Noctua NH-L9i Low Profile CPU Cooler

Cooling
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TESTING

Before thermal testing, we took some basic physical measurements.

Approximate Physical Measurements
Weight
350 g
420 g with stock fan
Height 37 mm with stock fan
Fin count 55
Fin thickness
0.44 mm
Fin spacing
1.16 mm
Vertical Clearance*
N/A
* measured from the motherboard PCB to the bottom fin of the heatsink.

Small Heatsink Comparison:
Average Fin Thickness & Spacing
Heatsink
Fin Thickness
Fin Spacing
Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B
0.29 mm
1.13 mm
Noctua NH-L9i
0.44 mm
1.16 mm
Scythe Big Shuriken
0.33 mm
1.19 mm
Reeven Vanxie
0.28 mm
1.39 mm
Reeven Arcziel
0.28 mm
1.41 mm
Cooler Master GeminII M4
0.29 mm
1.46 mm
Noctua NH-L12
0.49 mm
1.51 mm
Scythe Kozuti
0.12 mm
1.69 mm
Scythe Samurai ZZ
0.33 mm
1.74 mm
Prolimatech Panther
0.53 mm
1.80 mm

Testing on larger heatsinks are done on our LGA1366 heatsink testing platform, while smaller coolers tackle our LGA1155 heatsink testing platform. A summary of the test system and procedure follows.

Key Components in LGA1366 Heatsink Test Platform:

Key Components in LGA1155 Heatsink Test Platform:

The systems are silent under the test conditions, except for the CPU cooling fan(s).

Normally, our reference fans are used whenever possible, the measured details of which are shown below.

Reference Noctua 140mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
SPL@1m
Speed
12V
28~29 dBA
1250 RPM
9V
21 dBA
990 RPM
8V
18 dBA
880 RPM
7V
15~16 dBA
770 RPM
6V
13 dBA
660 RPM

Reference Nexus 120mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
SPL@1m
Speed
12V
16 dBA
1080 RPM
9V
13 dBA
880 RPM
7V
12 dBA
720 RPM

Reference Nexus 92 mm fan
Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
SPL@1m
Speed
12V
16 dBA
1470 RPM
9V
12 dBA
1150 RPM

Measurement and Analysis Tools

  • Extech 380803 AC power analyzer / data logger for measuring AC system power.
  • Custom-built, four-channel variable DC power supply, used to regulate the fan speed during the test.
  • PC-based spectrum analyzer: SpectraPlus with ACO Pacific mic and M-Audio digital audio interfaces.
  • Anechoic chamber with ambient level of 11 dBA or lower
  • Various other tools for testing fans, as documented in our standard fan testing methodology.
  • SpeedFan, used to monitor the on-chip thermal sensors. The sensors are not calibrated, so results are not universally applicable. The hottest core reading is used.
  • Prime95, used to stress the LGA1366 CPU heavily, generating more heat than most real applications. 8 instances are used to ensure that all 4 cores (with Hyper-threading) are stressed.
  • CPU-Z, used to monitor the CPU speed to determine when overheating occurs.
  • Thermometers to measure the air temperature around the test platform and near the intake of the heatsink fan.

Noise measurements are made with the fans powered from the lab's variable DC power supply while the rest of the system was off to ensure that system noise did not skew the measurements.

Load testing was accomplished using Prime95 to stress the processor and the graph function in SpeedFan was used to ensure that the load temperature is stable for at least ten minutes. The temperature recorded is the highest single core reading. The stock fans were tested at various voltages to represent a good cross-section of airflow and noise performance.

The ambient conditions during testing were 10~11 dBA and 21~23°C.



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