The installation process for this CPU cooler might seem to take quite some time, but I think it’s all worth it in the end because the cooler has a secure hold to the motherboard. Like I mentioned before the NH-C12P does support the latest i7 cores you just have to get the 1366 bracket (free) for it. For this installation we will be using the LGA 775 mounting hardware. Before buying this product, you may want to double check and make sure there aren’t any problems with installation as Noctua has provided an extensive list of motherboards and if they work or if there are any problems with installation.
Installation is not difficult at all with the in-depth, colored and pictured installation manual. For the LGA 775 installation you first need to find the backplate and place it underneath the motherboard.
The next step is to attach the self-adhesive washers to the mounting brackets to protect the motherboard from short circuiting.
You now have two options to install the heatsink, either vertically or horizontally. If you have a bottom PSU mounted case, like I do, then you’ll probably want to choose the horizontal option otherwise the cooler may extend too far off the motherboard and interfere with the top of the case. For the horizontal installation you’ll want to align the support brackets horizontally on the motherboard (see picture). You’ll also want to make sure the bumps are extended away from the CPU socket. Then attach these via four screws to the backplate.
The next step is to attach the fastening brackets to the base of the heatsink. At first I was a little confused and didn’t look at the picture in depth and attached it the wrong way. Typically when I see four screws I’ll attach the fastening brackets to the bottom of the base, but in this case they’re actually mounted slightly above the base. There is actually a little sliver of space for them to rest on if you take a close enough look.
This is the first instruction manual that I’ve read, for CPU coolers, that has instructed me to put a dollop of thermal grease (4-5mm) onto the CPU and then spread it around with the heatsink. It saves me some time and effort rather than spreading it around with something else.
Once you spread the thermal grease around with the base you can then attach the two springs and screws. It requires quite a bit of tightening, but you need to make sure you tighten it until it stops, but making sure not to tighten it too tightly otherwise there may be consequences.
To help prevent fan vibration Noctua has thrown in two rubber strips to help. They simple stick along the longer edges of the fins.
Attaching the fan is probably the hardest part of the installation and is somewhat annoying. To attach the fan you use two metal clips on either long side of the heatsink. The clips aren’t supposed to extend to the ends of the fins, but rather fit in between some (see pictures). I found the easiest way to install it was to attach the long portion of the clip to the heatsink first and then use a flat blade screw driver to push up the rest of the clip to slide into the fan holes.
Then make sure to attach the power connector to the motherboard. However you also have a choice to attach the two RPM/noise reducing cables. The black cable/Low-Noise Adapter (L.N.A.) runs at
1100 RPM and outputs 16.9 dB(A) while the blue cable/Ultra-Low-Noise Adapter (U.L.N.A.) runs at 900 RPM and outputs 12.6 dB(A).
Upon installing the motherboard back into the case I found two minor problems: I wasn’t able to attach the 8-pin power connector without attaching it before putting the motherboard inside the case and I also wasn’t able to attach the top left screw to secure the motherboard.
Both of the problems are mainly because of the upper motherboard mounted case that I have, not at the fault of Noctua. This problem could also be fixed on other motherboards by installing the NH-C12P vertically instead of horizontally.
After installation it really doesn’t appear to take up a lot of space inside of the case.