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Noctua NH-U9S Review

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Noctua NH-U9S: Closer Look

Once removed from the box, you can see Noctua standard design in which the fan is attached via a metal clip on each side on the heatsink. A second fan can be attached thanks to the extra clips included, but the fan itself is not included. The Noctua NF-A9 fan operates from a PWM port and can be slowed down for silent operation with an adapter included. The fan runs between the lowest speed of 400 RPM, while the maximum speed comes in at 2000 RPM @ 22.8 dBA. Even at full speed, the A9 Fan keeps the acoustics to a minimal, which is always nice when considering a CPU cooler.

Standing at 125mm after installation, the cooler falls under the small category as its only has a 92mm fan. This is marketed towards small chassis and space constriction. When reviewing chassis I often talk about how CPU height clearance can cause a few problems for system builders who want to push a the system with a smaller form factor. Therefore hitting this niche is a smart move from Noctua.

 

 

 

As briefly covered before, the Noctua NF-A9 PWM fan is an 92mm fan that operates between 400-2000 RPM. It is held onto the heatsink via a metal clip on each side. Flipping the cooler on its side reveals a shiny buffed plate. While the specifications list it as a copper base, it looks as if it's plated with another metal which may be nickel. I suspect this does not effect performance or Noctua wouldn't do it.

 

 

Installation requires looking over the manual as to figure out the correct orientation for the bracket supports. Installing to the Intel 115X socket requires the use of a backplate, which you need to install. The easiest method I found was putting the backplate in place and laying the motherboard down and then putting on the black raisers before moving on. After completing that, the user must place a support bar across two screws and secure it with their own screws. Once everything is tightened, you are ready for the cooler installation. This is as easy as it gets for any cooler installation and Noctua made it painless to install this cooler too.

Next, simply place the cooler in the middle and align it with the posts in the middle. Once in place, tighten both sides equally until it's completely down. I didn't really have any hassle or a strange installation process like other coolers I've used, and that is a good thing. While most people aren't ever going to install the same cooler more than once, it's nice to know if you need to, it won't take any about of rocket science to figure it out.

 

 

 

Being a compact cooler means that usually height is a major factor which also includes RAM clearance. Noctua avoided this issue completely by shifting the heatsink to one side to allow the fan to be over the socket section. This allows for ITX compatibility and no interference with any RAM. However, when setting up two fans, the second will stick out in one way or another depending on the orientation.

 

 

As explained above, the second optional fan will stick out in any orientation, so be prepared to deal with clearance issues. It's unsurprising that some motherboards may have clearance issues over the VRM heatinks, and that is something that is different per motherboards. Since this is an optional thing, I cannot dock points from Noctua as this cooler does exactly what is says when using its single fan setup.

 

This cooler gives the illusion of space and in fact packs a punch in such a small space. Now I had very minor issues with this cooler, namely when using a second fan dealing with height clearance over the VRMs. This cooler can easily be installed with the motherboard already installed, granted, if you have access to the back side of the motherboard. The only real problem I found was removing the fan when the video card is installed, as the clips are hard to detach in the given space. Overall, that is hardly anything to complain about, so let's move onto the testing.




  1. Noctua NH-U9S: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Noctua NH-U9S: Closer Look
  3. Noctua NH-U9S: Specifications & Features
  4. Noctua NH-U9S: Setup & Results
  5. Noctua NH-U9S: Conclusion
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