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Noctua NH-D9L Dual-Tower CPU Cooler Review

Test System and Methodology


We always use the same test system and tests with CPU coolers that we compare against each other. The full specifications of our test system are as follows:

Test system:

  • ASUS P8Z77-V, LGA 1155 socket, Z77 chipset
  • Intel Core i5 3570K with Gelid GC Extreme under the IHS
  • 16GB Kingston 1866Mhz DDR3
  • 128GB Kingston HyperX SSD
  • Antec High Current Gamer 620W
  • Cooler Master Test Bench v1.0

We’d like to say a big thank you to ASUSAntecKingstonCooler Master and Intel for providing components that makes this testing possible.

Testing Methodology:

  • We always use Gelid GC Extreme thermal paste to make sure testing reveals the efficiency of the tested coolers not the efficiency of the bundled thermal paste.
  • Prime 95 is run for 10 minutes and then the average maximum temperatures as recorded by CPUID HWMonitor are noted
  • The average temperature across the four cores is taken on our quad-core processor
  • Fans are mostly left to operate at default PWM profile speeds and with maximum fan speed for reference.If PWM functions are not supported then fixed fan speeds are used and sometimes a low noise adapter if appropriate/provided. If fixed fan speeds or low noise adapters are used it will be clearly pointed out either on the graphs or in the write-up.
  • All default result entries on graphs are for PWM performance unless otherwise specified. A variety of fan speed results are done for a particular product review and then removed from the graphs in future reviews of other products to avoid clutter. If you would like to see more fan speed results for a particular product please check its individual review.
  • For watercooling tests all pumps have been operated at 12 volts directly from the power supply
  • Delta temperatures are always used (Observed temperature minus ambient temperature) and we keep the ambient at 22 (+/- 1) degrees for all testing . Delta temperatures should correct for any marginal ambient differences between 21-23 degrees.
  • Acoustic measurements are taken 10cm horizontally away from the CPU cooler with the VGA fan disabled, hard drive in idle and power supply isolated. These are taken at desktop idle and Prime95 load.
  • The cooling performance tests are run at stock 3.4GHz (with Intel Turbo up to 3.8GHz) and overclocked 4.5GHz (1.35v) settings. Voltages are fixed to prevent inaccuracy between comparisons.
  • All other coolers in the graphs have been tested under identical settings so are fully comparable.
  • Each test is repeated 3 times with 3 remounts for consistency of results
  • There is approximately a 1 degree celsius margin of error in our temperature recording software CPUID HW Monitor
  • There is approximately a 1.5dBA margin of error with our Benetech GM1351 decibel meter

Software Used

In all these graphs we may have a few “reference” results of particular products that do not fit within that category for comparative purposes.

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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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