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Five Premium CPU Coolers In Tests

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Noctua NH-C12P

The product comes in a colorful cardboard box (with cardboard insides). Noctua traditionally offers an illustrious box -- is gives all technical details about the product, providing intelligible key parameters.

The bundle includes a heatsink, a fan (NF-P12), sorted SecuFirm retention kit (supporting Intel LGA775 and AMD Socket AM2), NT-H1 thermal grease, a guide, and extra components (power adapters, retention clips and sound dampers for the fan).

The cooler has a 'horizontal' heatsink to be fitted with a bundled fan (120x120x25mm). Dimensions -- 126x152x115mm. Weight -- 725g (without a retention module).

The working medium of the cooler is formed by a copper-aluminum heatsink (60x45x12mm), six copper heat pipes (6mm in diameter), and an aluminum fin-stack (44 fins, 15 of them have direct contact with the base, the total heat exchange surface area is about 4500cm2).

Advantages of the NH-C12P design:

  • Wide fin step (3mm).
  • High quality of contacts between elements (soldering between the base and heat pipes, between the base and the fin-stack, and between heat pipes and the fin-stack).
  • Extra 15 fins help channel the heat from the base.
  • Measured layout of heat pipes in the fin-stack (not crowded, don't heat each other).
  • Special wave-like profile of the fin edge (facilitates aerodynamic interaction between the fan and the heatsink).
  • Good finishing of all elements (nickelage) with accompanying design improvements (four steel bracing bars in the heatsink, cut-outs in the fins).

Openings at the sides of the fin-stack are a disputable feature, as they potentially reduce efficiency of the heatsink (but they are necessary for the installation procedure).

Heatsink technical rating: excellent.

Design peculiarities (fan). The cooler is equipped with the NF-P12 fan from the same company (1300rpm).

Strong points of this fan:

  • Special aerodynamics (dense working medium with good air pressure, Vortex Control Notches on the rear edge of the blade).
  • Excellent mechanics (SSO-Bearing, advanced hydrodynamic bearing with a magnetic shaft balancer).
  • High-Q electronics (SC-Drive, Smooth Commutation Drive).

NF-P12 has no weak spots even under strict scrutiny.

Fan technical rating: excellent.

Installation of this product seems to be too complicated: mounting this cooler on the Intel LGA775 platform requires fixing special fastening devices. Installation on AMD Socket AM2 is no easier. Moreover, the standard socket frame must be removed prior to the installation. However, the SecuFirm retention module can also boast of advantages that make up for users' efforts -- the base of the cooler is pressed very tight to a CPU (with improved thermal contact), and its installation on the board is ultra-reliable.

Besides, usability portrait of NH-C12P is supplemented by the following:

  • Efficient thermal grease NT-H1.
  • L.N.A and U.L.N.A power adapters that reduce fan speed to 1100rpm and 900rpm correspondingly, down to 600rpm for the series connection).
  • Long power cable of the NF-P12 fan (40cm), so that it can be easily plugged to any available connectors on a motherboard.

Usability rating: excellent.

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