Best Noctua CPU Cooler  | WePC


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Noctua NH-L12S

noctua nh l12s 3 1

NH-L12S

How we choose

How do we choose our best picks? Well, we don’t just pluck them out of thin air. The choosing process is an amalgamation of our product specialist’s experience with the product and user reviews online. 

Before jumping into anything we do our research and make sure that these products hold up and they’re something we’d happily put into our own PCs. We’d never intentionally make a bad recommendation. 

How we test 

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From PC cases to CPU Coolers, we like to get hands-on with all the hardware we recommend. Testing the products is a huge part of our overall selection process and it is a way we ensure that our option is the best for the job.

CPU Coolers must meet our expectations, which largely consist of a lot of acoustic and thermal tests. Of course, style and aesthetics are big factors when considering any PC component. 

With a CPU cooler, we need to assess build quality, thermal performance, acoustic performance, and finally, value.

This process enables us to provide you with an accurate take on how well a cooler performs and, ultimately, if it’s worth your valuable time. 

Things to consider 

Before we jump into Noctuas best CPU coolers, we have a few things we should consider before choosing our next CPU cooler. 

TDP

CPU TDP is a massive factor when it comes to selecting your next CPU cooler, as this is the primary reason for having a CPU cooler. But what is TDP exactly? 

TDP stands for thermal design power and is the maximum amount of thermal energy a component can output under manufacturer-defined operating conditions. The more powerful or less efficient a CPU is, the higher its TDP will be. 

TDP isn’t a problem as long as you have a CPU cooler that can handle it. A 105W TDP is easily handled by an excellent air cooler.

It’s always best to leave some headroom, however, when it comes to cooling especially with overclocking in mind. Overclocking drastically increases CPU TDP with even the slightest of tweaks. 

Spacial limitations

The CPU cooler, as with anything, is a physical object that takes up space in our vast universe. SO, when planning out your next CPU cooler, it’s important you consider the profile of your system and the amount of space you have inside your PC case. 

Noctua has you covered, with a wide range of different-sized coolers to suit any spacial limitation or form factor. You could opt for the beefy NH-D15 if you have room or the slimmer NH U14s if space or RAM clearance happens to be an issue. 

Socket

The CPU socket is where the CPU sits on the motherboard, but it’s also where the CPU cooler mounts. As sockets are a specific shape and size, coolers need to have a compatible mounting configuration to fit the socket they are attaching to. Not only that, but coolers have to have a screw pattern that corresponds to the motherboard. 

A CPU socket is like a shape, you must have a CPU cooler that matches that shape. Luckily, all Noctua coolers fit pretty much all mainstream CPU sockets or come with a backplate that enables compatibility. Noctua coolers even come equipped for Ryzen Threaripper processors, but they’re separate coolers and clearly state their intended socket in the name (NH-U14S TR4-SP3). 

Best Noctua CPU cooler: In-depth review

Without further adieu, let’s jump into our picks for the best Noctua CPU coolers. 

Noctua NH-D15

Noctua NH-D15

Noctua NH D15

(H)165 x (W)150 x (D)150 mm

The Noctua NH-D15 stands tough against its competition, this air cooler can even give some liquid coolers a run for their money. The design is certainly very Noctua if that’s your thing, but it’s the cooling potential that matters most when opting for a CPU cooler. 

The size can be an issue if you’re wanting to build in a smaller form factor, with extra clearance needed for the two giant heatsinks and accompanying 140mm fans. Noctua does offer an ‘S’ variant, which is significantly downscaled for those that lack the space for the larger model.

Overall, if you can fit this into your PC, it’s one of the best air-based coolers on the market to date. The max noise sits near 24.6dB and with a max RPM of 1500, offering high performance with low noise levels. 

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