As it stands, Noctua has recently updated their whole line-up to offer the chromax.black treatment to their most popular products. Thus today we have the highly versatile dual tower heatsink D9L which is 3U compliant as well and the top down 65mm tall L9x65, the logical step-up from the L9 series.
Established in 2005, Noctua took international silent enthusiasts’ hearts by storm and quickly developed into one of the most acclaimed suppliers of premium quality quiet cooling products. Today, Noctua is present in more than 30 countries across the globe and working with several hundred sales partners. Chosen by noise-conscious PC users, system integrators and industry clients alike, Noctua has become synonymous with impeccable quality, excellent customer service and class-leading quiet cooling performance.
Designed in Austria, Noctua’s premium cooling components are internationally renowned for their superb quietness, exceptional performance and thoroughgoing quality. Having received more than 6000 awards and recommendations from leading hardware websites and magazines, Noctua’s fans and heatsinks are serving hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers around the globe.
Prices and Availability
The chromax.black variants have, historically, charged a 10 to £15 premium over the standard models. This is true for the D9L and the L9x65 respectively.
Presentation and Specifications
The NH-D9L chromax.black is is an all-black version of Noctua’s award-winning NH-D9L compact dual tower CPU cooler that has been designed to provide excellent quiet cooling performance at a height of only 110mm. Its comparably low profile (15mm lower than classic 9cm tower coolers such as the NH-U9S) doesn’t only guarantee full 3U compliance but also makes the NH-D9L ideal for compact HTPC and Small Form Factor cases that have airflow paths parallel to the mainboard. Thanks to its 95x95mm footprint, the NH-D9L clears the RAM and PCIe slots on all Intel based and most AMD based ITX mainboards. The included NF-A9 premium fan supports automatic speed control via PWM for outstanding quietness of operation and a second, optional NF-A9 fan can be added for further improved performance in dual fan mode. Topped off with the trusted, pro-grade SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system, Noctua’s proven NT-H1 thermal compound and full 6 years manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-D9L forms a highly compact premium package for space-restricted applications.
The NH-L9x65 chromax.black is an all-black version of the award-winning NH-L9x65 low-profile coolers, which covers a middle ground between the larger NH-L12 series and the ultra-compact NH-L9i and NH-L9a series, With 65 instead of 37mm height and four instead of two heatpipes, the NH-L9x65 is more powerful than its smaller siblings yet retains their 95x95mm footprint, which not only guarantees 100% RAM and PCIe compatibility on current motherboards but also makes the cooler more convenient to work with as it doesn’t overhang near-socket connectors. Thanks to the highly optimised NF-A9x14 premium fan that supports fully automatic speed control via PWM, the NH-L9x65 runs remarkably quiet. Topped off with the professional SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system for Intel and AMD, Noctua’s renowned NT-H1 thermal compound and 6 years manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-L9x65 fuses everything users have come to expect from Noctua’s larger coolers into a compact premium package for space restricted systems.
Packaging, livery and overall presentation is just spot-on when it comes to Noctua products. There is an OCD-like equilibrium of design cues, product presentation and specs that make their boxes stand out.
This time around, Noctua has even upgraded the inner protection to a more streamline design.
The accessory box is always the first thing you see as you open the packaging.
Both posses the newer upgraded offset brackets for the Secure Mount 2 system, for the AM5 CPUs, which have the CCX core clusters in a different location than the AM4 chips.
Furthermore, all the newer and major modern sockets are well supported.
The D9L offers clips for a second fan and even extra rubber pads for the heatsink for said 2nd fan.
The L9x65 is just 65mm tall (including the fan) as per its branding. The heatsink is composed of 4 nickel plated copper heatpipes which hold 50 aluminium fins. Seven of those fins are shorter to facilitate access to the securing bolts.
The contact plate is slightly convex and due to the milling process it doesn’t have a mirror finish.
As for the NF-A9x14 HS-PWM chromax.black 92mm slim fan, which is just 14 mm thick, it’s rated up to 2500 RPM, will push up to 57,5 m³/h of airlfow while not going over 23,6 dB(A) of noise output. It’s the same fan as in the L9 series and incorporates all the bells and whistles an advanced technology that Noctua has developed along the years. The list is composed by: SSO2 bearing (which means the rear magnet is placed closer to the axis to provide even better stabilization, precision and durability), custom-designed PWM IC with SCD (Smooth Commutation Drive which provides a smoother torque impulse, thus SCD suppresses PWM switching noises and makes the fan quieter at lower speeds).
Switching to the D9L, which is famous for its dual heatsink design. At just 110mm tall, this makes it 3U compliant as well. It has 35 aluminium fins per tower which are all hold into place via 4 copper nickle plated heatpipes.
The baseplate is also made from copper and nickleplated, with the same convex and almost mirror polish as the L9x65.
Lastly the Noctua NF-A9 PWM chromax.black is sandwiched between the towers. It;s a bit more powerful than the slim variants at 78,9 m³/h of airflow and with a lower max speed of 2000 RPM and noise output of 22,8 dB(A). Everything mentioned here posses a 6 years warranty.
The process is typically easier on the AMD sockets since there are less parts involved. The following steps are valid for both AM4 and AM5 sockets since they posses the same spacing.
Thus the first thing to do is to remove the stock plastic AMD brackets while retaining the motherboard backplate.
Bolt down the metal Noctua brackets.
