Noctua NH-D15 Review

Noctua NH-D15

Final Words:

Being successor of such a renowned cooler and being launched after 3 years of development, the Noctua NH-D15 surely has some big shoes to fill. I’ve been personally waiting and discussing the ‘next flagship’ with guys over at Noctua for almost a year now. Before the Computex 2013, I was told that the new cooler will be displayed on the trade show and will launch sometime by the end of 2013 and even though it was showed at the Computex but it never made it to the market by the end of 2013. I obviously asked Noctua what the delay is and was told that they want to get it 100% right hence they want to take some more time. This once again bumped up my expectation. And when I finally got the press release of the launch of the NH-D15, I was not really impressed since on paper it looked almost same as the NH-D14.

However, now that I’ve closely inspected it and thoroughly tested it I’ve to say that even though it looks largely like its predecessor but Noctua has made some small changes which provide some large results in the end. It’s not revolutionary but it’s actually an evolution.

To begin with, Noctua has made the cooler more elegant and sleek. It looks more compact and sharp as compared to its predecessor. The overall design is basically derived from the NH-U14S, which is a great performer itself. The slopping centre of fins largely helps with the performance and noise output of the cooler.

Noctua NH-D15

The next major improvement is in the compatibility department. The Noctua NH-D15 offers way superior memory compatibility as compared to the older cooler. Memory compatibility has been coming a major issue recently since the size of both CPU cooler and memory heatsinks are getting bigger and bigger. However, Noctua has made a very wise design choice which fixes this problem for the most part and that too without effecting the performance much.

Coming to the performance, the NH-D15 clearly beats all the other coolers we’ve tested so far and that’s exactly what I expected. It tops our charts and even sits above the Corsair H80i (performance mode). The H80i is one of the high-end closed loop liquid CPU coolers and the NH-D15 is the first cooler in our testing to beat Corsair’s cooler in its performance mode. The performance advantage over the NH-D14 is considerable so all the time that Noctua spent in the R&D obviously paid off.

Noctua NH-D15 is priced at $99 and that’s quite steep for a cooler however it delivers what it promises. There are a couple of other coolers in this price range and the notable one of these is the Phanteks TC-14PE but NH-D15 is a better choice due to a couple of different reasons. First of all, it has slightly better mounting mechanism and fan clips. Furthermore, it has lower noise output ratio. Lastly, Noctua NH-D15 comes with 6 years of warranty as opposed to 5 on Phanteks. So all in all, if you are in market for a high-end CPU cooler, the NH-D15 should be on the top of your list.

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