The Noctua NH-D15

Noctua is one of the world's most renowned cooler manufacturers. The company is especially well known for their high end and specialty products, aimed to those seeking extreme performance and or very low noise solutions. The cooler that the company provided us for this review is no other than the NH-D15, a behemoth based on the highly popular NH-D14.

The NH-D15 is supplied in a large cardboard box with a minimalistic, elegant design. Highlighting the main features of the cooler is the primary focus of the entire artwork. Inside the main box, we found the bundle packed into separate cardboard boxes and the cooler protected within a polyethylene foam construct. The bundle consists of the hardware necessary for the mounting of the cooler, an L type Philips PH2 screwdriver, a fan power cable splitter, two fan speed reducers, a tube of NT-H1 thermal grease, a metallic case badge, four rubber fan mounts and four wire clips for the two cooling fans.

  

Many people erroneously think that the NH-D15 is just a little larger version of the very popular NH-D14. The NH-D15 is a reverse-symmetric dual tower design based on the NH-D14, but there are numerous improvements. Noctua technically merged the core design of the NH-D14 with the fin design of the NH-U14S, which has the first seven fins of each tower shortened. This way, the NH-D15 can offer much wider compatibility with RAM modules if only the center fan is installed.

The rest of the fins are symmetric, meaning that both their sides are identical, which is mostly straight with a single small triangular notch at the center and a few more similar notches near the sides. In order to install/remove the NH-D15, the center fan needs to be removed. Another interesting point is that the fans can be moved upwards, several centimeters if needed be. Moving the front fan upward can allow the installation of tall RAM modules for a small impact on performance but it also requires a very wide case to do so.

Noctua provides two of their own NF-A15 140 mm fans alongside the NH-D15. Their brown/beige color is Noctua's trademark and unique to Noctua's products (or copies of them). These are very high quality fans, with SSO2 bearings (advanced liquid lubricated metallic bearings with magnetic stabilizers), rubber anti-vibration pads and ridged blades for airflow manipulation. For those that do not want to install the second fan on the cooler, because either they need to retain compatibility with certain RAM modules or they are simply satisfied with the performance of a single fan, Noctua provides rubber mounts for the installation of one NF-A15 as a case fan.

The base of the NH-D15 is relatively small in comparison to that of other coolers, yet obviously large enough to cover the entire surface of current CPUs. Most of the base is made out of copper, with steel parts used for retention, all nickel plated, along with the copper heatpipes as well. There are "only" six 6 mm heatpipes, the same number and size as with the older NH-D14, as Noctua clearly does not believe that enlarging the base and adding more heatpipes would make a notable performance difference. The contact surface is smooth and fairly well polished but not machined down to a perfect mirror finish.

The Logisys (DeepCool) Gamer Storm Assassin The Phanteks PH-TC14PE
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  • kraznal - Thursday, July 16, 2015 - link

    LOL - "Liquid-based cooling solutions are becoming easier to install and AIO kits generally are hassle-free, yet they are still not favored by the majority of the users. Their space requirements, increased complexity and price hold most people to simple air-based cooling solutions."

    so they become easier to install, hassle-free but somehow managed to keep their complexity? what are talking about??? :)

    anyway, I am sure you know this and you just overlooked this fact to support your own story, liquid cooling sets are NOT more expensive (Corsair H50 costs $60 shipped), are NOT bigger (H50 compared to any of the air coolers here for example), and are NOT complex (whatever you mean by that), or even the noise factor where air coolers need to run on higher RPMs to achieve same cooling effectiveness as liquid coolers - simply there is no comparison between liquid solution and air solution. Cheap Corsair H50 is far superior in every way than those colossal monstrosities you are reviewing here now. Smart user would never chose an air cooler simply because it doesn't make sense to chose an old and less effective idea.

    Therefore please do not spread bullshit just so you can cash a check for an article.
    Reply
  • rleigh - Saturday, July 25, 2015 - link

    Liquid cooling doesn't always work well. I got a Corsair H60 to put in a Corsair Obsidian case with an ASUS Sabertooth R2.0 mainboard and an AMD FX8350 processor. It worked brilliantly with CPU temperature at ~35C under load. Unfortuately, the layout of the case and lack of airflow around the CPU heatsink lead to the VRMs/MOSFETS around the CPU reaching temperatures of over 85C, no matter how I arranged the case fans. I replaced it with a Noctua cooler similar to this one which also kept the CPU nice and cool, but with the side effect of the large 14mm fans producing sufficient airflow onto the mainboard to eliminate the dead space which caused overheating.

    This isn't to say that closed loop coolers are bad; their performance can be very good. But they aren't compatible with every case/mainboard.
    Reply
  • kraznal - Wednesday, August 5, 2015 - link

    First: it's been almost a month - E. Fylladitakis - must be on vacations since he has yet to reply to my comments.

    Second: rleigh - very sorry to hear that you had to install additional cooling for your motherboard. It is best to keep high air flow inside the case, if you didn't provide that then no wonder you had an overheating problem.
    Reply
  • Cvengr - Friday, December 25, 2015 - link

    http://serverfault.com/questions/263931/why-datace...

    Here's an interesting link regarding the use of water cooling in data centers (limited to air cooling). Primary issue is safety.
    Reply
  • alexbagi - Monday, March 7, 2016 - link

    Good picks. I'd also suggest looking at http://www.144hzmonitors.com/cpu-cooler-buyers-gui... for guidance.

    I am going with the 110i myself, as I need water cooling.
    Reply

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