Noctua releases the NH-L12 low-profile cooler

Have a smaller case or HTPC system that needs some improved cooling? Noctua has a new solution to get it done with their latest unit. The NH-L12 runs dual fans for extreme cooling, the NF-F12 and NF-B9 PWM fans run in dual configuration for maximum airflow or in single fan mode to save space at 66mm of total height on the cooler.

Platforms:

  • Intel LGA2011, LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA775
  • AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1

   

It’s not surprising to see this move, many are moving to HTPC units or small factor enclosures to maximize their home entertainment theater experience. With the rise of fusion chips from AMD and the Sandy Bridge series it means high performance doesn’t a dedicated GPU for rendering and other expansion cards. Noctua CEO summarizes this situation well when talking about the cooler.

“The industry trend towards Small Form Factor and Home Theatre PCs is well-established, but there’s still a lack of suitable high-quality quiet CPU coolers”, explains Mag. Roland Mossig, Noctua CEO. “Building a powerful PC always requires a capable CPU, which in return demands a competent cooling solution. But who wants his HTPC to sound like a jet engine? This is precisely where the NH-L12 steps in.”

The PWM support in the NF-F12 and NF-B9 keep the noise under control but also come with low-noise adapters to bring it down to 1200/1300rpm to force it to the bottom end of the spectrum. The system also comes with NT-H1 compound and SecuFirm mounting clips to hold it tight. Coming in at $59.90 it’s a solid deal coming from the company that makes the infamous NH-D14 cooler.

Link: Noctua

Review – GELID GX-7 CPU Cooler

GELID got into the custom cooling late in the game, 2008 was the first experience to the world while everyone was already pursuing the next trend to come in cooling tech. It hasn’t taken the company long to come forward from that point, today we have a unique setup with their GX-7 CPU cooler. A 7 stage heat-pipe design that directs heat not only using near flush connected heat-pipes but a stacked system as well. The stacked part is where things get sketchy, normally the idea is to spread your pipes equally and maximize the surface absorption and distribution, you’re still getting that in the GX-7 design though. The change is the 5 pipes handle the surface contact while the upper 2 remove excess heat over the center of the cooler as that’s where the silicon and primary heat rest.

With that breakdown said, let’s get into the details of what we’re running and jump into testing.

Test system:

  • AMD Phenom 9750 B3
  • Jetway 790GX HA08 ComboL
  • ASUS EAH 6850 DirectCU
  • 4GB Crucial DDR2 800 (5-5-5-12)
  • Hitachi 1TB 7200RPM
  • Seagate 300GB 7200RPM
  • Cooler Master Real Power Pro 650W
  • NZXT Phantom Case (extra NZXT 200mm on top)

Coolers:

  • AMD OEM Cooler – Standard Phenom
  • AMD Black Edition Cooler (2 Heat-pipe design)
  • Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM
  • GELID GX-7
  • GELID GX-7 (2-fan w/Wing 12PL PWM)

Thermal Paste:

  • GELID GC-Extreme Thermal Compound

Monitoring:

  • Core Temp 1.0
  • AMD OverDrive 3.1.0
Synthetic bench:
  • HyperPI 0.99b (12M calculation for stress testing)
  • SiSoft Sandra 2011 (Arithmetic)
Gaming bench:
  • Battlefield 3
  • Saints Row: The Third

With all the details out-of-the-way let’s get rolling!

Bundle

The GX-7 packs everything you need in a slim case, the packing is enough to protect it from shipping trauma and they make sure to keep the extra screws and panels isolated to their own box to prevent confusion.

As a special case with this review we have an extra 120mm GELID fan to attach so we’ll be using those extra wire tension bands for the rear. What will not go into use is the default cooling paste as we’ll be using the GELID GC-Extreme compound instead so we can max this out.

Supported AMD Platforms: AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+/FM1
Supported Intel Platforms:  775/1155/1156/1366

  

Design

Out of the box the GX-7 is conservative looking for a cooler for this market, the pipes on top are capped off with a plastic cover, the side fins are extremely tight together allowing for little turbulence to develop as wind passes through. Speaking of which, the frosted finish on the back of the blades gives the cooler a dull appearance when it’s not running, crank up the power and the and the glow fills the blades and the case itself.

