New 92mm-fan Tower Coolers from Noctua

Cooling
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HEATSINK COMPARISONS

The new Noctua 92mm fan tower coolers fall in the middle of our smaller heatsink performance table. Note that other coolers ranked higher are substantially bigger, with larger fans. With two fans, they rise a couple steps. Note that it is quite difficult to rank the heatsinks perfectly, as relative performance varies as fan speed (noise) is moved up and down.

°C rise Comparison (CPU Temperature)
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
Noctua NH-L12
(120 & 92 mm fans)
33
-
-
34
-
35
-
36
Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M
-
32
-
-
-
34
36
38
Noctua NH-U12S
-
33
-
34
-
-
35
38
Noctua NH-L12
(120 mm fan)
-
-
37
-
-
38
-
39
42
Noctua NH-D9L 2 fans
33
-
-
-
34
-
39
41
-
Noctua NH-U9S 2 fans
34
-
-
-
35
-
38
41
-
Prolimatech Panther
-
-
-
-
-
35
-
42
-
SilverStone Argon AR02
-
-
-
-
38
-
-
-
43
Noctua NH-U9S
-
-
-
36
-
-
40
45
46
Noctua NH-D9L
-
-
-
37
-
-
41
46
49
Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B
-
39
-
-
-
43
-
48
Reeven Arcziel
-
-
-
-
42
-
-
47
-
SilverStone Argon AR02 (ref. 92 mm fan)
36
-
-
42
-
-
-
49
Scythe Samurai ZZ
-
-
45
-
-
46
-
52
Noctua NH-L12
(92 mm fan)
42
-
44
-
47
-
51
57
Scythe Big Shuriken
43
-
-
-
-
46
-
61
Cooler Master GeminII M4
-
-
-
53
56
-
64
Noctua NH-L9i
-
-
56
-
-
61
-
-
-
Scythe Kozuti
-
-
57
-
-
62
-
65
Phanteks PH-TC90LS
-
-
67
-
-
-
69
-
-
Reeven Vanxie
-
66
-
-
-
-
77
-
F

The new Noctua 92mm fan tower coolers fare similarly in VRM cooling.

°C rise Comparison (VRM Temperature)
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
Noctua NH-L12
(120 & 92 mm fans)
17
-
-
19
-
21
-
23
Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M
-
21
-
-
-
24
26
27
Prolimatech Panther
-
-
-
-
-
24
-
30
-
Noctua NH-L12
(120 mm fan)
-
-
24
-
-
26
-
27
32
Noctua NH-D9L 2 fans
25
-
-
-
25
-
27
31
-
Noctua NH-U9S 2 fans
26
-
-
-
26
-
29
33
-
Noctua NH-U12S
-
29
-
30
-
-
31
33
Noctua NH-D9L/U9S
-
-
-
30
-
-
33
37
39
Noctua NH-U12S
(ref. 120 mm fan)
-
-
-
32
-
-
34
-
34
SilverStone Argon AR02
-
-
-
-
33
-
-
-
35
Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B
-
29
-
-
-
34
-
39
Noctua NH-L12
(92 mm fan)
28
-
31
-
33
-
38
43
SilverStone Argon AR02 (ref. 92 mm fan)
29
-
-
37
-
-
-
40
Reeven Arcziel
-
-
-
-
38
-
-
41
-
Scythe Big Shuriken
28
-
-
-
-
30
-
47
Cooler Master GeminII M4
-
-
-
34
38
-
49
Scythe Kozuti
-
-
36
-
-
40
-
45
Scythe Samurai ZZ
-
-
38
-
-
39
-
47
Noctua NH-L9i
-
-
40
-
-
46
-
-
-
Phanteks PH-TC90LS
-
-
46
-
-
-
48
-
-
Reeven Vanxie
-
45
-
-
-
-
56
-
F


MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

The recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 7 second segments of room ambient noise, then the fan at various levels in 10 second segments. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Noctua NH-U9S and NH-D9L are welcome additions to the Noctua line of high quality CPU coolers. They expand cooling options for Silent PC enthusiasts seeking smaller quiet systems. Both of these coolers are very close to the size of the long discontinued Scythe Ninja Mini, a unique short tower heatsink in its day. The 110mm and 125mm height clearance and small footprint of these coolers allows them to be used in much smaller cases than tower coolers normally allow. They fare well in comparison to both tower and top-down 120mm fan heatsinks, though they can't challenge the best tested on our LGA1155 platform. The improved performance with an additional fan in push-pull mode at very low noise levels makes these coolers even more versatile.

The big plus for the PC builder is that they're almost as low profile as the bigger top-down fan heatsinks, but have the advantage of blowing the heat out towards a nearby back or top panel vent. The efficient evacuation of heat from the case is a key element in quiet PC cooling. We've already used the NH-D9L successfully in such a role in two recent small Gaming Build Guides — Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition and Journey to a Silent MicroATX Gamer. In both of these builds the only other cooler we know of that might have fulfilled the same role is the NH-U9S.

The traditional Noctua strengths of excellent secure mounting, ease of installation and thoughtful accessories combine with the absence of any real competition from other brands to make them compelling. The only other similarly small tower cooler in recent memory is the Silverstone Argon AR02, and though it's in the same ball park for noise and performance, its 134mm height makes it a bit too tall for places where the 110mm D9L would easily fit. The 120mm fan top-down Noctua NH-L12 is a viable option if there's enough room around the CPU and room above for the airflow to the fan. The Scythe Big Shuriken 2 might also work, again assuming the fins don't bump against anything around the CPU. Both the Sycthe and the NH-L12 bring more dimensional issues that don't apply to the U9S and D9L.

The Noctua NH-U9S has a suggested retail price of $59.90, and the NH-D9L lists for $56.95. An extra A9 PWM fan carries of suggested price of $20.90, so a dual-fan setup with either of these coolers gets right up there among the premium big heatsinks. Still, if small and quiet is beautiful to you, these new 92mm fan tower coolers from Noctua are tough to beat.

Our thanks to Noctua for the NH-U9S, NH-D9L and NF-A9 PWM samples.


Noctua NH-U9S and NH-D9L receive the SPCR Editor's Choice award.

* * *

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
SilverStone Argon AR02 CPU Cooler
Scythe Kotetsu CPU Cooler: A Compact King
be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim CPU Cooler
Noctua NH-U12S Slim Tower Heatsink
Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler
Scythe Ninja Mini
Scythe Big Shuriken 2

* * *

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