Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler
Fresh out of the box, and with a few layers of cardboard removed from the middle (to keep the towers square), we now have a view of the exhaust, or the back of the cooler. This is just to get a perspective on things as we start to discuss them in depth.
The cooler comes with the fan installed in the middle, but as for the front of the NH-D15, this fan is included, but entirely optional. As the six heat pipes stretch outward and up into the fins, they first pass through a stack of seven shorter fins before they continue through the larger thirty-eight fins on top of them.
Looking at the profile of the NH-D15, we see two big changes from the D-14. The most obvious is the notches cut from the lower fins to allow for installation and removal of memory. The other big change is that there is now a gap between the first set of fins and the middle fan.
The exhaust of the NH-D15 is exactly the same as the leading edge of the cooler, and this is due to socket 2011. Since there is memory on both sides of the socket, the shorter fins were needed here as well, and there is always an option to run a third fan.
Since this side mimics what we saw in the other image, we will cover the fan mounting now. The fans are clipped into place with wire fan clips, but the fans themselves have the rubber isolation on the corners to help keep the room silent while they cool the CPU under them.
If not for the larger gap in the center of the towers in the Nh-D15, when looked at from the top of the cooler, it will easily be mistaken for a D-14 by those who are not aware of the release of this cooler. However, we like the classic look, and showing its heritage is something we can appreciate too.
We snapped this image to show a bit of the fin design and how it dips in the middle and has "teeth" at the edges, as well as the offset for the memory. We also want to point out the little holes next to the pipes in the fins, as that is how each fin gets soldered to the heat pipes.
There is very little residue from the soldering process where the heat pipes meet the base, but rest assured, it is done that way. Once the pipes and the base plates are assembled, those copper components are Nickel plated, and, as we can see, the base has the typical curved milling marks and is slightly convex in shape.
Jumping ahead and grabbing the second included fan, as well as the include fan mounts; we can now get some idea of this behemoth's size. We can also see an issue that is going to rear its ugly head here in a bit, once the fan needs to make room for memory.
To put some perspective on this now 1320 gram cooler as it is seen here, we are looking at a six and a half inch deep NH-D15 from the left to the right in this image. Keeping the fans even at the top will offer great cooling for the power delivery system around the CPU socket, but only the middle fan can ride this low when installed.