From an external viewpoint the design comes off like a sleeper until it goes live, once the juice hits the fan all bets are off.

  

From a technical standpoint, the design of the GX-7 is unique, the finish is competitive with current generation offerings, nothing too smooth for the finish but it’s not unpolished either and leaves a slight mirror effect. The pipes are welded with care and in touch testing there was a noticeable level of heat gathering in those pipes that would normally fall to rogue currents or a basic heat sink. Copper pipes to aluminium fins channel the main power and the PWM fan takes up airflow duty from 800 – 2000 RPM depending on your workload. If you plan to run dual fans I would say try to get the same model fan so you’re not suffering with turbulence in the fins as one pushes harder than the other.

Installation

Installation is a snap with the GX-7, by that I mean it’s about as hard as any other performance cooler on the market and that in itself is incredibly hard the first time around. Fortunately GELID has heard the cries of the fallen and has attempted to help with their setup this time around.

How it works:

  • Remove your old CPU cooler (remember to clean the top and re-apply paste)
  • If you have an access port big enough to remove the back plate for the cpu bracket then do so
  • If not, remove the motherboard and remove the bracket and plate
  • Install the included washers over the mounting holes for the bolts and then slide the bolts through as shown in the diagram.
  • Tighten the nuts down to the motherboard base so you have all 4 exposed
  • After that, lower the cpu cooler on the 4 posts and use the special twist caps with springs to tighten the cooler down on each point, move in an X pattern to give equal pressure to each side.
  • Once tightened plug-in the PWM fan to the port and you’re ready to roll!

How it really worked:

  • Everything went relatively well until it came to installing the cooler on the posts, I had to remove the clips holding the fan on the heat sink to get my hand in to tighten the posts on that side.
  • The clips are actually easy to use, just remember to keep tension and equal pressure on them or they will pop off during fan installation.

Comparing this to the Hyper 612 is tough, if you’re scared about supporting the cooler while sideways or you’re not a fan of having your board upside down to mount and tighten the screws the GX-7 starts to step in as your cooler. If you’re fine with that it’s really a toss-up that our performance area will help you decide with.

Performance

The GX-7 took no mercy just like the rest of the lineup, I did go ahead and split coverage up with the 2 fan and single fan setups though for fair representation. Idle measurements were made after 30 minutes in Windows 7 with no active applications running (Steam/Origin/etc). Load was taken with HyperPi running all 4 cores to 12M at normal priority once temps reached an average plateau. Load was verified again against Battlefield 3 in-game and Saints Row: The Third as they’re both CPU intense especially on mid-range models.

bamfas.com

 

The results are interesting, 2 fans do make an impact on the GX-7 results, high does bring a bit more noise into the scenario but leaving it at auto for the PWM to work seems the best choice for those who have no wish to constantly adjust the fan speed by hand. The most interesting area was the configuration differences with the GX-7 and Hyper 612, the idle temps were higher than the 612 but the performance of the cooler at higher temps held low, it’s a trade that users will have weigh on their own. Lower idle temps vs roughly equal load performance once the real use goes into effect. In game, average temps between high load often left the cooler in the high 30’s most of the time.

Noise

Given the setup of this review it’s a unique situation to discuss loudness of this cooler, I’ll break it down based on the type of user you might be.

Power User: Using manual control to force the fan to 100% load will bring some extra noise, no more than the Cooler Master variant in real world application. When using a dual fan setup there is a bit of extra noise created and the trade-off versus auto mode is questionable.

Casual User: Using auto control leaves the GX-7 to manage itself and the noise level is able to stay at the bottom end of the spectrum. If you’re gaming you’ll rarely ever notice the fan kicking up in speed and in dual fan mode the same will stay true as the cooler rarely brings itself to 100% fan speed by default.

Over a stock cooler the GX-7 makes the time for installation well worth the effort, no tiny fans spinning up to high dB levels creating annoying sounds. Instead the 120mm just hums along cranking out high cfm through the cooler and you rarely ever notice it speeding up during games.

Conclusion

At $69.99 the GELID GX-7 is a solid performer, at idle temps the cooler runs a little higher than the competition but when then the pressure is on it matches up against top coolers in the field around the same price. The perk with the GX-7 is the gamer focus of the cooler with the LED PWM fan that really is super bright in the case, it saves users from having to invest in a new fan for another brand and essentially shelve the packaged fan.

