Our Noctua NH-D15 review will focus on the NH-D15. Here, we’ll share all the necessary details you’d need to know if it’s something essential for your rig.
In the year 2009, Noctua surprised everyone by first introducing a massive dual-tower heatsink cooled by a pair of fans. Since then, every other manufacturer came up with their version of that design.
It didn’t matter if it was a direct replica from the same OEM with added colour. Or, a similar design all in all. There’s no doubt that Noctua NH-D14 was a trendsetter and an OG to dual-tower cooling game. Despite being the groundbreakers, these coolers from Noctua dropped from the list of best coolers around.
But today, we’re going to check out Noctua’s latest design in dual-towering cooling. They’re aiming to claim their spot at the top by introducing their newest product, the Noctua NH-D15.
The company claims that they’ve made a lot of changes to satisfy the needs and wants of customers. Hence, created an improved version of the original NH-D14. But is it as good as what they say? And are the improvements notable?
Let’s find out in our Noctua NH-D15 review and see if it’s worth considering.
Noctua NH-D15 Packaging
We’re going to start our Noctua NH-D15 review with its packaging and contents. When we received our unit, it came in a fine and premium looking box. The front and sides feature the cooler’s name, NH-D15, plus a ton of its essential features as well. The package sports a theme consisting of basic shades, specifically brown, black, and whites.
Inside, the NH-D15 is neatly and securely packed, so you won’t have to worry about damages while in transit. Technically, you can utilise either single or both fans with the unit; however, the company supplied two fans though. One of the fans is factory equipped, which means that the fans are set and locked in place.
We appreciate that Noctua included all the necessary accessories required to complete the cooler’s installation. You’ll get brackets and a kit for all the regular Socket Intel LGA2011 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1150, LGA1155, and more. Interestingly, you’ll also find the AMD AM2, AM3, AM2+, AM3+, FM1, FM2+, FM2, etc.
All the things you’ll need are in clear boxes that are labelled to avoid confusion. Upon opening the mounting kits, notice that a backplate is necessary for installation. It means that you need to remove your motherboard from the PC for suitable installation. However, it’s unnecessary if you have a board tray cutout or gap in the chassis to facilitate this better.
Here is a more detailed list of what you’ll find in the NH-D15 pack. A cooler and two fans, one backplate, a user’s guide, thermal grease, plus AMD/Intel SecuFirm mounting kits. Additional items included are the extended Philips screwdriver, screws, studs, and voltage regulator cables for low RPM. These cables are necessary if you can’t PWM-control fans using your fan controller or mobo.
Next on our Noctua NH-D15 review, we’ll check out the design and functions of the NH-D15.
Noctua NH-D15 Review – Design & Functionality
This part of our Noctua NH-D15 review is where we focus on the efficiency and architecture of the NH-D15.
There were issues present on the previous NH-D14 that plagued users. Things such as no clearance for higher memory, or requiring to remove the cooler to replace the memory. There weren’t any other issues since its mounting was efficient and kept the same way. It’s also still one of the best mounting kits that’s available in the market.
Technically, the D14 was still a great performer; it still is, but enhancements and improvements would’ve made it even better.
To make up for those issues, Noctua introduces their NH-D15 dual-tower CPU cooler. It’s evident that the company listened to its customers and kept all the aspects that worked. They worked on the issues then added dynamic changes to improve the unit. Also, with the arrival of the socket 2011, this cooler is ready to accommodate memory setups as well.
When you flip the cooler to look at the rear portion, you’ll find a total of six heatpipe designs. These are copper – base and heatpipes, aluminium cooling fins, nickel plating and soldered joints. You’ll get two fans, specifically the NF-A15 PWM fans with a total RPM of 1,500 RPM. These can go as low as 300 RPM, which is impressive.
If you can’t regulate these PWM fans, the company included a low-noise adaptor. It’s an extension cable that has a resistor inside. Its presence lowers the fan RPM to almost extremely silent noise levels. Remember that since these are PWM-controlled, the motherboard or fan controller can do the job for you.
The cooling base is exceptionally flat and not a mirror finish which is common in most copper base plates today. Its base is made from copper yet comes with a nickel plating.
Next up on our Noctua NH-D15 review are the key features of the NH-D15.
Key Features of the Noctua NH-D15
Designed After the Award-Winning NH-D14
The NH-D14 from Noctua has earned over 350 prizes and recommendations from the most well-known international magazines and websites. Because of that, the NH-D15 has become one of the most successful premium heatsinks in today’s market. Its expanded layout and double NF-A15 fans improve the NH-D15’s overall cooling performance.
Dual Tower Design with Six Heatpipes
Unlike typical heatsinks with a single tower design, the NH-D15’s optimised 6-heatpipe dual tower design allows for more surface area. With a spacious build, it can distribute heat better and provide outstanding airflow efficiency in dual fan mode.
