Noctua NH-L9i Mini-ITX CPU Heat Sink Review

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Myrkvidr

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I asked Noctua to send over a new NH-L9i to verify the results but CPU temp did not improve using another one. I know that the NH-L9i normally should outperform Intels stock cooler, so this must be due to the testing platform I'm using...
 

jase240

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Too much money for a low profile cooler that does not fare better than the intel boxed cooler. I could only see this being used in special case designs; however since most designs small enough to warrant this are OEM designs, most OEMs would probably choose a more custom made cooling system.
 

bizarostormy

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I actually got this cooler installed in my ITX system yesterday and can corroborate the findings of this review. My Temperatures actually went up slightly and it was no quieter than the stock Intel cooler I was using previously. The mounting mechanism is a total PITA as I have to pull my entire computer apart to get it mounted/unmounted. So it is just staying in there until I have another reason to pull it apart again. I noticed that the base was not perfectly smooth and actually has very small ridges over its surface.
 

dwatterworth

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I wonder what the results would be given a CPU with better thermal interface performance. Seems like a better platform would be a SB i5. Given the usage scenario, the majority of HTPC and other silent lower power applications are usually assembled using left-over parts from previous builds.
 
Not copper based is a bad omen IMO. Also, if they're not using "direct heat pipes", the penalty is HUGE for these type of coolers (facing down). That's a big mistake on Noctua's part.

If they re-do the base and put copper heatpipes in direct contact, it would be a HUGE improvement, I'm sure.

Cheers!
 

Myrkvidr

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Already got the C1 over here, but we might update the testing platform first :)
 

vaelyan

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Every single one of y'all completely missing the point. This cooler is meant for a tiny mITX case such as Antec's ISK 110 VESA, which it fits in perfectly and the stock Intel cooler doesn't. The fan that comes with it is entirely insufficient, I had to upgrade it to one with much higher CFM to achieve the performance I wanted which does easily exceed the stock cooler. The new fan is audible, but not noticeable when I have my TV on. I have a ISK 110 case mounted to the back of my monitor on the desk in my bedroom. The case only affords 65mm HSF vertical space available.

Now if you want quiet and to blow away Intel's stock cooler and fit in a tight space, i.e. ISK 110, the Prolimatech PRO-SAM17 Samuel 17 with Prolimatech PRO-USV14 140mm Ultra Sleek Vortex Fan barely fits the 65mm threshold in the ISK 110.
 

mapesdhs

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Oh how I wish Noctua would stop using this staggeringly ugly brown/cream
colour scheme. Makes me want to barf. It would look less disturbing to have
Susan Boyle blowing on the HS 24/7... well, maybe not... :}

Someone tell Noctua to make a black fan, pleeeease...

Ian.

 


I couldn't stand looking at my NH-D14 cooler through the side window panel any longer. It just stuck out like a sore thumb. I finally painted the fan cowlings flat (matte) black with plastic model paint. It looks SO much better!

 

Vlad Rose

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@Vaelyan- The stock Intel cooler does fit perfectly fine in the Antec 110 VESA as most of the builds for that case on pcpartpicker.com uses stock cooling just fine.
 

Snookslayer

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I'm surprised Noctua still uses the "ugly brown/cream color scheme" as one poster said. It has to cost them money, considering they're widely considered one of the better brands.
 
G

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I'm surprised nobody pointed out that the L9i/a are only rated for 65W TDP, and it was tested with an 84W TDP CPU. This might be part of the cause of the unexpected results.
 

g-unit1111

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You don't always have to use the fans included with the heat sink, you can swap those out at any time for the fans you want to use. I switched the stock fan with the Hyper 212 Evo with a Cougar TCX12 with green LEDs and it looks amazing. Fits in with the black / green color scheme I'm trying to achieve.
 

Drejeck

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Incredibly old news. This product has at least 2 years. This is going to be replaced by a more performing Noctua with the same fan but beefier heatsink.
 

gallovfc

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I disagree on the rotation speeds seleted for these tests and the lack of a 1" thick fan test. Since every single cooler has a diferent top rpm, it should be done in percentual, not on a fixed rpm for all of them
 

palladin9479

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I also have that on an A8-7600, works brilliantly. I don't know if people are taking size into consideration here, these series of fans is designed to fit in extremely compact mITX cases like the M350 and still perform to standard.

Anyhow the reason they are getting high temps is the position of the memory vs the direction of airflow. This is a top down blowing fan and the memory on the MB is blocking one of the outflows which forces it all to go the other direction. You can try reversing the fan which might assist it a little but the real problem is the direction of the airflows, they need rotated 90 degrees.
 

mapesdhs

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Of course, but it's still part of the cost. This is why way back I bought a Phanteks Black instead of an
NH-D14 for a 3930K setup; the Phanteks wasn't just significantly cheaper, it looked way better aswell.

Point being, if Noctua offered other nicer colour schemes, one wouldn't have to waste money on a
separate fan in the first place; or perhaps they could offer their heatsinks with no fan included
(remember their fans are $20 to $30 each normally).

Ian.

 

c2roth

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If you are serious about mITX / SFF cooling look no further than a Cyrorig C1. They are outstanding in terms of packaging, package contents, performance, warranty, and acoustics. My overclocked i5 4690k is cooler (35C @ 800RPM) at 4.2 GHz than this Noctua.

This Noctua is a joke, which is not something I say lightly of their products. Either the design is just bad or you have a bad sample. Most reviews I have seen on this unit come out with the unit performing very poorly.
 
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