If you’re a modder looking for an all-in-one CPU cooler that delivers performance and lighting then look no further than the GELID GX-7. You get a bit of everything with the cooler, design, lighting, performance and a simpler installation system. I do feel that some might find the design of the mounting system itself to be a huge plus over other installations, be sure to follow the guidelines packaged with the cooler so you don’t install the washers on the wrong side though.

With GELID looking to expand in 2012 the enthusiast market certainly has something to look forward to. If you plan on investing in the GX-7 I would say do yourself a favor and get the Wing 12PL to go with it and take up those 3-4c off in temps.

Performance:★★★★★★★★½☆ 
Design:★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Weight:★★★★★★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★★★★★★☆ 

 

GELID GX-7 Gallery:

Review: Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM CPU Cooler

Cooler Master has been in the game for ages, my first cooler for my AMD XP 1800+ was by CM, a 60mm fan spinning at an RPM so high it was crazy. They’ve come a long way though, today we have a 120mm powered Hyper 612 PWM by the company, packing low-speed fan power with efficient blade design to hurl large volumes of air across the 6 copper heat-pipe design. We’re pitting this against OEM solutions for those of you coming off Black Edition chips or even standard CPU’s, hopefully it gives you guys a taste of what there is out in the world of performance components.

Test system:

  • AMD Phenom 9750 B3
  • Jetway 790GX HA08 ComboL
  • Sapphire HD 4850 512
  • Crucial DDR2 800 (5-5-5-12)
  • Hitachi 1TB 7200RPM
  • Seagate 300GB 7200RPM
  • Cooler Master Real Power Pro 650W
  • NZXT Phantom Case (extra 200mm on top)

Coolers:

  • AMD OEM Cooler – Standard Phenom
  • AMD Black Edition Cooler (2 Heat-pipe design)
  • Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM

Thermal Paste:

  • Cooler Master bundled paste

Software is another area that would be nice obviously, I used these for the benchmark though and for overclocking.

  • Core Temp 1.0
  • AMD OverDrive 3.1.0
  • HyperPI 0.99b (12M calculation for stress testing)

With all the details out-of-the-way let’s get rolling!

Bundle

The Hyper 612 PWM is massive, you get the box and realize its not your average cooler and it might take a bit of work to get started on installing it. Packaged are fasteners for AMD platforms and all the Intel platforms minus the newly released 2011 socket although there’s no doubt there will be a refresh for it soon. Click below to get the full spec sheet on the size and details, if you’d rather skip then let us move on.

Show Specs »

CPU Socket Intel Socket:
LGA 1366 / 1156 / 1155 / 775 *AMD Socket:
FM1 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2
CPU Support Intel:
Core™ i7 Extreme / Core™ i7 / Core™ i5 / Core™ i3 / Core™2 Extreme / Core™2 Quad / Core™2 Duo / Pentium / CeleronAMD:
FX-Series / A-Series / Phenom™ II X4 / Phenom™ II X3 / Phenom™ II X2 / Phenom™ X4 / Phenom™ X3 / Athlon™ II X4 / Athlon™ II X3 / Athlon™ II X2 / Athlon™ X2 / Athlon™ / Sempron™
Dimension 140 x 128 x 163 mm (5.5 x 5.5 x 6.4 inch)
Heat Sink Material Copper Base / 6 Heat Pipes / Aluminum Fins
Heat Sink Weight 806g (1.78 lb)
Fan Dimension 120 x 120 x 25 mm (4.7 x 4.7 x 1 inch)
Fan Speed 600 – 2000 RPM (PWM) ± 10%
Fan Airflow 24.9 – 82.9 CFM ± 10%
Fan Air Pressure 0.3 – 2.7 mmH2O ± 10%
Bearing Type Long Life Sleeve Bearing
Fan Life Expectancy 40,000 hours
Fan Noise Level (dB-A) 9 – 36 dBA
Connector 4-Pin
Fan Weight 104g (0.23 lb)
Note * Supplied accessories may differ by country or area. Please check with your local distributor for further details.

