ReviewsCoolersNoctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU Air Cooler Review

Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU Air Cooler Review

Having put numerous coolers to the test, I recently had the opportunity to try out the Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black. Today, I'm excited to share my comprehensive review, focusing on its thermal performance, ease of installation, clearance, and overall design.

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Review Summary

The Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU cooler excels in compact builds, fitting perfectly in 3U server cases and small form factor setups with a 110mm clearance. It efficiently handles up to 160W loads, providing reliable cooling. Its stylish dual-tower design and compatibility with multiple Intel and AMD sockets make it a standout choice, though it’s priced at USD 74.90. If you prioritize form and function in a compact cooler, this is an excellent option.

Hours Tested: 5
Tech4Gamers Recommended Award

Overall
8.6/10
8.6/10
  • Quality - 9/10
    9/10
  • Design - 9/10
    9/10
  • Performance - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Features - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value - 8.5/10
    8.5/10

Pros

  • Thermal Performance
  • Black Color Theme
  • Convenient Installation
  • 110mm Height
  • Universal RAM Clearance
  • 6-Year Warranty

Cons

  • The fan is a bit loud.

I have tested the Noctua NH-L9x65 chromax.black CPU air cooler in the last content. This time, I am looking at NH-D9L chromax.black which is a dual tower configuration but with an overall height of 110mm, making it an ideal fit for 3U size server cases as well as SFF/HTPC builds that have clearance for this cooler.

This cooler is compatible with Intel LGA1851/1700/1200/115x/20xx sockets and AMD AM4/AM5 sockets. It is the same as a regular edition, but it is finished in black. It comes with a 92x92x25mm NF-A9 PWM chromax.black fan.


Key Takeaways

  • The Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU cooler is a compact and stylish cooling solution designed for 3U server cases and small form factor builds with a 110mm clearance, delivering efficient cooling performance for loads up to approximately 160W.
  • You should get the Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black if you like black aesthetics and want a performance-packed small form factor cooler that does not exceed 110mm in height.
  • You should not get the Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black if you are low on cash or your case can handle a 120mm AIO.

The salient specifications include:

Dimension with fan 95x95x110mm (WxDxH)
Dimension without fan 95x95x110mm (WxDxH)
Net Weight 531 g
Fan Compatibility 92x92x25mm
Warranty 6 Years
Fan NF-A9x14 PWM chromax.black
Bearing SSO2
Max Speed 2000 RPM ± 10%
Min Speed 400 RPM ± 20%
Airflow 78.9 m³/h
Noise Level 22.8 dB(A)
MTTF > 150,000 hours

Packaging And Unboxing

Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU Air Cooler — Packing Box 1024x96
Packing Box (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Noctua ships this cooler in a standard cardboard box in Noctua’s standard chromax theme. The following are included in the box:

  • 1x Heatsink
  • 1x Fan
  • 1x NM-IBP4 Intel Backplate
  • 2x NM-IMB2 Intel Mounting Bars
  • 4x NM-ICS1 Intel Clip-On Spacers
  • 4x NM-STS1 Thumb Screws
  • 4x NM-IBT5 Intel Bolts
  • 4x NM-IPS1 Black Spacers for Intel LGA115x/1200
  • 4x NM-IPS3 Blue Spacers for Intel LGA1700
  • 1x NM-AMB121 AMD Mounting Bar
  • 1x NM-AMB12b AMD Mounting Bar
  • 4x NM-APS4 AMD Grey Spacers
  • 4x NM-ALS1 AMD Long Screws
  • 1x NT-H1 Thermal paste
  • 1x Screw Driver
  • 1x NA-RC7 LN Adapter [Low Noise]
  • 1x Noctua Badge
  • 1x User Guide

Design

Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU Air Cooler — Featured Picture 1024x93
The Cooler In All Its Glory (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The NH-D9L chromax.black is a black edition of a regular NH-D9L. It has an overall dimension of 95x95x110mm. This dimension is the same as with the fan. It weighs 531 g. I was checking its NSRP, which is 88. This is Noctua’s way of grading its coolers according to thermal potential.

