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Noctua NH-D9L CPU Cooler Review

By: Chad Sebring | CPU Air Coolers in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Mar 9, 2015 2:10 pm
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Noctua

Noctua NH-D9L CPU Cooler




Now that our cooler is fresh out of it's cardboard confines, we are looking into the 35 fins on the front of the cooler. We see there has been some shaping done to the profile of the fins, and we can also see the nickel-plated pipes are evenly spread across the width of this design for maximum exposure to the airflow.




In this view, the air would flow from right to left. We see no fan attached to the front section; instead, they installed the 92mm fan to the second section of the cooler to keep the design compact.




In the back of the chassis, we can see that the profile is not lost on the trailing edges either. This way, if you do have room and want additional fans, they will have the same efficiency and benefits as the one placed in the center.




Both towers are slightly closed off in the center, and that is done for structural support and to keep the fin spacing correct. We also noticed that the rubber anti-vibration pads for this fan do not rest on the fins; instead, they rest upon the frame.




At the top of the cooler we find that the fins have the Noctua name pressed into them, and the embossed naming is visible between the pipes. We can also see how deep the centers of the fins are cut; the deep centers allow the fans to build pressure before attacking the heat in the fins and pipes.




At the opposite end of the cooler, we find the base is protected with the plastic cover. We also noticed signs of soldering around the pipes as they attach to the base, and the cross bar is pre-installed to make mounting the D9L much easier.




The milling marks used to be plainly visible in Noctua coolers, and there are very finite lines still visible at the right angle. However, as you can see, now the reflection of the screw on the base is almost a mirror image. The base is also slightly convex, and any major deviation is near the edge, past the contact area.




Since we were sent a second 92mm fan for testing, we had to go ahead and get it installed to show the cooler with both fans in play. Of course, if the fan is on the front, it may interfere with the memory, but you can always clip it to the back as well.

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    We are sorry to see that you haven't been 100% satisfied with the NH-D9L. The performance results look good to us. After all, this is a hot CPU and a small cooler, and it seems to have kept up with larger models pretty well. Of course, it will not rate too well when measured on a price/performance scale. It goes without saying that you will get more performance for your money if you go with a 120mm model, but this is not what we're aiming for with this model. The point is to deliver the best possible performance at a given form factor for people who can not fit bigger coolers and who are ready to spend a bit more to get a premium quality solution. Think of the quality concious buyer who has a D15 in his main rig and now wants to build an ITX based HTPC. We apologize for the missing spacer. Things like that are very rare to occur, but can happen with one out of a thousand coolers or so. We always do our best to get the custumers the required parts as soon as possible in such cases. As for the fan touching the fins, this depends on where you mount it. We have extra anti-vibration pads on the low end of the fins and if you move the fan all the way down, the upper anti-vibration pads will touch the fins. As for total height, the review units we've sent out stem from the last pre-production run and there was indeed an error which led to the 2mm excess. Production units now come at 110mm height as advertised. Note that even 112mm will fit most 3U cases though. As for the fan, if you move it all the way down after tightening the screws, it should not be higher than the tips of the heatpipes! As for vibrations in general, we haven't had any complaints about vibrations with the NF-A9 fans at all so far and the feedback of testers and customers alike was very positive. As with the spacers, we can never completely outrule the possibility that there's a defective fan out of a thousand or that it got damaged in shipping, but so far both reviewers and customers have been very satisfied with this model. The same goes for the towers being bent: We go out of our way to protect the coolers as good as possible but with the way parcels are handled, it can occur that a unit arrives bent. Generally, the D9L package works well though, we haven't had any other complaints regarding bent coolers either from reviewers or customers.

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