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general FAQs (CPU coolers retail)

Is the high weight dangerous for the CPU or socket?

Is it possible to cool my CPU without a fan (passive) using Noctua coolers?

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(+)?

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

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?

How to remove the base protection cover?

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

How should I clean my Noctua cooler?

Which Noctua coolers are compatible with LGA1150?

Can Noctua coolers be installed on LGA2011 Narrow ILM platforms?

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?

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?

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

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?

You specify airflow in m³/h, how can I convert to CFM?

Can I register my Noctua product?

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?

The cooler's fans always run at full speed and can not be controlled by my motherboard, what's the problem?

Is the high weight dangerous for the CPU or socket?

No. Noctua coolers possess an extremely reliable SecuFirm™ mounting system. Thanks to the screw connection with the backplate on the rear side of the motherboard, the exceedance of the weight recommendations by Intel and AMD common among high-end coolers is completely unobjectionable.

Is it possible to cool my CPU without a fan (passive) using Noctua coolers?

Noctua coolers weren't originally designed for passive operation although the cooling performance is sufficient in many cases. Unfortunately, it is impossible for us to indicate whether a certain CPU can or cannot be cooled without a fan, as this depends on various factors such as case temperature, case ventilation or the orientation of the socket. Generally, we recommend using a fan in the first instance and then lowering RPM while constantly monitoring the temperature.

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

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 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



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.

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.

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.

Can Noctua coolers be installed on LGA2011 Narrow ILM platforms?

The NH-U12DX i4 and NH-U9DX i4 include mounting hardware for LGA2011 Narrow ILM. Other models are mechanically incompatible with the Narrow ILM mounting system and can thus not be used on this platform.

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.

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.

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.

Should I take the cooler off before transporting my system?

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, for safety reasons, taking off coolers with a total weight of more than 700g (incl. fan). If the weight of the heatsink without fan is below 700g and the total weight including fan is above 700g, we recommend taking off the fan from the heatsink in order to reduce the weight below 700g. Noctua cannot be held responsible for any damage that may arise due to excessive stress during transport if you keep the heatsink installed.

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).

You specify airflow in m³/h, how can I convert to CFM?

In accordance to the International System of Units (SI system), Noctua specifies volumetric flow rate (airflow) using the SI unit of cubic metres per hour (m³/h). The SI unit can easily be converted to cubic feet per minute (CFM): One m³/h is ~0.589 CFM and one CFM is ~1.699 m³/h. For convenient conversion, online tools such as www.convertunits.com can be used.

Can I register my Noctua product?

Striving for excellence in both product and service quality, we believe that warranty and support should not depend on the customers willingness to provide his data throughout a registration process. We therefore do not offer the possibility to register Noctua products and provide the same 6-year manufacturer’s warranty and the same excellent level of support for all products.

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

The cooler's fans always run at full speed and can not be controlled by my motherboard, what's the problem?

Older, discontinued models such as the NH-D14, NH-C14, NH-U12P SE2 and NH-U9B SE2 ship with 3-pin fans that can only be controlled by means of voltage adjustment. When these models were introduced in 2009 and 2010, many motherboards supported this type of speed control, whereas today, most motherboards can only control 4-pin fans by means of PWM (Pulse Width Modulation). As indicated on the resepective product pages, these models have been discontinued and superseeded by newer models such as the NH-D15, NH-C14S, NH-U12S and NH-U9S, which, like all current Noctua CPU coolers, support speed control via PWM. If you would like to use PWM speed control, please purchase one of our current cooler models or change the fans for some of our 4-pin PWM fans. Alternatively, you can also use the supplied Low-Noise and Ultra-Low-Noise adaptors in order to reduce the speed of the supplied fans.



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