Products | Technologies | Support | Press | Reviews | Where To Buy
Home - FAQs

    Noctua NH-L12 FAQs

    Why doesn't the base of Noctua coolers have a polished, mirror like finish?
    As most of today's PC enthusiasts use high-viscosity thermal compounds, the contact surface of Noctua coolers is optimised for use with this type of pastes. The micro-grooves at the contact surface ensure that high-viscosity thermal compounds are dispersed to a uniform thin layer across the whole contact area and that no air pockets remain between the cooler and the CPU. With a polished, mirror like surface, the risk of uneven dispersion is much higher. As too thick layers of thermal paste and air pockets drastically deteriorate heat transmission, the micro-grooves are is of vital importance to the overall cooling performance of Noctua coolers when used with today's high-viscosity thermal pastes.

    How can I check whether my case is wide/high enough for the cooler?
    In order to check whether the cooler isn’t too high for your case, please measure the distance from the motherboard tray to the side panel (tower cases) or top panel (desktop cases). If this distance is bigger than the height of the cooler + 15mm (mainboard spacers + mainboard + CPU), the height/width of your case should be sufficient.

    I can't open the socket due to the mounting bars!
    Please first loosen one of the two thumbscrews that hold the mounting bars in place. Then untighten the second screw so that you can swivel the mounting bar and open the socket. Depending on the position of the mounting bars, you may need to swivel both.

    Open Socket

    Open Socket

    Can the cooler be installed turned by 90° on AMD sockets?
    No. The new SecuFirm2™ mounting system for AM2, AM2+ and AM3 uses the same standardised hole spacing as the Intel system and thus allows for a much easier installation, but the cooler cannot be installed turned by 90°.

    Does the package include a backplate for AMD AM2(+)/AM3(+)/FM1/FM2(+)?
    No. As most AMD mainboards come with a stock backplate preinstalled, the cooler doesn’t include an AMD backplate. If your mainboard doesn’t have a backplate, please contact our support team at

    amd backplate

    The supplied y-cable is missing a wire at one of the two connectors, is it faulty?
    No. As mainboards can process only one rpm-signal per fan header, it would cause problems if the cable transmitted rpm-signals of both fans. For this reason, one of the two connectors does not have an rpm wire and only the fan on the other connector will transmit an rpm signal. Automatic speed control of both fans will work independent from the second fan’s rpm signal.

    I get a CPU fan error despite the fan is running!
    Some mainboards display a CPU fan error when the fan speed falls below a certain threshold, e.g. 900rpm. If you want to run the fan below this speed (e.g. using the supplied U.L.N.A.), please adjust the threshold in the BIOS or disable CPU fan error warning.

    How can I check whether my AMD mainboard has a standard AMD backplate that’s compatible with the SecuFirm2™ mounting system and how should I proceed with the installation?
    The SecuFirm2™ mounting system requires a standard AMD backplate (either plastic or metal) with screw threads as shown on the pictures below. These backplates are pre-installed on the rear side of most AMD mainboards (see first picture below) and fixed to the retention module with four screws (see second picture below). If your retention module is fixed with plastic bolts instead of metal screws, please contact in order to obtain an appropriate backplate.

    In order to proceed with the installation of your Noctua cooler, please remove the four screws and the retention module but keep the backplate in place so that you can see the screw threads from the top side of the motherboard (see third picture below). You can then proceed with the installation of the SecuFirm2™ mounting kit as described in the manual (see fourth picture below).

    AMD backplate

    AMD backplate

    AMD backplate

    AMD backplate

    How to remove the base protection cover?
    Noctua CPU coolers are shipped with a plastic protection cover at the bottom side of the cooler, which protects the contact surface against scratches and other damage.

    The base of Noctua CPU coolers is made from hard-wearing nickel plated copper, so there's nothing to worry about if you buy a Noctua cooler from second hand or if your cooler didn't come with a protection cover. Please proceed with the installation as explained in the manual.

    You can simply remove the cover as shown below:

    Base Protection Cover

    I get a CPU fan error using my Noctua PWM fan, is it faulty?
    Noctua PWM fans feature a minimum speed of 300rpm to allow for ultra quiet operation when your CPU is at idle state and doesn’t require higher cooling performance. Some mainboards display error messages such as “CPU fan error” during the booting process when the fan speed is below a certain level. If you get such error messages using your Noctua PWM fan and if such options are available in your BIOS, please either adjust the minimum fan speed monitoring limit to 200rpm or increase the minimum PWM duty cycle. If your BIOS doesn’t offer these options, please disable CPU fan errors. For detailed information on BIOS fan settings, please consult your mainoard’s manual or contact your mainboard manufacturer.

    How big is the NH-L12 and how much clearance does it provide?
    Please refer to the following drawing for the exact measurements and clearance:


    Does the mounting-system support LGA2011 based Xeon CPUs?
    There are two different types of ILM (Independent Loading Mechanism) for Intel’s LGA2011 based Xeon CPUs: Square ILM with 80x80mm hole spacing and Narrow ILM with 56x94mm hole spacing. The Square ILM socket is mechanically identical to the LGA2011 socket for Core i7, so the mounting-system is fully compatible, but it is not compatible with Xeon mainboards that use the Narrow ILM:

    Xeon Compatibility

    Is it possible to install the supplied NF-F12 or other 120mm fans underneath the fin stack?
    The NF-B9 92mm fan is used underneath the fin stack because it gives easy access to the mounting screws and sits within the 95x95mm (Intel) and 96x114mm (AMD) keep-out zones, thus providing full compatibility with standard height RAM and chipset/VRM heatsinks. In principle, it is also possible to put the supplied NF-F12 120mm fan underneath the fin stack instead, but in many cases, this setup will cause compatibility issues with RAM and/or chipset/VRM heatsinks. Similar issues are likely to arise with other 120mm fan models and in addition, some fans may be blocked by the mounting screws and/or block access to the screws. As a result, using 120mm fans underneath the fin stack may be possible in some cases, but is not officially supported.

