July 12, 2024
Noctua NH-D12L chromax.black Review: A worthy Contender? We check out the premium cooler from Noctua

In these days and age of AIO’s, Air Cooling has pretty much taken a backseat. Partly due to avaliabality of cheap alternatives in the liquid Cooling scene in form of CLC’s and partly due to the power hungryness of the new age CPU’s which pushes the boundaries of heat generation at times.

The Noctua NH-D12L chromax.black is a sleek, aesthetically enhanced version of the highly praised NH-D12L. This cooler is identical in every technical aspect to the original NH-D12L, with the primary difference being its all-black design which caters to those who prefer a more unified and stealthy look in their PC builds.

Design and Build Quality

The NH-D12L chromax.black retains the same low-profile dual tower design as the original NH-D12L. This design allows it to fit in a variety of cases, including many that are too narrow for standard 158mm coolers, making it a versatile choice for compact builds. The cooler stands at 145mm tall, making it compatible with a wide range of 4U rackmount server cases and many tower-style cases. The cooler includes the NF-A12x25r PWM fan, renowned for its silent operation and efficient cooling performance.

Performance

In terms of cooling performance, the NH-D12L chromax.black does not disappoint. Paired with an AMD Ryzen 2700, the cooler maintains impressive temperature control even under heavy loads. During stress tests, temperatures typically stay within a safe range, with the NH-D12L keeping the CPU well below thermal throttling limits. In benchmarks and real-world usage, the cooler’s performance is on par with its original counterpart, effectively dissipating heat thanks to its five heat pipes and dual-tower design. Our test system consisted of a Ryzen 7 2700X paired with a TUF X570-PLUS motherboard. We clocked the CPU to a moderate Overclock of 4GHZ on all cores with any power saving turned off to stress the cooling solution up to a limit. Temperature wise with an ambient of nice and toasty 36C, the NH-D12L managed to keep all the temperature to a range of 55C as compared to our daily driver 240MM AIO from Deepcool limiting the temperature to around 52C. While the temperature may not be groundbreaking, considering the hot and humid climate of Indian sub-continent; it is very commendable. Add to that the fact that this was achieved with a single NF-A12x25r PWM fan. We believe the temperature would be a bit better if we can jerry rig another fan but that’s a project for another day.

Noise Levels

One of the standout features of Noctua coolers is their low noise levels, and the NH-D12L chromax.black is no exception. The included NF-A12x25r PWM fan operates quietly even at higher speeds, and with the Low-Noise Adaptor (LNA) included, users can further reduce the maximum fan speed from 2000 RPM to 1700 RPM, ensuring a virtually silent experience during idle and low-load conditions.

Compatibility

The NH-D12L chromax.black maintains excellent compatibility with various motherboard and RAM configurations. Its asymmetric design ensures it does not overhang the RAM slots on Intel LGA1700, LGA1200, LGA115x, and AMD AM4/AM5 motherboards. This feature allows easy access to the RAM modules and ensures compatibility with tall heatspreaders and RGB lighting.

Aesthetics and Installation

The main appeal of the chromax.black version is its aesthetic upgrade. The all-black coating on the heatsink and fan provides a sleek, modern look that blends seamlessly with other components. Installation is straightforward thanks to Noctua’s SecuFirm2 mounting system, which offers a secure and easy-to-use mounting mechanism compatible with a wide range of sockets.

Conclusion

The Noctua NH-D12L chromax.black is an excellent choice for those seeking high-performance cooling with a sleek, all-black aesthetic. It offers the same exceptional performance as the original NH-D12L, including low noise levels and excellent compatibility, all while enhancing the visual appeal of your build. Price wise, the brand name demands a premium given its history but it’s very well worth it. Adding to it, the performance data speaks volumes even in comparison to competing AIO’s in the same price range. IF you are looking for a premium air-cooling solution, look no further.

I have no hesitation in giving the NH-D12L chromax.black the GOLD award.