Noctua NH-D15S – Test and Review

Noctua NH-D15S was officially announced just a few weeks before the Computex 2015 exhibition and is actually the latest arrival in the D series part of the company portfolio. The cooler itself is meant to deliver the same performance as his big brother Noctua NH-D15, which we already tested back in 2014 and to provide even better compatibility with the modern ATX, micro ATX and most of all mini ITX motherboards than its predecessor.

I already have the cooler ready to be tested and reviewed and I am really curious about the performance of this product while cooling my AMD FX-8350 processor at default, a bit overclocked and a bit more overclocked frequencies.

But of course, let’s first pay some attention to the package in which the cooler was delivered to me.

 Front side of the box  Back side of the box
IMG_0319 IMG_0321

 

The cooler itself was provided to me to perform a test and review in the typical for the company very massive and rigid carton box. The package itself is painted in the standard white, black and dark brown colours forming the very distinctive for Noctua colour scheme. The package itself features some technical details regarding the product on the front side of the box, while the full technical specifications and the additional information regarding the technologies used so this cooler can be created are located on the other sides, of course in several languages.

A package which looks pretty nice but for now let’s check the contents inside of it.

 First look inside of the box  The additional carton package
IMG_0323 IMG_0328

 

After I opened the Noctua NH-D15S′s package, the first thing to notice were the cooler carefully packed in additional carton package in the middle of the outer box and right next to it there was the only one, which is not typical for Noctua, carton box holding all of the additional accessories. Of course, both of the carton boxes are made of recycled carton and protected from all sides by pretty thick Styrofoam sheets. And as you can see from the pictures above, the guys from the company did their best to deliver the cooler in perfect condition.

And this is the view, which I got after I took both the cooler and the accessories pack out of the carton bed.

IMG_0330

As always, let’s start checking what is inside the accessories pack.

 

Noctua NH-D15s ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES

Typically for Noctua, the accessories pack is made to deliver maximum information located on the top part of the box describing the accessories, their quantity and their purpose. All of the additional accessories provided with the cooler were separately packed in small nylon bags to ensure that all of the parts will be in perfect condition. Of course, all of them were arranged inside the carton box according to their purpose. After I took all of the accessories out of their packages and arranged them for taking some pictures, this is the view I got.

IMG_0332

The standard Noctua NH-D15S package offers:

  1. Black metal back plate required for all Intel sockets
  2. 2 x front silver plates for all Intel sockets
  3. A set of four plastic tubes to stay between the motherboard and the front plates for LGA 115x sockets
  4. A set of 4 nuts to fasten the front plate to the 4 long bolts
  5. A set of 4 LGA 2011 screw pillars for LGA 2011 socket
  6. Intel LGA 115x installation manual
  7. Intel LGA 2011 installation manual
  8. 2 x front silver brackets for all AMD sockets
  9. A set of four plastic tubes to stay between the motherboard and the front plates for all AMD sockets
  10. A set of four long bolts to fasten the AMD mounting kit to the original AMD backplate
  11. AMD installation manual
  12. A Noctua NT-H1 premium thermal compound syringe
  13. 1 x 4-pin PWM Low-Noise Adapter (L.N.A.) sleeved in black
  14. 2 x additional metal fan clips for installing a second fan
  15. Noctua Metal Case-Badge
  16. A screwdriver to install the cooler on every modern socket
  17. 1 x NF-A15 PWM premium fan

As always, the accessories pack of Noctua CPU cooler is rich enough to provide a lot of options and to be compatible with all modern sockets and processors. Also, all of the major installation accessories are made of solid metal and are meant to deliver solid link between the processor and the cooler and most of all stable and reliable performance. I believe the time to make things more interesting and check the cooler’s structure has arrived.

As always, let’s start with the heat sink.

 

Noctua NH-D15s HEAT SINK STRUCTURE

After I got the cooler in my hand for the first time I spent some time enjoying the cooler’s structure and according to what I saw I should say that it offers pretty similar structure to its predecessor with one main difference. This model is actually has a structure which is symmetrical to the contact plate and is especially designed for the smaller motherboards with dimensions according to the standards of micro ATX or mini ITX. Of course, the product itself is designed as a twin tower cooler featuring two pretty thick towers, just a single 150mm cooling fan and the SecuFirm2™ mounting kit.

As always, let’s start with the contact plate, which is the component of the heat sink with the most important role for the actual cooling.

 The contact plate  Asymmetrical design
IMG_0344 IMG_0343

 

Noctua NH-D15S is designed with a perfectly milled, nickel coated contact plate with dimensions of 38 x 40 mm made of copper holding in line the 6 x Ø6mm U-shaped copper heat pipes, which are asymmetrical to the contact plate. As you can see from the pictures above, the heat pipes are soldiered to the contact plate without a direct contact with the processor and are nicely finished with a nickel coating, too.

