Overclocking next and it’s not the same story, but it’s not all doom and gloom. The NH-L12S manages a decent overclock idle temperature at 4.8Ghz. Under full stress test load, it peaks at 95 Degrees, showing it can cope. It’s clear that the stress test is reaching the limits of the fan using the standard profile, and this performance would have put the NH-L12S about half way down the benchmark results charts.
The overclocked sound performance is much better, again enforcing the Yin-Yang relationship between sound performance and thermal performance. The NH-L12S doesn’t seem to notice the overclock at idle, with an imperceptible increase in decibels. During full load, it does reach 38 Decibels, which is excellent for such a thin fan.
So, where do we stand with the Noctua NH-L12S CPU Cooler? We tend to keep a solid performer without going over the top for sound installed for all our tests until the next cooler comes along. This time it was the Cryorig H5 Universal, a good Cryorig offering. When we installed the NH-L12S and powered it on, there was a noticeable quiet in the air, it was not a perceptible sound coming from the fan unless you got up close.
It’s strange, as there was only a couple of decibels in it, but it was enough to take the edge off of the system. You’ll notice that in the long run, and if it’s in your HTPC, it’s going to need to be quiet (no pun intended).
The fan is the only element of the NH-L12S that stops it from being an overclocker. It’s going to get by in an open chassis, but put it up against a full build and a closed chassis, and the NF-A12x15 PWM fan will most likely struggle to cope. As a stock Small Form Factor System, or HTPC cooler, it’s currently the best we would recommend, it’s not really an overclocker though, at least not for an Intel i7 CPU.