Noctua NH-C12P CPU Cooler Review

When it comes to CPU cooling what do you use? Honestly I prefer massive CPU coolers. With so many options from just being huge, intimidating, noisy, and efficient to small, unassuming cheap coolers, what is the best option? Well for those out there that agree that Air Based CPU coolers are a great way to drop the temp of your CPU but don’t always like towering coolers filling up you computer cavity, then you should take a look at the Noctua NH-C12P CPU Cooler. With its C shape design this cooler has the ability to drastically drop the temp of your CPU while not sacrificing low noise and space in your computer. Let’s take a closer look at this innovative CPU Cooler:

Product Provided By: Noctua

Closer Look:

Like everything that Noctua provides the Noctua NH-C12P comes in a nice sleek looking box donning there trademark color scheme and sporting a nice little window allowing you to see the product, also like everything else is also has a picture of their pretty red headed mascot. The box ‘s top and back are covered in specs and features for this heat sync. It also includes several diagrams; one on how there custom Noctua NF-P12 Fan reduces noise, one shows the two types of mounting systems that are included, and one that shows the dimensions of the Noctua NH-C12P.


Included with the Noctua NH-C12P are two different mounting styles for Intel and AMD motherboards, a tube of Noctua NT-H1 thermal compound, a Noctua NF-P12 Premium Fan, a Low-Noise Adaptor, and an Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor.

With the Noctua NH-C12P’s low profile, C-Shape design, and large airflow-gaps provide excellent cooling for near-socket motherboard components. Even though it has a low profile and doesn’t tower over your motherboard its base is still built high so as not to interfere with heat syncs and capacitor on your mother board, a problem I personally have had in the past. Even though it looks sexy and made of chrome it really is made of copper and aluminum. The front of the cooler displays Noctua’s logo which I thought was a nice touch to the looks.


The bottom of the cooler I received wasn’t lapped as well as I was hoping; it had some very small fine ridges on the bottom. I decided to apply an extra thin layer of thermal compound to the CPU, then placed the cooler on the CPU to find where it sat on the cooler, and then added a thin layer to the bottom of the cooler and I got amazing results but that will be covered later in the testing area.

Let’s move onto the specs and features:


Sporting 6 heat pipes and the award-winning, psycho-acoustically optimized NF-P12 120mm fan, the NH-C12P achieves excellent performance and outstanding quietness. The down-facing c-type design doesn’t only allow for optimal motherboard and case compatibility, but also provides additional cooling for motherboard components through two Airflow-Gaps. Outfitted with the professional SecuFirm™ mounting system and Noctua’s much acclaimed NT-H1 thermal compound, the NH-C12P is a premium-class silent cooler through and through.

Socket compatibility Intel Socket LGA 775, AMD AM2, AM2+ & AM3, AMD K8 (754, 939, 940) on request
Height (without fan) 91 mm
Width (without fan) 126 mm
Depth (without fan) 152 mm
Height (with fan) 114 mm
Width (with fan) 126 mm
Depth (with fan) 152 mm
Weight (without fan) 550 g
Weight (with fan) 730 g
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
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%) 1300 RPM
Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%) 1100 RPM
Rotational Speed with U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%) 900 RPM
Airflow 92,3 m³/h
Airflow with L.N.A. 78,5 m³/h
Airflow with U.L.N.A. 63,4 m³/h
Acoustical Noise 19,8 dB(A)
Acoustical Noise with L.N.A. 16,9 dB(A)
Acoustical Noise with U.L.N.A. 12,6 dB(A)
Input Power 1,08 W
Voltage Range 12 V
MTBF > 150.000 h


6HP6 heat pipes
6 heat pipes, excellently soldered joints and widely-spaced cooling fins guarantee optimal heat dissipation even at low fan speeds.


CTC-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.


NF-P12NF-P12 120mm premium 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.


COMPExcellent compatibility
The down-facing c-type design allows for low height as well as excellent motherboard and case compatibility.


SECUFIRMSecuFirm™ multi-socket mounting system
Noctua’s professional SecuFirm™ mounting system for LGA 775, AM2, AM2+ and AM3 provides superior reliability and contact pressure. K8 (939, 940, 754) kits are available on request.


NT-H1Noctua 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.

Now let’s get to testing:

Testing Setup:

  • CPU: Q6600
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3
  • Memory: 2 x 2GB Kingston
  • OS: Windows XP Home SP3
  • Video Card: ATI Radeon 2400 HD
  • Power Supply: 550 W PSU
  • Case: NZXT Tempest


During this test I will be comparing the Noctua NH-C12P to a stock cooler. Some may say “That’s not really a fair test, of course the big cooler is going to be better”, but that’s what this test is proving, that when you begin to upgrade you CPU and computer system that you should also upgrade your cooling and you have to start somewhere.  During this test I obviously will be watching the temp of the CPU while idle and while under load. To raise the temp of the CPU I will be running Prime 95’s Burn-in test. The ambient temp in the room will remain a constant 22°C.

CPU Cooler



Stock Intel Cooler



Noctua NH-C12P



Really, do I have to recap the stats? These numbers speak for themselves. To see the CPU temp drop by that much almost left me speechless. It dropped it so much that with the Noctua NH-C12P installed the load temp was equal the stock coolers idle temp.

Not being part of the official test, after I did the benchmark in the climate controlled room where I do my tests, I returned my PC to its basement home where the ambient temp is around 15°C. Before adding the Noctua NH-C12P CPU Cooler, my CPU’s temps was around the 18°C but now with this cooler the average temp idle is now 8°C. Come on; don’t act like you’re not impressed, this is all from just adding a CPU cooler.

Now let’s get to my final thoughts:


So what’s the verdict on this cooler? It was great, I knew that equipping an aftermarket cooler would drop the CPU temp, but I really didn’t think that it was going to drop the temp by that much. Simply put the Noctua NH-C12P CPU Cooler is downright amazing when it comes to cooling ability, quality, compatibility, and great looks.

So would I recommend this cooler? If you are looking for a great and stylish way to cool your CPU then absolutely yes. For some this cooler might be a little steep price wise, but any enthusiast knows that low CPU temp can be worth just about anything. I still think that the Noctua NH-C12P cooler would add a great deal of power to anyone’s CPU cooling ability. What else could I possibly say, this cooler did a freaking amazing job to drop the temp of my CPU and I find it hard to say that it wouldn’t be worth checking out.


  • Great cooling
  • Good Compatibility
  • Stylish Looks
  • Low-Noise
  • Comes with NF-P12 Fan and NT-H1 Thermal Compound


  • A Little Pricy For Some
  • Slightly Heavy

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