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Noctua NH-D15 Review

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Noctua NH-D15 Conclusion:

For years the NH-D14 was the King of the Hill, but move over D14, there is a new King in town and he comes from the same DNA. At a list price of $99.99 in the U.S., the NH-D15 is indeed toward the upper range of what most people will spend on a cooling solution for their computer, but for that price you get a reliable cooler that delivers high performance and beats everything I have tested. I have to say I was really surprised at how well the D15 performs. Add to that the memory compatibility, ease of installation, and quiet operation and I have a hard time finding any faults. In fact, I couldn't find any.

The engineering that went into the D15 sure paid off. After you test coolers for a while, you think you have seen it all. How many more degrees can anyone shave off? You get to where you can look at a cooler and before you ever install it, you have a feel for where the thermal numbers will probably fall, and usually I am fairly close. Well, Noctua has proven that you can still find ways to push the Mercury a little farther down the thermometer.

With any air cooler, there are two key factors to success. One is a heat sink that can effectively transfer the heat away from your CPU, and the other is a fan that can efficiently move air through the heat sink, and by efficiently I mean quitely move a large volume of air. And that is just what the Noctua fans do. Being familiar with the NF-AF15 140mm fans, I knew what to expect acoustically. These PWM fan are engineered to quietly and efficiently move air through the fins and they do just that. The second generation SSO2 full metal bearing is machined from solid brass, which improves fan life by improving blade stabilization. The NF-A15 PWM fan comes with removable rubber vibration dampers, and the motor contains a new NE-FD1 PWM IC to reduce noise at very low fan speeds. And speaking of noise, the NF-A15 fans are designed with noise reduction in mind and at maximum RPM, the NF-A15 fans are rated at 24.6 dBA – not what we consider loud, but they are practically inaudible from three feet away when installed in the case. To take it a step further, Noctua includes an L.N.A., or Low Noise Adapter, that drops the maximum fan speed down with a corresponding reduction in the noise level to 19.2 dBA. And at 18.6 dBA, the NF-A15 fans are virtually silent.

Run the D15 with one fan, and you won't have any memory issues. The new notched fin stacks take care of that. Run it with both fans, and you may need to offset the second fan a bit, so you will want to check the depth of your case. But the D15 in most situations will perform just fine with one fan.

I am thoroughly impressed with this cooler. Not many products get the Editors' Choice award, but I think this one deserves it. It may be a while until a cooler this good comes along again. Let's see if Noctua can prove me wrong!

 

Pros:

  • Amazing Cooling performance
  • Memory compatibility
  • Low noise
  • Lower noise options
  • SecuFirm2 mounting
  • 140mm PWM fan X 2
  • Vibration dampening
  • Attractive / Innovative design
  • Six-year warranty
  • Solid build quality

 

Cons:

  • None


 

Editors' Choice



  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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