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

Cooling
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FAN COMPARISON

We decided to pit the NF-P12 fan against our reference Nexus fan and a Scythe Slip Stream (800 RPM model). Whether it was at 12V, 9V, 7V, or 5V, the NF-P12 performed within one degree of the Nexus fan. One degree is not enough to conclusive say either fan is the winner; however, at 12V the Noctua fan was more than twice as loud as the Nexus. It was still louder at 9V, though the difference had shrunk to just 4 dBA.

The Scythe Slip Stream's performance was similar, though it managed to cooling slightly bettern than the other fans when they were all set to the same 16 dBA@1m noise level.

Fan Performance: NF-P12 vs. Nexus vs. Scythe Slip Stream (L)
NF-P12
Nexus
Slip Stream (L)
SPL@1m
°C Rise
SPL@1m
°C Rise
SPL@1m
°C Rise
32-33 dBA
16
21 dBA
16
N/A
22 dBA
17
18 dBA
18
16 dBA
19
16 dBA
20
16 dBA
21
15 dBA
21
<15 dBA
25
<15 dBA
26
<15 dBA
24
Note: Slip Stream tested at 12V, 9V and 7V only.

These results suggest that....

  • The NH-C12P heatsink does not benefit from airflow any greater than that provided by the Nexus 120 at 12V.
  • The NF-P12 provides unnecessarily high airflow at 12V.
  • The NH-C12P heatsink is optimized for good performance with low airflow.

Hence, a much quieter stock fan could have been used. It's possible that a much hotter CPU or otherwise more extreme thermal conditions could bring out the advantage of the expensive, high pressure NF-P12 fan.

HEATSINK COMPARISONS

Compared to other top-down coolers, the NH-C12P takes the crown from the Scythe Andy, beating it at all fan speeds except 12V by a small margin. It also easily outclasses the more cumbersome Scythe Zipang.

Comparison: NH-C12P vs. Top-Downers
Scythe Zipang
Scythe Andy
Noctua NH-C12P
SPL@1m
°C Rise
SPL@1m
°C Rise
SPL@1m
°C Rise
23 dBA
18
21 dBA
16
21 dBA
16
18 dBA
20
18 dBA
20
18 dBA
18
16 dBA
25
16 dBA
23
16 dBA
21
<15 dBA
37
<15 dBA
29
<15 dBA
26
Note: Data for Andy and NH-C12P is with a Nexus 120 fan; the Zipang was tested with its own 14cm fan.

 

Comparison: NH-C12P vs. Tower Heatsinks
Fan Voltage
Noise @1m
°C Rise
Xigmatek HDT-S1283
Ninja Copper
Noctua
NH-C12P
12V
21 dBA
13
17
16
9V
18 dBA
15
18
18
7V
16 dBA
18
20
21
5V
<15 dBA
22
23
26
The Nexus 120 fan was used for all the heatsinks.

Compared to the top tower heatsinks we've tested, the NH-C12P is about on par with the Scythe Ninja Copper, and not too far from the the Xigmatek HDT-S1283. It is the first down-blowing CPU cooler to compare well against best tower coolers.



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