Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
Another cooler comes from Noctua, but this time around, rather than a tower or C-style design, we are dealing with a much more compact layout in their latest cooler. This is sort of a remake, but nowhere near along the lines of the NH-C14 and NH-C14S, but this design is said to get its inspiration from the super low-profile NH-L9i we reviewed some time ago. This cooler was all about showing off just how low-profile is feasible and still be able to handle an average processors thermal needs day to day, but there were limits to it, and while the mounting was easy enough, it lacked that solid SecuFirm2 hardware that we see on almost every other Noctua cooler.
Rather than to stick to the 35mm height of the NH-L9i, this time around they gave themselves 65mm of height to play with to try and best the original design, yet still keeping it short enough to fit in the most space cramped situations of SFF chassis design and even HTPC usage. Along with a slightly taller design and an 84W TDP this time around, one thing that stays the same as the original cooler is the 95mm of width and depth to be certain to leave absolutely no issues with the memory or the video card. This becomes very important when basing a system off a Mini-ITX motherboard, as space is already at a premium.
Those of you that have already built, are currently planning to build, or have even watched another build in some of these SFF cases know the struggles of making sure you have the right sized everything when it comes to fitting everything inside. That being said, most of the media centers, smaller HTPC cases, as well as quite a few SFF designs will allow for 65mm of CPU cooler, and this is where Noctua employs their latest design, the NH-L9x65 cooler. This is almost direct competition for something like the Steropes we will review soon, and while comparisons of performance will be interesting, quite a few of the issues associated with a 120mm fan based low-profile CPU cooler just are not found when looking at Noctua's version of what a good low-profile CPU air cooler should look like, specifically when it comes to low-profile with zero clearance issues associated with it.
Noctua provides an extensive list of specifications on the NH-L9x65 as we can see, and as usual, it begins with the compatibility of this cooler. We find that it will fit LGA115x and even has hardware for LGA2011 in either version. It is also completely ready for use with anything AMD offers since and including AM2 sockets, but you do need the stock backplate as well. The height of this design is only 51mm tall without the fan, but once clipped on, it takes the height to the 65mm mark we discussed earlier. The width and depth are both the same at 95mm, and fan included, the whole thing only weighs 413 grams. This cooler moved away from the plate of the NH-L9i, and instead uses a normal base with mounting hardware. This copper base, and four heat pipes, once assembled are plated in nickel. Once that is completed, the arrangement of 50 thicker fins are arranged and soldered into their final locations.
The TDP for this cooler is set to 84 Watts, which isn't much, but it will do in most instances. What keeps that TPD is the fan that comes with the cooler since it is doing the heat removal. They ship the NF-A9x14 PWM fan with it, which is a 92mm fan that is 14mm in thickness. This fan spins on an SSO2 bearing at speeds of 2550 RPM, with 600 RPM as its base speed. Looking at the airflow, we see that there is a 57.5 cubic meter per hour listed, which is less than 30 CFM. We do, however, like the 23.6dB(A) sound rating listed, and the fact that the entire cooler is warranted for six years from the date of purchase.
Where the NH-C14S was near impossible to find, the NH-L9x65 is more readily available at this point in time. To get the best deal, you have to look to Amazon. The MRSP had been set for this cooler at $49.99, which isn't bad for a Noctua cooler, but as we looked currently, with Noctua listed as the seller, you can obtain this cooler right now at $59.99 with free shipping. At this price point, we feel that it fills a void where many cooler makers will not venture into, or have had limited success with it. Noctua is standing tall to offer something that fits anywhere a stock cooler will, offer you the same amount of love around it for other components, and with what we put this cooler through already, it more than stands up to the provided specifications, but can even take more punishment than intended and still come out looking really well in the end, and for anyone looking for a cooler like this, we feel it is well worth your time to find out just what the NH-L9x65 is capable of.
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