The Noctua NH-L9x65 isn’t as widely available as the other Noctua options but it can be found online for $80. The taller 92mm alternatives from Noctua such as the NH-D9L and NH-U9S are available at $85 and $95 respectively, which suggests that the relative price of the NH-L9x65 is reasonable. Don’t let the size fool you, this might have the footprint of a stock cooler but that’s where the similarity to the often-free alternative ends.
This cooler won’t break any temperature records for cooling CPUs but it has a very compact footprint and is an excellent alternative to the stock cooler in terms of performance and acoustic profile. Under normal conditions on our i7-5930K, the temperatures were higher than the larger Noctua coolers but I still couldn’t hear the L9x65 over the other components and the throttling threshold was never hit.
The L9x65 has such a small footprint that it has no impact on your RAM or GPU choices, regardless of your motherboard and it won’t interfere with your motherboard heatsinks either. Whilst the water block/pump head of an AIO water cooler also has great clearance around the socket, there are still hoses and a radiator to consider. The NH-L9x65 is hard to go past for non-overclocked small form factor PCs and we were really impressed. It is just so much quieter than it looks like it should be – to watch it running on the test bench at a whisper was surreal.
Consider this if you
• Want an LGA2011 workstation for ‘real work’ but need a smaller case and don’t plan to overclock
• Are going mini-ITX and need a small cooler
• Have a non-‘K’ cooler and want a quiet but efficient replacement for the stock cooler.
NH-L9x65 CPU Cooler
|Very compact but still capable of good airflow
Premium build quality
Very quiet, almost silent under most conditions
Easy to mount