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Noctua's passive cooler is 'coming soon' to put an end to case fans

Noctua fanless CPU cooler prototype at Computex 2019
(Image credit: Noctua)
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Noctua's highly anticipated passive cooler is "coming very soon", the company has said in a tweet. Responding to curator of all things passive, FanlessTech, Noctua has confirmed that its passive cooler is finally happening after multiple delays.

I first saw Noctua's passive prototype back at Computex 2019. The Austrian company famed for its love 'em or hate 'em fan designs and excellent performance was promising a passive cooler that can deal with many of the top gaming chips at the time. It's able to handle 120W, and that's without any case fans.

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That's a pretty tempting offer, and Noctua has only since sweetened the deal, saying PC builders should "prepare to be surprised" by how well it performs.

Good things come to those who wait, and we have had to do a fair bit of waiting following a handful of delays (opens in new tab). That said, the cooler went into mass production late last year/early this year, with a view to launch by the second quarter.

If you're wondering why you'd even want a passive cooler, Noctua's Jakob Dellinger explains all that in an interview with RelaxedTech (opens in new tab):

"The key challenge is that for a passive cooler to be truly effective, design parameters such as fin pitch and fin thickness need to be quite different," Dellinger says. "You need a certain pitch to get low enough flow resistance for sufficient natural convection and a certain fin thickness in order to get the mass that is required for absorbing enough thermal energy. This means that different manufacturing machinery is required, e.g. much stronger stamping presses, etc. Getting this sorted in a reasonably cost-efficient way was quite a challenge."

"... There’s a certain beauty and simplicity to going completely fanless rather than just running slow fans, there’s no real possible point of failure, less dust build-up, and of course, the bliss of complete silence," Dellinger notes.

If any of that sounds good to you, keep an eye out for the Noctua passive cooler over the coming months. I think it's really happening this time!

Jacob Ridley
Jacob Ridley

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.