Noctua NH-C12P CPU Heatsink Review


Installation and testing

The cooler included a well documented installation sheet and is a basic screw-on platform.  Basically you place the holding backplate behind the motherboard and screw in the Secufirm plates.  Once that assembly is complete, just screw down the heatsink using the provided spring screws, which provide necessary tension to press against the CPU die.  Obviously, your motherboard needs to be removed to perform this installation, which isn’t abnormal for advanced cooling systems, including watercooling gear, so I don’t see this as a negative.  I’d prefer to have my coolers securely fastened rather than trust 4 plastic pins against gravity anyhow.

Clearance is good up to 40mm anything above should be carfully checked,  so oversized cooling DDR might not fit. Again, this is a common problem with other advanced heatsinks although there is a decent amount of room around the cooler.  To check compatibility with your gear, check out Noctua’s site here:

Test platform was an Asus P5W DH Deluxe, with a core 2 duo e6600 overclocked to 2,8ghz. I kept the fan on the radiator on its low setting matching RPM of the Noctua (1300 RPM) room temperature was kept at a constant temperature.

Noctua NH-C12P Performance

Idle Load
Watercooling 39 56
Noctua 36 54
Stock 41 67
Zalman CNPS9700 36 53
Tuniq Tower 120 35 52

The Noctua NH-C12P CPU Cooler had actually out preformed a high quality water cooling set.  I originally chose water-cooling for its great cooling capabilities, as well as its silence.  This has kind of stuck to me and I never went back to air cooling, but back then all air coolers where noisy things that didn’t perform well.  Obviously times have changed, and new technologiy allows air-cooled heatsinks to work in whisper silence, even on “plain” air.

Now I’m well aware if I cranked up the fan on the radiator it would easily outperform this cooler but it would be anything from being silent and more like a jet airplane taking off.