There are a number of coolers out there and the stock Intel cooler that comes with the i5/i7 Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge CPUs has a low-ish profile but it isn’t exactly quiet. Noctua provided us with an NH-L12 for testing so let’s have a good look at what we are compromising for a low profile solution.
The NH-L12 is a horizontally orientated low profile cooler that has a weird combination of 90mm and 120mm PWM fans with heat pipes and fins sandwiched in the middle. The fans force air down onto the motherboard, with the top 120mm fan being easily removable to reduce the height profile of the unit even more. The implementation of PWM fans on this cooler means that with the right fan profile, noise levels shouldn’t be a problem.
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