    How should I clean my Noctua cooler?
    Dust: Fans and heatsinks inside computer cases tend to accumulate dust over longer periods of usage. In order to maintain maximum performance, please clean your fan and heatsink regularly. For cleaning, please first remove the fan from the heatsink and clean it using a duster, slightly moist tissue or canned air. Please be careful not to use too much force in order to prevent any damage to the fan. Please do not use a vacuum cleaner as this may apply excessive force to the fan and do not put the fan under running water as water residues inside the motor may lead to short circuits. Please also note that the fan is not designed to be taken apart by the user. Removing the impeller from the frame will break the sealing of the bearing and results in a loss of warranty. Before reinstalling the fan, clean the heatsink itself with a duster or vacuum cleaner. Finally put the fan back on and connect it to your motherboard fan header or fan controller.
    Thermal paste residues: Whenever you take off the heatsink from the CPU, we recommend to clean the CPU as well as the base of the cooler before re-applying thermal paste and re-installing the cooler. You can either just wipe the base and the CPU clean with a dry, lint-free tissue or, for more thorough cleaning, use a lint-free tissue moistened with either a mild solution of washing-up liquid or isopropyl alcohol. Do not put the cooler or CPU under running water. Note that both the base of the heatsink and the CPU should be dry, free from residues of thermal compound and free from grease before re-applying thermal paste and re-installing the cooler.

    Which Noctua coolers are compatible with LGA1150?
    The mounting is identical on all LGA115x sockets (LGA1150, LGA1155, LGA1156). The following coolers are thus compatible with LGA1150 out of the box and don’t require any upgrades in order to be used on this platform: NH-C12P SE14, NH-C14, NH-D15, NH-D14, NH-L12, NH-L9i, NH-U14S, NH-U12S, NH-U12P SE2, NH-U9B SE2. In addition, all older models which have been upgraded with the NM-I3 kit can also be used on LGA1150 without any further upgrades.

    The following coolers can be made compatible to LGA1150 using the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit and are eligible for Noctua’s free mounting kit offer: NH-C12P, NH-U12, NH-U12F, NH-U12P, NH-U12P SE1366, NH-U9, NH-U9F, NH-U9B.

    The following coolers can be made compatible to LGA1150 using the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit but are not eligible for Noctua’s free mounting kit offer: DX-Series Xeon coolers, NH-D14 SE2011.

    The following coolers are mechanically incompatible with the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit and can not be made compatible with LGA1150: DO-Series AMD Opteron coolers, NH-L9a.

    I’ve used all the NT-H1 thermal compound that came with the cooler, can you send me more?
    Please kindly note that the NT-H1 thermal compound supplied with our coolers is a consumable item so our manufacturer’s warranty does not include providing additional thermal compound. You can purchase NT-H1 from our resellers.

    Which sockets are supported or can be supported using upgrade kits?
    Please refer to our socket compatibility chart.

    Is the cooler compatible with AMD FM2+?
    As the hole spacing for CPU cooler installation on FM2+ is the same as on AM2, AM2, AM3(+), FM1 and FM2, the cooler is fully compatible with FM2+ out of the box and doesn’t require any modifications or upgrades.

    Is the NH-L12 compatible with the LGA2011-3 socket?
    The NH-L12 features a special variant of the SecuFirm2™ that needs to be updated with the new NM-IPS2 spacers in order to be compatible with LGA2011-3. NH-L12 owners can now request these spacers free of charge here.

    Is it a problem that the CPU heatspreader is not covered completely by the heatsink base on LGA2011-3?
    No. Depending on the orientation of the cooler, 1-2mm at the outer edge of the heatspreader may not be covered by the heatsink base. As the heat is concentrated at the center of the CPU and the outermost parts are irrelevant for heat-transfer, this is no problem at all.

    Do you have a question concerning one of our products? Please use this form to pose a question!

25.10.2014 - NH-D15
Test verdict: "To wszystko razem daje nam ocenę 5/5 oraz aż 3 rekomendacje, za wydajność, kulturę pracy i jakość." (Marcin Żyto,

25.10.2014 - Conseil Config NH-L9i
Test verdict: "[L]es Noctua NH-l9x seront d'excellents choix de ventirads lors du montage d'une configuration mini-ITX de très petite taille." (Christian Marchini, Conseil Config)

25.10.2014 - NF-A4x10 5V
Test verdict: "Auf Grund der sehr guten Verarbeitung, der edlen Optik und dem sehr großen Lieferumfang, hat sich der Noctua NF-A4x10 wirklich einen Gold-Award verdient." (André Sterba,

25.10.2014 - NF-A8 PWM
Test verdict: "Oczywiście tego wentylatory, które przy zachowaniu dobrej kultury pracy cechuje także wysoka jakość wykonania zasługują także na nagrodę 100% QUALITY!" (Łukasz Talkowski,