Page 4 - Conclusion
Continuing on with the analogy of bikes, if the Noctua NH-U12S chromax.black is like a full-size bicycle, then our NH-L9a-AM4 chromax.black is more akin to a tricycle. Its smaller footprint and shorter height make it quite compact when compared to most coolers. In fact, it even is shorter than the current stock cooler options offered from AMD. As such, the focus is not on maximum cooling here, but rather compatibility. From the get-go, we still have many touches that show its small size does not translate into poor build quality or ugly looks. Sporting the same chromax.black finish, this cooler fits right in with an all-black exterior on the fins and fan. We still have the aluminum fans and copper base with nickel plating on the outside. We also have the exact same Noctua six-year warranty coverage. Installation is generally straightforward, though it does not necessarily use the same system as other Noctua coolers. It is much easier on small form factor motherboards, which is where this cooler should find its home. When it comes to performance, the Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 chromax.black is decidedly meant for lower TDP processors, as we saw our processor get to higher temperatures and only able to sustain lower boost core frequencies compared to our other coolers. The single 92mm fan, while it does have a long-lasting SSO2 bearing, gets louder due to its faster rotation speeds. Under regular loads, the NH-L9a-AM4 is pretty quiet. All of these performance metrics point to the fact this cooler's primary target should not be a large rig or power-hungry system, but rather in a smaller build such as a HTPC. Otherwise, I would have liked to see Noctua package their NT-H2 thermal grease with the cooler. At press time, the Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 chromax.black can be found for around $50 USD, which represents a ten dollar increase on the vanilla version of this cooler. You could save some money if you want, but I think the unassuming looks of the chromax.black edition is worth the extra cash. If you are looking for cooling in a small package, the Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 chromax.black is a solid option from a dependable brand.
Noctua provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Networks Review Focus Summary:
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that are not likely going to matter to the end user.
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks, but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Networks Numeric Rating is 7.5/10
Please note that the APH Networks Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other publications.
The Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 chromax.black is a small and reliable cooler that can keep even the smallest of systems stay cool.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware; Installation
3. Test Results