Expanded Heatpipes and Widened Fin Stack
The NH-D15’s fin stack is wider by 10mm compared to the NH-D14. For the heatpipes, these are further apart, allowing for equal heat distribution over a larger surface area. As a result, this cooler’s performance comes with enhanced efficiency.
Compatible with High RAM in Single Fan Mode
The recessed fins of the NH-D15 offer 64mm clearance for tall memory heatsinks in single fan mode. With that, the NH-D15 is compatible with high-end RAM modules. If the NH-D15 is in dual-fan mode, you should use it with the usual RAM height of up to 32mm.
Dual NF-A15 Fans
The NH-D15 comes with two of Noctua’s NF-A15, the top-class 140mm fan that complies with the company’s AAO standard. With its aerodynamic design measures, it earned its reputation as one of the best 140mm fans in the market. It has Flow Acceleration Channels to contribute to the cooling capabilities of the NH-D15 for excellent cooling performance.
PWM support and Low-Noise Adaptors
The NF-A15 fans support PWM for automatic speed control via the motherboard. You can reduce the maximum fan speed from 1500 to 1200 RPM with the Low Noise Adapters to minimise noise.
SecuFirm2 Mounting System
Noctua’s SecuFirm2 mounting systems ensure safety, quality, and ease of use by providing perfect contact pressure on all current sockets.
Compatibility with Old and New Sockets
The NH-D15 complies with the SecuFirm standard, making it compatible with the older LGA775 and LGA1366 sockets. If possible, Noctua will prove upgrade kits for new sockets in the future.
Noctua products are famous for their notable quality and excellent longevity. And just like all Noctua fans, the NF-A15 features an MTTF rating of over 150,000 hours.
What’s more notable is the fact that the NH-D15 comes with a 6-year manufacturer’s warranty, and we’re thanking Noctua for that.
This time on our Noctua NH-D15 review, we’ll get to learn more about the cooler’s, as well as the fans’ specifications. Let’s begin with the cooler.
For the cooler, its fan compatibility is 140 x 150 x 25 (with mounting holes that are 120mm). It’s compatible with 140 x 140 x 25 (also with 120mm holes). It can work with 120 x 120 x 25 measurements.
Without the fans, it measures 160 x 150 x 135mm (H x W x D) and weighs 980g. With the fans, the cooler is 165 x 150 x 161mm (H x W x D) and weighs 1,320g.
For convenience, Noctua included a 6-year warranty to the cooler.
For the fan, Noctua utilises two Noctua NF-A15 PWM fans with SSO2 bearings. The standard maximum rotational speed (+/-1o%) of the fans reach 1,500 RPM. With LNA (+/-1o%), these reach an RPM of 1,200. For its minimum rotational speed (PWM, +/-20%), it is 300 RPM.
Its maximum airflow is 140.2m³/h; with LNA, it’s 115.5m³/h. The fans’ maximum acoustical noise is 24.6 dB(A), while with LNA, it’s 19.2 dB(A). The voltage range is 12V while MTTF> 150.000 hours.
Hands-on with Noctua NH-D15
We tested Noctua NH-D15, and we can say that it’s among the best the company has to offer. Its cooling performance is exceptional, but avoid pushing both fans to the max. Besides, anything you push too far won’t manage anyway.
To achieve a perfect balance of acoustic and cooling performance, you can opt for a single fan configuration. If not, you can choose to have both fans run lower than 100% at most times.
The Noctua NH-D15 is one excellent cooler. It’s more efficient compared to its competitors and takes cooling to a whole new level. Plus, despite the heavy loads we put it through, it remained quiet, and that was excellent.
Since the cooler offers 64mm for DIMMs, its memory clearance in the single fan setup was also perfect. Also, the company’s easy to use the SecuFirm2 mounting system, plus the cooler’s build quality, makes it even better for use.
Overall, it worked outstandingly even under heavy loads, and as we’ve mentioned, it remained quiet throughout. So if memory clearance isn’t a deal to you, then we can recommend the NH-D15. And if you’re after performance and silence, then this is the best option for you.
Noctua NH-D15 Review Summary
Like a lot of Noctua coolers that we’ve tested before, the NH-D15 comes with impressive build quality and design. Aside from the cooler itself, it has astounding fans, accessories, and a highly reliable 6-year warranty. For its price, the performance of the NH-D15 exceeded our expectations. It is more than enough to compete against other top-selling liquid cooling solutions in the market.
To conclude our Noctua NH-D15 review, we highly recommend this product if you’re in search of the excellent cooling solution. If you want to purchase this, check out the store locator on Noctua’s official website to see the available resellers.