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Noctua NH-D15 Review

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Noctua NH-D15 Testing:

Testing of the NH-D15 will be accomplished by installing the cooler into the test system case. Most systems are built and mounted into a sealed (relatively) chassis as opposed to a test bench, so this method will be used to generate the idle and load results to give a real world view as to the cooling performance from a system listed below. Of course, your results may vary by several degrees due to case design and ambient air temperature. The CPU load is generated by Prime 95 version 27.9 for a period of two hours, with a cooldown period of one hour after the computer has returned to an idle state. Real Temp 3.70 is used to log the temperatures with the highest and lowest averages across the four cores of the Core i7 4770K test CPU. Ambient temperatures are kept at 24 °C during the testing to minimize the effect of temperature variations. Each cooler is tested with the manufacturer supplied thermal compound as delivered.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Coolers:

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

The D15 was tested with single and dual fans. At idle (stock and overclocked), the Noctua NH-D15 was able to deliver temperatures as expected. Nothing remarkable, but of course most people don't get too excited over idle temps. When we load up the non-overclocked CPU, the D15 has no problem handling the heat and moves to the top position, staying cooler than all the competition in the list. When we put the overclocked power to the Haswell 4770K and it cranks out the heat, the D15 continues to put out some impressive numbers. In fact, the D15 again moves to the head of the pack. When overclocked and with dual fans, it is a full 3 degrees cooler than the AIO (All In One) liquid cooled Nepton 280L and 6 degrees cooler than Noctua's original contender, the D14.

As for the acoustics, one thing I have noticed with almost all of the liquid coolers I have tested is that when the fans spool up, you know it. But with the Noctua units, the fans are just so quite even at full speed, you almost wonder if you forgot to start the CPU stress test.

I was expecting the performance to really parallel that of the D14. I was surprised at how well the D15 handled the heat. I have to admit that I have always been a fan of liquid cooling and I was somewhat in denial that an air cooler could knock my liquid cooler off the throne. There is just something about the "Wow" factor of a liquid-cooled system. But the D15 has me reconsidering my viewpoint. It can truly handle the heat, and it does it quietly.

Clearly, Noctua has a real winner with the NH-D15.




  1. Noctua NH-D15: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Noctua NH-D15: Closer Look (Continued)
  3. Noctua NH-D15: Closer Look (Continued)
  4. Noctua NH-D15: Specifications & Features
  5. Noctua NH-D15: Testing Setup & Results
  6. Noctua NH-D15: Conclusion
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