Noctua NH-D15: Update to an Icon

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Noctua NH-D15: Updating an Icon

May 30, 2014 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Noctua NH-D15
CPU Cooler
Manufacturer
Noctua
Street Price
US$90

The launch of the NH-D14 in late 2010 marked Noctua's entrance into a newly burgeoning category of big CPU coolers. The D14 was one of the first models to feature a twin tower design, each with its own fan, working in conjunction to dissipate the heat pulled away from the CPU by the massive structure. Our initial testing proved its superiority, easily taking the top spot in our CPU cooling chart in 2011. Also contributing to its popularity was the easy to install and incredibly secure mounting system, the top-notch construction, and the well-stocked, best-in-class accessory kit. To this day, these qualities can be found in all their heatsinks, cementing Noctua's reputation for not only manufacturing great cooling solutions, but for paying close attention to every detail of their products.

While it was a landmark cooler, the D14 has since been eclipsed by heatsinks from Prolimatech and Thermalright. Additionally, the upstart Phanteks, has been selling coolers with designs very similar to Noctua's own, and their once revered rival, Scythe, has been experiencing a recent resurgence. Competition in this space seems to stiffen with each passing year and the market is now saturated with a host of competent competitors. To make matters worse, Noctua's product cycle is much longer than most manufacturers, so the D14's sequel has to get it right the first time and age gracefully to be successful.


The NH-D15.

The D15 is based on the same six heatpipe, dual tower premise as its predecessor but there are some notable differences. For one thing, the D14's mismatched NF-P14 (140 mm) and NF-P12 (120 mm) fans, which caused unpleasant intermodulation effects, have been replaced with a pair of identical NF-A15's, 150 x 140 mm fans equipped with their own dampening pads. The D14's unnecessarily complicated fan clip mounting scheme has also been ditched in favor of a simpler but equally effective design that hooks directly into the fans' mounting holes, as they should. The heatsink itself is slightly heavier and larger and its fins are stacked in a smaller, denser array. The tighter fin spacing increases interference, theoretically reducing low airflow performance, though presumably the upgraded fan can mitigate this possible shortcoming.


The box.


Boxes with in the box.


Accessories.

Noctua's modus operandi of orderly packaging and including a useful set of accessories continues with the D15. The components are separated into individual boxes for the heatsink itself, the second fan, the Intel mounting hardware, the AMD mounting hardware, and a common set of extras. Included are a metallic case badge, a screw driver, a second set of fan clips, a pair of low noise fan adapters, and a Y-connector for running both fans off the same header. There are even soft and hard mounting gear for the second fan, just in case you decide to use it as a case fan instead — that level of consideration displayed is equal to none. The only thing that would make this a more complete package is the inclusion of some surplus mounting hardware in case a nut or spacer is misplaced. LGA2011 support has been added and while the mounting system remains the same, the included Intel backplate isn't compatible with the older LGA775 and LGA1366 sockets. Users on these out-dated platforms are not left entirely in the cold though as they are eligible for a complimentary set of Noctua's older NM-I3 mounting kit.

Noctua NH-D15: Specifications
(from the product web page)

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) 1000 g
Weight (with fan) 1320 g
Material Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (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.)
Y-cable
NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit
Noctua Metal Case-Badge
Warranty 6 Years
Fan Specifications
Model 2x Noctua NF-A15 PWM
Bearing SSO2
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%) 1500 RPM
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%) 1200 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM) 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


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