Noctua NH-U9B Special Edition SE 2 Reviewccokeman - December 17, 2009
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For all intents and purposes the NH-U9B Special Edition looks like its larger brother, the NH-U12P SE 1366. Just the 'mini-me' version that stands only 125mm tall! All short jokes aside, the same build quality is evident. The heatsink is made of several materials including a copper base plate and heat pipes connected to an aluminum fin array to get rid of the heat. This whole assembly is nickel plated for a uniform high class look. At 460 grams it still carries a bit of weight to it but is not heavy enough to make the weight a concern. This heatsink is built to use either one or two 92mm fans in a push/pull configuration for the most airflow and performance possible. The top of the NH-U9B has the Noctua logo embossed in it so there is no doubt what brand heatsink you are using. By looking down on the heatsink there are a series of ridges in the face of each side that add additional surface area to help the cooling capabilities. The base of the NH-U9B appears smooth, but contains some fine machining marks that I have seen on all of the Noctua heatsinks I have tested. It does not seem to impact cooling performance though. You have to mount the attachment brackets for the SecuFirm2 mounting kit so that you can attach the NH-U9B to the motherboard. The four screws to do this are included and take all of a minute to install.
This is the 'Special Edition' model of the NH-U9B and included are two of Noctua's NF-B9 Fans. These fans are 92mm x 92mm x 25mm in size and use several proprietary features - 'Vortex Control Notches' and beveled fan blades. The Vortex Control Notches work by breaking up the air vortices behind the fan blade into smaller vortices to reduce the noise signature and increase static pressure. The beveled edges help in this respect as well. The SSO (Self Stabilizing Oil Pressure) bearings also help reduce the noise signature by stabilizing the blades. These fans push roughly 38CFM at the unaltered 1600 RPM with a noise penalty of 17.6 dB(A). By using the L.N.A. and U.L.N.A. you can reduce the noise and airflow enough to make any zero noise enthusiast proud reaching 7.9 dB(A) at 1000 RPM. Quality just exudes from these fans, right on down to the sleeving on the wiring. The material is more of a rubbery material that, so far, has lasted through many installations with the NH-U12P.
Compared to the NH-U12P, TRUE and NH-D14, the NH-U9B looks like the "mini-me" version. While it is smaller in stature, it still packs a punch in the cooling department with all the attributes of the larger heatsinks that open up opportunities for use in smaller chassis and even HTPC's with its lower noise signature. By installing the NF-B9 fans onto it, you get a more imposing look. The fans will be mounted in a push/pull configuration for my testing.
I'm looking for big things from this 92mm based heatsink and am curious as to how well it will compare to the larger heatsinks.