Review: Noctua NH-D9L Heatsink

Noctua NH-D9L (4)

The NH-D9L is one of the latest heatsinks from Noctua. It sports a very similar dual tower design, that we have seen from their flagship prodcuts, but this time with a much smaller footprint. The D9L offers a 95x95mm socket area, meaning it will have zero impact on your RAM and PCIe placements. The idea for the new heatsink is to bring that familiar Noctua level performance to a small from factor; such as HTPC or Mini-ITX build. The heatsink includes an NF-A9 Fan with included brackets for an optional dual fan setup. The unit also includes Noctua’s SecuFirm2 mounting system and 6 year warranty. Below are some key points for the NH-D9L offering.

  • Low-profile tower design for better airflow efficiency
    While most low-profile coolers blow air towards the motherboard, the NH-D9L is a tower style cooler that bows parallel to the mainboard, which allows for superior airflow efficiency in cases with front intake and rear exhaust fans that create an airflow path parallel to the mainboard.
  • 3U compatibility
    Whereas classic 9cm coolers with up to 125mm height fit 4U rack mount cases, the NH-D9L’s reduced height of 110mm allows it to also fit 3U chassis. This makes it ideal for noise-sensitive 3U applications in fields such as audio or video processing.
  • 100% RAM compatibility
    With its 95x95mm footprint, the NH-D9L does not overhang the RAM slots on current Intel and most AMD mainboards. This gives the user full access to the memory modules and guarantees 100% compatibility with tall heatspreaders or optional memory fans.*
  • 100% compatibility with PCIe cards on mini-ITX
    Many Intel LGA115x based mini-ITX mainboards have the PCIe slot sitting right next to the 95x95mm socket zone. While larger coolers that exceed this zone are likely to block the PCIe slot, the 95x95xmm sized NH-D9L provides full compatibility with PCIe cards, be it on ATX, microATX or ITX.

Socket compatibility Intel LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3(Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required)
Height (without fan) 110 mm
Width (without fan) 95 mm
Depth (without fan) 95 mm
Height (with fan) 110 mm
Width (with fan) 95 mm
Depth (with fan) 95 mm
Weight (without fan) 428 g
Weight (with fan) 531 g
Material Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Max. TDP see TDP guide
Fan compatibility 92x92x25
Scope of Delivery
  • NF-A9 PWM premium fan
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit
  • Fan-clips for second NF-A9
  • Noctua Metal Case-Badge
Warranty 6 Years
Fan specifications
Model Noctua NF-A9 PWM
Bearing SSO2
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%) 2000 RPM
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%) 1550 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%) 400 RPM
Max. Airflow 78,9 m³/h
Max. Airflow with L.N.A. 62,6 m³/h
Max. Acoustical Noise 22,8 dB(A)
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A. 16,3 dB(A)
Input Power 1,2 W
Voltage Range 12 V
MTBF > 150.000 h

The NH-D9L

Noctua NH-D9L (13)

Noctua NH-D9L (14) Noctua NH-D9L (15)

Noctua NH-D9L (9)

 

The nice list of accessories. Truth be told the above image is for the NH-U9S, but the accessories are still the same. We get the necessary bracket for installation, which is always a pinch with Noctua products – thanks to the SecuFirm2 mounting system they use. Noctua also include some of their excellent NT-H1 thermal paste.  So you get everything you need to get up and running, plus the fan clips for a second fan should you choose to add one.

Noctua NH-D9L (1)

The main fan sits right in the middle, both pushing and pulling the air. The second fan is best placed at the front of the unit to push more air towards the center fan. This may not be possible with some setups, as RAM will restrict it the area where the second fan is placed.

Noctua NH-D9L (2) Noctua NH-D9L (1)

Noctua NH-D9L (7)

We can clearly see the familiar design attributes compared to the famous NH-D14 and the latest NH-D15. Noctua’s designs clearly go by the ‘if it ain’t broke’ mentality. Considering how well the NH-D14/D15 perform, we would tend to agree with that logic.

Noctua NH-D9L (6) Noctua NH-D9L (3)

 

The 4 heatpipes are spread envely through the aluminum fins.

Noctua NH-D9L (8)

The 4 heatpipes are copper based with nickel plating. The same goes for the copper base.

NF-A9 PWM Fan

The included 92mm includes the same design Noctua are famous for, with their famous SSO2 bearing system and AAO frame.

Noctua NH-D9L (12)

Noctua NH-D9L (11) Noctua NH-D9L (10)

Testing

Test setup
Intel Core I7 4770k CPU
Gigabyte Z87X-OC Motherboard
Kingston HyperX Predator 2400Mhz
Corsair AX1200 PSU

It’s time to take a look at some results. Both stock and Overclock are below. Our tests are done using OCCT with 64bit mode/AVX/90-percent RAM. The Overclock tests are with the 4770k running at 4.4GHz @1.26V.

Stock Tests

Heatsink Ambient Temperature Delta Temperature Max Temperature
 Noctua NH-U9S 1 Fan  19  68  87
 Noctua NH-D9L 1 Fan  18  67  85
 Noctua NH-U12S 1 Fan  20  65  85
 Noctua NH-U14S 1 Fan  21  63  84
 Noctua NH-D14 1 Fan  21  62  83
 Noctua NH-D15 1 Fan  22  60  82
 Noctua NH-U12S 2 Fans  20  59  79
Noctua NH-D14 2 Fans  21  59  80
 Corsair H100i  21  55  76
 Noctua NH-U9S 2 Fans  19  55  74
 Noctua NH-D15 2 Fans  22  54  76
 Noctua NH-U14S 2 Fans  21  54  75
 Noctua NH-D9L 2 Fans  18  52  70

Overclock Tests

Heatsink Ambient Temperature Delta Temperature Max Temperature
 Noctua NH-U9S 1 Fan  19  74  93
 Noctua NH-D9L 1 Fan  18  74  92
 Noctua NH-U9S 2 Fans  19  69  88
 Noctua NH-D9L 2 Fans  18  68  86
 Noctua NH-D14 1 Fan  21  67  89
 Noctua NH-D15 1 Fan  22  66  88
 Noctua NH-D14 2 Fans  21  66  87
 Noctua NH-U12S 2 Fans  20  66  86
 Corsair H100i  21  66  87
 Noctua NH-U14S 1 Fan  21  64  85
 Noctua NH-U14S 2 Fans  21  62  83
 Noctua NH-D15 2 Fans  22  60  82

Conclusion

The NH-D9L is another way for Noctua to offer great performance, but in a tiny package. Mini-ITX computers are getting more and more popular and each rig requires a heatsink that doesn’t take up a lot of room and keeps the temps down. The D9L most definitely fits that description. If your looking to go for a decent overclock, it would be wise to pick up an extra NF-A9 fan. A dual fan setup kept the temps well within range for a decent overclock.

The design of the Nh-D9L is aimed at keeping it away from your other components and preventing compatibility issues. Anyone familiar with Noctua will instantly see the D9L design stems from the popular NH-D14/D15 heatsinks, which most should know offer some of the best performance on the market. If your looking for heatsink for your rig that demands zero issues with small spaces, then the NH-D9L should be at the top of your list. It’s tiny, but packs a serious punch for only £53 for the heatsink and an extra fan.

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Craig O'Sullivan

Creator of Geektech.ie Passionate about Technology and always looking for that next cool gadget or app

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