Noctua Launches 145mm Tall Chromax.black NH-D12L CPU Cooler

Today, Noctua announced the launch of its NH-D12L chromax.black CPU cooler, an all-black version of the existing NH-D12L. The cooler sports not only a coat of mattte black paint, but also a relatively short height of 145mm, which Noctua says makes the NH-D12L suitable for slimmer cases and 4U server racks.

Having launched in 2022, the NH-D12L is essentially a shorter version of the NH-U12A, which stands at 158mm tall. While plenty of cases have the room for a cooler that tall, not all do (especially small form factor cases). The NH-D12L exists to offer similar performance as the NH-U12A but for cases where 145mm would fit but 158mm wouldn’t. However, the NH-D12L has just a single 120mm NF-A12x25 fan, whereas the NH-U12A has two. Additionally, the NH-D12L has five heatpipes to the NH-U12A’s seven. These two factors mean the NH-D12L can’t quite catch up to the NH-U12A when it comes to cooling capacity.

The chromax.black model is practically identical to the original, but features Noctua’s popular black motif. It should perform the same, and its SecuFirm 2 mounting hardware supports the same sockets: AMD’s AM4 and AM5, and Intel’s LGA 1700 and LGA 1851 for upcoming Arrow Lake CPUs. Despite its compact design, the NH-D12L also has “100% RAM compatibility” for sticks with tall heatspreaders, which sometimes pose clearance issues with air coolers.

The NH-D12L chromax.black also comes with the usual Noctua accessories: a screwdriver, NH-T1 thermal paste, and a four-pin low-noise adapter for the NF-A12x25 fan. Additionally, the 120mm fan is mounted to the cooler via a bracket, meaning no screws are necessary and it can be removed or installed toollessly.

At $99/€109, the NH-D12L is positioned fairly high in the market, next to larger high-end air coolers such as Corsair’s A115, as well as 240mm to 360mm AIO liquid coolers. However, the NH-D12L holds a substantial advantage in its size and compatibility, and while many of these high-end air coolers are 160mm tall or more, the NH-D12L is just 145mm. In some cases, even 15mm could make a big difference.

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