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Noctua NH-C12P CPU Cooler Review

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AkG

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5,270
Value

Value


The term “Value” is such an amorphous term that it truly has different meanings for different people. For some a CPU cooler is only as good as it overclocking potential, for others it is how quiet it does its job; for others still it’s how effective it is for its cost. We here at HWC try to provide as many answers as possible for the term “Value”. Hopefully by this point in the review people looking at OC potential or loudness levels will have a fairly good idea of what its Value is. For the “best bang for the buck” crowd we have included a chart below showing how much each 1*c less costs when compared to Intel’s FREE stock cooler. No consideration has been made for noise levels, “looks” or any other extraneous factors; this is just raw performance vs. monetary cost. For any cooler which performs worse than the Intel stock cooler a rating of “FAIL” will be given. For any cooler which has a “Value” of more than $10 per 1*C a rating of “FAIL” will be used in the graph but the chart will list its actual “value”.

All prices are based on either their MSRP (if no e-tailer prices were available at review time) or the online price they sold for at the time of their review. IF a CPU cooler does not include a fan the price of a Scythe F has been included ($12).

To make it as easy as possible for you to modify this ratio we have also included the various coolers temperature difference so if you do come across one of them on sale you can easily modify its “Value” rating. We here at HWC are in no way saying this is the definitive answer to “Value”, rather it should be considered another tool to help you make your final decision. After all something is only as “valuable” as what you consider it to be.


E4600 Cooling Value

Please Note: This chart has be calculated based upon the differences between Intel stock cooler’s average load at its highest OC on a e4600 @3.2GHz versus various after market coolers average load temperatures (in their stock configuration with MX-2 TIM) also on a e4600 @ 3.2GHz.

e4600_value_chart.jpg


e4600_value.jpg

When it comes to dual cores, even the C12P's great performance can’t save it from its high price tag. This CPU cooling solution may be a great performer but it doesn’t come cheap and that is why it ends up as a middle of pack Value performer.


Q6600 Cooling Value

Please Note: This chart has be calculated based upon the differences between Intel stock cooler’s average load at its highest OC on a Q6600 @3.0GHz versus various after market coolers average load temperatures (in their stock configuration with stock TIM) also on a Q6600 @ 3.0GHz

q6600_value_chart.jpg


q6600_value.jpg

Ouch, when a cooler comes along that makes the Scythe Ninja Copper Limited Edition look like a good value you know you have an expensive piece of kit on your hands. Of course, in this instance it is because you are getting one of the best (if not the best) engineered downdraft coolers on the market today.
 
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AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Conclusion

Conclusion


Reviewer Note: Over the past few years I have come across many myths (both good and bad) about downdraft coolers and while most have fallen by the wayside like thrown detritus from the cars speeding down the information superhighway; one seems particularly pugnacious and unwilling to curl up and die in the hard glare of reality. The myth I am referring to is: downdraft coolers are inefficient and shouldn’t be used because the hot air is getting blown down onto the motherboard and this makes sucking that hot air out of the case impossible.

This may have been true when cases (and by extension case manufacturers) only had a few 80mm fans for air flow but it is somewhat foolish to think that in a modern day case with multiple 120mm fans for intake and exhaust can’t remove heat from a case because it’s a couple inchs lower and going in the wrong direction. Hell, for $70 dollars you can get a CM 690 with six 120mm fans! Make the two top ones and the back one exhausts and make the two side fans and front fans intake. Use good fans with good static pressure (like the Noctua NF-P12-1300 if you have the money or Yate Loons if you don’t) and you can forget about hot air “hiding” in your case. If that still doesn’t do it for you add in a Scythe Kama Bay front cooler and put in another high static pressure fan and that will certainly do the trick! All I ask is please don’t dismiss good downdraft coolers because of an outdated idea as you may just be dismissing the CPU cooling solution that fits you perfectly.



As I am sure you are all now aware of, I have a soft spot for good downdraft coolers; maybe it is because I always root for the underdogs, maybe it’s the added cooling that gets to me. Whatever the reason I am acutely aware of my fondness for them and am usually harder on these coolers than most. This is maybe for the simple reason that I have higher expectations of them but in reality its because I don’t want to come across as playing favorites (which I never have and never will). A reviewer has to be not only impartial but also have the appearance of being impartial. Luckily for me, this cooler is one that doesn’t require a reviewer to play favorites as it performs magnificently out of the box and no one can accuse me of that Cardinal sin of favoritism.

Now the Noctua C12P may not be the absolute best performing cooler on the market today but it certainly is close; and when you include facts like it comes standard with a great fan, has an improved mounting system that doesn’t compromise quality or robustness for speed and above all else the added cooling to your motherboard and RAM it becomes one darn appealing product.

That is the good side to this cooler and unfortunately it does have a down side as well, albeit a very small one. The down side is the fact that its size may not make it your best choice as it can interfere with certain kinds of RAM and you can forget about sticking it in all but the most gigantic of HTPCs (and even then we have our doubts). These of course can be considered nothing more than minor blemishes when compared to the biggest negative of this CPU cooling solution. When all is said and done, this cooler is quite expensive for the performance it delivers. However, one must realize that when you are paying the premium that the NH-C12P commands, it is for the simple fact that true quality is expensive to make.

This cooler oozes quality the way some people ooze charisma, and when you hold this bad boy in your hand you know you are holding something that took a lot of time and money to not only engineer but build as well. Quite literally this has one of the best built products it has been my pleasure to review and while it is not the top of all our performance charts it is up there; so if you are in the market for a new cooler you should give this one a lot of thought.


Pros:
- Very Good performance
- Mirror Finish Base
- Provides additional cooling for RAM and motherboard
- SecuFirm mounting system works
- Improved Installation over the NH-U12P
- 6 Year Warranty

Cons:
- Price
- Incompatible with overly tall RAM (e.g. OCZ Reaper)
- Incompatible with HTPC cases
- Installation still could be streamlined further


Thanks to Noctua for providing us with this product​
 
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