For those who don't know who Noctua is, I kindly ask that you take a peek from under your rock a bit more often. Noctua has been on the edge of cooler design long before I got my humble start reviewing them. With my first glance at some of the older tower coolers, I wasn't quite sure what it was that made them so good, but then I grabbed it and could instantly feel that there was a more professional grade feel to the cooler. Then I was told to connect it up to the PC and spin it up. At this point I stood in amazement from the lack of volume coming from inside the PC while I looked at a screen in disbelief of the thermal results.
Since that time Noctua may no longer be the only silent offering out there, but they have kept their heads in the game and are always looking for new or better ways to innovate coolers. Whether we are discussing the D-14 behemoth, or even some of the C-Style coolers, Noctua has been delivering top-end performance even when the coolers had to be limited in size. On that note, Noctua has now developed one of the smallest coolers I have ever tested, and that includes low profile Intel stockers, and that SilverStone cooler that was essentially the same thing. Knowing Noctua as I do, and knowing they wouldn't just send out a cooler that was small enough to fit, but didn't have the ability to control the heat. While there is a strict set of TDP guidelines, if followed correctly, this new cooler will have no issues cooling your processors where most other larger coolers have no chance to.
The CPU cooler I am looking at today from Noctua is one of a pair of coolers. There is the NH-L9a for AMD processors, and there is the NH-L9i for Intel processors that we received. In this design you not only are going to be getting a very compact and short set of fins, but you will also be using a 14mm thick 92mm fan to do the cooling.
Right off the bat you can tell this isn't a cooler for extreme overclockers, but for those with the need to use as little CPU cooler as possible to tame the heat inside of an HTPC or some other SFF chassis, I strongly urge you to continue reading as the NH-L9i is impressive for its super compact size.
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