Test System Setup
I would first like to thank ASUS, InWin, Corsair, and Fractal Design for supplying products for me to test with.
To see our testing methodology, and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article.
While we had the computer in readiness for the stock level of testing, we saw the fans were spinning at 1100 RPM, and sat idle at a chilly 26.5 degrees. Once we kicked AIDA64 into action, we found that the NH-D15 comes in to the top five on our chart, ahead of all other air coolers we tested on this system, and even in the range of top tier AIOs with its 49.5 degree result.
Just sliding out of the top five once we applied the overclock, the NH-D15 placed sixth overall, but again, look at what it is competing with at this level. The 69.33 degree average of all of the testing beats out the next best air cooler by almost two degrees, and most others by a fair bit more.
Considering how the noise level charts play out along with these thermal results, we have to say: Noctua is definitely worthy of that crown they once had.
Noise Level Results
As we mentioned, the fans were set to receive only 7.5V for this level of testing, and while spinning at 1100 RPM, they delivered only 24 dB of noise. Most of that is in the fan hub, as there is a slight hum that can be heard up close, but from a foot away, or with a case door in the way, you will be hard pressed to hear this over a PSU or video card idling.
Even once we pushed 12V through the 150mm fans, we found the noise level to be just audible from a foot away, and again it is more of a mechanical hum that is audible rather than fan blade "whoosh" that most fans deliver. So, while it beats all other coolers thermally, it also offers less noise than be quiet. solutions, and even some five dB less than other Noctua models in the list. Well done Noctua, well done.