Noctua NH-D15 Reviewred454 - June 11, 2014
Category: CPU Cooling
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Noctua NH-D15 Introduction:
A little over four years ago Noctua released the infamous dual tower / dual fan NH-D14, which is now simply known as the D14. It quickly became the standard that all the tower style coolers would be judged against. From the Noctua site: "Built on the basis of the legendary NH-D14 and carrying on its quest for ultimate quiet cooling performance, Noctua’s flagship model NH-D15 is an elite-class dual tower cooler for the highest demands." So it sounds like Noctua has drawn a new line in the sand, and used a great cooler (the D14) as the foundation. Over the years, many have copied Noctua's successful design and a few have made some improvements along the way. While the All-in-One (AIO) liquid coolers are now common place, they have not by any means replaced the good old reliable air coolers. The simplistic design and record of long-lasting reliability make air coolers hard to beat.
The NH-D15 is designed to handle one of the most obvious and frustrating problems often encountered with high performance air-cooled solutions: inaccessible DIMM slots on the motherboard caused by interference from large heat sinks. RAM modules with large heat shields, such as the Patriot Viper Series, Mushkin Ridgebacks, and Corsair Vengeance and Dominator modules (plus many others), present a real clearance issue. You have to make a choice regarding the CPU cooling method or how much memory to install in the system, and to further complicate things, you have to consider the use of high performance modules versus standard modules. These issues pertain to any company that offers a large tower-style heat sink. To combat the space constraints, companies bring new slim tower designs to the table, like the Noctua NH-U12S. Of course, the popularity of the all-in-one (AIO) liquid coolers is hard to ignore, and many companies offer them. Personally, I like the AIO solutions, but many people are not comfortable with liquid solutions and prefer standard air cooling. For those people, Noctua again step up to the plate to take a swing.
Today we will review the NH-D15. With a list price of $99.99 and equipped with a six-year warranty, Noctua has again released another high-end cooling solution to meet the challenge of memory compatibility. Let's look at it in more detail.
Noctua NH-D15 Closer Look:
Noctua has used their standard graphics and packaging design which is somewhat understated but still rather effective. This layout features information on all sides, but not a clear shot of the entire cooler.
The front panel shows a list of the detailed specifications. On the back is a brief description of the features (in nine languages) that make the NH-D15 a top-notch product. One side panel features technical specifications and the opposite side offers more details on some of the unique features of the NH-D15. It is hard to not get excited whenever I have a new Noctua box in my hands!
Open the main box and immediately you will see that the hardware accessories are packaged individually in smaller boxes, including the AMD-specific, Intel-specific, and common parts. Each box lists the contents, and has a graphic showing each item in that box. I really like the way Noctua organizes your experience from the beginning. You know exactly what to expect in each box.
After you remove the hardware boxes, there is a foam separator. Tip the separator out of the way and you can see how the cooler and secondary fan are surrounded by an internal foam box which helps ensure that some rough handling won't damage the cooler or fan.
The cooler is packed in a separate box. Russian Nesting Dolls? No, but Noctua makes sure that your cooler arrives in perfect condition.