Whenever someone mentioned the name ‘Noctua’, the first thing that came to our mind is always its signature dual tower heatsink CPU cooler the NH-D14. Both the NH-D14 and the new revision NH-D15 has been topping the the list of the best CPU cooler since it’s launched, as we can remember.
Another of Noctua’s dual tower heatsink CPU cooler, but in a smaller footprint – the Noctua NH-D9L. Dual tower heatsink with 92mm fan isn’t something common and it appears that Noctua is trying to bring some phenomenal performance to the 92mm fan CPU cooler category and we’re here to find that out.
(The Noctua NH-D9L retails at RM 265.00)
The NH-D9L comes packed in Noctua’s traditional white & brown cardboard box which displays the model, type and features on the front.
Features of the NH-D9L can be found at the side of the box.
Specifications of the NH-D9L can be found at the other side of the box.
Upon boxing, the accessories box greeted us first with some pretty descriptive diagrams of what’s inside the box.
The content of the accessories box, it’s been pretty much the same as other Noctua products that has gone through numbers of unboxing and review here at Tech Critter.
Million thanks to Noctua for providing us with another of their premium 92mm fan, the NF-A9 for the best performance we can expect from the NH-D9L.
Here’s a quick unboxing of the extra fan, quite a package considering the various splitters and connectors accompanying the fan.
On a quick glance, NH-D9L looks just like a miniature NH-D15.
Viewing it from the top, the heatsink fins looks identical to the NH-D15 but just smaller.
The fan clip that makes installation and removal easy as breeze, good to see it being implemented on the NH-D9L as well.
As the middle fan is blocking the mounting screws, you will have to remove it in order to get the NH-D9L mounted on your CPU.
A quick check at the heatpipes, what we’re seeing here is 4 nickel plated copper heatpipes connected to the base plate of the NH-D9L. 4 heatpipes? That’s very uncommon for a 92mm fan CPU cooler!
Here’s the base plate of NH-D9L, the very same mirror finish nickel-plated ones that we’ve familiar with throughout the Noctua coolers that we’ve checked on for all this while.
Here’s the NH-D9L with the extra 92mm NF-A9 provided. Does it reminds you of the NH-D15 now?
The installation should be a breeze as this is the same backplate used on the NH-D15.
After aligning the backplate and its screw to the mounting holes, the next step is to place the spacers for the mounting bracket.
After placing the spacers, secure the brackets according to the airflow setup that you wish to install the NH-D9L for.
Always apply the thermal paste in a considerate amount, we don’t recommend to cover the whole CPU with thermal paste – here we’re using the rice grain method, that’ll be more than enough.
Now align the NH-D9L mounting screw to the mounting bracket and secure with the screw driver provided in the accessories pack.
Here’s something to highlight: the RAM clearance looks fine if you’re mounting it with single fan.
If you’re going for a 2 fan setup, you might encounter some issue with RAM clearance and will have to opt for low profile RAM. This can be easily fixed with some changes to the orientation of the cooler.
Test Rig Configuration
Intel Core i7 4790K
ASUS ROG Maximus VI Gene
Kingston HyperX Savage @2400MHz
Primary Hard Drive
Crucial M500 120GB
be quiet! Straight Power 10 600W
Moving on to the performance test, we ran the CPU stress test utility Prime95 with the option ‘In-place large FFTs’ for maximum heat from the CPU. Our room temperature throughout the test is 30ºC in average and the stress test is repeated for several times in order to get a stable and consistent temperature reading. The final result is presented in the graph as below:
While loading on stock clock, the Noctua NH-D9L did pretty well with a peak temperature of 76°C on single fan and 75°C with another add on of the NF-A9. Among the CPU cooler we’ve tested, the NH-D9L did well standing up against those coolers that’s larger than its size.
We ran another test with our i7 4790K overclocked to 4.6GHz and the NH-D9L is seen doing pretty well for its size – 85°C on single fan setup and 84°C on dual fan setup. What impresses us more, the NH-D9L beats the be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim, Deepcool Gamer Storm Lucifer, Cryorig C1 from a higher category.
It’s a surprise for Noctua to kicks in with a dual tower heatsink CPU cooler at this size. The performance did somehow surprised us, it might not be able to stand up against high-end coolers but it did shows that its capable of standing up against quite a few of higher end cooler on our list. As for the fans, just like any other Noctua fans would perform – barely inaudible when its running at full speed even on close range, no complains on that.
If you’re upgrading from a stock cooler but not really into super high CPU clocks that will gives you tons of heat output, the Noctua NH-D9L is one you might want to consider to go for.
- Solid build quality
- Quiet operation even on full load
- Good cooling performance for its category
- Easy to install
- Fan color still Noctua’s traditional Beige & Brown which is hard to pair with almost every themed build
- Compatibility issue with tall memory