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Noctua should not be new to you if you have been with us for awhile as we have reviewed and tested couple of Noctua products especially their CPU coolers. Noctua NH-U12P is quality tower CPU cooler but some of the users may have case constraint with such tall cooler. Hence Noctua has another option for users; NH-C12P which has around the performance and price compare with NH-U12P.
Noctua arises from a cooperation between the Austrian Rascom Computerdistribution Ges.m.b.H and the Taiwanese Kolink International Corporation and entertains a development partnership with the Austrian Institute of Heat Transmission and Fan Technology (Österreichisches Institut für Wärmeübertragung und Ventilatorentechnik, ÖIWV). These connections form the key to the achievement of our goal: The partnership with the ÖIWV permits the application of scientific measurement instrumentation, methods of calculation and simulation technology in the R&D process.
Rascom's long, customer-oriented experience in developing and distributing sound-optimised high-end products ensures a clear focus on the users' needs. The use of Kolink's advanced manufacturing technology and ultra-modern production plants allows us to efficiently implement our technical edge and provide solutions of the highest standard in quality and performance.
Package & Contents
Noctua is using same kind of packaging box for NH-C12P which is totally identical with NH-U12P but slightly smaller. The packaging box is huge but not huge enough compare with other tower CPU coolers that we have reviewed before. There is a transparent window in the middle of the front box where some portion of NF-P12 is shown.
Features with diagrams and installation methods are shown on the packaging box which are very useful information. Some of the Noctua NH-C12P highlighted features are six heat pipes, C-type design, premium fan; NF-P12, SecuFirm mounting, NT-H1 thermal compound and etc.
Accessories that come along with Noctua NH-C12P are NF-P12 fan, NT-H1 thermal compound, English user's manual, ultra-low-noise adapter (U.L.N.A), low-noise adapter (L.N.A), fan clips, anti-vibration strips, mounting brackets and other mounting components for Socket LGA775, AMD AMD2/2+/3.
The user's manual of Noctua NH-C12P is a very interesting booklet where it has two sections; one for AMD socket while the other one for Intel socket. One of the differences between Noctua NH-C12P and NH-U12P is NH-C12P only supports single fan so only two set of fan clips and anti-vibration strips are included. U.L.N.A and L.N.A are very useful adapters to reduce the noise while the NH-H1 is a very top performance thermal compound.
As we mentioned before Noctua NH-C12P is quite similar with Noctua NH-U12P in term of performance and cost. However both of these Noctua coolers are having different structures where NH-U12P is a tower CPU cooler with horizontal airflow design while NH-C12P is having down facing design; vertical airflow toward motherboard. Both of these designs or coolers have their own advantages and disadvantages and it depends on the system setup.
Noctua NH-C12P supports for socket LGA775, AMD AMD2/2+/3 and AMD K8 upon request. LGA1366 additional mounting bracket is available for upgrading purpose (http://noctua.at/main.php?show=productview&products_id=23&lng=en&set=1) but we still hope Noctua will release another version of NH-C12P with LGA1366 mounting bracket at default. In term of built material Noctua NH-C12P is using same material as NH-U12P where it is made by aluminum fins, copper base and copper heat pipes; nickel coated. Noctua NH-C12P fins are come in wave-shaped to increase its area dimension so that the heat can be dissipated more effectively.
As Noctua NH-C12P is a down facing cooler so the fan needs to be mounted on top of the heatsink and such cooler is able to solve the case compatibility issue without any height problem. On both sides of Noctua NH-C12P, there are two large airflow-gaps which allow additional cooling for the near-socket motherboard components like MOSFET, capacitor and etc.
Unlike other down-facing coolers, Noctua NH-C12P has the connected fins from the base with the top portion of heatsink. Such structure is able to enhance the cooling efficiency besides giving stronger structure support. It is a great idea rather than just solely depends the heat transfer from the base to the heat pipe and this may help NH-C12P to reduce its performance gap with NH-U12P.
Since Noctua NH-C12P is a smaller heatsink compare with NH-U12P, Noctua has increased its heat pipes from four to six so that its performance will not lagging much behind. All these six heat pipes of Noctua NH-C12P are made by copper material but are nickel coated which is not only looks cool but also help to reduce corrosion.
All these six heat pipes are excellently soldered joints with the base and fins so that the conductivity will be optimized. The base of Noctua NH-C12P is made by copper material; a good very conductive material and it is nickel coated too. The base finishing of Noctua NH-C12P is very fine and thanks to Noctua for such excellent work.
Noctua NH-C12P is using Noctua best 120mm fan; NF-P12 which is being used on other Noctua 120mm heatsink cooler as well. Noctua NF-P12 is a silent fan with only 1300RPM and 19.8dBA. NF-P12 has unique design with pressure-optimized nice blade and vortex-control designs. Besides that NF-P12 has 6 years warranty which is more than enough to last before upgrades the system.
