Noctua NH-D12L Dual Tower CPU Cooler - 120mm-Class Cooling For 4U Server Cases

Written by Michael Larabel in Peripherals on 13 April 2022. Page 1 of 3. 18 Comments

With the dozens of 4U rackmount enclosures used at Phoronix, when it comes to the high-end desktop systems the Noctua NH-U9 series has been the go-to choice for CPU cooling. The Noctua NH-U9 series has been capable of cooling HEDT systems even with Threadripper / EPYC processors using the NH-U9 TR4-SP3 while fitting within 4U height requirements. For the Noctua NH-U9 series and other 4U compatible heatsinks they've tended to be limited to 80~92mm cooling fans due to height requirements. Noctua though recently introduced the NH-D12L as offering a dual tower CPU heatsink design capable of fitting 120mm fans and has been the focus of our recent testing.

The Noctua NH-D12L is a low-height 120mm class CPU cooler that comes in with a peak height of 145mm, which is 13mm less than their regular 120mm models. In turn this allows the NH-D12L to comfortably fit within a 4U rackmount chassis. The NH-D12L makes use of five heatpipes in a dual tower design that is soldered together.

Noctua invested much engineering to ensure the NH-D12L would work out well for 4U rackmount enclosures while still ensuring this heatsink provides "100% RAM compatibility" on AMD AM4/AM5 and Intel LGA-1700/LGA-1200 motherboards by providing sufficient clearance around DIMM slots.

The Noctua NH-D12L is making use of the Noctua NF-A12x25r PWM fan for cooling and as with most Noctua heatsinks multiple fans can be attached. This 120mm fan makes use of a round-frame design to lower the clearance requirements for fitting within 4U server cases.

The NH-D12L is another Noctua heatsink using their SecuFirm2 mounting system for allowing this heatsink to be installed across a range of Intel and AMD CPU sockets.

Long story short with the Noctua NH-D12L it's a high performance 120mm class CPU cooler that can comfortably fit within 4U server cases -- a rarity among CPU coolers in this space. The NH-D12L is backed by the Austrian company's usual six year warranty. Let's move on though to seeing how this cooler performs in a 4U setup. Noctua kindly sent over a review sample of the NH-D12L for testing along with a second fan.

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