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Noctua NH-L9x65 Review


Noctua NH-L9x65 Testing:

Testing of the Noctua NH-L9x65 will be accomplished by installing the cooler into the test system case. Most systems are built and mounted into a sealed (relatively) chassis as opposed to a test bench, so this method will be used to generate the idle and load results to give a real world view as to the cooling performance from a system listed below. Of course, your results may vary by several degrees due to case design and ambient air temperature. The CPU load is generated by Prime 95 version 27.9 for a period of two hours, with a cooldown period of one hour after the computer has returned to an idle state. Real Temp 3.70 is used to log the temperatures with the highest and lowest averages across the four cores of the Core i7 4770K test CPU. Ambient temperatures are kept at 24 °C during the testing to minimize the effect of temperature variations. Each cooler is tested with the manufacturer supplied thermal compound as delivered.

Testing Setup:


Comparison Coolers:






I want to start off with an excerpt directly from Noctua to keep in mind: Caution: The NH-L9x65 is a highly-compact low-profile quiet cooler designed for use in small form factor cases and HTPC environments. While it provides first rate performance in its class, it is not suitable for overclocking and should be used with care on CPUs with more than 84W TDP (Thermal Design Power). Please consult our TDP guidelines to find out whether the NH-L9x65 is recommended for your CPU.

Obviously, with a cooler this size you are not going to break any overcloking temperature records - well, maybe for the wrong reasons, but I put the NH-L9x65 through the thermal testing knowing that it was going to get a bit toasty. Don't let that sway you away from it. You have to consider the intended design purpose. You wouldn't buy a small push mower to cut 10 acres of grass. Certainly not - you would get a large tractor that was made for that type of use. And as Noctua clearly states, this cooler is targeted toward the small form factor and HTPC systems where you need a small, compact, yet effective cooler.

So our idle temps for stock and overclock are well within reason, and it is no surprise that our load temps for stock and overclock are at the high end. A 4770K is rated at 84 watts TDP, and when overclocked, it puts out a lot of heat. I have to say that I was expecting the overclocked temp to bounce off of the thermal limit of 100 °C, but we actually stayed a few degress below that. And again, you have to consider that this cooler would not likely see that type of load in an HTPC. As for the acoustics, the Noctua NF-A9x14 fan is quite even at full speed. The case fans drowned out any sound from the Noctua fan. The LNA (low noise adapter) lowers the fan RPM to reduce noise, but honestly, this cooler is really quiet, so the LNA didn't make much difference.

  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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