Apart from that the heat pipes are bent from the center to one of the sides of the cooler which will move the aluminum fins stacks further away from the graphic cards and will cover the top side of the motherboard, which overall will increase the compatibility with mini ITX motherboards.

And by mentioning the fin stacks, let’s check out the two tower structure.

Side view  Front view
IMG_0339 IMG_0341

 

Noctua NH-D15S is designed as a twin tower heat sink featuring two absolutely identical towers with dimensions of 102 mm (H) x 150 mm (W) x 50 mm (D) each and overall dimensions of the radiator of 160 mm (H) x 150 mm (W) x 135 mm (D) and weight of 1150g including the fan.

Each tower of the cooler offers 45 nickel coated aluminum fins, which are 1mm thick and with 2 mm fin gap. As always for the brand, the top fin, in this case the 45th, is not only for performance but is also used to hold the engraved company logo and boost the overall appearance of the cooler. Also for this model, the first 7 fins counted from the bottom are 1/3 cut from the outer side so the heat sink doesn’t block any of the VRM heat sinks or DRAM slots on the motherboard, especially if the cooler is used with Intel 2011 socket or inside a system with memories cooled by taller heat spreaders.

And by mentioning the fan let’s talk about it.

The fan brackets  Noctua NF-A15 PWM 
IMG_0346 IMG_0349

 

Noctua NH-D15 is designed to to operate and is supplied with only one Noctua NF-A15 PWM fan with dimensions of 140 x 150 x 25 mm featuring the typical for the company colours, which for the round frame is light pink, while for the propeller and the rubber dampers it is brown. The fan itself is equipped with the typical for Noctua patented AAO technology to boost the overall performance, Flow Acceleration Channels  leading to increased performance and focusing the air while decreasing the noise level from the air passing through the propeller and last but not least the SSO2 bearing offering nice and smooth operation of the fan with up to 150 000 hours life span. With all these features the fan is made to operate at maximum speed of 1500 (+/- 10%) revolutions per minute, delivering maximum airflow level of 140,2 m³/h at maximum noise level of 24,6 dB(A).

And to install the fan I had to add the 2 metal clips to the fan and after that attach the fan to the heatsink between the two towers.

And this is what the cooler looks like with the fan installed.

IMG_0354

After I installed the fan between the two towers I noticed that NH-D15S offers the same structures as the previous model and again there is a gap between the fan and the front tower. Also when the fan is installed it moves the air beneath the towers and boosts the cooling for the elements around the socket and especially the VRMs.

With the fan ready to be installed, let’s check the mounting kit and proceed with the tests. According to the official technical details, the cooler is compatible with:

  1. Intel sockets: LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150
  2. AMD sockets:  AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (the original motherboard back plate will be required)

To do the tests I will use the typical for Noctua AMD brackets and these are the parts needed so the cooler can be installed on my motherboard:

IMG_0336

As always, first thing to do is to check the AMD installation manual, read the instructions carefully and pick up the right accessories for the actual socket… And as always with Noctua it is child’s play.

IMG_0357

In this case there is nothing much to prepare, since the backplate is the original provided with the motherboard and all I should do is install it and fasten the front brackets.

 The plastic tubes added   The front brackets fastened
IMG_0359 IMG_0360

 

And of course, the last step was to add thermal compound and secure the heat sink to the processor

And this is what the heatsink looks like installed on the motherboard:

 Heatsink seen from the front/side Heatsink seen from the side
IMG_0362 IMG_0365

 

The complete cooler installed on the motherboard…

IMG_0366

As you can see from the pictures above, with the heatsink installed on the motherboard the cooler is not blocking any of the DRAM slots and can be used even with memories with taller heat spreaders. Of course, if a second or third fan is installed then there will be some compatibility issues.

And this is what the cooler looks like installed on the motherboard and inside the case ready for testing.

IMG_0370

The cooler is just plain massive and fits in perfectly inside my case. Also it is pretty away from my first PCIX x 16 slot.

Since the cooler is installed and ready to face the tests I believe it is time to check my testing rig and continue the article.

