Noctua NH-C12P SE14 Review
The Noctua mounting system is very good, and thanks to its simple design it does also mean that space permitting you can turn the heat sink round to best suit your needs.
We chose to fit our cooler the way shown in the picture for 2 reasons, it shows you the worst case scenario with ram clearance near the heat pipes. Should you have taller ram you can simply rotate the heat sink. Secondly fitted in this way means the heat sink hangs over our mosfets, which is better to give the ever welcome flow of air to help keep them cooler.
When fitted with the fan the cooler is no higher than a normal height GPU, so perfect for HTPC applications, there's plenty of clearance on all sides of the cooler, so you should not encounter any issues even in said HTPC environment.
4ghz 200x20 1.35v
3.6ghz 180x20 1.3v
2.8ghz 133x21 1.2v
For testing we use our new addition to the test bench the i7 930, we always test a 4ghz so that was a good place to start. It became quickly apparent that this cooler was really struggling even at 12v to dissipate the heat produced at these clocks. 88c was reached very quickly, and trying to run low speed tests the temps soon hit 90c and the PC shut down.
To see what the cooler is capable of we decided to test at 3.6GHZ and also at stock to be able to make some comparisons. At 3.6GHZ with a 1.3vcore the cooler managed a 80c max load temperature with the fan at 12v, dropping the fan to 9v and 750rpm yet again the cooler hit 90c and the PC shut down. At stock the results we where we would prefer, 60c at 12v and 73c at 750rpm.
Looking at these results its simple to see the cooler can not cope with an overclocked i7 930, but when staring at the height of the cooler and reminding myself that this cooler is perfect for HTPC systems I thought it might be a good idea to test it in the environment it was designed for...
Zotac have recently released a M-ITX H55 motherboard and this cooler would be perfect in a small compact system. Sadly not having a Zotac to hand I was forced to use a Asus P7H57D-V Evo we had here for a future server system. We ran the cooler in a normal ATX case but with no fans to simulate a worst case scenario in a HTPC. Lets take a look at the settings we used in the i3 test system.
4ghz 182x22 1.3v
3.6ghz 165x22 1.25v
2.9ghz 133x22 1.2v
Even with the i3 overclocked to 4ghz i was gobsmacked with the temperatures, the Noctua really comes into its own here. Even with a 4ghz overclock and the fan at 750rpm, which I might add is as close to inaudible as you will ever get, the NH-C12P still kept the temperatures below a gob smacking 50c. Dropping the clocks just kept dropping the temps even further.
So that's the testing done, lets head over the page and wrap this surprising review up.