Noctua NH-D15: Update to an Icon

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The NH-D15 shares a similar composition to its predecessor, with a copper base, 6 x 6 mm thick copper heatpipes, and 44 (rather than 42 for the D14) aluminum fins, all nickel-plated and soldered together. Curiously, its height is listed as 16.5 cm but our measurements peg it at 16.0 cm, the same as the D14, while its length and width of 15.0 and 13.5 cm respectively, match the specifications. The new behemoth weighs 990 grams according to our digital scale, equaling the SilverStone Heligon HE02, and heavier than the already substantial D14 by about 90 grams. The Thermalright HR-22 is the only more massive cooler we've reviewed in the past couple of years, weighing in at 1.17 kg.

Like the D14, the D15 is separated into two 50 mm thick towers. However, the two stacks are shorter, the bottom seven fins have been trimmed down, and there is greater clearance behind the center fan, about 8 mm.

Noctua has gradually phased out the distinctive waved edges of the D14 and its predecessors. The D15's two towers have mostly straight contours.

The fin stack is shorter and more densely packed than the D14. While the D15's fins are a tad thicker, measuring 0.46 mm, they are spaced closer together, 1.79 mm vs. 2.33 mm for the D14.

Noctua has used essentially the mounting system for years, with spring-loaded bolts pushing down on brackets attached above the base. This ensures sufficent pressure is exerted onto onto CPU.

The D15's base appears to be more polished than previous Noctua models, but the finish is not quite mirror quality as the center is convex to ensure maximum comtact with the center of the CPU heatspreader. The manufacturing process leaves behind very fine machine marks on the surface.

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