Going past that and opening the box we get a massive cooler, the 612 PWM dwarfs the Phenom Black Edition cooler in every way, it’s wider, it’s taller, the fan is gigantic and it has triple the pipes of the Black Edition. It’s also surprisingly light minus the base which keeps concern about it ripping the board apart to a minimum thanks to a low center of gravity just over the chip and the anchors connect directly off that base. Many new builders fear that something this big will just rip the socket off the board, thanks to the aluminum fins this becomes a non-issue.

Design

The 612 packs a unique setup, 6 heat-pipes run down the fins to the base, instead of just having a copper base that connects to the pipes, the base is essentially the pipes as they maintain a tight field together to pick up heat. Using copper in this zone allows for superb conduction while making sure not to go overboard, the aluminum fins (all 42 of them) pick up the heat from the pipes and help pull it away, the 120mm fan finishes the job by pushing it out so the cycle continues. It’s a solid design that has proven itself, the U design of the pipes allows for extra distribution through the fins as opposed to a single J style that pulls heat from the base and runs a single row through an upper row of fins. The Black Edition AMD heatsink relies on direct fins across the base of the heatsink with two pipes running overtime to push the heat out of the system, the stock cooler offers nothing of the sort with a machined aluminum body and a fan plopped on top. If we’re going in order of technical efficiency the 612 leaves both of them for dead.

Installation
If you don’t have a newer enthusiast level case you might be positioned to remove the motherboard for installation, even the NZXT Phantom doesn’t have as big of an opening as you would need to install this in the case. With that said, I’ll walk through how I installed the Hyper 612 PWM into the case.

Removing the expansion cards (video, sound, network) and essential  cables I took the HA08 out of the case, I used a standard philips head screwdriver to remove the 4 screws holding the plastic tension frame to the board and back plate. After this I cleaned the top of the CPU surface using rubbing alcohol to strip off the old paste, after that I let it evaporate and applied the new coating. Installing the Hyper 612 PWM requires filling those holes with the 4 rubber spacers included, allowing for just enough cushion for the 4 posts to pass through. With the spacer set, I lowered the motherboard down on the cooler, doing this allowed me to better manage the 4 nuts that needed tightening with equal force across the chip and keep control of the new back plate. The screwdriver adapter made tightening nuts down easy and allowed me to avoid damaging the board with a regular socket. Users installing something like this for the first time might want to use an X pattern to tighten each side down a little at a time, I went diagonal to tweak them all down with equal pressure on the chip.

  

As you can see in the picture, there’s an issue here for my board at least, the fins of the Hyper 612 PWM actually float over the RAM which makes installation or removal a task in itself. While this might not apply to all boards, it does mean a full removal and installation job again for any upgrades. It’s a small sacrifice for something this large and powerful, let’s look over at the performance charts to see how well it held up, also note that if you have a side fan on your panel hovering over the CPU, that will need to go or be externally mounted. The cooler actually comes to the end of the case in the Phantom making it impossible to  internally mount a large fan and the 612, I had a 250mm fan from a Skeleton mounted inside the case originally which was removed for testing.

Performance

Benchmarking ran with a specific set of rules, HyperPI to 12M to measure load peak under the stress of the program. Fan control managed with the AMD internal controller at 26% to 100% forced fan load for each unit and in overclocking. Idle temps were taken after letting the system sit for 90 minutes between tests to let the CPU cool between uses and reach a temp that did not fluctuate.

bamfas.com

What you can see in the charts is a pretty nice leap, there’s a sharp decline from the OEM to the Black Edition at low performance use  but the gap widens as load hits. For those gaming it’s a bigger jump as the Stock Cooler jumped all the way to 59c at low-speed and struggled at 55c at high-speed, the Black Edition brings the temps lower but we’re measuring with a room controlled at about 19c, in the summer or well insulated rooms it could jump even higher. We see the Hyper 612 PWM step in against the stock chip with hard cooling even with the VCore up .150 and a 400MHz increase during overclocking. Granted the 9750 isn’t the best chip to compare with, it was difficult getting the core stable for benchmarking so I we would see better results on a newer Deneb, Thuban or Zambezi chip. The point though is taking it to extremes on that chip still couldn’t break 55c in a cold room.

I will note the chart doesn’t include the OC results for the stock cooler and Black Edition as the heat output was too high to test with for stability. With the stock cooler clearing 60c under load it was unsafe to proceed.

