To wrap things up, the Noctua low profile NH-L12 cooler performed quite well. From a design stand point Noctua did a great job with their attention to detail. Although we did run into some issues with installation, the problems were not something we can discount across the board, since every motherboard is designed differently. We recommend that you do some research on your motherboard before using this cooler. The low profile design is well suited for small form factor PCs and HTPC’s, and it does a good job. Coming back to the attention to detail, Noctua really did a great job in covering the ease of installation. The provided great manuals and spectacular hardware that was useful and appreciated. The unique colors of the cooler may not please everyone, but if you have come to know Noctua, the signature colors they use with all their products are appreciated . One look and you will know this is a product from Noctua.
Of course, with all low profile coolers RAM fitment will almost always be a concern. As you saw in our review, taller RAM can pose some problems. Our recommendation is that if you are going to use this cooler, make sure you look for some lower profile RAM.
As far as the performance of the cooler, we feel the Notcua NH-L12 did exceptionally well. Noctua’s own website does not recommend you do any overclocking with this cooler; however, based on our tests, we feel this cooler can handle some light over clocking without any problems. Even with our 3570k code name Ivy-bridge, we were pleasantly surprised how well it performed, even at 4.4ghz Overclock. If you intend to use this cooler for HTPC, and want to run the CPU at those freqs, it is not the norm but can be achieved. This will be a great cooler for those sticking to stock clocks or even slight Overclocks, but if you plan on running your chip at topped out freqs you may want to consider a full sized cooler.
At the time of this review we found the cooler on Newegg for $79.99. We feel this may be priced on the high side, but the features and cooling performance of the low profile design outweighs the cost. We feel the Noctua NH-L12 cooler deserves a PureOverclock Good Hardware award, especially considering its surprising performance.