|A member of the Funky Media Group|
|Review: Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile CPU Cooler|
|Posted by Dexter K.|
|Sunday, 15 April 2012 23:23|
Page 4 of 5
Testing and Results
Testing heatsinks accurately is a tricky business. There are two important numbers, one is the core temperature over ambient, and the other is the absolute core temp.
For a review the gain over ambient is the most important, it lets the readers figure out how cooling will run for them with a certain ambient temperature. For example it could be 30*C in a house, and the heatsink has a 20*C delta. So for someone with a 30*C ambient those core temperatures would be 50*C while someone with a 0*C ambient would have 20*C core temperatures.
For personal use the absolute core temp is more important, as your ambient is unlikely to change a huge amount.
For this review I will be expressing all temps in the number of degrees over ambient the cores are running, if you the viewer add this number to your current ambient air temp the resulting number is how hot my system's cores would be running in your house during the tests.
For testing I will be using Arctic Cooling MX-4 thermal paste in order to give a level playing field since previous heatsinks have been tested with that thermal paste. The NH-L12 will be compared to all of the other previous socket 2011 heatsinks we have reviewed thus far.
The test system is thusly:
The 3930K will be run at a stock and overclocked level:
This will be to give a baseline as far as temps since there is no stock cooler for the 2011 socket of processors. Then the overclocked level will show how this heatsink will handle a large heat load in relation to its ambient temperature.
The first results are with the processor at Stock clocks with various fan settings. Keep in mind the processor is running at 3.5ghz due to Turbo kicking in.
Stock clocks, Low fan speed
Jeeze, at stock with a low fan it is able to beat out the impressive NH-D14! Maybe this thing will do better than I anticipated.
Stock clocks, Medium Fan speed
This time the NH-L12 falls behind the D14, but beats the Bigwater. Quite impressive for a heatsink this little.
Stock clocks, High fan speed
Again the NH-L12 barely falls behind the other heatsinks. If it had two 120mm fans there is a good chance that it would have performed the same as the NH-D14 in stock testing
Normally we would do overclocked testing from here on out. But sadly the NH-L12 was unable to keep this monster of a processor cooled throughout testing.
It was able to keep the processor cool to around 4ghz but once that frequency was exceeded temperatures would skyrocket and the processor was forced to throttle.
So to not be unfair to the previously reviewed heatsinks the NH-L12 will not be included in our results.
For those people who run a quad core processor the NH-L12 will be more than enough for HTPC use. I tried disabling two of the 3930K cores and run the same frequency/ voltages and the chip ran just fine. But it just cannot keep up with the huge heat load that six cores puts out.
Even at the highest fan speeds the two fans on the NH-L12 were not loud at all. While they are not dead silent at the highest fan speed it is easily overshadowed by a video card or case fans.
Once the fans are undervolted they become dead silent. Medium fan speed (7v) is a good compromise between full blast and low.