Noctua NH-D9L Review

Introduction and Specifications

Today we will be reviewing Noctua’s small CPU cooler, the NH-D9L. The NH-D9L is a small but capable CPU cooler, which targets users who wish to have an efficient cooling solution in their small ATX case. 

Below you can find the cooler’s specs, taken directly from Noctua’s website:

Cooler Specifications

Socket compatibility: Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required), AM4 with NM-AM4
Height (without fan) 110 mm
Width (without fan) 95 mm
Depth (without fan) 95 mm
Height (with fan) 110 mm
Width (with fan) 95 mm
Depth (with fan) 95 mm
Weight (without fan) 428 g
Weight (with fan/s) 531 g
Material Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Max. TDP see TDP guide
Fan compatibility 92x92x25
Scope of delivery
NF-A9 PWM premium fan
Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit
Fan-clips for second NF-A9
Noctua Metal Case-Badge

FAN Specification

Model Noctua NF-A9 PWM
Bearing SSO2
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%) 2000 RPM
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%) 1550 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%) 400 RPM
Max. Airflow 78,9 m³/h
Max. Airflow with L.N.A. 62,6 m³/h
Max. Acoustical Noise 22,8 dB(A)
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A. 16,3 dB(A)
Input Power 1,2 W
Voltage Range 12 V
MTTF > 150.000 h

Package and accessories

The NH-D9L comes in the usual Noctua packaging. At each side of the box we can find all the cooler’s features and specifications.

Apart from the cooler and fan, inside the package we can find a small box where all the accessories are stored:

  • NF-A9 PWM premium fan
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit
  • Fan-clips for second NF-A9
  • Noctua Metal Case-Badge

As well, inside we can find all the brackets needed to support the cooler and as well a special screwdriver to screw the cooler onto the base. There are different sets depending on the socket type. There is even an additional set of clips for the installation of a second fan. Noctua has included everything needed here, therefore the setup should be painless.

The manual has in-depth instructions that are really helpful even for inexperienced users. The step by step guide per socket type really assists in a quick installation and leaves no questions unanswered.

Noctua NH-D9L – A closer look

As we can see, the actual cooler follows the pattern of larger Noctua heat-sinks, utilizing a dual tower design. Using a clip, a fan can be attached in any side of the cooler. It is also possible to install an additional fan for more cooling performance.

The fan that Noctua included is the Noctua NF-A9 which is a 92mm PWM enabled fan. Thus, the fan RPM is adjusted automatically according to the temperature. If lower noise levels are required, the included low noise adapter can be used, however the noise levels are low enough already as we will see in our test results. Generally speaking, Noctua’s fans are among the top performers in our previous fans tests, as they combine performance with low noise.

This cooler seems to be an ideal solution for users owning a small chassis, as after installation the height is only 110mm. Note that due to the size, the cooler is fully compatible with 3U server cases.

The two aluminum towers consist of 35 fins and 4 heat pipes, which go all the way down to the base. The base plate has a flawless finish in a shiny nickel coating. In general, the whole unit has a solid build quality and does not give the impression of a cheap product.

Installation, Test Setup and Results

The installation of the cooler is relatively easy, thanks to the simple instructions and the toolkit included. We knew from the beginning that this cooler is not the first choice for users who wish to overclock. However, it should provide efficient and silent cooling for small cases.

Below is our system, in which we installed the cooler:

Processor: Intel Core i5 6600 (non K)
Motherboard: Gigabyte B150M-DS3H-CF
RAM: 4 x 4 GB Corsair 2133Mhz CMK4GX4M1A2400C14
VGA: Sapphire Radeon R9 270x 2GB
SSD: Adata 256GB SATA3
PSU: High Power P550 Pro
Case: Aerocool GT-RS
Operating System: Windows 10 64-bit

The SecuFirm2 mechanism ensures that the cooler will fit tightly onto the socket. The step by step instructions in the manual are very easy to follow, so had the cooler up and running in a matter of minutes.

As you can see from the pictures, there are no clearance issues with the ram sticks or any other components. The cooler is placed conveniently on the motherboard. Thus, we can now proceed to check the performance and noise levels of the cooler.

As we can see from the above results, the Noctua NH-D9L can supply more than adequate cooling for its size. First of all, we cannot really say that the i5 6600 non k CPU becomes relatively hot during use, thanks to the 65W TDP. However, while at the idle state the differences in temperature are not big between the tested coolers, when the system is under load the Noctua NH-D9L can  offer a better cooling performance by 4-5 degrees average.This is something that cannot be overlooked. Finally, we can say that the performance is similar to the Noctua NH-U9S.

Finally, regarding the noise levels, we are going to take a look from a practical perspective. Apparently, the cooler achieved very low noise levels. At the above diagram, we are using a 0-10 scale, where 0 is silent operation and 10 is annoyingly loud. All of the tested coolers managed to stay quiet, but the two Noctuas were more silent. As a result, it is safe to assume that the cooler will not be noisy even at quiet environments and when the system is under load. Above all, what is the point of having efficient cooling, if your PC sounds like a jumbo jet?

Verdict – Should you buy?

Costing around 50.00€ across Europe, we consider the Noctua NH-D9L to be a solid choice for silent and compact PC systems. Of course, there are cheaper cooling solutions in the market. Therefore, we really feel that it should be priced a little less. Many users will consider that they can get similar performance, for significantly less money. However, we really feel you get what you are paying for, and if we take overclocking into account, we should involve this cooler in our choices. In a few words, you are getting a flawlessly built compact CPU cooler which is efficient, silent and contains everything needed for installation in the bundle. From the moment the box is opened, you can sense the high quality standards under which the Noctua NH-D9L is made. A big plus is that a second fan can be easily installed, offering a boost in cooling performance.

Pros

  • Efficient cooling
  • Silent
  • Complete bundle
  • Can be an ideal solution for users with a small case
  • Optional second fan installation

Cons

  • Price
  • Not huge differences between this and other coolers in performance, in stock clocks

Thus, we would like to give the Noctua NH-D9L our Editor’s Choice Award.

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