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


View All Comments

  • TheJian - Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - link

    It is far more impressive than you give it credit for. I easily hit >5ghz on this fan with i4790K.
  • Shadow7037932 - Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - link

    If you're going to extreme OCing, why the hell aren't you on custom water cooling or Dice/LN2? Reply
  • Nfarce - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    Because where I am in overclock, the best air keeps up with the best closed loop kit cooling for far less money. Reply
  • tabascosauz - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    What farce said is true. At high voltages and overclocks, the 212 EVO breaks down and the dual towers begin to shine. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    Which with simulated thermal loads ranging from 60-340W should have been made apparent in the course of testing.

    I would hope and expect that most if not all of these coolers would out perform it, especially at higher loads. But as a de-facto standard budget cooler for people who want something better than Intel's I think it should've been added to the matrix to show how much better these bigger ones performed. A stock Intel cooler should've been included as well for the same purposes (at least at the lower loads; no sense risking burning the test setup by trying to broil 340W through it). Including a mainstream reference point is especially important in this case because E. Fylladitakis's synthetic test load means that we can't cross reference his results with those found elsewhere.
  • SUpstone - Thursday, October 29, 2015 - link

    Totally agree - to get the full picture and to aid comparability with other tests the reference points of the Intel stock cooler (free) and CM 212 EVO (£25) should be included. Reply
  • Flunk - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    If you buy one of those things on sale I've seen them as low as $30, which if you don't need better cooling, is a good deal. The reason the Hyper 212 EVO is popular is that it's cheaper than most of it's competition and easily available. They're good enough for moderate overclocking on a 1150-series chip so they do fit the bill for a lot of people. Something being popular doesn't make it bad. Reply
  • Pastuch - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    I have 2 of the original Hyper 212 (Non-evo) on two different I5-2500Ks that have been running super quiet at 4.4ghz for the last 4+ years. No coil whine or bearing degradation on the fans. I paid $20 for each Hyper 212 Evo. The value for the money is amazing. It's an excellent quality reliable product and it's easy to install.

    I paid $220 for my I5-2500k, 20$ for the Hyper 212 Evo, and $70 for 8gbs of PC 1333 in February of 2011. At 4.4ghz, it's still within 5% as fast as any CPU on the market. Sandy Bridge FOREVER! I'll keep buying video cards. You can waste your money on HSF upgrades for CPUs that become less important every day. DX12 is just going to make the CPU even less useful.
  • Pastuch - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    Just to clarify, those are Canadian prices which makes them even more amazing. The new I5-K in Canada is almost $300! No thanks. Reply
  • northward - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    Remember, the average exchange in 2011 was 1.011 (CAD to USD). It is presently 0.79 (CAD to USD). Assuming US/CAN price parity in 2011, that $220 cooler would cost ~$278, not that far behind the $284 i5 4690K. Reply

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