Whenever Noctua launches a new product, it makes a lot of of headlines. And quite rightly so, as every Noctua product is somehow extra special. The same story is true with the NH-P1, which is Noctua’s first passive cooler, and probably the only passive cooler on the market designed for 100W+ processors. We’ve been testing the NH-P1 for a while now, and it’s time to share with you what we think about this unique product.
For sure, we can count on a top-quality as Noctua never disappoints, but how well does the NH-P1 work? I hope you can find the answer to this and many other questions in our review.
Let’s begin with the specifications and features of the new Noctua cooler.
The NH-P1 is Noctua’s first passive CPU cooler and has been custom-designed for fanless operation from the ground up: in enclosures with good natural convection, its six heatpipes and thick, widely spaced heatsink fins enable it to cool modern high-end CPUs with low to moderate heat dissipation completely passively (see setup guidelines and list of recommended cases). For further enhanced performance or semi-passive setups that only spin up their fans when necessary, the NH-P1 can be outfitted with a low-speed, ultra-quiet 120mm fan such as the NF-A12x25 LS-PWM. Topped off with the professional Torx-based SecuFirm2+ mounting system, Noctua’s award-winning NT-H2 thermal compound and a 6-year manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-P1 is the ideal cornerstone for premium-grade fanless or semi-passive builds.
Designed for passive cooling from the ground up
The NH-P1 isn’t just a regular heatsink without a fan: it has been designed for fanless operation from the ground up, featuring much thicker, much more widely spaced fins in order to achieve both the mass and the minimal airflow resistance that are required in order to excel in natural convection cooling.
Fanless cooling for high-end CPUs
In fully optimised fanless systems, the NH-P1 is capable of cooling high-end CPUs with low to moderate heat dissipation using natural convection only (see setup guidelines and CPU compatibility list). This makes it ideal for powerful builds that have no moving parts and run absolutely silent.
Increased performance headroom with extra fan
The NH-P1 can be fitted with an extra 120mm fan such as the near inaudible NF-A12x25 LS-PWM in order to increase its maximum dissipation capacity significantly (see setup guidelines and CPU compatibility list): ideal for short spikes of higher heat loads or semi-passive systems that only start their fans when necessary!
No noise, less dust, 100% fail-proof
Fanless cooling doesn’t only have the advantage of being completely silent: if you’re relying on natural convection only and don’t have case fans pushing air through a case, less dust will accumulate in filters or inside the system. Last but not least, with no moving parts such as fans or pumps that could possibly fail, the NH-P1 is as fail-proof as it can be.
Asymmetrical layout for optimal PCIe compatibility
As many current motherboards have the top PCIe x16 slot sitting close to the socket, bigger heatsinks tend to block it. Due to its asymmetrical layout, the fin-stack of the NH-P1 is offset towards the upper edge of the motherboard when installed in standard orientation. This allows it to clear the top PCIe x16 slot on most current µATX and ATX motherboards (see motherboards compatibility list).
100% RAM clearance on LGA1200 and AM4
Due to its asymmetric design, the NH-P1 does not overhang the RAM slots on Intel LGA1200, LGA115x and AMD AM4 based motherboards, which ensures easy access to the modules and 100% compatibility with tall heat-spreaders. On LGA2066, it overhangs the RAM slots on the left-hand side of the socket, so RAM modules should not exceed 45mm in height.
SecuFirm2+™ Torx-based multi-socket mounting system
Noctua’s SecuFirm2™ mounting systems have become synonymous with quality, safety and easy installation. Torx-based, the professional SecuFirm2+ version with its included screwdriver provides even better handling and durability. Socket support includes Intel LGA1200, LGA115x (LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156) and LGA20xx (LGA2066, LGA2011-0, LGA2011-3), as well as AMD AM4, AM3(+), AM2(+), FM2(+) and FM1.
Compatibility with past and future sockets
Thanks to Noctua’s SecuFirm™ ecosystem, the NH-P1 can be made compatible with the older LGA1366 and LGA775 sockets using the optional NM-I3 mounting kit, which is provided free of charge. If technically possible, Noctua will also provide upgrade kits for future sockets, which makes the NH-P1 a safe long-term investment.
NT-H2 next-gen thermal compound
In high-end passive cooling, every degree counts. This is why the NH-P1 includes a tube of Noctua’s next-generation NT-H2 thermal compound that provides even better performance than the award-winning NT-H1, allowing you to achieve the best possible passive cooling results.
Soldered interface between heatpipes and fins
With many heatsinks, the fins are press-fitted to the heatpipes. Due to the different thermal expansion coefficients of copper and aluminum, this fit can loosen over years of thermal cycling, which may lead to reduced performance. By contrast, the NH-P1’s fins are soldered to the heatpipes in order to guarantee a superior thermal interface that doesn’t deteriorate even after many years of usage.
6-year manufacturer’s warranty
Noctua products are renowned for their impeccable quality and outstanding longevity. Like all Noctua CPU coolers, the NH-P1 is built to the highest standards and comes with a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Bartosz Waluk aka Woomack is from Poland. He's been interested in computer hardware and extreme overclocking for over 15 years. Bartosz has also over 12 years experience in IT what includes sales, technical support and computer building ... but not only. He joined the Funky Kit team in January 2013.