Heatsink Design

The front and rear sides are identical in layout. Each tower has 35 aluminum fins. Combining both towers, this count is 70 fins. Noctua is using a mixed pattern on the border of these fins. We can spot triangular-shaped columns as well as straight-line designs towards both ends.

The left and right sides are identical as well. You can see that the fins have joints on these sides. Both ends have insets or cutouts which are used to secure the fan clips. The overall build quality is good, and I did not observe any loose or broken fin joints. The width of each tower is 33mm.

At the top, we can see the terminating tips of the heat pipes over the top fin. These heat pipes are placed inside the heatsink at equal distances providing maximum coverage for effective heat transfer. There is a Noctua branding in the middle.

Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU Air Cooler — Mounting Plate e1705764189784 1024x85
Mounting Plate (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The mounting brackets are pre-installed on the plate above the base. These are removable so that you can use Noctua’s new Torx-based mounting hardware. Two spring-loaded screws are pre-installed.

I am showing the mounting brackets from the screw side in the above picture. Removing these brackets is simple. This cooler comes with 4x copper heat pipes. These pipes are soldered to the base. They are also black color spray coated. Each pipe is 65mm thick. This is not a direct contact design. Instead, these pipes make contact under the base.

Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU Air Cooler — Base 1024x102
Base (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black has a nickel-plated copper base like NH-L9x65, which I tested earlier. The base has a mirrored chrome finish. It measures approximately 38×40 mm.

NF-A9 PWM chromax.black Fan

This cooler comes with a 25mm thick fan in 92×92 size. It is named NF-A9 PWM chromax.black. It is a black edition of a regular NF-A9 PWM fan. It has 7x blades with layered or striped surfaces for maximum airflow. There are cut-to-size anti-vibration pads on the mounting corners. The frame is AAO designed to work in tandem with flow acceleration channels on the blades.

Looking at the backside of the fan, you can spot a 4-arms assembly. Each arm is less wide than the NF-A9x14 HS-PWM chromax.black fan that I tested on NH-L9x65 chromax.black. These arms are rounded, indicating a focused flow. This fan is rated for 0.1A at 12VDC generating a 1.2W power draw.

PRO TIP: For even better cooling performance, consider adding a second fan using the provided fan clips, although you’ll need to purchase an extra fan separately.
Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU Air Cooler — Fan 3 1024x87
Fan (Image By Tech4Gamers)

There are arrow markers on the frame of this fan. These indicate the direction of airflow through the fan and the direction in which blades would spin.

Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU Air Cooler — Fan 4 1024x73
4-pin PWM connector (Image By Tech4Gamers)

There is a mesh-sleeved cable that has a 4-pin PWM connector. This fan uses SSO2 bearing and has an MTTF of >150,000 hours.

Installation

Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU Air Cooler — Mounting Hardware 1024x92
Mounting Hardware (Image By Tech4Gamers)

This cooler is tested on an Intel core i7 13700k using the GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS Elite AX motherboard. The installation steps are as under:

  • Prepare the Intel backplate using 4x NM-ICS1 Intel Clip Spacers and 4x NM-IBT5 Intel Bolts.
  • Place the backplate over the backside of the motherboard.
  • Insert blue color spacers on the bolts.
  • Install Intel mounting brackets using thumb screws.
  • Apply the thermal paste over the CPU.
  • Place the heatsink over the CPU by aligning the spring-loaded screws with the standoffs on the mounting brackets.
  • You can take the fan off as well before installing the heatsink.
  • Use a screwdriver and complete the installation.
  • Connect the power cable to the fan header, and you are done.

Clearance

Let’s talk about the clearance of this cooler.

Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU Air Cooler — Clearance RAM e1705764493175 1024x83
Clearance RAM (Image By Tech4Gamers)

This cooler does not obstruct the first DIMM slot on the GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS Elite AX motherboard.

This cooler does not obstruct the first PCIe x16 slot on the above-mentioned motherboard. Similarly, there is no clearance issue for the motherboard’s top and rear sides.

