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

Cooling
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TESTING

Noctua NH-C12Ps: SPCR Measurements
Weight 560 g (heatsink only)
600 g (heatsink, wings, and bolts)
780 g (heatsink, wings, bolts, fan and accessories)
Fin thickness ~0.47 mm
Fin spacing ~2.54 mm
Vertical Clearance (northbridge) ~52 mm (measured from the PCB to the furthest reach of the heatsink)
Overhang (PSU) ~10 mm (This depends on the distance from the CPU socket to the edge of the PCB.)

A comparison of fin thickness and spacing among various tower heatsinks is interesting. The NH-C12P has the thickest fins we've measured, and their spacing is moderate.

Comparison: Fin Thickness & Spacing
Heatsink
Fin Thickness
Fin Spacing
Noctua NH-C12P
0.47 mm
2.54 mm
Thermalright HR-01 Plus
0.45 mm
3.15 mm
Thermalright Ultra-120
0.45 mm
1.42 mm
Xigmatek HDT-S1283
0.33 mm
1.96 mm
Scythe Ninja
0.31 mm
3.95 mm

Testing was done according to our unique heatsink testing methodology, and the reference fan was profiled using our standard fan testing methodology. A quick summary of the components, tools, and procedures follows below.

Key Components in Heatsink Test Platform:

  • Intel Pentium D 950 Presler core. TDP of 130W; under our test load, it measures 78W including efficiency losses in the VRMs.
  • ASUS P5LD2-VM motherboard. A basic microATX board with integrated graphics and plenty of room around the CPU socket.
  • Samsung MP0402H 40GB 2.5" notebook drive
  • 1 GB stick of Corsair XMS2 DDR2 memory.
  • FSP Zen 300W fanless power supply.
  • Arctic Silver Lumière: Special fast-curing thermal interface material, designed specifically for test labs.
  • Nexus 120 fan (part of our standard testing methodology; used when possible with heatsinks that fit 120x25mm fans)
Nexus 120 fan measurements
Voltage
Noise
RPM
12V
21 dBA@1m
1100 RPM
9V
18 dBA@1m
890 RPM
7V
16 dBA@1m
720 RPM
5V
<15 dBA@1m
530 RPM

Test Tools

  • Seasonic Power Angel for measuring AC power at the wall to ensure that the heat output remains consistent.
  • Custom-built, four-channel variable DC power supply, used to regulate the fan speed during the test.
  • Bruel & Kjaer (B&K) model 2203 Sound Level Meter. Used to accurately measure noise down to 20 dBA and below.
  • Various other tools for testing fans, as documented in our standard fan testing methodology.

Software Tools

  • SpeedFan 4.32, used to monitor the on-chip thermal sensor. This sensor is not calibrated, so results are not universally applicable.
  • CPUBurn P6, used to stress the CPU heavily, generating more heat than most real applications. Two instances are used to ensure that both cores are stressed.
  • Throttlewatch 2.01, used to monitor the throttling feature of the CPU to determine when overheating occurs.

Noise measurements were made with the fan powered from the lab's variable DC power supply while the rest of the system was off to ensure that system noise did not skew the measurements.

Load testing was accomplished using CPUBurn to stress the processor, and the graph function in SpeedFan was used to make sure that the load temperature was stable for at least ten minutes. The stock fan was tested at various voltages to represent a good cross-section of its airflow and noise performance.

The ambient conditions during testing were 15 dBA and 21°C.



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