Noctua NH-D9L Dual-Tower CPU Cooler Review

A Closer Look

First impressions of the NH-D9L are very positive, it looks great and has a look and feel of great quality about it that is rare for a cooler of this size. It may be quite small, but overall it feels pretty heavy; no doubt due to those thick and plentiful heat pipes.

The fan comes pre-installed, although it will need to be removed to fit the cooler to your motherboard; it’s just put here to reduce the packaging size. It may be tiny, but the cooler uses a dual-tower design, with the sides of each tower partially closed to help better direct airflow through the fins, rather than losing it through the edges.

There’s quite a lot of metal here, with tightly packed fin stacks, and four thick heat pipes that pass through each tower in a U-shape, as well as a fairly significant CPU block; I don’t doubt this cooler could handle some fairly high TDPs, at least for a cooler this small.

The bottom of the cooler almost looks cut away, this is to ensure maximum compatibility with RAM modules and the motherboards VRM heat sinks, although the compact design should mean it doesn’t run over those areas anyway, more compatibility is rarely a bad thing.

The contact plate is huge and polished to a mirror shine, which means it’ll make a nice smooth contact with your CPU and should help with overall cooling performance.

The top of the cooler is nicely finished, with a couple of Noctua logos stamped on the top of the towers; it’s nothing too fancy, but it’s all that’s really needed for a compact cooler like this.

The mounting kit comes partly pre-fitted to the cooler, with the sprung screws and brackets already in place, you simply need to screw this to the motherboard brackets; it’s a big help in speeding up deployment time.

The fin stack is designed so that you can mount the included fan on either side of either cooling tower, giving you a lot of flexibility in how you direct the airflow. Of course, you can also add another fan for extra cooling performance and the required clips are even included in the box.

The NF-A9 PWM fan comes in the instantly recognisable Noctua colours. There are anti-vibration rubber pads on each corner too, not that Noctua coolers are known to produce much noise or vibration to begin with, but it’s still nice to have. Finally, you’ll find it comes fitted with a black sleeved 4-pin PWM cable.

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Peter Donnell

As a child still in my 30's (but not for long), I spend my day combining my love of music and movies with a life-long passion for gaming, from arcade classics and retro consoles to the latest high-end PC and console games. So it's no wonder I write about tech and test the latest hardware while I enjoy my hobbies!

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