Noctua NH-D9L Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Test Results

Our test configuration is as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.4GHz (Stock settings)
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z87X-D3H
RAM: Kingston HyperX Fury HX318C10FK2/16 2x8GB
Graphics: EVGA GeForce GTX 760 2GB
Chassis: Fractal Design Core 3300
Power: Cooler Master V1000 1000W
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS124-04 24X DVD Writer
Hard Drive: OCZ ARC 100 240GB, Western Digital Blue EZEX 1TB
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional x64

Compared Hardware:
- Noctua NH-D9L (Single NF-A9)
- Noctua NH-D9L (Dual NF-A9)
- Antec Kuhler H2O 1250 (Silent)
- Antec Kuhler H2O 1250 (Extreme)
- Noctua NH-U9S (Single NF-A9)
- Noctua NH-U9S (Dual NF-A9)
- Intel Stock

All tests were run in our custom built computer to best reflect real life performance. The computer remained in the same place and room throughout all tests. The ambient room temperature in the room was around 22c. The thermal paste applied to each cooler was stock respective to their manufacturers to rate its performance; all pastes had sufficient time for them to fully settle. The fans on all heatsinks were connected to the same motherboard 4-pin connector, using a splitter provided with the NF-A9 fans in the case of the dual fan setup. The test computer was turned on and idling for at least one hour for the idling tests. High CPU load results were obtained using the Prime95 in-place large FFTs test with four worker threads for a minimum of ten minutes, and recorded when the temperature is deemed stable. The Intel stock cooler was chosen as a baseline reference. It is a good heatsink to figure out the delta between the reference unit and the tested product for standardizing performance against other coolers, even if not compared directly against. In addition we compared the NH-D9L with the NH-U9S in both single and dual fan configurations, and the Antec Kuhler H2O 1250. While we do not expect the NH-D9L to actually compete in the Antec Kuhler's class, it is present for perspective's sake. Temperature results were measured with RealTemp, which reports the CPU's integrated digital thermal sensor for maximum accuracy. Each of the recorded numbers are an average across the four cores.

After letting my computer sit idle for a while, I wiggled my mouse to wake the screen and checked on the temperature. From the graph above, you can see the Noctua NH-D9L produced pretty respectable results of 28 and 30 degrees Celsius for its dual and single fan configurations, respectively. The Intel stock cooler was a few degrees higher at 32c. This is pretty good, still keeping in mind this is a cooler with a very small footprint. However, this does not really give an accurate representation of what Noctua has packed into the NH-D9L, so we threw Prime95 on and let it go.

Running the test machine at Prime95 allowed us to really push our computer to the limits. We have used this in past tests for both CPU heatsinks, as well as laptop coolers. Under full load, Prime95 absolutely destroys the Intel stock cooler, pushing to temperatures to nearly 98 degrees Celsius. This was unacceptable for daily use, as can lead to accelerated wear on the processor. The Noctua NH-D9L, on the other hand, offers temperatures at 65c and 67c for two fans and a single fan. This is a difference of over 30 degrees in comparison to the Intel stock fan, which is very good to see. As you can also see, the NH-U9S bests the NH-D9L ever so slightly by a couple degrees. Either way, I am quite pleased with the performance of this cooler, especially keeping in mind the physical limitations.

Finally we come to the sound analysis section of the Noctua NH-D9L. On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is silence, and 10 is the definition of loud, I would rate the NH-D9L at 2.5/10 during idle, and around 4.5/10 under full load. At first, I thought this was because I swapped out the loud Antec Kuhler H2O 1250 for the NH-D9L, and realized it was quiet. However, this fan is also quieter than the Intel stock cooler by a large margin, especially when the processor is running on all four cores. Only did Prime95 actually make this cooler kick in at full gear. Otherwise, on day to day use, the NH-D9L hummed ever so quietly while performing its duties.

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