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Review: Noctua NH-D15

by Parm Mann on 25 April 2014, 15:00

Tags: Noctua

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacdor

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Specification and Test Methodology

To put CPU cooler performance into perspective we're benchmarking using a high-end Intel Haswell test platform. A detailed description of the CPU cooler being reviewed, our test platform and all comparison coolers can be found in the tables below.

Noctua NH-D15 Specification

Socket compatibility Intel LGA2011 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1150
AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required)
Height (without fan) 165 mm
Width (without fan) 150 mm
Depth (without fan) 135 mm
Height (with fan) 165 mm
Width (with fan) 150 mm
Depth (with fan) 161 mm
Weight (without fan) 1,000 g
Weight (with fan) 1,320 g
Material Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Fan compatibility 140x150x25 (with 120mm mounting holes), 140x140x25 (with 120mm mounting holes), 120x120x25
Scope of Delivery 2x NF-A15 PWM premium fan
2x Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit
Noctua Metal Case-Badge
Warranty 6 Years
Fan Specification
Model 2x Noctua NF-A15 PWM
Bearing SSO2
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%) 1,500 RPM
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%) 1,200 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%) 300 RPM
Max. Airflow 140,2 m³/h
Max. Airflow with L.N.A. 115,5 m³/h
Max. Acoustical Noise 24,6 dB(A)
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A. 19,2 dB(A)
Input Power 1,56 W
Voltage Range 12 V
MTBF > 150,000 h

Test Bench

Processor Intel Core i7-4770K
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H
Memory 16GB Corsair Vengeance Pro (2x8GB) DDR3 @ 1,866MHz
Graphics Card Palit GeForce GTX 770 OC 2GB
Storage Device Crucial M500 240GB SSD
Power Supply Corsair AX760i
Chassis Corsair Graphite Series 600T
Monitor Philips Brilliance 272P (2,560x1,440)
Operating System Windows 8.1 (64-bit)

Comparison Coolers

  Fan(s) Fan speed Radiator dimensions Heatsink dimensions (inc. fans) Warranty
be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 1x SilentWings 120mm
1x SilentWings 135mm
Up to 1,700 RPM - Height: 163mm
Width: 137mm
Depth: 150mm
3 Years
Corsair Hydro Series H75 2x Corsair SP120L 120mm 800 RPM - 2,000 RPM Width: 120mm
Height: 152mm
Depth: 25mm
- 5 Years
Corsair Hydro Series H105 2x Corsair SP120L 120mm 800 RPM - 2,700 RPM Width: 120mm Height: 270mm Depth: 35mm - 5 Years
Deepcool GamerStorm Lucifer 1x GamerStorm 140mm 700 RPM - 1,400 RPM - Height: 168mm
Width: 140mm
Depth: 136mm
2 Years
Intel Reference E97378-001 Intel PWM 92mm 1,200 RPM - 2,800 RPM - Height: 50mm
Width: 92mm
Depth: 92mm
1 Year
Noctua NH-D15 2x Noctua NF-A15 300 RPM - 1,500 RPM - Height: 165mm
Width: 150mm
Depth: 161mm
6 Years

Benchmark Process

To get a feel for how well all of the above coolers compare, we start by running our Core i7-4770K at its default frequency and use HandBrake to encode a large 4K video clip, putting full load on all four cores/eight threads. Temperature is logged throughout the duration of this workload and in order to provide a stabilised reading we then calculate an average temperature across all cores from the last few minutes of encoding.

We then repeat the same test, only this time with the Core i7-4770K processor overclocked to a modest 4.4GHz, with voltage increased from 1.175V to 1.225V.

Actual CPU temperature is recorded, but to take into account any temperature fluctuations in our lab, we also graph the delta temperature - that's CPU temperature minus ambient temperature. And, last but not least, to give you an idea of cooler acoustics, we use a PCE-318 noise meter to measure overall system noise in both idle and load states.


Our Corsair Graphite Series 600T chassis is set to run with all three pre-installed fans; a 200mm front intake; a 200mm top exhaust; and a 120mm rear exhaust. All chassis fans are set to run as 'silent' from within the Gigabyte BIOS, while the CPU cooler is set to a 'normal' profile.

Each cooler is configured for optimum performance as per the manufacturer's recommendations, and any fans connected to a radiator are configured to draw air in from outside the chassis (hereby ensuring that the delta between the air temperature and the temperature of the radiator is maximised).