When building a new computer, there’s always the question of what CPU cooler to choose. Do you go for the best looking cooler, one that meets your needs, or perhaps one that performs the best?

The market for CPU coolers is filled with different sizes, brands, prices, styles and performances, so choosing the right one can be difficult. Some better than others, some that provide you with the necessary tools to get started, some that are fairly basic.

Processors are the operational brains of any computer and they can output incredible heat, and they can 'fry' if this heat is not dissipated. To ensure that you receive the fastest speeds possible, keeping them cool is one way you can achieve that.

For years Noctua has been a leading manufacturer of CPU coolers and offers some of the best coolers on the market. I personally opt for Noctua coolers on my systems as they get the job done right. Backed by their outstanding six-year warranty and lifetime support for mounting hardware, they almost go unmatched.

Welcome to my review of the Noctua NH-L9x65 CPU cooler. Throughout this review, I will be discussing the following topics: the unboxing, design, specifications, and my final thoughts. I would like to thank Noctua for providing me with this unit.



The Unboxing

The NH-L9x65 is Noctua’s latest mini-cooler designed for powerful applications. Just like its compact sizing, the product box is the same, but includes the necessary tools get the job done.

Inside the product box is your accessories box that contains Intel and AMD installation hardware and the required tools for installing your new cooler. With other Noctua unboxings having a plethora of accessories, this unboxing includes just the basics like Noctua thermal paste, one low-noise fan adapter, a long metal screw driver and of course the metal Noctua badge.

Like all Noctua coolers, this cooler uses the Noctua patented SecuFirm 2 mounting bracket on Intel processors. Included in the Intel mounting hardware is the all metal back plate, two metal mounting brackets, plastic risers and metal installation screws. On the AMD side you are provided with the two metal mounting brackets, plastic risers, and metal installation screws.

Installation of this CPU cooler is as easy as 1, 2, 3. For installation on LGA 2011, LGA 115x, and AMD processors Noctua provides you with three separate pamphlets that guide you through your entire installation. These pamphlets also include detailed pictures so that even new users can handle the task of building a computer.

Finally, the main jewel in this unboxing is the NH-L9x65 itself. Along with the release of the NH-L9x65, Noctua has also released their new NF-A9x14 fan and this cooler is preinstalled with the effective, yet low-profile fan. More on the fan and cooler design next.



The Design

We’ve seen lately how Noctua is transitioning into smaller and more compact processor coolers. Many cases available on the market cannot handle the massive size of a NH-D15 or even the NH-C14. While these coolers are extremely efficient and capable of cooling every processor (LGA 2011, LGA 115x, AMD) on the market, they aren't always the best choice for smaller form factors.

My last Noctua review was a two part review that featured the new Noctua mini coolers and after using this new NH-L9x65, I wonder whether this should be part three.

At a height of only 65mm, the NH-L9x65 “provides the increased performance necessary to cool high end CPUs quietly while still offering excellent case and component compatibility,” as stated by Noctua CEO, Roland Mossig; and it’s hard to disagree there.

This design of the NH-L9x65 uses a top down form factor, meaning the fan is sitting parallel with the motherboard and blows air downwards through the smaller heatsink. Something to note is that while this CPU is supported on a very large array of motherboards, you may want to ensure that the ITX board your using will fit.

Nevertheless, the cooler has four large 6mm copper, aluminum-coated, heat pipes that run through the 50 finned aluminum heatsink and uses a perfectly smooth CPU base. Running through the CPU base are the four heat pipes and the base is connected to your mounting brackets by spring loaded screws to ensure a snug fit.

The cooling is taken care of by the NF-A9x14 fan that runs at a maximum rotational speed of 2500RPM, a speed that is fast enough to provide efficient cooling, but keeps the sound down to give a quiet computer. If noise does happen to be too loud, then you can opt for the included low-noise adapter to force the fan to run at a maximum rotational speed of 1800RPM. On the surface of the fan, you will notice the small marks on each fan blade; these allow the fan to create a vortex and channel air into the heatsink to provide better cooling. As always, Noctua fans run using a PWM fan connector to ensure optimal control by the motherboard.



Specifications

Never judge a book by its cover or should I say to never judge a CPU cooler by its size. It’s clear by the wording on the product box and Noctua website that the company intends for this cooler to be installed on an ITX or mATX motherboard, but it is equally capable of being installed on an ATX motherboard.

When installed on a motherboard, the cooler sits snug and compact above the CPU area. Likewise, thanks to its size, the NH-L9x65 is fully compatible with nearly all memory sizes.

With its 95mm fan installed and running at 2500RPM, users can expect to reach a maximum temperature of 45C degrees on their CPU with idle speeds falling back into the teens. When it comes to noise, you’ll hear a hum at 30dBA and that drops down to almost half when using the low-noise fan adapter.

From there you’ll find yourself with a reasonable and powerful little cooler. If you are building a ITX and mATX computer, then there really should only be one option for cooling and that’s the greatest of air coolers.

Here is a full specification list of the cooler and included fan:

CPU Cooler
Socket compatibility: Intel LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3(Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required)
Height (without fan): 51 mm
Width (without fan): 95 mm
Depth (without fan): 95 mm
Height (with fan): 65 mm
Width (with fan): 95 mm
Depth (with fan): 95 mm
Weight (without fan): 340 g
Weight (with fan): 413 g
Material: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Fan compatibility: 92x92x14, 92x92x25

Fan specifications
Model: Noctua NF-A9x14 PWM
Bearing: SSO2
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%): 2500 RPM
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%): 1800 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%): 600 RPM
Max. Airflow: 57.5 m³/h
Max. Airflow with L.N.A.: 40.8 m³/h
Max. Acoustical Noise: 23.6 dB(A)
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A. 14.8 dB(A)
Input Power: 2.52W
Voltage Range: 12V
MTBF: ~150.000 h



My Final Thoughts

It’s Noctua's goal to manufacture some of the best coolers on the market. Many see that Noctua has the standard of CPU cooling thanks to their superior design and efficiency. With this cooler priced at $55.99, Noctua has done an excellent job of succeeding at their goal of making another excellent cooler. Optimized for smaller form factors, this cooler can handle any consumer grade processor you may have lying around whether it’s on an ATX, mATX, or ITX motherboard.

Buy it Now:


© 2015 Justin Vendette