Noctua NH-U9S Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Test Results

Our test configuration is as follows:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X @ 3.6GHz
Motherboard: ASUS Prime X470-Pro
RAM: Patriot Viper RGB DDR4-3600 2x16GB
Graphics: MSI GeForce GTX 1070Ti Titanium
Chassis: Fractal Design Define S2
Storage: Western Digital Blue SN500 NVMe SSD 500GB, OCZ ARC 100 240GB, Patriot P200 512GB
Power: Seasonic FOCUS Plus 850 Gold 850W
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Compared hardware:
- Noctua NH-U9S
- Noctua NH-L9a-AM4
- Noctua NH-U12S
- Noctua NH-U12A (Dual NF-A12x25)
- Noctua NH-U12A (Single NF-A12x25)

All tests were run in our custom-built computer to best reflect real life performance. The computer remained in the same location in the same room throughout all tests. The room temperature in our testing lab was around 22c. Stock thermal paste respective to all coolers were used to rate its performance; all pastes were given a proper amount of time for them to fully settle. The fans on all heatsinks were directly connected to the motherboard's 4-pin connector. 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 a maximum number of worker threads for the tested CPU for a minimum of ten minutes or until the temperature was deemed stable. Temperature results were measured with HWiNFO, which reports the CPU's integrated digital thermal sensor for maximum accuracy. Each temperature result was calculated by taking the maximum value of the cores inside the CPU.

After letting my computer sit idle for a while, I shook my mouse to wake the computer to check the temperature. From the first graph, you can see the Noctua NH-U9S was idling at a slightly higher temperature of 40c, at least when compared to the larger 120mm based coolers. It is also quite a bit cooler than the NH-L9a-AM4, although this is not too surprising. Even though both of these coolers use 92mm fans, the slimmer NH-L9a-AM4 has a smaller heatsink area and a thinner fan. Compared to the larger coolers, the NH-U9S is approximately two to three degrees warmer, but these numbers were from zero load testing. Idle results do not give a full representation of what CPU coolers can do, so we started up the Prime95 tests to see the important results.

After turning on Prime95 and allowing sufficient time to load the processor on all cores and threads, you can see how each of the coolers performed with the peak temperatures. Once again, the Noctua NH-U9S was quite capable despite its smaller size. Temperatures peaked at 69c, which is actually pretty respectable. Compared to the larger tower coolers, this was three to five degrees warmer, but once again, the NH-U9S is also smaller. We were able to observe the same boost frequencies throughout the test across our tower coolers with 3.8GHz across all cores. Overall, I was quite happy with the results of the Noctua NH-U9S considering its lower overall height.

As for the sound analysis section of the Noctua NH-U9S, on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is silence and 10 is the definition of loud, I would rate the NH-U9S at 2.5/10 during idle and around 4.5/10 under full load for the single fan. The NF-A9 PWM fan may only be a bit louder, but it spins faster and emits a slightly higher pitched sound for an even more noticeable sound. On a day-to-day use, the fan is still pretty quiet, but when it spins at maximum speed, the smaller fan is audible.

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