Noise

The 612 rarely gets above the mid-30’s while in regular use, as a result the noise factor isn’t really a factor at all. When cranking the Phantom fan controllers to low, the system comes to a hum with the GPU actually making the most noise in the case. At idle, the 612 sits at 1300 RPM according to the readings and when pushed at max speed I peaked at 1880 RPM and even then it was just a deep hum in the case. Because the fan is so thirsty, it does demand that some cooling is present in the case, I do advise at least having 1 fan push in air for the case to keep the pressure coming in, depending on the choice, it may raise case noise slightly depending on your situation.

  

Conclusion

For new consumers wanting something more out of their system or the ability to shut up those loud 60mm/70mm/80mm fans whizzing about in the computer case, the Hyper 612 PWM is a solution that gets the job done. The 612 also allows for overclocking without costing an arm and a leg, you can find it online now for about $49.99 before tax and shipping which competes with a range of known and unknown brands but bests them with quiet performance and future support. The copper and aluminum design keeps weight down and placement of weight focused close to the motherboard which lessens the worry on the users, the fins off of the heatpipes at the base offer little additional weight but do allow for venting. The 6 pipe design allows for older users to appreciate it but also have future use for it with larger silicon upgrades, for those with newer chips it’s possible to make 100% use of the cooler right out of the gate. It’s a design tailored for the generation arriving right now instead of exclusively to the generations past. Those with APU chips and planning on Sandy Bridge setups should find this design a great pairing for the hardware.

For those who want to gain an extra 3-4 degrees off of the cooler, adding another fan to pull the heat out faster would work wonders but it does require an extra investment. For those who don’t want the quiet factor of the 612, there’s the option to upgrade it to a high flow push-pull configuration to probably knock even more than that off. For modders though, the 612 can’t be done justice in these photos, it ‘s a raw beast you’ll want to showcase. Instead of having covers surrounding it you just have bare metal and a huge fan. Strap on a few LED fans for extra light and you’ll really have a showcase going with this setup, the stock fan is great but there’s always room to improve.

Performance:★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Design:★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Weight:★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★★★★★★☆ 

The NZXT HAVIK 120 arrives

That is a lot of capital letters, the NZXT HAVIK 120 is here though and aiming to fit into some extra markets out there, with a smaller profile design and smaller fans it aims to tackle areas that they couldn’t reach with the 140 series. As someone who has an Antec Skeleton in their lineup I can say that sometimes you really do need something a little lower profile. Even my NZXT Phantom requires a bit of extra space due to the 250mm Antec fan mounted to the side panel opening. Coolers like the V10 and such tend to a little too tall for that setup.

NZXT uses their long-life 13 blade 120mm fan in push-pull configuration to cool the nickel-plated copper beast down at a steady 75cfm, the 8mm heatpipes cool and pump heat out of the socket base to keep things regulated and efficient. Overall it’s sleek and the nickel has a great finish to it. Given my impressions from the Phantom review I can only hold high hopes for this latest release. If we get lucky and catch a review of it I’ll go through the full details of the cooler and how it stacks up. In the meantime just check out the specs listed from NZXT and a nice gallery about the HAVIK 120.

MODEL HAVIK 120
MATERIALS Aluminum / Copper Nickel-Plated
DIMENSIONS 125(W) x 160(H) x 112(D) mm
125(W) x 160(H) x 58(D) mm (heatsink)
WEIGHT 680g (excluding fans and mounting kit)
980g (with dual 120mm fans)
MOUNTING PRESSURE
55-60 lbs
FAN SIZE Dual 120(W) x 140(H) x 25(D) mm
FAN BEARING Long Life (Oil-Leaking Prevention)
FAN SPEED 1200 +/- 10% RPM (low); 1500 +/- 10% RPM (high)
NOISE LEVEL 18-22 dBA
AIR FLOW 61.5-75.8 CFM
CONNECTOR 3-Pin
Y-SPLIT CABLE White connector for low speed; black connector for high speed
INPUT POWER 3.6 W
LIFE 30,000 Hours
COMPATIBILITY Intel Socket: 2011, 1366, 1155, 1156, 775 CPUs
AMD Socket: AM3, AM2+, AM2 CPUs