ReviewsCoolersNOCTUA NH-D15S Chromax Black Review

NOCTUA NH-D15S Chromax Black Review

The Noctua NH-D15S Chromax Black is inarguably one of the best air coolers available on the market. Let's find out just how good it really is.

NOCTUA NH-D15S Chromax Black

Verdict

We have no doubt in the capabilities of the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black based on its performance throughout our testing; we consider it a powerful champion among its competition and one of the best air coolers we have tested. The cooler also comes with a 6-year international guarantee, which adds to our faith in Noctua’s quality.
Tech4Gamers Recommended Award

Overall
95%
95%
  • Overclocking - 93%
    93%
  • Performance - 100%
    100%
  • Looks - 91%
    91%
  • Compatibility - 96%
    96%

Pros

  • Premium Quality
  • RAM Clearance
  • PCIe Clearance
  • Matte Black Finish
  • Silent NF-A15 Fan
  • Easy Installation

Cons

  • Size may be an issue for some

Noctua has released the chromax.black lineup in addition to their standard CPU cooling solutions. This series includes their well-known NH-D15S and NH-U9S in an all-black aesthetic for the fanatics. In this post, we’ll look at the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black and put it to the test. We had already reviewed the older Noctua NH D15, so take a look at that as well. This cooler has a strong following because, although being an air cooler, it offers thermal characteristics that are comparable to those of an AIO cooler. As a result, Noctua has now developed an all-blacked-out version. 

Here is our video review so you can get quick glance at the product.

YouTube video

Key Takeaways

  • The Noctua NH-D15S Chromax.Black is good for those looking for a high-end air cooler with extra RAM clearance, low noise levels, and a sleek all-black finish.
  • This cooler is not for individuals seeking a budget-friendly cooling solution, as it’s priced at around $100.
  • The best features of the cooler include its asymmetrical twin tower design for improved RAM and PCIe clearance, quality NF-A15 140mm fan, and support for a wide range of AMD and Intel sockets.

Before we jump into the review, let’s look at the specifications.

Noctua NH-D15S chromax.blac Specifications
Specifications

Packaging Box

Kicking off our review with unboxing – The package comes in a cubic box. The packaging has a glossy finish and the NH-D15S chromax.black branding on all sides.

Accessories

Let’s look at the accessories provided with the cooler.

Design

It’s time to examine the NH-D15S chromax.black in further detail.

Heatsink box NoctuaNH-D15S chromax.black
Heatsink box (Image by Tech4Gamers)

Let’s unbox!

Heatsink

We’ll start off with the heatsink.

The fan is already fitted between the two enormous heatsinks of the cooler and the cold plate is protected with a plastic cover. The cooler is massive, measuring roughly 160x150x135mm (HxWxD). These measurements are the same with a single 140mm fan, but they will alter if you add an extra fan later. With the single NF-A15 fan mounted, the cooler weighs roughly 1150 grams. The cold-plate is large enough to support a variety of Intel and AMD sockets (refer to the specifications sheet).

Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Top View
Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Top View

Looking at the cooler from the top, we see the Noctua branding on both towers. The NH-D15S chromax. Black comes with six heat pipes on either tower, so we see the tips of the heat pipes on top—featuring the dual tower design, the single NF-A15 fan is installed in between the towers. The asymmetrical arrangement is impressive on both towers, which also has a slight bend in the middle for reduced noise and air resistance. The cooler is entirely matte black which is why you have to be careful with fingerprints all over it. 

Both the front and back of the cooler have the same appearance. The heatsink is made up of 45 black metal fins. To improve RAM clearance, the heatsink towers are separated into two stages, each with 38 and 7 fins. We may look at the Heatpipe distribution to evaluate the asymmetrical design. The heat pipes are distributed more uniformly on the right side rather than bludging them on the left, which improves PCIe compatibility.

We can spot the six heat pipes at the bottom, connected by solder to the black heat pipes. They measure 6mm in thickness. The copper base measures 38x39mm, giving it broad socket compatibility. It has a gleaming nickel-plated finish and is safeguarded by the earlier mentioned plastic cover. The mounting plate is already screwed into place on the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black. Two spring-loaded screws are provided on both sides of the cooler to attach it to your Motherboard.

