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Noctua NH-D15 Review


Noctua NH-D15 Closer Look:

Since Noctua has gone to the trouble of designing the D15 to be friendlier towards your RAM modules, I decided to do a little comparison between the D14 and the D15 to give you some perspective. It is one thing to talk about it but since I have both coolers handy, why not give you some visuals? And of course, this is not to take anything away from the D14, as it is still a great CPU cooler. I just want to show you how they look together.

The first picture on the left shows the D15 on top and the D14 below. The differences are not terribly obvious at first glance. Both coolers appear to be about the same size. The two different fan sizes on the D14 are noticable, while the ram notches at the bottom corners of the D15 are noticeable. The D14 does not have these notches, and memory compatibility for tall RAM modules is about the only issue people have with the D14. Something else that stands out is that the fin stack on the D15 has the sides closed, while they are open on the D14. Now in the right-hand picture, the size difference becomes a bit more obvious; the D14 is on the left and the D15 is on the right. Same number of heat pipes, but they are spaced out a little further on the D15, and of course there are the two large 140mm fans on the D15.



The D14 is on the left in this picture, and the D15 is on the right, and again, the larger front fan on the D15 is noticeable. Both fans on the D14 are 3-pin and the both fans on the D15 are 4-pin PWM.


Installing the D15 is a breeze thanks to Noctua’s SecuFirm2™ mounting system. On the left we have a nice unobstructed view of the RAM slots. On the right we are looking down through the center where the center fan will attach.



Here is where the space allowed by the clearance notch in the bottom corner of the fin stack comes into play. My Patriot Viper RAM modules are well below the notch, but high profile RAM (with tall heat sinks) would certainly benefit from the notches. I don't have the secondary fan installed in the left-hand photo.  In the right-hand photo I have installed the secondary fan, and I have it just touching the top of my RAM modules. From the motherboard surface to the top of the secondary fan I measured about 190mm, and you can see that the bottom of the fan can still push air through the bottom of the cooler.




Here is a better overall picture of the D15 installed with one fan. There are no RAM issues at all when one fan is used. And on the right I have both fans installed. My standard profile Viper modules have no issues with this configuration.



Here it is more obvious how much I have to offset the secondary fan. Again, the top of the fan is 190mm from the motherboard surface, so keep that in mind if you have a shallow case. High profile memory modules may push the fan up even higher. I am not saying that this is necessarily a bad thing, but just something to keep in mind if you plan to use the secondary fan in this configuration.


After the NH-D15 is installed, it is easy to see how the overall design provides clearance for high performance memory modules that use larger-than-normal heat sinks. On the left we have the D15 with a single fan, and on the left we have the D15 with dual fans installed. The NH-D15 is an attractive addition to any case.


  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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