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Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler Review (Page 1)

Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler Review

That's right, the Noctua NH-D15 has hit the labs for testing. Let's see if Noctua can claim the top of the heap like its predecessor did in our results.

By Chad Sebring from May 7, 2014 @ 21:01 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 96%Manufacturer: Noctua

Introduction, Specifications and Pricing


Back in 2009, Noctua stunned the world by being the first to introduce a monstrous dual-tower heat sink cooled by a pair of fans. Of course, since then, everyone and their donkey has come up with some version of that design whether it be a direct copy from the same OEM with some color added in, or if it was a similar design all its own. The NH-D14 was no doubt a trend setter, and the OG to the dual-tower cooling game. Sadly, while they were definitely the ground breakers with this sort of cooler, as the years went on, these Noctua coolers dropped lower down the list from the other, better performing models.

This is the main reason we are here today: to look at the latest design from Noctua in dual-tower cooling that is released upon the masses to reclaim the crown that is rightfully theirs to begin with. There were some issues that plagued the original NH-D14 users, things like no clearance for taller memory or having to remove the cooler to remove to replace memory. From what we recall, that was about it though, as the mounting which was then still pretty fresh is kept the same, and it is still one of the best mounting kits on the market. The D-14 was also a good performer, and it still is, but with any redesign, there is always room for improvement, and Noctua left very little to chance with the release of their latest dual-tower cooler design.

Noctua has brought us here today to give our impressions of the new NH-D15 dual-tower CPU cooler. They have listened to their customers, and kept all the things that worked well, and added a few new changes to not only take care of the issues we mentioned earlier, but with the advent of socket 2011, the cooler is also fully ready to accommodate those memory configurations as well.

We also have larger diameter fans being used on this model, which is why we are now using the designation of D15. This model is designated as D15 because rather than 140mm fans, we are now getting 150mm fans on this cooler. Knowing Noctua for their noise levels, or rather the lack there of, and the very good to excellent performance across all models of their coolers, we are really eager to get right to the brass tacks and show just what the NH-D15 from Noctua is all about.


The chart provided from Noctua on the NH-D15 is long, thorough, and should answer most of the fitment questions that would arise with a cooler such as this. Things start off with the socket compatibility for Intel as well as AMD, and it covers all of the current socket types. The NH-D15 stands 165mm tall without a fan, is 150mm wide, and sits 135mm deep. The next sets of numbers are including the fan, but are only partially true. If you plan to use two fans on this cooler, height will drastically increase. The last bit to think about is that with both fans strapped to the NH-D15, you will have 1320 grams hanging from the motherboard.

As with all Noctua coolers, we find a copper base plate that has been nickel plated, as are the six copper heat pipes that are soldered to the base. Another thing that help with the efficiency level of Noctua coolers, and allows for the low CFM fans to work so well, is that each and every fin in both stacks of this cooler have been directly soldered to each of the heat pipes. We also find all of the same hardware, which includes things like the screwdriver, metal case badge, thermal paste, and of course, those funky colored Noctua fans.

As we mentioned earlier, the NH-D15 steps up to 150mm fans; it includes a pair of NF-A15 PWM fans to cool the towers. For maximum clearance, it is recommended that you run it with just one of the fans in the middle, but for testing we will be using both since that is how it is designed to be run. These fans top out at 1500 RPM, deliver 140.2 cubic meters per hour of air flow, and are rated at a noise level of 24.6 dB(A). Considering these new fans have a twenty-five to thirty percent advantage in airflow from what the NH-D145 offered, it may just be exactly what it takes for Noctua to climb back to the top of our charts.

As we write this, we should actually see stock out in the wild, but we still do not see any availability. We do know that the press release said the NH-D15 will have a mid-April release, and here we are past that time, and there is literally nothing but news to be found. Part of that press release did offer an idea of what to expect in the lines of pricing, and from what we saw, Noctua has set the MSRP at $99.90 inside of the U.S. This is very similar to the release price of the NH-D14, and Noctua had no issues selling those; so as long as the NH-D15 we are looking at today can contend with our test system with good results, we don't see any issues with this pricing, as history has proven people are willing to spend it.

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