Noctua NH-U9B CPU Cooler Review

When it comes to cooling the brains of our PCs, we are flooded with choices available on the market, but not all CPU coolers are equal. There only a handful of companies that stand out when you think of CPU coolers. One of those companies is Noctua. Today, we will be looking at the Noctua NH-U9B CPU cooler.

About Noctua:

Noctua aims at establishing a new level of quality and performance “Designed in Austria” through paying attention to the users’ needs in a market burdened with all kinds of frills and furbelows and providing sound-optimised premium components, which serve their purpose in a smart, precise and reliable manner.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions:
    • Without fan: 95mm (W) x 125mm (H) x 70mm (D)
    • With fan: 95mm (W) x 125mm (H) x 95mm (D)
  • Fan Dimensions: 92mm (W) x 92mm (H) x 25mm (D)
  • Weight:
    • Without fan: 460 g
    • With fan: 550 g
  • Material Types: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints, nickel plated
  • Compatibility: Socket 775, AM2 and AM2+
  • Bearing Type: SSO Bearing
  • Noise Level: 17.6dBA (13.9/7.1dBA with in-line adapters)
  • Air Flow: 37.8CFM (31.0/24.2CFM with in-line adapters)
  • Speed: 1,600RPM (1300/1000RPM with in-line adapters)

In-depth Look

The Noctua NH-U9B comes packaged in a very professional looking package with features and information on the engineering Noctua have put into it. The window on the box gives a peek of the included fan.

In the box you receive the NH-U9B cooler, SecuFirm™ mounting kits for LGA & AM2(+), common parts (such as mounting clips for fans), Ultra-Low-Noise-Adapter (U.L.N.A.), Low-Noise-Adapter (L.N.A.), NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound and an instruction booklet. The instruction booklet tells you how to how to install your AM2 CPU on the left and on the right it tells you how to install your LGA775 CPU.

The NH-U9B has four U-shaped heatpipes. It is lightweight at only 460g and is constructed of copper and aluminium. The base and heatpipes are nickel plated.

The NH-U9B is only 125mm tall, so it can fit in cases with little space. It’s also only 70mm wide meaning it probably won’t interfere with memory slots or other motherboard components and cables you have installed.

The NH-U9B has a totally flat base for maximum surface area contact with the CPU. Noctua included a 92mm fan labelled the NF-B9 which uses clever engineering to reduce noise without reducing performance.

One thing we noticed about this heatsink compared to the others we’ve looked at is the fin ‘population density’. Compared to most other heatsinks we’ve seen, the Noctua’s has more fins per given length compared to others. This was probably done to keep the fin surface area as high as possible thus dissipating more heat.

Installation

Firstly, you should gather up the parts you’ll need for your installation. Then you have to mount the motherboard brackets. It sounds simple, but you will have to remove your motherboard to do this.

The next thing to do is to attach silicone vibration dampeners on one side, or both – according to your setup.

Then you need to attach the correct mounts to the heatsink, then apply the thermal compound and place it onto your processor. Once it’s seated in, you can finish the installation by strapping it in with the spring loaded screws and attach the fan using the clips. We attached the included Noctua NF-B9 fan to the heatsink.

We installed the NH-U9B on our MSI P35 Diamond motherboard with an Intel Core 2 Quad Core (Q6700) @ 2.4GHZ Stock CPU.

Testing & Performance

We tested the Noctua NH-U9B with the NT-H1 thermal compound in a number of ways; the first being without a fan connected, then with one fan connected (NF-B9) to CPU header, straight to Molex (full speed) and finally with both included adapters.

The room temperature at the time of testing was approximately 20 degrees Celsius. To achieve load on the CPU, we ran Prime95 until the temperature stayed constant. We repeated each test three times and the averages are shown below. Any anomalous results were omitted and the test was retaken.

Results

  No fan w/ CPU Header w/ Molex w/ L.N.A. Adapter w/ U.L.N.A. Adapter
Idle 22.1° C 21.0° C 21.3° C 22.7° C 22.7° C
Load 43.6° C 39.5° C 33.7° C 40.6° C 40.9° C

Even with no fan the NH-U9B performs incredibly! The temperatures when connected via a Molex are simply astonishing. Seeing how small the NH-U9B is, we were pleasantly surprised by the performance it gave us. The whole unit with the fan included is virtually silent.

Conclusion

Don’t let the small size of the NH-U9B fool you, it performs just as well as coolers that are much larger! The overall package from Noctua is very well done with some nice extras, including Noctua’s NT-H1 thermal compound, a 92mm fan and those extra clips for a second fan. The NH-U9B is very well priced at around $50 and it definitely worth it. Fully recommended.

Pros:

  • Small size
  • Great performance
  • Quiet
  • Extras included

Cons:

  • None

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