Fan

The Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black comes with a single NF-A15 140mm industry-graded fan. It comes already attached to the tower using all black fan clips. A set of extra fan clips are also provided to attach another fan in the future.

The fan measures 140x150x25mm and boasts PWM control, a Noctua SSO2 bearing, and a sleek all-black design with the CHROMAX logo and power ratings displayed on the back. It comes with anti-vibration cushions on all four sides, seven blades, and Flow Acceleration Channels on the suction side, ensuring top-notch airflow and minimal noise. The fan clip is attached using the screw holes on either side of the fan. In the accessories package, we also find an NA-RC7 cable to aid with low noise levels by lowering rotational speeds.

The fan has the follow specifications:

Dimension:  140x150x25mm
Speed RPM 300 ± 20% ~ 1500 ± 10%
Airflow (m³/h):  140.2
Noise [dB(A)]:  24.6
Voltage (V):  12
Current (A):  0.13
Power (W):  1.56

Installation:

The Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black is simple to set up. Ensure your CPU is clear of any prior paste residue before installing it. You may accomplish this by wiping some rubbing alcohol on top of it. Before you begin, double-check that you’re using the correct screws and brackets for your Socket.

  1. To begin, secure the bolts on the backplate with the NM-ICS1 clip-on spacers, then securely attach the backplate to your Motherboard in the proper location.
    Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Installation
    Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Installation
  2. Before installing the mounting bar, use the blue or black spacers to hold the rear plate in place. When installing the mounting bars, ensure you utilize the correct hole position for your CPU socket. The mounting bar can be mounted horizontally or vertically, with the curbed sides pointing outwards.
    Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Installation
    Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Installation
  3. Now attach the mounting bars and install with the four NM-ITS1 thumbscrews, making sure the connection is tight and firm (not too strong).
  4. Apply sufficient thermal paste to the cooler and position it on the mounting brackets with the fan removed. Secure the spring-loaded screws and tighten them using the screwdriver provided for easy access. Make sure the screws aren’t overtightened.
    Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Installation
    Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Installation
  5. Attach the fan to the cooler as previously, making sure it is facing the desired direction (airflow arrows can be seen on the side of the fan). Connect the fan to the 4-pin PWM connector once it’s been installed.
Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Installation
Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Installation

Clearance:

The single NF-A15 and the asymmetrical design give us a lot of space for clearance. The minimum RAM clearance is about 65mm, but if you want to install a second fan, it can drop down to 32mm with a 140mm or 52mm with a 120mm fan. 

With larger chases, like the Thermaltake View 71t in our case, we were able to have enough room for top fans, even with the cooler pointing up for PCIe clearance. Depending on your chassis, you may occasionally need to remove the top chassis fans. We also installed a massive Asus Strix RTX 3060 in the first slot because of the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black’s outstanding clearance capabilities.

Performance Tests

One thing that we had in our mind prior to Reviewing Noctua NH-D15S Chromax Black was to prove that NH-D15S chromax.black is indeed an award-winning cooler – we will have to put it to the test. The tests were not conducted on an open bench. As a result, the thermal values here apply to any user; however, keep in mind that the number of intake and exhaust fans may differ.

Test System

The Intel Core i7-10700K will be used in our testing with three distinct settings: stock @ 3.8Ghz, OC @ 4.7Ghz, and OC @ 5.0Ghz. The following are the remaining system specifications:

Testing Methodology

We utilized an Intel Core i7-10700K for this test and used the factory CPU settings of 3.8GHz at 100% load to put the cooler to the test. The second and third tests were performed with an OC stage of 4.7GHz and 5.0GHz, respectively. We wanted to see how well the Noctua NH-D15S performed in standard and high-end OC modes.

The stress tests were carried out with AIDA64 Extreme. We went with the Thermaltake View 71t instead of an open-bench setup. Three intake fans are located in the front of the Thermaltake View 71t, while one exhaust fan is located at the rear.

The Noctua NF-A15 fan is set to draw air out through the rear of the case fan. We put the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black against the EK AIO 240 D-RGB alongside the Noctua NH-D15 and other AIO coolers. 