If we zoom in, we notice that these are the new NM-AMB12b variants that offer the -7mm offset which strategically position the heatsink on the CCX clusters in the AM5 chips for even better cooling results. They are also marked for ‘South’ and ‘North’ since they are not interchangeable.
Apply the thermal paste and start to bolt down the heatsink.
Both the L9x65 and the D9L have only 2 securing spring-loaded screws. With the L9x65 you don’t need to remove the fan to access these bolts but you must on the D9L.
Also both have zero-interference around the socket area from any point of view or perspective. Only the D9L might need some extra checks required if you plan to install a second stock fan.
- The CPU cooler will be tested in 2 different scenarios with the help of the AMD Ryzen 7 2700 CPU, first at stock settings and then overclocked at 3.8 GHz for 1.30v
- The Noctua pair will be tested against the AMD Wraith Spire and some Alpenföhn coolers.
- As the main torture test, we will employ a 2 minute run in AIDA64
- Room temperature was recorded at ~20°C
- For the noise testing, we used our Pyle PSPL01 placed 30 cm away from the setup – all other fans will will be off or set at minimum RPM and a lav mic was places at the same distance for the audio sample
- Thermal paste used Noctua NH-H2
- All of the side panels will be attached, then the case’s fans are set to their lowest setting and finally the fans will be left on auto % RPM to simulate real life usage or manually adjusted and pointed out accordingly
- Any results over 90°C in any condition are considered a fail
– CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700
– RAM: 16GB DDR4 Crucial LPX Vengeance 3200 MHz CL16
– Motherboard: ASUS ROG STRIX B450-F Gaming II ATX @ BIOS 5102
– Boot SSD: Samung 870 EVO 1TB SATA III SSD
– Video card: MSI GTX 970 4G OC
– PSU: EVGA 600W W1 80+ ATX
– Case: be quiet! Pure Base 500 FX RGX ATX
– OS: Windows 10 Pro x64 Version 22H2
– NVIDIA Drivers – 546.17
– CPU-Z v1.95 – To verify the CPU’s and RAM’s statistics
– Core Temp v1.18 & HW Monitor v1.51 – To see the temperatures in real time
– AIDA64 Extreme v6.60 – Memory analysis and Benchmark suite
– MSI Afterburner v4.64 – To record the FPS and load/temperatures
– Cinebench R23 – Great overall CPU benchmark tool
– 3D/Game(s) – Rise of the Tomb Raider, set at 1080p, high quality settings, no V-Sync
Testing, Results and Analysis
The first series of tests come from Cinebench R23 which will put a serious load on the CPU while it renders a specific frame. Thus from left to right we have the stock and OC (3.8 GHz @ 1.30v) scenarios and from top to bottom we have the D9L and the L9x65 respectively.
The D9L has the best results on a single 92mm fan thanks to its dual tower heatsink. Plus the option down the line to add a second fan. As for the L9x65, which is basically the equivalent to the new Alpenfohn Panorama 2 top down cooler, albeit with a taller heatsink.
The 2 minute long AIDA64 stress test should impose the maximum workload just for the CPU, therefore we should get the highest stress scenario.
The overall story is unchanged, since this CPU is a true 65W rated chip which means in stock form, all of the 92mm CPU coolers will give very close results. Only in the OC scenario, only a minor reshuffling in the ranks occur.
If a CPU cooler manages to survive the torture tests, then a benchmark run in a gaming scenario, should be a walk in the park. Games are not as stressful as a synthetic torture tests but are a great indicator of real life usage.
The noise output test is an important challenge for any CPU cooler since if you can’t live with the noise, this negates any of the other advantages. Noctua is the baseline when it comes to noise output so we have excellent results. Since the L9x65 uses the same slim fan as the L9a, the output will be virtually identical. The D9L uses a standard size 92mm but it is still silent even in load.
Conclusion – NH-D9L
The D9L has always been in a class of its own since it offers the dual tower heatsink advantage over any other 92mm CPU cooler. The ability to attach a second fan and the 3U compliance (under 110mm in height) makes the D9L an incredible versatile air cooler from any point of view. Furthermore, Noctua has upgraded all of their products with the new offset option on the AM5 socket, which further improves the cooling output and of course it supports all of the modern sockets from Intel as well.
+ Maximum build quality
+ Great cooling & noise performance ratio
+ Ability to add a second fan
+ Zero interference all around the socket area
+ LGA1700 and AM5 socket ready (plus offset)
+ 6 years warranty
– If installation a second fan, this might affect the RAM area and/or the total height of the cooler
Glob3trotters “Long Term Investment & Versatile” Award – 5 out of 5
Conclusion – NH-L9x65
The L9x65, as the name suggests, is 65 instead of 37mm tall (including the fan) when compared to the L9 series. With four instead of two heatpipes, this makes it the next logical upgrade over said series if your case accepts the extra height. It is still a great upgrade over the AMD stock cooler in terms of overall cooling and noise performance and you can further upgrade it with any 92mm fan that you wish (albeit it’s hard to beat Noctua’s own NF-A9x14 HS or the A9 in terms of cooling to noise ratio).
+ Excellent build quality
+ Good cooling & noise output results
+ Zero interference all around the socket area
+ LGA1700 and AM5 socket ready
+ Ability to swap the stock fan with a standard (powerful) fan
+ 6 years warranty
– Massive competition currently from the new Alpenfohn Panaroma 2 which is cheaper and with a lower footprint