Here's the spec:
135(L) x 150(W) x 160(H)mm
161(L) x 150(W) x 165(H)mm
1000g(Heatsink), 1320g(With Fans)
2x NF-A15 PWM Fans
LGA2011 (Square ILM) & 115X sockets
AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1 FM2, FM2+(backplate required)
With 45 total fins, the 7 fins represent 15.5% of the total fin stack and basic maths therefore dictate that surface area may have only been lowered by 6.2% to make this enormous cooler compatible with tall ram modules on both sides. This wont directly translate into 6.2% performance decrease and won't be a true number as not every section of the fan and therefore heatsink, performs as well as the others, and I am sure Noctua have a more accurate figure but this just gives you some sort of idea.
So while it IS hard to love aesthetically, you just DO love it. There's no pomposity about it like you see with other coolers. It's not trying to make a statement in any aspect of its design because being a Noctua product its made to prove it through its actions and performance. This is reflected in the way Noctua advertises their products or lack thereof. In their mind the performance speak for itself and I suppose they definitely have a point when it comes to their products.
In summary as far as the dual fan set up goes it's not perfect, the low/normal mounting of the outside fan is affected by the high clearance cut out on the fin stack so the bottom half of the NF-A15's anti-vibration mount barely even touches the fan, this can be annoying when mounting it. It also will lower clearance the lower you have the fan though you can position the fan at any height you want.
Before I move on to talk specifically about the topic of compatibility, here are a few final points I want to make about the cooler. On the heatsink sample I received the bends in the heatpipe down at the base seemed a little more 'stressed' in appearance than I'm used to, if this was in a more visible area I would take issue but gladly it's not so aesthetics won't be affected. With fan mounting we get this dual layered system with two sets of spikes. I am not sure exactly what the purpose is for having two sets of spikes and whether or not this is just an aesthetic feature but in regards to fan mounting, the system of having quick mounting clips is both efficient and well, it works. On the NH-D15 we don't see any anti-vibration mounts though like we saw on the NH-D14, this I believe is simply down to the fact they have move this feature over to the fans. Fin density is something I have also noticed is different. To Noctua coolers I have reviewed at least. At 12 FPI this is quite a lot less than the 17 we see on the NH-L9i and slightly less than the 13 on the NH-L12. Being a larger cooler this means air flows more smoothly, with less restriction allowing for
In our test bench, having both the Gigabyte Z87N-WIFI and the BitFenix Prodigy means that if we were to use an air cooler of any size we would block the expansion slot and if we use our SilverStone TD02(our stock cooler) we have to remove the 5.25" drive bay and the majority of the 3.5" drive bays. Shockingly it seem as though Noctua's NH-D15 was specifically built for our set up. Sadly while we still lose out on the expansion slot which is not Noctua's fault, we can still fit EVERYTHING else in! there is only a few millimetres between every component but when orientated in a vertical position, the preferred orientation for air cooling in the prodigy, we can fit all our drive bays and the second NF-A15 fan. I have never ever been so impressed with how perfect a product fits into a system than I have been with the NH-D15 here. See the photo's below for proof, note we had taken the second fan off during some of the photo's but it does fit, exhausting warm air out the left side panel if you use the non-windowed panel.
I couldn't have asked for a more perfect example for this review than this, it sums up perfectly that you can't just write off products because they are big and you don't think it will fit. This product is MORE compatible than any 240mm water cooler that is a definite fit in the Prodigy. When looking for coolers you need to actually study your own set-up and figure out what you're limitations are and where. For example if you want both a graphics card and this cooler you may have to change the motherboard in this scenario. It's all specific to your scenario and I feel I have drilled that in enough here.
We had absolutely no trouble fitting the NH-D15 at all though on a standard ATX board you may still come into problems with vertical orientation and the first expansion slot on your board.
Still discussing noise levels, the NH-D15 was similar to Noctua's other coolers and quieter by far than both the stock cooler and the TD02.
The problem Noctua are giving the rest of the market is value for money. No other coolers on the market are able to offer their coolers with Noctua fans so if you want Noctua fans you might end up paying double overall compared to buying a Noctua cooler with their fans already factored in. This cooler is already cheaper by quite a bit compared to water coolers that will perform the same and as we saw, even the slightly more expensive although substantially better looking TD02 needed its fans replacing to compete on noise and only performed a little better at stock than the D15 did.
We gave Noctua's NH-D15 a total rating of 89/100 meaning it receives our SILVER AWARD and was only one point shy of our GOLD. The D15 really is Noctua's golden child and is clearly going to continue the NH-D14's legacy of being an ever present competitor in the cooling industry for years to come.
Features & Compatibility:
Aesthetics & Packaging:
Value For Money: