact pressure will be applied at the centre of the IHS directly above the DIE, which results in better heat transfer and improved overall performance.

Is the cooler compatible with LGA775 and LGA1366?

The cooler does not support LGA775 and LGA1366 out of the box, but can be made compatible using the NM-I3 mounting kit. Noctua provides the NM-I3 kit free of charge if a proof of purchase (scan, photo or electronic copy of the invoice) of the cooler and an LGA775 or LGA1366 motherboard or CPU are presented. In order to install the cooler using the NM-I3 kit, please first unscrew the center screw of the original one-piece fastening bracket (you can reach through the fin stack using the long screw driver supplied with the cooler) and remove it. Then install the two fastening brackets of the NM-I3 kit as described in the NM-I3 installation manual.

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 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 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.

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.

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-L12S
NH-L9x65 SE-AM4
NH-L9a-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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 were 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.

Can I upgrade my existing Noctua cooler to socket TR4 or SP3?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to upgrade existing Noctua heatsinks to support the AMD TR4 and SP3 sockets for Ryzen Threadripper (X399) and Epyc CPUs. TR4/SP3 CPUs have much bigger heatspreaders (as compared to e.g. LGA2066 or AM4 processors) and the contact surfaces of standard Noctua heatsinks would cover only about half of these heatspreaders, which would result in insufficient cooling performance. On top of that, the heatpipes of bigger cooler models like the NH-D15 or NH-D15S would completely block the RAM slots on many TR4/SP3 motherboards. For this reason, Noctua has introduced the new NH-U14S TR4-SP3, NH-U12S TR4-SP3 and NH-U9 TR4-SP3 cooler models that feature bigger contact surfaces and have been tailored to fit TR4 and SP3 systems. Please choose these models for AMD Ryzen Threadripper and Epyc systems.

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.

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.

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).

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 much RAM clearance does the NH-L12S provide?

In high-clearance mode (with the fan installed on top of the fin-stack), the NH-L12S can be used with RAM of up to 48mm including heat-spreaders. In low-profile mode (with the fan installed underneath the fin-stack), the NH-L12S supports standard height memory modules with up to 35mm height.

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