Noctua has set the benchmark in air cooling and remained a dominant player in the PC cooling sub sector. We had high hopes for the 92mm coolers from the Austrian powerhouse and we were not disappointed.
Noctua announced new 92mm coolers in November last year (2014) so these are not new to market but we’ve been testing the NH-U9S (single large fin stack) and NH-D9L (Dual fin stack, Lower profile) since January. These coolers are just what the small form factor enthusiasts have been waiting for. Compact, quiet, easy to mount and they can handle a legitimate overclock – what’s not to like?
Let’s start with the NH-U9S. The U9S is a single fin stack designed to allow a front fan that won’t block any memory slots. The NF-A9 PWM fan provides good airflow with very little noise to keep the fin stack and 5 heat pipes nice and cool. The unit is in line with it’s older siblings, the U12S and U14S in that they all provide a high compatibility slim profile. In this case the cooler, with fan attached is only 95mm wide and 95mm deep and stands only 125mm from the socket. The NH-U9S won’t obstruct your PCIE port on a mini ITX or Micro ATX board, nor will it block your RAM slots – in fact we found that it was great for drawing air over taller RAM heat spreaders. Noctua include another bracket set so that you can attach a second A9 fan if you need to.
The NH-D9L, (shown below), has a different look and reminded me of a baby NH-D14/15. We were initially wondering why Noctua felt the need to create both coolers until we looked at the spec sheet in more detail – the height of the NH-D9L is only 110mm is made possible by installing the fan centrally between the fin stacks over the mounting screws. This also means that you can easily attach a second fan to the front or back of the cooler. As a single fan unit, the footprint is 95mm wide by 95mm deep and is 100% compatible with PCIE slots, tall memory modules and allows easy access to fan headers. The height is important for small form factor builders and the magic 110mm height statistic also makes it 3RU (Rack Unit) chassis compatible for servers.
Compatibility is key with the U9S and D9L, both are PCIE compatible and will also support older sockets. Noctua has shown it’s loyalty to customers by providing new mounting brackets for new sockets as they are released. Both coolers are compatible with memory modules and the D9L has been designed to fit in a 3RU server case due to the 110mm height off the socket.