Test System Setup
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 for that information.
At first glance, the results of the NH-D9L appear to be pretty dismal for this cooler. However, the reality is that the 57 degree result found in our testing is only 10.5 degrees out of the top of the chart. Looking at it from that perspective, and considering what this cooler is intended for, we feel the results are sufficient.
Showing no mercy to the TDP ratings, we threw the full overclock at the Noctua NH-D9L. While it is at the bottom of the chart with the 80.25 degree result, we honestly expected this cooler to fail with only one fan and our CPU to throttle. This just goes to show how efficient this design is, and what you can do with it.
We did do a dual fan run as well, and while it's not in the charts, we found the second fan strapped to the back of the cooler gave us a reduction of 3.25 degrees, keeping temperatures in the high seventies, and equaling the performance level of the Alpenfohn Sella.
Noise Level Results
With the fan reported to be spinning at 1490 RPM via AIDA64, we were very pleased with the near silence and the 24 dB of the fan with limited voltage.
With the fans allowed to do what they do best, the speed increased to 2170 at this point of testing, and the audible level increased to 42 dB as well. Most of that noise was not actual fan noise; due to the way the anti-vibration pads miss the fins, there is a fair bit of fin chatter that is audible over the noise the fan produces.
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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.