Noctua NH-D15S Review (Page 1 of 4)

Noctua NH-D15S Review

By: Jonathan Kwan
January 1, 2021

Happy New Year! I do not know what is currently on your mind, but I am going to be bold and make a guess that while none of us are completely sure what 2021 has in store for us, we are all glad 2020 is finally over. What was initially supposed to be a few weeks of lockdown turned out to be all of us still living far from normal lives thus far. At this point, our only glimmer of hope is almost completely founded on the COVID-19 vaccine returning us back to what it was supposed to be. At the very least, we hope 2021 will bring important changes -- like, you know, an end to the global pandemic -- for the better. It is something we all wish for one way or another on the onset of something new. In my first review of 2020, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT, I began with talking about how the keyboard with some changes made it all the better. So why not start 2021 with another product with some changes that can make it all the better? Back in 2014, I reviewed the renowned Noctua NH-D15, which remains one of the best air coolers even to this day. In 2015, I evaluated the NH-D15S, which is the mentioned with a shifted fin stack with relation to the base for improved compatibility. Fast forward to 2020, the Noctua NH-D15 is the NH-D15 with the company's amazing matte black finish. What seems to be missing so far? This is not a trick question, and today we have the Noctua NH-D15S here at APH Networks. With all the changes amalgamated over the years, will it make it all the better? Read on to find out!

Our review unit of the Noctua NH-D15S arrived in a large brown corrugated cardboard box from the company's headquarters in Vienna, Austria. After making its trip across Europe and most of North America with the Atlantic Ocean in between using UPS Saver, the package arrived in acceptable condition to us here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, save for a sizable hole punched in the front. That said, everything inside was well-protected, and as you will see, all the contents inside came in pristine condition.

The series, as we have first seen in the Noctua NH-D15 I looked at in June 2020, is a lineup that comes in something other than the classic Noctua brown. The packaging of the NH-D1S5 reflects this new color scheme -- for the most part, anyway. Also included in the big shipping box was the NH-U9S to be looked at by my colleague Aaron Lai, which to date has covered three other products in the series. The box has a black background, but you cannot shake off the hint of Noctua brown on the side; making sure you will never forget this is still a Noctua product. The layout is also updated for a more modern look. The product name, Noctua NH-D15S, can be seen prominent displayed in white text at the top, while a short three-line product description in blue is printed immediately below. A photo of the heatsink in three-quarters view occupies the majority of the space. At the bottom, you will find the CHROMAX by Noctua branding. Noctua's logo is along the right edge. Meanwhile, feature highlights and product specifications are on the remaining sides of the box.

Before we move on, let us take a look at the specifications of the Noctua NH-D15S, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:

Cooler Specification
Socket compatibility: Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1200, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required), AM4
Height (without fan): 160 mm
Width (without fan): 150 mm
Depth (without fan): 135 mm
Height (with fan): 160 mm
Width (with fan): 150 mm
Depth (with fan): 135 mm
Weight (with fan): 1150 g
Material: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Max. TDP: see CPU compatibility list
Fan compatibility: 140x150x25 (with 120mm mounting holes), 140x140x25 (with 120mm mounting holes), 120x120x25
Scope of delivery:
- Black NH-D15S heatsink
- NF-A15 HS-PWM premium fan
- NA-RC7 Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A)
- NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
- Black SecuFirm2™ mounting kit
- Black fan-clips for second NF-A15
- Noctua Metal Case-Badge
Warranty: 6 Years

Fan specification
Model: NF-A15 HS-PWM
Bearing: SSO2
Max. rotational speed (+/- 10%): 1500 RPM
Max. rotational speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%): 1200 RPM
Min. rotational speed (PWM, +/-20%): 300 RPM
Max. airflow: 140,2 m³/h
Max. airflow with L.N.A.: 115,5 m³/h
Max. acoustical noise: 24,6 dB(A)
Max. acoustical noise with L.N.A.: 19,2 dB(A)
Input power: 1,56 W
Voltage range: 12 V
MTTF: > 150.000 h

Out of the box, you will be greeted by two more boxes. All of them are raw corrugated cardboard boxes, and are printed and labeled in black ink to show you what is inside. The bigger one of them holds none other than the NH-D15S heatsink itself, which already has an NF-A15 HS-PWM fan pre-installed. The smaller box holds the mounting accessories with everything nicely separated into their own bags placed in separate partitions. The black SecuFirm2 mounting kit allows the Noctua NH-D15S to work with Intel's LGA20xx, LGA1200, and LGA115x sockets, as well as AMD's AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+, and AM4 sockets.

Accessories tagging along include a low noise adapters, screwdriver, second set of fan clips, and a case badge. As always from the company, the included bundle is not just about the heatsink itself. It is also about the included excellent high performance fan and thermal paste. Cooling fans such as the NF-A15 HS-PWM are not exactly cheap when you buy them separately in retail. Note there is only one NF-A15 HS-PWM included, compared to two with the Noctua NH-D15, because the NH-D15S is designed for compatibility. The NH-D15S also ships with a 3.5g tube of Noctua's excellent NT-H1 thermal compound, which we had reviewed back in our August 2008 shootout. I wish they included the newer NT-H2 though.

One manual is included for each socket type -- LGA 20xx, LGA 115x, and all AMD -- for a total of three installation posters. The instructions are concise and clear. Noctua has always led the game in clear instructions and great accessories organization. It makes life just that much easier with the accessories very cleanly distinguished for each application as aforementioned.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware; Installation
3. Test Results
4. Conclusion