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Face-Off: The Kraken X61, Reserator 3 Max Dual, And NH-D15

Noctua NH-D15

I love that big air coolers are so easy to manage via motherboard firmware. No additional software is needed; today's platforms continuously monitor temperatures and fan speed. The ones we test with are even able to control the fans, adjusting rotational velocity down to the quietest level needed to maintain a preset thermal ceiling.

The NH-D15 itself is a creation of beauty and majesty, towering 6.4” above the CPU and covering roughly the footprint of a mini-ITX motherboard. Noctua ships it with enough hardware to fit both versions of LGA 2011, all versions of LGA 115x and all AMD motherboards that include a four-hole backplate on the factory retention bracket. Previous high-end sockets require additional back plates. Check with Noctua for availability.

The NH-D15’s solid copper base is polished to a semi-smooth finish prior to nickel plating. The finish is almost perfect for keeping thermal compound in place without requiring a thick film of the stuff. I could go on with specs like soldered-on fins and six heat pipes, but I’d rather focus on test results than pontificate about how those things will affect them.

LGA 2011 installations thread bundled standoffs into the motherboard’s integrated support mechanism. LGA 1150 users will find an included backplate with studs and spacers to accomplish the same task, while owners of AMD CPUs are stuck threading individual screws through their board’s original backplate and Noctua’s spacers. The standoffs or spacers are topped with cross brackets that are held in place by knurled cap nuts.

Did you spot the studs that protruded from the cross bracket two photos above? Spring-loaded nuts clipped to the cooler’s factory-installed bracket (three images above) thread over those studs. The springs provide very firm pressure to assure level seating of the cooler base against the CPU’s heat spreader.

  • tom10167
    Nice article, though the NH-D14 at only $75 seems like the best value.
    Reply
  • F0lterknecht
    Would have liked to see the numbers for push/pull on the AIOs :-(

    Take 4 reference coolers and you can stick 2 of them to the NH-D15 to keep the noise measurements fair ... .
    Reply
  • F0lterknecht
    I mean 4 fans ofc
    Reply
  • F0lterknecht
    I mean 4 fans ofc
    Reply
  • op8
    which is why I always use test bench style cases so you dont have to worry about warping during transport.
    Reply
  • Amdlova
    put another Fans on the noctua and blow away those water coolers. Noctua make good products. And you never will move your cage with this heavy weight 760T If wanna move something you will spend money on Alluminium (silver stone, lian li, etc).

    1 kg of cooler for 12kg of corsair monster.
    Reply
  • op8
    which is why I always use test bench style cases so you dont have to worry about warping during transport.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    14769014 said:
    put another Fans on the noctua and blow away those water coolers. Noctua make good products. And you never will move your cage with this heavy weight 760T If wanna move something you will spend money on Alluminium (silver stone, lian li, etc).

    1 kg of cooler for 12kg of corsair monster.

    It weighs less than the Aluminium case to which is was compared:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/atx-pc-cases-caselabs-merlin-sm8-corsair-graphite-760t-thermaltake-urban-t81,3865.html

    Reply
  • middlemarkal
    where is the thermaltake ultimate ?
    Reply
  • envy14tpe
    Not a fan of liquid cooling but results like these are getting me to come around. However, the noise and price are the last two things that need to be fixed.

    I mean Corsair's top coolers, H100i or H105, are getting fans replaced which adds $$$. I'd rather put more money into the mobo or consider a custom loop at that point. Really wish the H100i was included in trial. None the less, keep up the great articles.
    Reply