|Item model number||NH-L9a|
|Item Weight||14.7 ounces|
|Product Dimensions||5.7 x 3.6 x 1.4 inches|
|Item Dimensions L x W x H||5.67 x 3.62 x 1.45 inches|
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Noctua Low-profile Quiet CPU Cooler for AMD Based Retail Cooling NH-L9A
|Price:||$39.95 & FREE Shipping|
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- Due to the slim 23mm heat sink and the NF-A9x14 low profile fan that measures only 14mm in thickness, the NH-L9 stands a mere 37mm tall, which makes it ideal for use in compact HTPCs or Small Form Factor cases that offer minimum clearance for CPU coolers.
- The NH-L9a has a 92x114mm footprint that complies to the 96x114mm keep-out zone specified by AMD. This means that it doesn’t overhang the RAM slots, so it’s fully compatible with tall memory modules.
- Some AMD based mini-ITX mainboards have the PCIe slot sitting close to the 96x114mm socket zone. While larger coolers that exceed this zone may block the PCIe slot, the 92x114mm sized NH-L9a provides full compatibility with PCIe cards.
- The highly optimized NF-A9x14 premium fan features Noctua’s proprietary AAO frame as well as sophisticated aerodynamic design measures. Supporting PWM for fully automatic speed control, the NF-A9x14 allows the NH-L9a to stay remarkably quiet.
- Allowing to reduce the maximum speed of the NF-A9x14 fan from 2500 to 1800rpm, the included Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.) makes it possible to achieve near-silent setups using CPUs with less than 65W TDP.
- The NH-L9a bundles a custom-designed SecuFirm2 mounting system for AM2(+)/AM3(+)/FM1/FM2 that offers extended compatibility with mini-ITX boards and makes installation easier than ever, all while maintaining the trusted SecuFirm2 quality.
- Noctua's much-acclaimed NT-H1 is a well proven pro-grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease-of-use and outstanding reliability.
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The NH-L9a is a premium quality quiet CPU cooler for AMD based HTPCs and Small Form Factor systems. At a super-low profile of only 37mm, the NH-L9a is ideal for extremely slim cases and due to its 92x114mm footprint, it provides excellent compatibility with tall RAM modules and other components on mini-ITX mainboards. The custom designed SecuFirm2 mounting system for AM3+/FM1/FM2 makes installation a child’s play and thanks to the highly optimized NF-A9x14 premium fan that supports fully automatic speed control via PWM, the NH-L9a runs remarkably quiet. Topped off with Noctua’s renowned NT-H1 thermal compound, the NH-L9a fuses everything users have come to expect from Noctua’s larger coolers into a super-compact package for slim HTPC systems.
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Anyway, back to the Noctua. I also purchased some very low profile ram since I was replacing the cooler anyway. Turns out, I probably didn't need it (see photos). The cooler is just small enough to clear the ram slots. Despite this being on an A10, I did try the Low-Noise Adaptor at first. The fan could barely be heard. But, I decided to remove it as it wasn't recommended for CPUs over 65W TDP. Once removed, the fan was audible during boot up but it soon quieted down. Since this is a HTPC, it's in my media console and when the room is quiet I can't hear it. It might get louder during video play but, if that's the case, the video audio is louder than the fan. So far, I'm pleased and should have gone with this cooler to begin with. Time will tell how long the fan lasts.
In such a tight case, the fan on the AMD cooler was prone to spin up and whine quite a bit. I've long hear rave reviews on Noctua products and decided I was well overdue for one. I found this little beauty and was very happy with the price. When you look at Noctua fans, the cost of this cooler really isn't a whole lot more than just a fan.
I will say actually mounting the cooler was quite awkward. It has 4 bolts that run through the backplate and into the cooler itself. You actually have to hold the cooler on the CPU side and screw in the bolts from the back. Despite the cutout to get at the back of the mobo, I found it easier to just remove the motherboard. I was questioning my thermal paste application because it's not like most coolers where you're only really working from the cooler side and could potentially make contact, separate and make contact again introducing air bubbles.
Despite my concern, temperatures were a fair bit cooler than before but the biggest difference was the noise...or more accurately the complete lack thereof. It's dead silent, there's no other way to describe it.
If you're looking for an AMD cooler that's a low profile and quiet, this is it. It's actually shorter than the heatsink on the chipset! I've been able to take the Athlon up to 3.2 from the stock 2.8 and still max out right around 60C. Not bad for a small case, hot chipset and in a spot where the case really doesn't breathe a whole lot.
I tried to use the same setup in a Wesena ITX2 and the Noctua couldn't keep reasonable temps while running Prime 95. After about 10 minutes the CPU was within 5°C of maxing out its thermal margin (as measured by AMD Overdrive) with the fan running at max speed and 60x10mm + 50x10mm exhaust fans in the case. This was mainly due to the ITX2 not having enough ventilation slots to expell the hot air the Noctua was throwing out. The case eventually got warmer and warmer as the hot air built up inside. I will say that the cooler did keep the A8 in double digit thermal margins while running SVP with MadVR on a 1080p video in this setup, generally stabilizing at about 20°C after 10 minutes.