Noctua NH-D15S Reviewred454 -
Category: CPU Cooling
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Noctua NH-D15S Introduction:
In the world of cooling, Noctua is synonymous with quality and high-end fans and CPU coolers. When Noctua released the dual-tower / dual-fan NH-D14 a few years ago, it quickly became the unofficial standard that all the tower style coolers would be judged against. Then last year, the NH-D15 was released and again the bar was raised. The impressive cooling performance of the D15 keeps air coolers relevant and fresh despite the influx of affordable liquid coolers. I will say the I am a fan of liquid cooling, but the simple design and reliability of air coolers make them hard to beat.
The NH-D15S is designed to tackle a common and annoying problem that typically haunts large, high performance air coolers, which is a lack of clearance for DIMM slots on the motherboard. This is of course caused by interference from the large fin stacks. RAM modules with tall heat shields, such as the Patriot Viper Series and Corsair Vengeance and Dominator modules, can present some clearance challenges. You have to either use a smaller cooler or maybe reduce the number of RAM modules in the system. There are certainly slim style coolers available (Noctua offers several models), but what you often gain in real estate you sacrifice in cooling capacity.
Today we will review the NH-D15S and see what it brings to the table. This cooler has a list price of $99.99 and is equipped with a six-year warranty. Noctua has again released another high-end cooling solution and this one focuses on memory and PCIe slot compatibility. Let's look at it in more detail.
Noctua NH-D15S Closer Look:
The graphics and packaging design that Noctua uses is easily recognizable. From any angle you can see that this is the NH-D15S, D-Type Premium Cooler. This layout features product information on all sides, but only a few obscured (almost ghostly) shots of the cooler. In a way, this helps to build a little suspense as to what is inside. The graphics and text are clear and easy to read. Indeed, quality starts with the box.
The vertical text on the front is lightly embossed and adds a touch of style. There is also an embossed round silver badge which states that this is a high-compatibility single fan version of the NH-D15. Across the front we have a list of the detailed specifications, including "Excellent RAM compatibility" and "Asymmetrical layout for better PCIe compatibility". On the back are small illustrations and brief descriptions of the features that make the D15S worthy of your purchase.
One side panel features the technical specifications and some small dimensional drawings. The opposite side offers more details on some of the unique features of the NH-D15S in nine languages.
Opening the main box, you're immediately greeted with a white protective foam pad. Beneath the pad are the hardware / accessories box and the cooler box. No other cooler manufacturer that I have reviewed goes to this effort to package its product so well. I have to wonder if Noctua has a dedicated package design engineering department. It is easy in all the excitement to tear through the packaging to get to the cooler when you first open the box. After you take a good look at what goes into this, you develop an appreciation for the way the packaging fits together to provide efficient protection and presentation of the product.
After you remove the cooler and hardware boxes, you are ready to open the cooler box and remove the cooler. Since the cooler comes with the fan installed, a piece of folded cardboard is wedged between the fan and fin stack to keep things from moving around.during shipping. We will see what is in the hardware box a little later. Now we are ready to take a closer look at the cooler and see what it has to offer.