Thermal Performance @ Stock 3.8GHz:

The cooler was initially tested on an Intel Core i7 10700K with its default settings. The Noctua NH-D15 and other AIO coolers were compared to the cooler. The graph below displays idle and under load thermals during the stress test. The Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black performs admirably in these conditions, though it does not outperform any of the other coolers, which is anticipated.

Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Thermal Performance @ Stock 3.8GHz
Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Thermal Performance @ Stock 3.8GHz

Thermal Performance @ OC 4.7GHz:

We then put the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black through its paces with the CPU overclocked to 4.7GHz. The Noctua NH-D15S outscored the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240 in idle mode while remaining close to the NH-D15 (Remember, the NH-D15 has two 140mm fans attached). The Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black lagged behind the NH-D15 throughout the stress test phase.

Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Thermal Performance @ OC 4.7GHz
Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Thermal Performance @ OC 4.7GHz

Thermal Performance @ OC 5.0GHz:

Finally, we pushed the cooler to its limits with a 5.0GHz OC phase on the CPU. In this OC phase, the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black looked impressive. It came extremely close to taking out the NH-15 and other liquid coolers in the competition.

Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Thermal Performance @ OC 5.0GHz
Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black Thermal Performance @ OC 5.0GHz

In all of these tests, the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black could not outperform the other coolers by a significant margin, although it did perform admirably with only one fan. It takes a special kind of achievement for an air cooler to almost surpass liquid coolers in an OC phase of 5.0GHz and the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black proved that it is without a doubt an award-winning cooler from Noctua.

Comparison With Other Premium Coolers

The Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black air cooler isn’t just any air cooler; it’s one of the most powerful air coolers on the market. The NH-D15S chromax.black will outperform any 120mm AIO while competing closely with 240mm AIOs. The Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black is not inexpensive, but it is comparable to a nice 240mm AIO.

Users must now select whether they want the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black or any other air/water cooler. The Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black stands out from competitors such as the Dark Rock Pro 4, EK AIO 240 D, and ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240 because of its unique characteristics, like the all-black aesthetic, low noise levels, and solid build quality. 

It is down to personal choice since some offer RGB and others suggest something else, but we know that the Noctua chromax.black with low noise levels, is a work of art.

Should You Buy It?

So… should you buy it!?

You Should Buy It If:

You want extra RAM clearance: If you have high-profile RAM modules and need a cooler that provides ample clearance for your RAM slots, the Noctua NH-D15S is an excellent choice due to its asymmetrical design.

You prefer low noise levels: This cooler is equipped with a quality NF-A15 fan for improved and quieter performance, making it ideal for users who prefer a quieter PC environment.

You want an all-black cooler: If you’re looking for a sleek and stylish cooler with an all-black exterior, the chromax.black version of the NH-D15S offers a visually appealing option for your build.

You Shouldn’t Buy It If:

You’re on a tight budget: The Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black is relatively expensive, so if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly cooling solution, you might want to explore other options.

You have limited space: This cooler, although not exceptionally heavy, is quite large in size. If your PC case has limited space, it may not fit comfortably, so consider the available space in your case before purchasing.

You don’t need the extra features: If you don’t require the specific features offered by the NH-D15S, such as the asymmetrical design for RAM clearance, and you’re content with a more basic cooler, you can opt for a simpler and less expensive cooling solution.

Final Remarks

The Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black, an award-winning cooler, stands out with its remarkable build quality and thermal performance. This cooler boasts an all-black design identical to the previous NH-D15S, featuring an asymmetrical twin tower for excellent PCIe and RAM compatibility. Surprisingly, despite its substantial heatsink, it remains remarkably lightweight. With a sleek all-black exterior and a 6-year international warranty, this cooler deserves all the praise.

It includes a quality NF-A15 140mm fan for enhanced and quieter cooling. Compatible with a wide range of AMD and Intel sockets, this cooler features an all-black aluminum heatsink with six heat pipes. The copper base plate is highly polished, and it comes with two spring-loaded screws pre-fitted on the mounting plate. While it comes with a single NF-A15 fan, additional fan clips are included for customization, allowing for a balance between RAM clearance and cooling performance. Priced at approximately $100, the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black is the ideal choice for those looking for superb cooling performance but don’t want to go with liquid cooling.

Thank you to Noctua for giving out their chromax.black NH-D15S. 

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