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Noctua NH-L9x65 Review

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Noctua NH-L9x65 Closer Look:

The Noctua NH-L9x65 is a taller (65mm), performance-enhanced version of Noctua’s award-winning NH-L9 low-profile cooler. It comes with the fan attached, so there is no assembly to do to the cooler - well, you do have to take the fan off for the installation. Right away you notice the low profile. It is only 65mm tall and weighs 413g with the fan attached. Clearly, this cooler will be ideally suited for a small HTPC or Small Form Factor cases that cannot support a tall cooler.

 

 

 

 

The unit comes with one NF-A9x14 premium fan and obviously one fan is all it can hold. It is, of course, a 4-pin PWM fan, and the power lead is sheathed in a nice black rubber cover. Flip the cooler over and the base is covered with a clear plastic cap that easily pops off before installation. Absent are the spider web of heat pipes packed close together. Instead, the NH-L9x65 uses four heat pipes that pull heat from opposite sides of the base and channel the heat into the compact fin stack. With a down flow style of cooler you do get the benefit of additional air circulated down onto the motherboard, which helps to cool the RAM, VRM, and other motherboard components.

 

 

To maximize the surface area, the fin stack is composed of 50 cooling fins. There are two notches on opposing sides to allow access to the two retained mounting screws. I really like the retained screws. You don't have to chase them around or worry about dropping them. I have seen several manufacturers that are now using this feature, but I wish that retained screws were an industry standard. The notches on the sides (and screws) are covered up when the fan is in place. The fit and finish are top notch, which is standard fare for Noctua. You can see the two termination points that pop out of each side.

 

 

The side view shows the four nickel-plated copper heat pipes and the retained screws on the side mounting brackets. Looking at the nickel-plated copper base, we have four heat pipes that twist 180° up and into the fin stack that is positioned right over the base. All this helps keep the envelope to a minimum for those tight builds that require a small cooler.

 

 

The NF-A9x14 premium fan is only 14mm thick and features Noctua’s proprietary AAO (Advanced Acoustic Optimisation) frame, as well as a sophisticated aerodynamic design. PWM (pulse width modulation) is common today and provides fully automatic speed control. The impellers feature suction side Flow Acceleration Channels. These channels speed up the airflow at the outer blade regions, which reduces the suction side flow separation and this ultimately allows the NH-L9x65 to stay remarkably quiet.

 

 

The SecuFirm2™ mounting kit is engineering at its best. This system designed by Noctua makes short work of the installation. The AMD brackets are each used specifically for AMD solutions and support all the latest sockets. The Intel SecuFirm2™ bracket kit includes a robust backplate that is designed specifically for Socket 115X usage, rather than being multi-socket compatible like many others in the lineup. Each of the bracket kits have a specific instruction set that is well illustrated and easy to follow. The common parts kit includes a screwdriver, low noise adapter, and Noctua's own NT-H1 thermal compound.

Most cases today have a chassis with an opening in the motherboard tray behind the socket so you don't have to remove the motherboard for the cooler backplate installation. Push the backplate through the four heat sink mounting holes around the socket, place the spacers on the studs, and place the brackets over the studs. Next, thread on the retaining nuts, and then tighten in an alternating sequence until the nuts bottom out on the brackets. Now apply the NT-H1 thermal paste to the top cover of your CPU and use the supplied screwdriver to tighten the NH-L9x65 onto the mounting brackets. The NF-A9x14 fan comes already mounted to the fin stack, so you will have to remove it for the installation, then reinstall it to the fin stack. Plug the fan into the CPU fan header and you are ready to go.

 

 

You can see how the compact size of the NH-L9x65 allows for clear access all around the cooler, and all of the RAM slots are out in the open. And as I mentioned earlier, down flow coolers provide air circulation around the RAM modules, VRM, and other motherboard components.

 




  1. Noctua NH-L9x65: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Noctua NH-L9x65: Closer Look (Continued)
  3. Noctua NH-L9x65: Specifications & Features
  4. Noctua NH-L9x65: Testing Setup & Results
  5. Noctua NH-L9x65: Conclusion
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