No doubt Noctua NH-C12P is not a giant cooler in term of height but it is definitely a big cooler in term of width and depth. However such cooler will have less compatible issue with system setup except for those small ATX case which hardly able to support such good cooler.
Here are the comparison between Noctua NH-C12P and NH-U12P's smaller sister; NH-U9B. Both of these coolers are around the same height but in term of performance wise, NH-U9B is neither in the same category with NH-U12P nor NH-C12P; NH-U9B is more toward mainstream usage. The overall dimension of Noctua NH-C12P with NF-P12 is 114 x 126 x 152mm (H x W x D) and 91 x 126 x 152mm (H x W x D) without fan.
Installation, Testing & Performance
Installation for such high quality, multi-socket supported cooler will take some time but it is not so hard for Noctua NH-C12P because Noctua has simplified the installation quite well and simple. we have selected Intel LGA775 for our setup and first of all the LGA fastening brackets are required to be installed on Noctua NH-C12P base with four screws. Some highlight here, please make sure these LGA fastening brackets are not installed on top of the base as it needs to be installed underneath of the base else the cooler base will not contact with the processor.
While fastening the LGA brackets on the cooler base, it is required to install the LGA backplate on the motherboard together with the LGA mounting bars; four screws. The alignment of these LGA bars is up to the motherboard design; either north/south or west/east. This great flexibility is hardly can be found on other CPU coolers.
Once the LGA backplate and mounting bars are setup, now it is the time to mount the whole NH-C12P cooler on the mounting bracket with 2 sets of spring and screw. Lastly will be fan installation; install NF-P12 on the NH-C12P with two fan clips; of course don't forget the anti-vibration strips which help to reduce the vibration or noise. Noctua cooler fan clip is one of the most convenience fan clips that allow user mount the fan on the cooler easily without much problem. Furthermore Noctua NH-C12P is a down facing cooler which allows user install the fan on top the cooler horizontally.
Overall we don't see any major installation problem of Noctua NH-C12P except the motherboard needs to be removed out for bracket installation which can't be avoided for such high end CPU cooler. The fan needs to be installed lastly so that user can fasten the Noctua NH-C12P on the motherboard with mounting bracket easily; with a screwdriver.
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8300 @ 2.83GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3
Heatsink: Titan Fenrir
Memory: 4GB 800MHz DDR2 Memory
Hard Drive: 250GB 7200RPM 8MB Seagate
Graphic Card: OEM Nvidia GeForce 9800GT 512MB
PSU: In Win Commander 1200W
Router: TRENDnet TEW-639GR
Optical Drive: DVD RW HLDS
Monitor: Dell 22" Wide Screen LCD
Speaker: Edifier R501
Operating System: Microsoft XP Pro SP2
Benchmark Software: HDTech, CrystalDiskMark
Ambient Temperature: 27 Degree Celsius
Above are the performance charts between Noctua NH-C12P with the rest of the coolers. As you can see the performance differences between NH-C12P and NH-U12P aren't much; NH-C12P performs slightly better than NH-U12P but we also found that some folks are saying NH-U12P is better NH-C12P. There is no clear winner between both of these high end coolers from Noctua as both of them are quite similar in term of performance although they are having different design structures.
When comparing Noctua NH-C12P with other coolers, it is not the most outstanding cooler where the gating item should be the NF-P12 fan; a very silent fan with only 1300RPM. However for a CPU cooler; just 1300RPM and without noticeable noise, Noctua NH-C12P can be considered as a very good CPU cooler with such fantastic results. If NF-P12 is replaced by other stronger CFM fan then the performance will be much better; same for the ranking. Besides that we also tested Noctua NH-C12P with the adapters as some of the users may need it; U.L.N.A (Ultra low noise) and L.N.A (low noise).
Looking for a great CPU cooler with reasonable price and acceptable height to avoid the compatibility issue? If yes then we are highly recommending this Noctua NH-C12P to you which is not only a decent cooler but also comes with other great features and accessories such as able to cool down motherboard nearby components, NF-P12 fan, NT-H1 thermal compound and etc. For a 60USD cooler, Noctua NH-C12P is a bit expensive but it is still acceptable for a complete set of CPU cooler with high quality low noise fan. Besides that Noctua NH-C12P is able to solve the height issue which is mostly found on tower CPU cooler.
* Great & silent performance
* Easy installation & excellent finishing
* Airflow gaps for cooling motherboard nearby components
* Six heat pipes & nickel coated surface
* Comes with U.L.N.A, L.N.A & NT-H1
* LGA1366 mounting bracket need to be purchased separately
Thanks to Noctua for providing this sample for us to review.
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