Noctua NH-D9L CPU Cooler Review – Small Size, Big Cooling Performance


At Technology X, we test our CPU coolers slightly different depending upon the cooler’s marketed purpose, whether it be for a silent operation or extreme overclocking.  Our goal is to test in a system that has been optimized with our SSD Optimization Guide, however, CPU C State alteration may or may not have occurred depending on the motherboard and BIOS configurations. Additionally, we also try to include links to the benchmarks used in our report so that you as the reader can replicate our tests to confirm that your cooler performs the way it should.


All of the components we use for testing are standard off-the-shelf PC components from major manufacturers, which can be purchased at a variety local retailers and online. We’ll also provide links to our components for those of you that find an interest in our equipment.


We’d like to thank Intel, ASRock, and Crucial for providing vital components in this test bench, without which this report would not be possible. Check out our review of the Intel Core i7 5960XASRock X99 OC Formula, and the Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666 memory kit, used  in this report.

PC CHASSIS: Thermaltake Core V51
CPU: Intel Core i7 5960X @ 4.2GHZ OC
MEMORY: 16GB Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666
POWER SUPPLY: Corsair TX850 v2


In order to test our CPU cooler, we’ll be running a CPU stress test and monitoring our temperatures using AIDA64, which is a great utility for benchmarking, testing the stability of, and monitoring your system.


To test our cooler, we ran AIDA64’s ‘System Stability Test’ for 1 hour and recorded the highest temperature reached on any core. We did so at both the stock core frequency of our Intel Core i7 5960X, as well as overclocked to 3.6GHz, and 4.2GHz.

During all tests our ambient temperature was approximately 25.3C while the cooler’s intake temperature was a slightly warmer 26.1C


Well, that’s a lot of numbers.. but some very interesting ones at that! In the above graph we can see that our out of the box single fan configuration is able to cool the beastly 5960X quite well, keeping the 3.6GHz overclock to just 68C, with our more intensive 4.2GHz overclock sits at a much warmer 84C, which is still within the chips thermal limits. However, adding in the second fan gives us huge performance increases, especially under increased overclocks, as illustrated by our 4.2GHz overclock which gets a decrease of 10C down to just 74C! That is huge!


We tested the cooler’s noise output by using a sound meter placed one meter away from the system’s case with the side-panel closed. We tested the cooler at both full speed (2000 RPM) and an idle speed of 1,000 RPM, with both single and dual fan configurations. We also tested the sound of our overall system’s cooling without the cooler’s fan turned on to illustrate the difference. That result was an average of 38 dBnoctua_nhd9l_noise_levels

Unfortunately, our testing environment isn’t as quiet as we’d like, these are the breaks of city living. However, we will say that this cooler is exceptionally quiet, especially when only using a single fan, it is barely audible, at all, even at load. That being said, once we add a second fan to the mix, things to get a bit nosier, and the fans definitely become noticeable. However, even with two fans, the noise this cooler outputs is far from annoying, and quite comfortable. We wouldn’t have any issues using this in the living room in a HTPC, for example.


Just as we said in our review of Noctua’s L9x65, small form-factor machines are on the rise, and the need for low-profile, and compact coolers is ever-growing. In the old days, you had to either have a huge case with a massive cooler and a heavy overclock, or a small case with a tiny cooler and a toasty CPU sitting at  or near stock. However, the times have changed rather quickly, and with coolers like the Noctua NH-D9L, you can get enthusiast level cooling performance in a compact size, and for an affordable price.


While we’d say most users would be better suited with a single fan configuration, especially if space is a concern, the dual fan option is great and definitely improves performance quite a bit for less than $20.

With great performance, a compact design and affordable pricing, we’d have no problem recommending the Noctua NH-D9L to anyone in the market for a compact CPU cooler without compromises. With that, we feel we’re obligated to present the NH-D9L with our Technology X Gold Seal!

Tech X Gold Seal Opt

Check out the Noctua NH-D9L on Amazon Today!

In our review of Noctua's flagship NH-D15 air cooler, we found it to be among the top performing air coolers, and even stack up against high-end  AIO liquid coolers. However, all that performance did  come with some drawbacks; its large size makes it a hard sell to users with smaller chassis. Well, in this report will be looking at a product Noctua has made to address just that issue: The NH-D9L, a small-form factor dual-tower cooler with full 3U compliance. Can this compact solution still deliver the cooling performance we've come to expect from Noctua's dual-tower coolers? Let's find out! PACKAGING, PRICING…

Review Overview

Build Quality


With the Noctua NH-D9L, you can get enthusiast level cooling performance in a compact size, and near silent operation for an affordable price.

User Rating: 5 ( 1 votes)

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