frostytech's most recent synthetic thermal test platform stresses Intel socket LGA2011 and LGA1366 compatible heatsinks with a 200W heat load. Additionally, because the AMD Integrated Heat Spreader and Intel LGA2011 IHS both measure ~38x38mm, these test results can be directly extrapolated to AMD processor scenarios.
With a 200W heat load applied by the Intel LGA2011/1366 version of FrostyTech's synthetic thermal test platform, Noctua's NH-D15 heatsink yields an excellent temperature test result of just 15.8°C over ambient, with both fans spinning at 1500RPM. Decreasing the speed of the two 140x150mm PWM fans to 650RPM caused test temperatures to increase to 23.8°C over ambient, while noise output dropped to a whisper quiet 31.8 dBA.
Where LGA2011 Intel processors are considered, the Noctua NH-D15 heatsink is the best performing tower CPU cooler we've tested thus far, exceeded only by all-in-one liquid coolers.
The Noctua NH-D15 is a big heatsink, standing 162mm tall and a boxy 151x161mm wide, but it's an excellent thermal solution if your computer chassis can accommodate it.
Exactly how does the Noctua NH-D15 stack up?
On all three of Frostytech's synthetic thermal test platforms the Noctua NH-D15 heatsink offers the best, quietest cooling performance of the tower-class heatsinks we've thus tested. In other words, that means several all-in-one liquid cooler models do perform cooler than the NH-D15, but they're also much louder. The only two tower coolers which have a slight edge are also much louder.
As far as sub-162mm tall heatsinks go, well... the Noctua NH-D15 rises to the top of the list if we consider sub-54 dBA coolers only and it only outputs 49.8 dBA noise!
Compared to previous Noctua heatsinks like the NH-D14, the Noctua NH-D15 heatsink tested a little louder but performed 1.2°C cooler on the 150W test and ~0.3°C cooler on the 125W test platform.
With both it's 140mm fans slowed to 650RPM, which incidently is half the fan speed Noctua suggest with the supplied 1200RPM "Low Noise Adaptor" fan speed resistor, the NH-D15 heatsink offers very good thermal performance at essentially inaudible noise levels. On the 200W thermal test, the cooler does struggle under this restricted air flow situation, but the NH-D15's still manages to outperform a bunch of LGA2011 heatsinks.
Bottom line, Noctua's NH-D15 twin tower CPU cooler is an excellent heatsink for Intel and AMD platforms, particularly if a self-contained watercooling system isn't the direction you want to take your computer system. Highly recommended.
The Top 5 best heatsinks for low noise and low temperature are ranked here. For more reviews on the latest heatsinks and cooling solutions, rely on FrostyTech's inventory of 400+ heatsink reviews. Here are a few other articles that you might enjoy as well.
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