Ever feel like 120-mm fans must be about the biggest you could ever strap onto a processor cooler? Apparently, Noctua doesn't share that sentiment. The Austrian company has introduced a new downward-facing heatsink that can cool the majority of modern Intel and AMD desktop processors using six heat pipes, aluminum fins, and a single, massive 140-mm fan. Surprisingly, Noctua trumpets the cooler's "excellent motherboard and case compatibility."
Noctua also offers a tower-style cooler with dual 140-mm fans, but that behemoth is about 6.3" tall. The new NH-C12P SE14, by contrast, measures a pretty reasonable 4.5" even with the fan on. The relatively short height is due to the downward-facing design, which connects the heatsink's copper base to a wide array of fins that sits parallel with the motherboard via heat pipes. That fin array lies elevated above the motherboard surface, too, so it hopefully won't stand in the way of other components.
Even with a mostly aluminum construction, the NH-C12P SE14 weighs a hefty 1.6 lbs (730 g) with the fan—good thing it mounts through the motherboard. Speaking of which, Noctua says the heatsink's mounting system supports LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA775, AM2, AM2+, and AM3 sockets, so anything from Orleans Athlon 64s to state-of-the-art Core i7s should be covered.
As for the bundled NF-P14 fan, the large size of the blades should allow for relatively high airflow and quiet operation. Noctua quotes a top speed of 1,200 RPM, which will purportedly generate around 65 CFM of airflow with a 19.6 dBA noise level. The fan comes with two adapters that knock down the speed to 900 or 750 RPM. At the lowest of those, you'll be getting 41.2 CFM with only 10.1 dBA of rated noise.
The NH-C12P SE14 will be available "shortly" with a recommended retail price of $69.90, Noctua says. Not cheap, but then again, the company does provide six years of warranty coverage.