TECHNOLOGY X TEST PROTOCOL
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.
TECHNOLOGY X TEST BENCH
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 5960X, ASRock X99 OC Formula, and the Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666 memory kit, used in this report.
|PC CHASSIS:||Thermaltake Core V51|
|MOTHERBOARD:||ASRock X99 OC Formula|
|CPU:||Intel Core i7 5960X @ 4.2GHZ OC|
|MEMORY:||16GB Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666|
|POWER SUPPLY:||Corsair TX850 v2|
|GRAPHICS CARD:||ASUS STRIX GTX 970 OC|
|STORAGE:||ADATA 1TB Premiere Pro SSD|
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 4.2GHz.
During all tests our ambient temperature was approximately 23.8C while the cooler’s intake temperate was a slightly warmer 25.2C.
So as we can see above, the NH-D15 has done exceptionally well in cooling our overclocked 5960X keeping it a mere 7.8C over the cooler’s intake air temperature at idle, and only 41.8C at load. Our stock loads are unsurprisingly even lower with a delta of only 26.8C. This is one impressive cooler!
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 (1500 RPM) and an idle speed of 800 RPM. 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 30 dB.
Noise output of the NH-D15 is actually quite comfortable. While at full speed the fans are definitely noticeable, and may even be an annoyance for some, it isn’t unbearable by any means. That being said, at our idle speed of 800RPM the fans are practically indistinguishable from the rest of our system, and when using the included “Low Noise Adapters” the fan noise at load is barely noticeable to our ears compared to idle.
REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
At the beginning of this report we said that few names carry as much weight in the PC cooling industry as Noctua, and after spending time with their latest flagship air cooler the NH-D15, we can say that statement will carry true for along time coming. With this cooler, Noctua reaffirms their reputation as one of the best fan and heatsink manufacturers, and takes the crown they formerly held with the NH-D14 as the the king of air coolers.
Sure, the NH-D15 isn’t for everyone, it’s quite large and there’s definitely some logistics to be done on the user’s end to ensure RAM and case compatibility, but that can be said for any large air cooler, and even some of the larger liquid cooling radiators. That being said, if you’re an enthusiast in the market for a high-end air cooling solution, that is not only quiet but performs at the level of some all-in-one liquid coolers, then you should look no further.
It is for all these reasons that we are obligated to present the Noctua NH-D15 with our Technology X Gold Seal!