Like many things in the technology world, components are getting smaller and smaller and so are computers.

A perfect example of this is shown by the recent releases of Original Equipment Machine desktop systems from companies like Dell or HP. Ten years ago, OEM desktops were massive beasts that held large motherboards and power supplies that were much slower than today’s standards. Now, we are seeing desktops that are smaller than computer monitors and can be easily placed on top of a desk rather than the floor.

In the newest edition of our Tech Support Forum 2015 Build Guide , I included a new section that contains specialty builds. Two out of the three builds are based on the mATX form factor, a smaller version of the standard ATX sizing.

mATX computers are great for home media PCs, personal servers, or for those who wish to have the PC on the desk, rather than the floor. While there is a large selection of available mATX motherboards on the market, the real challenge is air flow and keeping the system cooled.

The decrease in case size means that it becomes harder and harder to optimize air flow to keep the CPU and rest of the machine as cool as possible. There are some who say that water cooling is the best choice of action in this situation. However, an All-in-One water cooling pump not only takes up a large amount of room, but can at times be louder than traditional air cooled PCs and the benefits of water cooling are miniscule.

A stock Intel or AMD cooler may do a decent job at keeping your CPU cooled, but there’s always a better option than a stock cooler. Noctua, a company that is known for their cooling solutions in the computer market, has reinvented a cooler from 2005, one that carries almost 800 awards. Over the years, their CPU coolers have had a massive presence in terms of the cooler’s size and their presence in the technology field. With their presence in the technology field continuing to increase in size, they’ve taken an opposite approach to their CPU coolers and moved towards miniaturization.

This is a two part review, you are reading part 2 which will cover the NH-D9L. View part 1, which covers the NH-U9S, here . These reviews will be covering what you will be purchasing and what to expect.

Welcome to my review of the Noctua NH-D9L CPU cooler. Throughout this review, I will be covering the unboxing, design, and my final thoughts. I would like to thank Noctua for providing me with the NH-D9L.

The Unboxing

If you came here after reading part 1 of this two part review, then I may sound like a broken record in saying that once again Noctua’s attention to detail is spot on with the NH-D9L.

My broken record continues with an identical unboxing to the first. Like all standard Noctua coolers, the NH-D9L supports and comes with their proprietary SecuFirm 2 mounting system that is used on LGA 2011, LGA 2011-3, LGA 115x, AM2+, AM3+, FM1, and FM2 systems.

The accessories box houses three user manuals for installation, Intel and AMD mounting hardware, a long metal screw driver, high grade NT-H1 thermal paste, additional fan mounts, a low-noise adapter, and finally a metal case badge. Once again, this cooler oddly lacks a Y fan splitter for motherboards that only have one CPU_FAN header.

Of course, like the other Noctua mini cooler, this too is manufactured to ISO (Standards: ISO9001 & ISO1 4001) and manufactured in Taiwan.

Lastly, the end of the unboxing is the NH-D9L itself with a preinstalled NF-A9 fan in the center.

The Design

I purposely made this review part 2 of the two units, because this little cooler is by far my favorite. Currently I use my Noctua NH-D15 on my main computer and expressed my affection for it when I reviewed it here .

The NH-D9L is no different in style compared to its bigger brother, the NH-D15, with its inter NF-A9 fan and optional side NF-A9 fan which I also highly recommend you purchase to go along with this cooler. You can read the review of the new NF-A9 fans here .

Cooling is performed in not one, but two large 35 finned aluminum heat sinks which have four copper, chrome plated, heat pipes flowing through the middle. When reviewing the NH-U9S in part 1, I mentioned how I would have preferred the heat pipes be evenly spread across the cooling surface of the CPU. I cannot make that statement here since the NH-D9L does evenly place the heat pipes.

Surprisingly, the NH-D9L is a lighter weight than its competitor, but adding a secondary fan will offset the weight to one side, unlike the NH-U9S which will have an even center of gravity.

Finally, I conclude in this part of the review that the NH-D9L is the better looking cooler. The optional dual fan setup is visually pleasing and its performance is better than any other mini cooler on the market. The only design dislike I encountered was that the center fan needs to be removed before you can access the mounting screws.

My Final Thoughts

The conclusion leaves me with the same thoughts that I have when I review any Noctua cooler and those are the thoughts of reviewing an excellently crafted product. Noctua coolers are known across the board for outstanding quality and it’s shown even further with each unit having a six year warranty. These little coolers are small, compact, and certainly worth the investment for any mATX, ATX or mini-ITX system.

At a cost of $57.99 for the NH-U9S and $54.99 for the NH-D9L, I find them to be a tad costly for a small cooler, but certainly worth it for the performance and quality that you will be receiving. I would also recommend purchasing a second NF-A9 fan to utilize the full power of this little beast.

Buy it Now:

© 2015 Justin Vendette