Noctua NH-D15: Update to an Icon

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The most critical aspect of installation is that the heatsink be securely mounted as a firm mating results in good contact between the cooler's base and the CPU heatspreader, generating more efficient heat conduction. Ideally it should also be a simple procedure with the user having to handle as few pieces of hardware as possible. Noctua's system is renowned for hitting all these marks.

The Intel backplate is similar to the U14S/U12S with fixed bolts for LGA115x motherboards only. LGA2011 is also supported but doesn't require a backplate.

Simple to assemble and incredibly effective, the installation scheme is one of the best in the business. The backplate bolts go through the motherboard mounting holes from the back side, plastic spacers are slipped over them to get them to the proper height, and the mounting clips are attached with thumb-nuts. The spring-loaded bolts on the heatsink itself complete assembly.

The NH-D15 mounted on our LGA1366 test system, which required the use of an NM-I3 mounting kit repurposed from an older Noctua heatsink.

While the D15 is a huge heatsink, it's actually dwarfed by the fan which covers a larger area. The fans sit very low, helping cooling the components around the CPU socket.

The heatsink stretched halfway over the Northbridge heatsink on our six slot motherboard. It may cause interference issues with seven slot models.

The D15's size makes it impossible to avoid overhanging the memory slots. According to Noctua's pictures, the fan should be mounted as low as possible, which makes it physically touch bare standard sized DDR3 DIMMs. Obviously you could place the fan higher to accommodate taller sticks but this would increase its overall height.

The D15's thermal compound imprint reveals excellent contact at the center, indicated by the finer, fainter globules left behind. Less pressure is exerted at the sides, resulting in thicker residue around the edges.

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