Noctua NH-C12P: A Top-Down Cooler Rises Up

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June 16, 2008 by Lawrence Lee

Noctua NH-C12P
LGA775 & K8 CPU Cooler
Street Price

It's been a couple of years since we last reviewed the Noctua heatsinks, NH-U12 and NH-U9. Part of the reason for the long hiatus is that they haven't changed much since those original models. Generally, we value longevity in an industry where most products seem to have a life span akin to the average ant — under six months. It suggests that the product was well designed to begin with. Noctua also made a name with its controversial, thin-bladed NF-S12 fan, designed for high airflow but not high pressure.

The NH-C12P is Noctua's first down-blowing heatsink. Instead of exhausting air towards the rear of a standard ATX case, it blows down toward the mainboard and the voltage regulation circuitry around the CPU socket. The VRMs on modern motherboards get very hot and on many models you will notice large heatsinks on the MOSFETs. Cooling these components can help power efficiency as well increase their life span. While it is hard to quantify the precise of benefit this additional cooling, it certainly can't hurt.

As before, the product is the result of collaboration between three entities: Kolink, a Taiwanese heatsink manufacturer, Rascom, an Austrian distributor, and the "Austrian Institute of Heat Transmission and Fan Technology". A bit of marketingspeak: The name Noctua orginates from At hene noctua, the scientific/Latin name for the little owl. The Greek goddess Athena and the owl are synonymous in western civilization with wisdom.

The box. Noctua has an affinity for all things brown.

While great care may have been put into the heatsink's construction, possibly even more time and consideration has been put into the included fan. Most manufacturers, with the noticeable exceptable of Scythe, usually don't give fan selection much serious thought. The NF-P12 fan has been designed especially for use in high-impedance applications, such as heatsinks. The "P" in the model name stands for "pressure." From the front of the box it looks like just another fan, but don't be fooled. Not only is it supposed to have unique properties, it is also extravagently priced. The NF-P12 retails for more than US$20 on its own.

The provided mounting hardware is neatly separated.

Noctua NH-C12P: Key Features
(from the product web page)
Feature & Brief
Our Comment
6 heat pipes
6 heat pipes, excellently soldered joints and widely-spaced cooling fins guarantee optimal heat dissipation even at low fan speeds.
These are 6mm in diameter. Soldered joints makes this heatsink somewhat unique; fins on most heatsinks are just press fitted onto the heatpipes.
CT C-type design with Airflow-Gaps
Due to the down-facing design and two large Airflow-Gaps, the NH-C12P provides additional cooling for near-socket motherboard components.
Top-down airflow provides cooling for voltage regulation circuitry around the CPU socket.
NF-P12 NF-P12 120mm fan
The award-winning NF-P12 has been specifically developed for high-impedance applications such as CPU coolers. Thanks to psychoacoustic optimizations and Noctua's premium-grade SSO-bearing, the NF-P12 achieves exceptional quietness and long-term stability.
The NF-P12 is designed for high static pressure.
COMP Excellent compatibility
The down-facing c-type design allows for low height as well as excellent motherboard and case compatibility.
At a height of 114mm with the fan installed, it's an easy fit in most cases.
SECUFIRM SecuFirm™ multi-socket mounting system
Noctua's professional SecuFirm™ mounting system for LGA 775, AM2 and AM2+ provides superior reliability and contact pressure. Xeon, Socket F and K8 (939, 940, 754) kits are available on request.
Mounting system is 100% metal. No plastic involved.
NT-H1 Noctua NT-H1 high-end thermal compound
Noctua's much-acclaimed NT-H1 is an pro-grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease-of-use and outstanding long-term stability.
For continuity, we won't be using their thermal compound. We'll take their word for it.

Noctua NH-C12P: Specifications
(from the product web page)
Socket compatibility Intel Socket LGA 775, AMD AM2 & AM2+, Intel Xeon on request, AMD K8 (754, 939, 940) & Socket F on request
Height (with fan) 91mm (114mm)
Width (with fan) 126mm (126mm)
Depth (with fan) 152mm (152mm)
Weight (with fan) 550g (730g)
Material Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints, nickel plated
Application Intel all frequencies, AMD all frequencies
Fan compatibility 120x120x25mm / 120x120x38mm
Scope of Delivery * NF-P12 premium fan
* Ultra-Low-Noise-Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
* Low-Noise-Adaptor (L.N.A.)
* NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
* SecuFirm™ mounting kits for LGA & AM2(+)
Warranty 6 Years
Fan Specifications
Model Noctua NF-P12
Bearing SSO-Bearing
Speed 1300 RPM ±10%
Speed w/ L.N.A. 1100 RPM ±10%
Speed w/ U.L.N.A. 900 RPM ±10%
Airflow 92.3 m³/h
Airflow w/ L.N.A. 78.5 m³/h
Airflow w/ U.L.N.A. 63.4 m³/h
Noise 19.8 dB(A)
Noise w/ L.N.A. 16.9 dB(A)
Noise w/ U.L.N.A. 12.6 dB(A)
Input Power 1.08 W
Voltage 12 V
MTBF >150,000 h

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