This cooler would be a perfect fit on the ITX motherboard. It has a height of 110m in total, so it would be a good fit in the 3U server cases and ITX cases that have clearance.

Testing

I have used the mentioned configuration to test the performance of this cooler: –

Here is the settings table for testing:

All Cores 5.4GHz on P-Cores, 4.2GHz on E-Cores
VCore (V) Auto
Power Limits Removed, 125W
Thermal Paste Pre-applied
Test Run Time 30 minutes CINEBENCH R23.2
Idle Time 10 minutes
Fan/Pump Speed 100% PWM Duty Cycle
Monitoring Software HWInfo64
Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU Air Cooler — Test Build 929x102
Test Build (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Let’s go over the thermal performance.

Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU Air Cooler — Thermal Performance Intel i7 13700K
Thermal Performance Intel i7 13700K (Image By Tech4Gamers)

I tested the cooler with power limits removed and then loaded the Intel defaults, and this cooler could not handle the 250W load using Cinebench R23.2. This is why I have shown 0 for these tests.

Next, I set the power limits to 150W and retested the cooler. This time it did 90ᵒC under stress test. This shows that this cooler might handle 160W load. The gaming load seems to be no issue for this cooler.

WARNING: While it handles gaming loads well, it struggled with a 250W load, so make sure it aligns with your CPU’s power requirements and usage patterns.

Should You Buy It

Buy It If

✅You are looking for a good cooler in 3U form factor: The Noctua NH-D9Lchromax.black is a compact cooler in dual-tower configuration that is perfectly suited for 3U server cases. It has a dimension of 95x95x110mm and provides a good cooling solution for up to 160W approximately.

✅You want a black cooler to fit in a themed build: If you are doing a small form factor build and your case can support 110mm cooler height then this cooler is an ideal choice.

Don’t Buy It If

❌You are on a budget: This cooler has an MSRP of USD 74.90. This is a bit steep price when you see listed options for this height cooler.

❌Your case supports 120mm AIO: A 120mm AIO would still be a better option if your case supports it. With that said, if you are in the market for a 120m AIO, be sure to check our top picks for the best 120mm AIO CPU Coolers.

Final Words

In this review, I have tested the Noctua NH-D9L chromax.black CPU air cooler. This cooler is a black edition of the regular NH-D9L cooler. It is a dual-tower configuration with a dimension of 95x95x110mm. It is a good option for 3U server cases and SFF/HTPC cases where cases support the 110mm height of the coolers.

Cooler is compatible with Intel 1851/1700/1200/115x/20xx sockets and AMD AM4/AM5 sockets. Each tower has 35 fins, so we have 70 fins in total. This cooler has 4x copper hat pipes which are also black spray coated. They are soldered to the base. Each pipe is 6mm thick.

The mounting plate is installed above the base, and it has two removable mounting brackets making this cooler compatible with Noctua Torx mounting. Speaking of the base, this cooler has a nickel-plated copper base measuring 38x40mm. It has a chrome finish.

Each tower has an identical layout. The heat pipes are terminated above the top aluminum fin. The cooler comes with a pre-installed 92x92x25mm NF-A9 PWM chromax.black fan. This fan has a speed range of 400 to 2000 RPM with a tolerance range of 10 to 20%. The airflow rating is 78.9m³/h. The noise level is 22.8 dB(A). This fan uses SSO2 bearing from Noctua and has an MTTF of >150,000 hours.

Noctua has provided an additional set of fan clips for dual fan setup. You would need to buy a second fan, though. There is also a screwdriver and NT-H1 thermal paste included, along with a low-noise adapter cable.

This cooler has a good clearance for near-socket area and DIMM slots/PCIe slots. It is a good fit for 3U server cases and SFF cases that support coolers with 110mm height. This cooler has an MSRP of USD 74.90, and it has Noctua’s 6-year warranty. This cooler can handle a load of 160W or so under all cores stress tests so gaming load would not be an issue.

 
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