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 3.6GHz, and 4.2GHz.
As we can see above, cooling performance is not too shabby. While overclocked to 4.2GHz we see a difference of 50.5C over our intake air temperature. Which is probably the best we’ve seen from a compact, single fan air cooler yet. While, it doesn’t perform quite as well the Noctua NH-D9L we reviewed previously with two fans, it does slightly beat it out by a rather large margin at higher clock speeds.
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. 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 dB
Unfortunately, our testing environment isn’t as quiet as we’d like. However, we will say that this cooler is exceptionally quiet, when only using a single fan, it is barely audible, at all, even under load.
REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
While the NH-U9S is a little to expensive to be considered a budget cooling-solution, at $59.99 it certainly doesn’t break the bank either. It’s also slightly larger than the NH-D9L with only a single fan installed, but does out perform that cooler as well, so we’d consider it a fair trade-off.
So there you have it, once again Noctua has provided another great choice in the compact cooler market. The NH-U9S not only performs well enough to keep our beastly eight-core Intel 5960X cool under a 40% overclock, but it does so well remaining ultra quiet, and at a form factor which can fit in nearly any system.
With impressive performance, affordable pricing, and silent operation we can definitely recommend the NH-U9S to anyone who is in the market for a compact cooling solution. In fact, we’re so pleased with its performance that we have decided to award it our Technology X Gold Seal!