NH-P1 Passive CPU Cooler

The box for the Noctua NH-P1 cooler is huge, which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. It also has the standard Noctua theme on the outside. This includes a zoomed-in photo of the heatsink which has been given a brown tint and has a list of the coolers key features listed down it on the front of the box. The NH-P1 model name is on the left in the white and is repeated again in the black at the top along with the “Passive CPU Cooler” portion that better describes what you are getting. Around on the side Noctua has included some of the specifications which at least give you an idea of what you are getting including CPU sockets supported, the dimensions, weird, and a list of what you will find in the box. The back takes the list of features on the front and expands on them with small line drawings and descriptions.

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When you open the P1’s box up you will see the accessories box right up on top. Under that is a top cardboard divider that wraps around the top half of the cooler to keep it from moving around and there is a second half which is at the bottom of the box doing the same thing to keep it all secure and safe. The accessories box options up and has two folded-up papers right on top. One is the installation instructions for AMD and the other is for Intel installations. Below that they have three different bags, one backplate, and a cardboard box which has brackets poked into it at the top and a fourth bag stuffed into the hole in the center. Normally Noctua has everything divided up and labeled and you can see they still managed that with the common parts bag and the AMD bag but the Intel mounting parts are spread across two bags, the backplate, and the brackets in that box. There is also a T20 Torx screwdriver, this was a big surprise to me. Noctua always includes a basic screwdriver without a handle but because of the length needed for the NH-P1, this cooler has its own full screwdriver with a nice Noctua-themed handle. The common parts bag comes with one full tube of thermal paste, two fan brackets, one cleaning wipe, and the metal case badge. Noctua’s case badge is always a few notches ahead of everyone else's with its thick painted metal design. But they also go above and beyond with the full tube of thermal paste and a cleaning wipe which can clean things up if you want to refresh your paste.

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The Noctua NH-P1 is a completely passive heatsink and doesn’t come with any fans though it does have fan brackets included for additional cooling. It manages this with its overall size which is well behind the size of other Noctua heatsinks. It is 158 mm tall, 154 mm wide, and 152 mm deep and the overall size combined with much thicker aluminum fins has its total weight at 1180 grams.

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The much thicker heatsink fins were the most notable change from a normal Noctua heatsink but with that, the fits also have very large gaps between them. Where a normal cooler is designed to get the most surface area for the fan to blow through and pull the heat out, this design needs to have room for passive airflow, hence the much larger gaps. They use six large nickel-plated copper heatpipes to pull heat out from on top of the CPU socket and out across the large heatsink and those heatpipes run directly up from the CPU area with a design that doesn’t jet out over top of the memory at all. Instead, the heatsink design goes over top of your rear I/O some and over the top of your motherboard's top VRM heatsink as well. The large aluminum fits have a layout of rectangle holes cut in them which give some airflow side to side if for some reason you get air blowing that direction. The aluminum fits have a natural aluminum finish, not the polished finish that other Noctua heatsinks have, and on the far end just under the end of the heatpipes, it does have the Noctua logo etched in it.

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The CPU contact surface has the same machined finish that all Noctua coolers have which isn’t a mirror finish but is close enough to still see a good reflection in it when you put something up against it. The CPU contact area has two brackets coming off of it to mount to the brackets you install on the motherboard. Those have spring-loaded screws to keep the mounting pressure perfect. Beyond that, you can see that the six heat pipes all run right to the top of the contact surface with the nickel-plated copper surface pulling the heat up into the nickel-plated copper heat pipes. On top of that the heatsink itself does drop down on top of that area with a few of the fins to pull any extra heat that ends up in that area up into the heatsink. If you look closely in the last picture you can see that each of those is soldered to the top of the copper heat plate to get the best contact.

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Installing on our Z790 test bench with the LGA 1700 socket uses a mounting bracket design that Noctua has used for years. It has changed over the last few years slightly to better support the multiple socket sizes. In the past, the backplate came with the posts preinstalled but now to fit more sizes you do have to install the posts in the bracket, spinning them around depending on what socket you are using. Once done that pushes up through the holes around the CPU and you have plastic standoffs and then the two mounting brackets that are held on with nuts at the top. The nuts have the T20 Trox head on them that matches the included screwdriver which makes them easy to install. That said with Intels socket getting larger changing out CPUs with this new design now requires taking it all back apart because the brackets cover it up. Not Noctua’s fault really but unavoidable with the larger CPU size and the center mounting locations for the coolers.

