Noctua NH-D9L CPU-Cooler - 92mm, NH-D9L
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The NH-D9L is a premium grade dual tower CPU cooler that has been designed to provide excellent quiet cooling performance at a height of only 110mm. Its comparably low profile (15mm lower than classic 9cm tower coolers such as the NH-U9S) doesnt only guarantee full 3U compliance but also makes the NH-D9L ideal for compact HTPC and Small Form Factor cases that have airflow paths parallel to the mainboard. Thanks to its 95x95mm footprint, the NH-D9L clears the RAM and PCIe slots on all Intel based and most AMD based ITX mainboards. The included NF-A9 premium fan supports automatic speed control via PWM for outstanding quietness of operation and a second, optional NF-A9 fan can be added for further improved performance in dual fan mode. Topped off with the trusted, pro-grade SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system, Noctuas proven NT-H1 thermal compound and full 6 years manufacturers warranty, the NH-D9L forms a highly compact premium package for space-restricted applications.
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Processor: i7 4770k 3.5GHz
Case: Fractal Design R4 Define
RAM: Kingston HyperX Beast
Generally when it comes to air cooling, you expect to be using large radiators with equally large fans to get good, silent performance. The problem with these is that they can sometimes be rather unwieldy to work with when you've got them attached to your motherboard in your case. They can also put excessive pressure on your motherboard - and when it comes to sensitive components in your PC (namely, all of them) you don't want to do that.
In steps the NH-D9L which is miniscule compared to the more popular CPU air coolers (NH-D15, CM Hyper 212 EVO etc.) is incredibly easy to install and work around. Because the NH-D9L is so small, this means it has plenty of space to clear the RAM without having to worry about being too tall for your case. The NH-D9L even comes with Noctua's NT-H1 thermal compound which out-performs such popular thermal pastes as Arctic Silver 5.
In personal experience, using the single fan provided with the cooler - which can fit three fans total - I've being seeing maximum temperatures of 50-55C playing games such as Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Dragon Age: Inquisition and Euro Truck Simulator 2 on maximum settings.
Despite its small stature, the NH-D9L performs relatively well under load but is somewhat noisier than larger fans. This is countered by the fact it's a lot less likely to warp your motherboard and is incredibly easy to work around and comes highly recommended.
With a closed case below my desk I don't even notice it in my silent room.
I'm using it with its low fan speed adapter cable with 1 middle fan on a Gigabyte Z370M D3H motherboard with an i5 8600K processor (currently without overclocking @3.6Ghz).
After 5-10 hours of StarCraft 2 gameplay the CPU is always below 40C usually 36-37C only 1-2C above idle temperature.
Since my GPU hasn't yet arrived (damned crypto miners) I'm playing StarCraft with integrated GPU only with high settings @30-40fps (surprisingly smooth for casual gaming) which might give the CPU a bit easier time.
Before manually tweaking the BIOS settings my motherboard automatically overclocked my CPU to 4.1-4.2Ghz.
With those settings the idle temperature of my CPU was usually around 40C.
EDIT (19 Jun 2018):
After installing a GTX 1060 GPU and switching to a 144Hz QHD (1440p) monitor (which involves higher framerate and thus CPU usage - 144 or 120 instead of 60) my CPU usage has increased and this, along with the epci slot that holds the GPU near to the CPU socket generated quite a bit of heat. The builtin thermometers haven't detected very high temps (at most 40-50 celsius in most cases) but something still got overheated and this caused immediate machine reboots sometimes, mostly while playing Overwatch that uses ~80% GPU with my settings and usually 50% CPU. This reboot happened sometimes 10-20 times in a row, sometimes only once per day but I rarely had a day without a reboot. This can be very annoying during competitive gaming where you lose points for this.
Took quite some time to find out what causes the occasional reboots. I was experimenting with custom fan speed settings, removing the low fan speed adapter, lowered game graphics settings and the framerate, plugging cables to different slots in my modular PSU, etc but nothing really worked. The usual suspects in case of such reboots are overheat, bad motherboard or bad PSU. In my case it was overheat because since replacing my nh-d9l to a much larger nh-d15 I haven't had a single reboot for more than 10 days despite playing almost fulltime.
- This is a quality piece of cooler but for stronger CPUs buy a the largest cooler that can fit onto your motherboard.
- The thermometers of your motherboard might not be very accurate or might not be placed that well.
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
Sapphire Radeon RX580 4GB
16 GB RAM
As for performance it was only slightly better then my stock Ryzen Wrath Spire cooler at idle, although a bit quieter I think. The Vcore temp average around 25c to 30c when idle so not much different from stock (I am overclocking though - currently at 3.5 GHz). When under load with all 8 cores running the Vcore temp average around 42c which is about 8c better than stock.
I am not sure if it was worth it for the slightly better performance as I'm already missing my stock cooler with LED lights. This Noctua cooler is just boring to look at.
1 star knocked off because it's just plain boring to look at compared to my original Ryzen Wrath Spire.
Update: Removed the comment about the syringe of thermal paste being empty - not sure actually as it's a strange design. I used my old Akasa thermal paste at the time which works fine.
I use this heatsink on a mini-ITX motherboard (H170-WIFI) equipped with a i5-6600. I believe this cooler could also handle an unlocked chip using a fan speed of 1300+ rpm, and also by optimising stock case fans to high airflow fans. (I recommend Venturi HF.) Even further, you could add a second 92mm fan, as there is an included mounting clip and Y splitter cable.
The shiny, reflective metal used in this heatsink give the cooler a premium appearance. Optionally, replace the included 92mm fan with a grey one (search 'NF-B9') if you prefer the different colour.
First time I installed the heatsink on my i7 4790K I got temperatures in idle of 90c, fine, I must have made a mistake with applying the thermal compound Noctua packs with the heatsink.
Second time I installed it, get idle temps of 70c. Hmm, pretty sure I seated it accurately, can't see whats wrong.
Third time, idle temps of 50c. Ok, I followed every single video tutorial I could find just to make sure I'm not an idiot and installing this incorrectly.
This has now been the FIFTH time I've installed this thing and I can't get below the 50c mark like everyone else does, and my full load temps are 80c which is totally unacceptable. The thermal compound footprint looks normal and shows an even spread across the entirety of the CPU along with balanced pressure, but for some reason the temps are extremely high for what is normally expected. The aluminum towers don't feel even remotely hot, makes me thing that there is a fault in the manufacturing of my heatsink.
And yes, my airflow is perfectly good for what is needed. I have two strong intake fans along with a single exhaust fan at the back of the case. Even having the side of the case open doesn't help.
Extremely annoyed and disappointed with Noctua, I'm also considering on sending this think back due to how bad it is.