With the dozens of 4U rackmount cases used at Phoronix, when it comes to high-end desktop systems, the Noctua NH-U9 series has been the go-to choice for CPU cooling. The Noctua NH-U9 series was able to cool HEDT systems even with Threadripper / EPYC processors using the NH-U9 TR4-SP3 while meeting the 4U height requirements. For the Noctua NH-U9 series and other 4U compatible heatsinks, they tend to be limited to 80-92mm cooling fans due to height requirements. Noctua however recently touted the NH-D12L as offering a dual-tower CPU heatsink design capable of accommodating 120mm fans and was the subject of our recent testing.
The Noctua NH-D12L is a low profile 120mm class CPU cooler that comes with a maximum height of 145mm, which is 13mm less than their usual 120mm models. This allows the NH-D12L to fit comfortably into a 4U rack mount chassis. The NH-D12L uses five heat pipes in a dual-tower design soldered together.
Noctua invested a lot of engineering to ensure that the NH-D12L would work well for 4U rackmount cases while ensuring that this heatsink offers “100% RAM compatibility” on AMD AM4/AM5 motherboards and Intel LGA-1700/LGA-1200 by providing sufficient space around DIMM slots.
The Noctua NH-D12L uses the Noctua NF-A12x25r PWM fan for cooling and, as with most Noctua heatsinks, multiple fans can be connected. This 120mm fan uses a round frame design to reduce clearance requirements for installation in 4U server enclosures.
The NH-D12L is another Noctua heatsink using their SecuFirm2 mounting system to allow this heatsink to be installed on 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 fit comfortably into 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 to see how this cooler performs in a 4U configuration though. Noctua kindly sent a test sample of the NH-D12L for testing with a second fan.