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The cooler when installed on our test bench didn’t look any smaller than it did on the table. A few things to note though, the design doesn’t go up over your memory at all so you will always have access to those, I’m surprised that Noctua didn’t try to use at least some of that space though to get even more cooling. With our Asus Z790 Extreme motherboard, the NH-P1 was a tight fit with the heatsink basically touching the VRM heatsink above the CPU socket once it was tightened down. This didn’t cause any fitment issues, but it was tight. Installing the heatsink was a little cumbersome as well with its size and struggling to see down around the mounting brackets. Not having the video card in place helped to see better on the bottom screw at least but this was all on an open air test bench, I imagine it would be even harder in some cases.

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The Noctua NH-P1 is a unique heatsink that isn’t designed to replace your everyday large heatsink or water cooling. This is a passive cooler designed for specific builds where sound is the highest priority and with that Noctua has gone into detail on their CPU support lists for what CPUs are supported and which aren’t I decided to test this on our Intel Z790 test bench and while I didn’t expect to have good results I tested it with the Intel i9-13900K as well as the 13600K. The 13900K struggles with cooling on just about any cooling solution but I was curious if the 13600K might be able to handle things. For my testing, this was on our open-air test bench which is one way to use the NH-P1 cooler but I think the best situations for this cooler are semi-passive setups where you maybe have a case fan that comes on from time to time that will help give some airflow when needed but isn’t direct airflow.

Anyhow for my testing, I should make my settings very clear. These are the same settings I did for our CPU testing as well. Both CPUs have their wattage set for short and long-duration power limits in the BIOS. So for the 13900K that is 253 watts and for the 13600K that is 181 watts. On top of that the current limit or IccMax is set to 307A for the 13900K and 200A for the 13600K. XMP with the 5600 MHz memory kit was on and Asus MultiCore enhancement is disabled to keep the CPU from trying to randomly overclock.

I then tested using AIDA64’s Stress test with the CPU and FPU workloads. The CPU workload is close to what I normally see in gaming and everyday use whereas FPU is more like heavy workloads like rendering. These were run for a half hour until CPU temps leveled off or in some cases until the clock speeds leveled off. This brings me to the last part, for all tests I also documented the clock speeds because these CPUs will quickly max out their temps and then just downclock until things run smooth. This is fine for a cooler like this because a lot of times your heavy CPU loads aren’t going to be for over a half hour long like I am doing here and for those quick bursts you will still get to use the higher clock speeds.

I tested the NH-P1 with both CPUs and both workloads as well as with an added fan to see what that would change. You can see that both workloads with both CPUs did eventually lead to them sitting at 100c package temp and 89c for the CPU temp. The 13900K dropped down to 4600 MHz for the CPU workload and 3900 MHz for FPU where it can normally boost up to 5800 MHz. The 13600K did better at 5000 MHz with the CPU workload, just 100 MHz lower than its 5100 MHz max boost and 4800 MHz with the FPU workload. Adding the fan into the mix helped of course which is why I think a semi-passive case setup is best for the NH-P1 where the case fan can help with that extra airflow when needed but letting the heatsink do its thing for the smaller bursts of CPU load when you open things up and use a PC normally. That said if I were going to run this I think a CPU like the 13600K would be the highest I would want to go but some of AMDs 65 watts CPUs or Intel’s i5’s which use less wattage would be more ideal. Especially if you were looking to run full passive all of the time.

CPU Package Temp

CPU Temp

Clock Speed

13900K Without Fan

CPU Stress Test



4600 MHz

FPU Stress Test



3900 MHz

13900K With NF-F12 industrialPPC-2000 PWM Fan

CPU Stress Test



5200 MHz

FPU Stress Test



4700 MHz

13600K Without Fan

CPU Stress Test



5000 MHz

FPU Stress Test



4300 MHz

13600K With NF-F12 industrialPPC-2000 PWM Fan

CPU Stress Test



5100 MHz

FPU Stress Test



4800 MHz

Idle Temps No Fan




5800 MHz Max Boost




5100 MHz Max Boost

Idle Temps with NF-F12 industrialPPC-2000 PWM Fan




5800 MHz Max Boost




5100 MHz Max Boost


While testing the 13900K with the CPU workload I did get a few thermal images just to get a peak at what the NH-P1 looks like when warmed up. The hottest area is in the center which isn’t a surprise, the outside is getting at least some passive airflow even with our test bench setup which is in a corner with very little airflow.

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