Noctua NH-D12L Review

👤by David Mitchelson Comments 📅31-05-22
Test Setup & Methodology


Rather than analyse CPU coolers on a test bench, we prefer to simulate a real-world configuration where all of the components are housed within a computer case. By doing this, our readers are able to see the CPU cooler in a real-world scenario.

Special thanks go to Intel, MSI, Corsair, Noctua and AverMedia for providing the hardware configuration for our CPU cooler reviews:

CPU - Intel Core i9-12900K
Board - MSI MAG B660 Tomahawk WiFi DDR4
RAM - Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO SL (16GB)
Power Supply – Corsair RMx850
Hard Drive – Intel S3500 128GB
Case – MSI SEKIRA 500G


In order to perform our thermal and acoustics tests we use AIDA64 Stability test. The 12900K CPU is left in its default stock state with EIST, Turbo enabled.

For the moment, the comparison results highlight only a small number of CPU coolers, this is because we’ve updated our hardware configuration. The number of tested coolers will increase.

To reflect the most accurate user experience we always test our coolers in their out-of-the-box state, with the cooling fans/components they are sold with. However, we do not use the supplied thermal paste as this would skew results – for our thermal paste we use Noctua NT-H2 which provides us with that level playing field and consistency.

To record the idle temperatures result, our system is booted into Windows and left to idle for 20 minutes. The average core temperatures are recorded (Using Core Temp), and then we following this we apply the AIDA64 Stability test to apply an intensive load on the CPU. After 20 minutes have elapsed, we then record the average core temperatures.

All temperature results are delta, this is calculated by subtracting the ambient from the average core temperature. Ambient temperature is recorded using a digital thermometer placed near the front intake of the case.

In regards to acoustics we use the exact methodology above except all case system fans are disabled. This isolates the CPU cooler fans and allows us to accurately report on the decibel readings. We record acoustics using the NDI KC-330D Sound Level Meter at a distance of approximately 30cm.

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