Noctua NH-U9B CPU Cooler Review


In recent years there have been a couple of dominant companies in the cooling industry namely being CoolerMaster, Zalman and Scythe. These companies are great and churn out the products but what about the less talked about companies such a Noctua? Noctua has been around for about 4 years now and is going strong, they are consistently sending out great products which perform. Let’s see if they are keeping their form with the Noctua NH-U9B CPU Cooler:

Provided by: Noctua

As always the Noctua packaging is very well designed and you can easilly see the size of the cooler right off the bat

Once inside of the main box and then the two further internal boxes it is possible to see the CPU cooler.

 

 

 

 

It follows the generic tower layout but with 4 dual heatpipes and a few embellishments to the fin structure. The cooler is symmetrical and can have two fans mounted in a push/pull setup. It feels overall very good quality and very strong unlike many other coolers on the market.

The CPU contact base appears to be very shiny but it has that machined/ tooled look too it also. We will see during testing if this affects the results.

The various mounting kits are accompanied by a syringe of Noctuas NT-H1 thermal compound.

 

Let’s check out the Specs and Features:

Specifications:

 

 
 
 

 

 

Socket compatibility               Intel Socket LGA 775, AMD AM2, AM2+ & AM3 AMD K8 (754, 939, 940) on  request

 

 

 

Height (without fan)               125 mm

 

 

 

Width (without fan)                95 mm

 

 

 

Depth (without fan)                70 mm

 

 

 

Height (with fan)                    125 mm

 

 

 

Width (with fan)                     95 mm

 

 

 

Depth (with fan)                     95 mm

 

 

 

Weight (without fan)              460 g

 

 

 

Weight (with fan)                   550 g

 

 

 

Material                                   Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating

 

 

 

Application                             Intel all frequencies, AMD all frequencies

 

 

 

Scope of Delivery                  

 

·         NF-B9 premium fan

 

·         Mounting-clips for 2 fans

 

·         Ultra-Low-Noise-Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)

 

·         Low-Noise-Adaptor (L.N.A.)

 

·         NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound

 

·         SecuFirm™ mounting kits for LGA & AM2(+)

 

 

 

Features:

 

 

 

Incl. Noctua NT-H1 high-end thermal compound

 

SecuFirm™ multi-socket mounting system

 

High compatibility

 

NF-B9 premium fan

 

Award winning NH-U design

 

4 dual heat pipes

 

Let’s check out the testing section:

Test setup

 
 

 

CPU: AMD Athlon 64×2 4200+
 
 
Motherboard: Foxconn A6VMX
 
 
Memory: 2 x 1GB OCZ Special OPS
 

Video Card ATI Radeon 2400 pro O/C

 

Power Supply: Tuniq Miniplant 950W

 

Hard Drive: 1 x 80 GB System & 1 x 120 GB Storage

 

Optical Drive: LG DVD-RW

 

OS: Windows Vista Ultimate SP1

 

Testing:

 
 
 
 
 
 

For testing I will be comparing this cooler to the Gelid Solutions Silent Spirit. I will test Idle and Load states at both stock and overclocked frequencies. As with all CPU cooler testing I have done in the past I am going to use the same methodology as always. All of the testing is carried out with the side panel of the computer case on. All case fans are installed and are on their maximum settings. Ambient was 18C. To test we boot the PC up and measure temperatures under idle and load states. When performing the idle test we leave the PC to do nothing for about 30 minutes then take several temperature readings over a short period of time and calculate an average (all figures are rounded up to the nearest whole number).

 

For testing under load states we use a CPU loading program to load both cores to 100% to create maximum heat output and then take several temperature readings over a short period of time and calculate an average. Please note as these are ­averages they are a reflection of the performance over a period of time and not just a single reading taken once, this ensures that a longer term performance guide is shown. The ambient (room) temperature was 21c, case panels were on, fans speeds at normal settings.

 

 

 

Stock Frequencies

 

Gelid Silent Spirit

 

Idle      41c

 

Load   56c

 

Noctua NH-U9B

 

Idle      39c

 

Load   56c

 

 

 

Overclocked

 

Gelid Silent Spirit

 

Idle      48c

 

Load   69c

 

Noctua NH-U9B

 

Idle      49c

 

Load   66c

 

 

 

As you can see from the results the Silent Spirit cooler trumps the Noctua by a single degree when overclocked and at idle states, perhaps this is due to the PWM fan and the advanced airflow feature on the Silent Spirit. But no matter the NH-U9B claws it back at stock speeds as it is more efficient at idle states. Also at load states when overclocked the Noctua cooler is 3 degrees cooler on average (at some points it was over 6 degrees cooler but it averaged out at only 3 cooler).

Conclusion:
 
 

The NH-U9B has been a pretty solid performer, chucking out some nice cooling performance and some quite nice looks. For the price there are perhaps a few of coolers which can trump it, but for the money this is a cracking little cooler. The NH-U9B can be picked up for as little as $44.99. This is quite a high price for a CPU cooler but as it performs slightly better than the Silent Spirit perhaps the slight price difference between the two is justifiable. With regards to noise Noctua products rarely create audible amounts of noise. But this fan seemed to emit slightly more noise than normal but also more airflow. I think another point worth noting when comparing the NH-U9B to the Gelid Silent Spirit is that the latter spins at up to 2400rpm, which make’s it quite a bit louder than the NH-U9B’s 1600rpm fan.

Would I recomend this product? Yes, the over all performance while overclocked makes this a very decent budget cooler if you want to push just a little more out of your gaming or enthusiast rig.

 

Pros:

 

  • Performance                                                   
  • Low noise                                                      
  • Great build quality                                         
  • Includes NT-H1 thermal compound

 

Cons:

 

  • It is a nuisance to install as motherboard must be removed
  • 1336 mounting kit must be purchased separately

 

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