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Review: Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black

by Parm Mann on 22 April 2020, 14:00

Tags: Noctua

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaekmq

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Conclusion

...looks better than ever, performs like a champ, requires no superfluous software and keeps quiet under load.

The cooling requirements of today's best many-core processors have placed renewed focus on high-quality solutions tasked with keeping temperatures and noise levels under control, while potentially prolonging the lifespan of a typically expensive component.

Our initial round of testing on AMD's flagship Ryzen 9 3950X has served up some interesting results, with Noctua's revered NH-D15 besting a 360mm all-in-one liquid cooler with relative ease. The performance gap at stock levels is pronounced, and when overclocking at higher voltage, it is eye-opening to discover that a sub-£100 air cooler can do what a £160 liquid cooler cannot.

There's a sense that traditional air cooling has fallen out of fashion, but Noctua's sleek chromax.black makeover does a fine job of dispelling that misconception. It looks better than ever, performs like a champ, requires no superfluous software and keeps quiet under load. Everything one should look for in a premium cooler, and size permitting, a fine fit for an ultra-high-end rig.

Bottom line: £95 is a princely sum for an air cooler, yet if your build can accommodate such a behemoth, they don't come much better than Noctua's NH-D15 chromax.black.

The Good
 
The Bad
Looks great in black
High-end cooling performance
No superfluous software
Keeps quiet under load
Easy installation and good bundle
Six-year warranty
 
Sheer size can be an issue
£15 dearer than traditional beige model



Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black

HEXUS.where2buy*

The Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black CPU cooler is available to purchase from Scan Computers.

HEXUS.right2reply

At HEXUS, we invite the companies whose products we test to comment on our articles. If any company representatives for the products reviewed choose to respond, we'll publish their commentary here verbatim.



*UK-based HEXUS community members are eligible for free delivery and priority customer service through the SCAN.care@HEXUS forum.



HEXUS Forums :: 36 Comments

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15 quid for a splash of paint is taking the mickey a bit. Feels very Razer'ish.
Having bought this myself at the start of the year, and also having to move one fan's positioning due to my RAM's height, I was interested to read this review.

I would point out that it is actually available cheaper than £95 though, namely for £89.99 from Noctua's own store presence on Amazon. Although I can see it certainly is £94.99 on Scan currently. I believe it was Noctua's Amazon store-exclusive initially though, as Scan didn't stock it at the time I bought it.

From what I understood from comments on the Amazon page at the time, upon its original release in October, there was also a limited run of a Linus Tech Tips edition (which had seemingly long gone by the time I ordered though, as mine was the normal edition).

I'm happy to see that my choice was vindicated in HEXUS' testing too (I haven't properly tested my own's capabilities yet), as I'd always preferred the idea of staying with air cooling anyway due to the obvious extra maintenance required for liquid (admittedly less so for AIO than custom loop, but I wasn't a fan of the leak risk either anyway).
Installed one last week in a Fractal Define Nano S - tight squeeze and I have to run it with 1 fan, but it is excellent.
Tunnah
15 quid for a splash of paint is taking the mickey a bit. Feels very Razer'ish.

Yeah, but Noctua stuff tends to go to the ‘Apple’ buyers of the air cooling world.
Bagpuss
Tunnah
15 quid for a splash of paint is taking the mickey a bit. Feels very Razer'ish.
Yeah, but Noctua stuff tends to go to the ‘Apple’ buyers of the air cooling world.

For what it's worth, I certainly wasn't aiming for looks over function.

Personally I saw the extra £10 over the normal cost to be the “new version premium” at the time, and as Noctua have a reputation of making quality air coolers that are great at their job (and reviews for the NH-D15 in particular placing it amongst the bset coolers you can buy), I was happy to pay the extra for the colour change (and it obviously wouldn't be the first type of product that has a price difference for different colours).

Given the fact that it is still much cheaper than an AIO but still beats it, I am happy to consider my colour choice worth the extra. Plus given Noctua's practice of offering free mounting kits for sockets that come out after purchasing, it's possible that it could still be just as capable to be used in any successive build in future.