Noctua NH-L9i CPU Cooler Review
Noctua is company known for high quality and excellent performing CPU coolers and fans. It’s safe to say that most of their product line is aimed at the high end user who wants to push their system or CPU to the limits. Enthusiasts, or overclockers they would be called, and that’s all fine and good if you’re that type of person, Noctua certainly has a cooler for you that will keep your CPU cool even under overclocked conditions. What happens if you’re not one of those types of people? What about those who really don’t care much about overclocking, or those that much prefer an SFF or HTPC style system? Your choices are pretty limited when it comes to choosing a CPU cooler that is quiet and yet performs well and one that’s high quality. Noctua has a solution for you now, they’ve ventured into making coolers made for more cramped systems, and they’ve brought all of their knowledge and skills from making enthusiast style coolers to do this so you can expect a top-notch product . They’ve come out with two of these coolers, one of which I have for review today called the NH-L9i, where the ‘I’ in the name stands for Intel, the other cooler is the NH-L9a which is for AMD CPUs specifically. So I have the NH-L9i for review and I’ve put it up against a larger Noctua cooler for comparison as I was curious to see how well this tiny cooler would perform. So Read on…
Product Name: Noctua NH-L9i CPU Cooler
Author: Kristofer Brozio
Tech Specs,Features or the Basic Info
The NH-L9i is a premium quality quiet CPU cooler for Intel LGA115x based HTPCs and Small Form Factor systems. At a super-low profile of only 37mm, the NH-L9i is ideal for extremely slim cases and due to its 95x95mm footprint, it provides full compatibility with tall RAM modules and VGA cards on mini-ITX mainboards. The custom designed SecuFirm2 mounting system for LGA115x makes installation a child’s play and thanks to the highly optimized NF-A9x14 premium fan that supports fully automatic speed control via PWM, the NH-L9i runs remarkably quiet. Topped off with Noctua’s renowned NT-H1 thermal compound, the NH-L9i fuses everything users have come to expect from Noctua’s larger coolers into a super-compact package for slim HTPC systems.
Caution: The NH-L9i is a highly-compact low-profile quiet cooler designed for use in small form factor cases and HTPC environments. While it provides first rate performance in its class, it is not suitable for overclocking and should be used with care on CPUs with more than 65W TDP (Thermal Design Power). Please consult our TDP guidelines to find out whether the NH-L9i is recommended for your CPU.
37mm low profile
Due to the slim 23mm heatsink and the NF-A9x14 low profile fan that measures only 14mm in thickness, the NH-L9 stands a mere 37mm tall, which makes it ideal for use in compact HTPCs or Small Form Factor cases that offer minimum clearance for CPU coolers.
100% RAM compatibility
The NH-L9i has a 95x95mm footprint that complies exactly to the Intel LGA115x socket keep-out zone. This means that it won’t cause issues with chipset coolers and doesn’t overhang the RAM slots, so it’s fully compatible with tall memory modules.
100% compatibility with PCIe cards on mini-ITX
Most Intel LGA115x based mini-ITX mainboards have the PCIe slot sitting right next to the 95x95mm socket zone. While larger coolers that exceed this zone are likely to block the PCIe slot, the 95x95xmm sized NH-L9i provides full compatibility with PCIe cards.
NF-A9x14 PWM premium fan
The highly optimized NF-A9x14 premium fan features Noctua’s proprietary AAO frame as well as sophisticated aerodynamic design measures. Supporting PWM for fully automatic speed control, the NF-A9x14 allows the NH-L9i to stay remarkably quiet.
Allowing to reduce the maximum speed of the NF-A9x14 fan from 2500 to 1800rpm, the included Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.) makes it possible to achieve near-silent setups using CPUs with less than 65W TDP.
Custom-designed SecuFirm2 mounting for LGA115x
The NH-L9i bundles a custom-designed, backplate-less SecuFirm2 mounting system for LGA115x that offers extended compatibility with mini-ITX boards and makes installation easier than ever, all while maintaining the trusted SecuFirm2 quality.
NT-H1 thermal compound
Noctua’s much-acclaimed NT-H1 is a well proven pro-grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease-of-use and outstanding reliability.
6 years manufacturer’s warranty
Noctua products are renowned for their impeccable quality and outstanding longevity. Like all Noctua fans, the supplied NF-A9x14 features an MTBF rating of more than 150.000 hours and the entire NH-L9i package comes with a full 6 years manufacturer’s warranty.
Socket compatibility: LGA1150, LGA1155, LGA1156
Height (without fan): 23 mm
Width (without fan) : 95 mm
Depth (without fan) : 95 mm
Height (with fan): 37 mm
Width (with fan): 95 mm
Depth (with fan): 95 mm
Weight (without fan): 345 g
Weight (with fan): 420 g
Material: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Fan compatibility: 92x92x14mm, 92x92x25mm
Scope of Delivery:
NF-A9x14 PWM premium fan
Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
SecuFirm2 Mounting Kit
Screws for 92x92x25mm fans
Noctua Metal Case-Badge
Warranty: 6 Years
Model: Noctua NF-A9x14 PWM
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%): 2500 RPM
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%): 1800 RPM
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM): 300 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: 2,52 W
Voltage Range: 12 V
MTBF: > 150.000 h
Price: $49.91 from Amazon at time of review