Noctua has recently released version of the NH-D12L cooler. I am taking a look at this cooler in this content. The only difference between this cooler and its regular version is the black color coating on it and the price. This CPU cooler sits between the NH-U12S and NH-U12A coolers in terms of performance.

This is a dual-tower design with a lower height in 120mm size air coolers from Noctua. Its height is 145mm whereas the NH-U12S has 158mm height. It is compatible with 4U enclosures as well as narrower tower cases.

The Nh-D12L has a low-height, dual-tower design comprising of 5x copper heat pipes and soldered assembly with a polished nickel-coated copper base. It comes with a single NF-A12x25r PWM fan which gives this cooler a good enough clearance from all aspects.

The NH-D12L is rated for EUR/USD 99.90. It has a 6-year warranty from Noctua.

NH-D12L Specifications

Noctua NH D12L Specifications

Packing and Contents

Noctua NH D12L Packing

The cooler is shipped in a cardboard made packing box finished in Noctua’s standard chromax theme.

Noctua NH D12L Packing Box Contents

Noctua has changed the inner container that wraps the cooler. Two cardboard-made covers resemble the egged cartons that we see in the liquid coolers’ packing boxes. The mounting hardware is provided in a dedicated box.

Mounting Hardware

The following are included:

  • 1x User Guide
  • 1x Intel Back Plate
  • 2x Intel Mounting Brackets
  • 2x AMD Offset Mounting Brackets
  • 4x Intel Screws
  • 4x Black Screw Lockers
  • 4x Blue Spacers for Intel LGA1700 Socket
  • 4x Black Spacers for Intel other Sockets
  • 4x Thumb Nuts
  • 4x Gray Spacers for AMD Sockets
  • 4x Screws for AMD
  • 1x Screw Driver
  • 1x Tube of NT-H1
  • 1x NA-RC14 LN Adapter
  • 1x Metal Noctua Case Badge

Closer Look

Let’s dive into the design element of this cooler.

Noctua NH D12L Main Picture

This cooler has a dimension of 145x125x113mm (HxWxD) including a fan. Its dimensions excluding a fan are same. This is because it is a dual-tower configuration with a single fan. The depth of the heatsink is 113mm thanks to dual tower configuration. The base and the heat pipes are made of copper material whereas the fins are in aluminum material. The complete assembly is soldered and nickel plated and this time it is in black color coating.

Noctua NH D12L Top View

I am showing a top view of the heatsink only. The front tower has a thickness of 32mm whereas the rear tower has a thickness of 54mm. The reason for the slim front tower is to provide universal RAM clearance. The top plate of the heatsink has Noctua branding in the middle. You can see the terminating tips of the heat pipes. The front tower has a similar layout on both sides as we have seen on the Noctua NH-U series coolers whereas the rear tower has a different design on both ends.

Noctua NH D12L Mounting Bar

The above picture shows the close-up of the pre-installed mounting bars on the base of the cooler. Its code is NM-SFB4. It is removable. This would work wonders with the new Torx-based mounting kits from Noctua.

Noctua NH D12L Front View 2

The heatsink has the same layout on the exterior sides of the towers. We have 40 aluminum fins which are nickel-plated and black color spray coated. The total depth of this cooler is 86mm which is less than the other NH-U series coolers. This gives us more surface area on this cooler but keep in mind that the thickness of both towers is 76mm.

Noctua NH D12L Front View 1

The above picture shows the heat pipe displacement inside the assembly. These heat pipes are placed at the same distance between them inside the soldered assembly.

Noctua NH D12L Side View

The left and the right sides of the cooler are identical. The recessed area catches the hands or handles of the fan clips. The complete assembly is soldered. This gives the cooler the ability to retain its performance over time (durability in terms of performance). You can spot the different thicknesses on the towers.

Since this cooler has two low-height towers with varying thicknesses, it is almost an asymmetrical design offering universal clearance for the RAM.

Noctua NH D12L Back Vie

The backside of the rear tower is similar to the front tower. However, the difference comes from its inner side or fan-facing side. There is a triangle shape layout which helps in reducing the turbulence from air resistance.

Noctua NH D12L Heat pipes

The above picture shows the close-up of the heat pipes. The Ncotua NH-D12L has 5x 6mm copper heat pipes which are nickel plated. They are designed to make maximum contact with the fins for effective heat dissipation. The mounting bar has two spring-loaded screws for convenient installation.

Noctua NH D12L Base

The cooler has a copper base which is nickel-coated in a mirror finish. It measures 37x39mm approximately. The heatpipes are making contact with the copper base from inside the base plate. This is an indirect contact. The machining and milling work is top-notch.

Noctua NH D12L Fan 1

The NH-D12L comes with a single NF-A12x25r PWM fan. This fan has 9x blades with stripes on each blade. The center has a larger diameter compared to the regular fans. There is no branding on the center. This fan has a custom hole spacing of 93x83mm which makes this frame not compatible with 105x105mm standard space mounting. You can see black color anti-vibration pads on both sides.

Noctua NH D12L Fan 2

Looking at the backside, you can see 4-arms assembly with each arm having a flat design. This would interrupt the airflow coming from the fan. This implies that fan is not generating a focused airflow. The cable is routed around one arm.

Noctua NH D12L Fan 3

The fan is powered by a 4-pin PWM connector cable.