 

Noctua NH-D15s TESTS

CPU: AMD Vishera FX-8350

  1. At standard frequency 4.020 MHz (at 1.356V)
  2. At low overclock frequency of 4.220 MHz  (at 1.380V)
  3. At medium overclock frequency of 4.420 MHz (at 1.416V)

Motherboard: GigaByte 990FXA-UD3

Video card: 2 x Gigabyte GV-R927XOC-2GD

Memory: 2 x 4GB Geil Black Dragon 1866 MHz

Hard drive: Kingston SSD SV100S264G

Hard drive:  WD Server Edition WD1002F9YZ 1TB

Case: SilverStone Raven RV-03

Power supply: Antec HCP-750W

Cooler: Noctua NH-D15S

Thermal paste: Noctua NT-H1 thermal compound

For this test and review I am going to use the standard NF-A15 PWM fan working at full speed of 1500 revolutions per minute providing airflow level of 140,2 m³/h at noise level of 24,6 dB(A).

The tests will be conducted in a closed system with:

  1. 2 x SilverStone AP181 – 180mm fans on the bottom panel of the case putting fresh air in and spinning at about 1200 rpm
  2. 120mm fan behind the motherboard cooling the socket and spinning at about 2000 rpm.
  3. Room temperature of about 19 degrees.

Both SilverStone AP181 – 180mm fans were connected together to the chassis 1 connector and were rotating at maximum speed.

And here I want to describe my testing method.

I will install Noctua NH-D15S and do stress tests using Prime95 AVX software with constant load on the cooler for 14:30 minutes with custom settings of minimum FFT size (in K of 128), max FFT size (in K of 128) and Run FFTs in place at standard frequency of 4.020 GHz (at 1.356V), at low overclock frequency of 4.220 GHz (at 1.380V) and at medium overclock frequency of 4.420 GHz (at 1.416V) using just the standard NF-A15 PWM fan working at maximum speed.

Now let’s check out the test results:

Noctua NH-D15s @4020MHz 1.356V Noctua NH-D15s @4220MHz 1.380V
Noctua NH-D15s @4020MHz 1.356V Noctua NH-D15s @4220MHz 1.380V
 Noctua NH-D15s @4420MHz 1.416V
Noctua NH-D15s @4420MHz 1.416V

 

All of the test results have been summed up in the following charts:

Results T

And the fans speed during the tests:

Results S

I believe the time to express my feelings and thoughts regarding the product has arrived.

 

Noctua NH-D15s CONCLUSIONS

1. Noctua NH-D15S performance:

After I spent some time unpacking, reviewing the accessories pack, enjoying the cooler’s structure and having some fun with the product through the tests I can say that the new arrival in the series is a worthy product, which will definitely deliver a lot of cooling options, guaranteed by the asymmetrical design, even for machines based on small form factor motherboards and cases.

Noctua NH-D15S itself is just a massive product, of course designed to deliver smart and reliable design and to provide outstanding performance. The cooler itself is build from very high quality materials such as pure copper contact plate and heatpipes, pretty thick aluminum fins and all together finished and protected by shiny nickel coating. Of course, the heat sink itself is cooled by a very high tech fan meant to provide a very serious airflow, while working at extremely low noise level. And this combination together to provide the supreme cooling for every processor from both Intel and AMD manufacturers.

Through the tests the fan was delivering a steady and reliable airflow with a very tiny noise from the air passing through the propeller, and after the tests when I set the fan to be PWM powered and regulated it was dead quiet no matter how stressed the processor was through daily usage and casual gaming.

With these test results I believe the cooler is a very good option to be installed on every motherboard and to cool every modern processor especially those used with mini ITX motherboards.

 

2. Noctua NH-D15S appearance:

Well, there isn’t much to say about the cooler’s appearance apart from the very serious dimensions, which will inspire the feeling of reliability and trust in the product, combined with the typical for the company colour scheme featuring silver/pink/brown colours, which definitely make the cooler an eye catcher and worthy addition inside every modern case.

According to my review, I think that Noctua NH-D15S deserves the following reward:

Best-Perf-Silence1

Official price (MSRP) for Noctua NH-D15S:  79.90 euro

Official warranty: 60 months

Special thanks to Noctua for providing us with a test sample.

Noctua NH-D15S – Test and Review
7.9 Total Score
Amazing performance combined with great compatibility.

Performance
10
Noise level
10
Compatibility
10
Additional accessories
10
User Rating: 2.9 (4 votes)

Dobrin Krastev is the owner, reviewer and newsman of www.DVTests.com with more than 15 years' experience in personal computers, server and storage systems, UPS, peripheral devices and software. Passionate about testing and reviewing, AMD overclocking using AM3 990FXA and AMD FM2 A85X test systems and building modding projects.
1 Comment
  1. Reply Dimcho 03.08.2015 at 9:53

    Haven’t expected less than 10/10 from Noctua’s top cooler 🙂 Although I’m not a fan of such a massive “twin tower”, can’t say anything bad for this one – it’s simply awesome.

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