Noctua NH-U9S 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-U9S (Single NF-A9)
- Noctua NH-U9S (Dual NF-A9)
- Antec Kuhler H2O 1250 (Silent)
- Antec Kuhler H2O 1250 (Extreme)
- Noctua NH-D9L (Single NF-A9)
- Noctua NH-D9L (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-U9S with the NH-D9L in both single and dual fan configurations, and the Antec Kuhler H2O 1250. While we do not expect the NH-U9S 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 awoke my screen with a mouse shake and checked on the temperature. From the graph above, you can see the Noctua NH-U9S produced pretty respectable results of 27 and 28 degrees Celsius for its dual and single fan configurations, respectively. The Intel stock cooler was a bit hotter at 32c. In comparison to the NH-D9L, the NH-U9S is cooler by around one to two degrees, which is more than expected, as the NH-U9S has a bit more area to dissipate heat. This is pretty good, still keeping in mind this is a cooler with a very small size. However, this does not really give an accurate representation of what Noctua can really do with the NH-U9S, so we threw Prime95 on at full blast and let it go.

Running the test machine at Prime95 allowed us to really push our computer to the limits. Prime95 is not a new test, as 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 is unacceptable for daily use, and can lead to accelerated wear on the processor. The Noctua NH-U9S, on the other hand, offers temperatures at 64c and 66c for two fans and single fan, in that order. This is a difference of over 30 degrees in comparison to the Intel stock fan, which is very good to see. The NH-U9S is also cooler by a degree in both respective configurations in comparison to the NH-D9L, but the difference is relatively small. Either way, I am quite pleased with the performance of this cooler, especially keeping in mind the physical limitations.

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. Of course, as this uses the exact same fans as the NH-D9L, the fans are very quiet in day to day use. When you push your computer to its limits as we did in Prime95, you will start hearing the fans whirring on, but otherwise it is quite unnoticeable. As Noctua's aim is for silent computing, this NH-U9S is right on mark in delivering performance at a mostly noiseless experience.

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