The salient features of the fan are:

  • Award-winning NF-A12x25 impeller
  • Round frame design
  • Highly optimised P/Q curve for all applications
  • Flow Acceleration Channels
  • Ultra-tight tip clearance
  • Metal-reinforced motor hub
  • Sterrox® liquid-crystal polymer compound
  • AAO frame
  • Inner Surface Microstructures
  • Stepped Inlet Design
  • Integrated anti-vibration pads
  • SSO2 bearing
  • Metal bearing shell
  • Custom-designed PWM IC with SCD
  • Stops at 0% PWM
  • Smooth Commutation Drive 2
  • Next-generation performance


Noctua NH D12L NSRP

The NSPR is the Noctua’s platform-independent classification scheme in which they rate their cooler for efficiency. The NH-D12L has NSPR rating of 148 which is less than that of the NH-U12A and higher than that of NH-U12S.

Noctua NH D12L Category Classification

The above is how Noctua classifies each cooler.

Noctua NH D12L Intel 12700k Classification

Since we are testing the cooler on Intel i7 12700k, the NH-D12L is shown to be fully compatible with this CPU including the overclocking and Turbo boost headroom.


We are not providing installation instructions. Refer to the user manual for that. We cover the observations recorded during the installation. All-in-all we are dealing with 18 pieces to install the mounting hardware only. This was not the case before the release of Intel Alder Lake platform. Noctua has provided a single mounting hardware under SecuFirm-II to cater for all Intel LGA20xx and LGA1200/115x/1700 sockets as well as AMD AM4/AM5 sockets. The installation was convenient and there is nothing to report.


Noctua NH D12L Clearance RAM

The NH-D15L does not overhang the DIMM slots hence we don’t have any RAM clearance issue. However, for dual-fan configuration where another NF-A12x25r PWM is installed (optionally) on the front tower, the RAM height should not be more than 45mm.

Noctua NH D12L Clearance Top

There is no obstruction of clearance issue concerning the top and rear of the motherboard on which we tested this cooler.


There is no obstruction or clearance issue concerning the first PCIe slot of GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G DDR5 motherboard.


We have used following configurations for testing:

  • Intel core i7 12700k
  • XPG Lancer RGB 32GB DDR5 Kit @ 6000MHz
  • Sabrent Rocket Q 500GB NVMe SSD [For OS]
  • CORSAIR AX1200i Platinum PSU
  • Thermaltake Core P6 TG Snow Edition in an open frame layout

Test table for Intel core i7 12700k is:

ClocksP-Cores 4.8GHz

E-Core 3.8GHz

Speed StepDisabled
Rest of settingsStock, Auto
XMPXMP Loaded where available
Thermal PasteStock
Thermal Paste ApplicationPre-Applied or X method
HeadersCPU_FAN, CPU_OPT, and PUMP Headers
Stress SoftwareCINEBENCH R23.2
Stress Run Time30 minutes
PC Idle Time5 minutes
Monitoring SoftwareHWInfo64
OC ToolIntel XTU

The ambient temperature was in the range of 25°C to 25.5°C. Since the variation in the ambient temperature is within 1°C, we are reporting absolute temperatures in the graph. The testing is done on an open-air bench system. Once inside the chassis, the temperatures are expected to rise and would largely depend upon the optimal airflow inside the chassis.

Noctua NH D12L Thermal Performance

The Noctua NH-D12L has a good performance in our testing. It was producing 39.4 dBA sound output which is too good.


Noctua keeping up with its tradition has released a version of NH-D12L. It is identical to the regular edition except for the color and pricing. This is a 120 mm-sized CPU cooler that has a dual tower design and comes with a single customized NF-A12x25r PWM fan.

Compared to other 120mm class coolers from Noctua including NH-U12S, NH-U12A, NH-U12S Redux, the NH-D12L has the best clearance since it has an overall height of 145mm. This low height makes it even more compatible with many 4U rackmount server cases as well and many tower-style enclosures that are not wide enough for 158mm units.

This cooler sits in between the NH-U12S and NH-U12A in terms of thermal efficiency, and clearance for PC Cases, RAM, and PCIe slots. This cooler has 5x heat pipes, 40 aluminum fins, and a complete soldered assembly at the base. The copper base is in nickel plating chrome finish.

The cooler has a dimension of 145x113x125mm with and without fan. It weights 890g with a fan. The cooler is compatible with AMD AM4/AM5 and Intel LGA20xx/1700/1200/115x sockets. Each tower has 40 aluminum fins. The front tower has 32mm depth as compared to the 54mm depth of the rear tower making this an asymmetrical design for universal RAM clearance using a single fan.

The NF-A12x25r PWM has all the features and functions of the regular NF-A12x25 PWM with the only difference coming from the shape of the frame. This rounded shape has reduced the mounting space to 93x83mm making these fans incompatible with standard 105x105mm mounting spacing.

The NF-A12x25r PWM fan has a maximum speed of 2000 ±10% RPM. With LNA, this speed is 1700 ±10% RPM. Minimum rotational speed is 450 RPM ±20%. The maximum static pressure is 2.34 mmH₂O. With LNA the static pressure is 1.65 mmH₂O. Fan takes input power of the 1.68W at 0.14A with the 12V DC. The maximum airflow is 102.1 m³/h. With LNA it is 84.5 m³/h. Maximum acoustical noise is 22.6 dBA. With LNA it is 18.8 dBA. This fan has Noctua’s SSO2 bearings.

Noctua has refined the Intel mounting mechanism and uses a single backplate with different spacers for different Intel sockets. This streamlined mounting is appreciated but now we are dealing with more items to install the mounting hardware on the socket. Now, you would need 18 items on the LGA1700 socket. The installation was convenient and there is nothing particular to report.

The NH-D12L is rated for USD 99.99. It has a 6-year warranty from Noctua. The cooler is tested on the Intel i7 12700k and it has performed quite well and at a good noise output as well. This cooler comes recommended by us. If $100 bucks seems steep price, take a look at the regular NH-D12L with a less price tag.

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