Noctua NH-D15S CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Noctua is one of the leading cooling manufacturers in the world. Time and time again they’ve proven that they can deliver the highest quality products, with class leading and award winning cooling and acoustic performance. Of course, more often than not, this premium performance and quality come with an equally premium price tag, but as the saying goes “you get what you pay for.”

Today, we’ll be taking a look at one of their flagship coolers, the Noctua NH-D15S. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the latest variant of their ever popular NH-D15. The key difference here, however, is that the “S” variant is designed to be extremely compatible, allowing fantastic support for motherboards with large VRM cooling, larger RAM modules and more, without sacrificing performance.

“Tailored to provide superior RAM and PCIe compatibility, the NH-D15S is an asymmetrical single fan version of Noctua’s award-winning flagship model, the NH-D15. Thanks to its asymmetrical design, the NH-D15S clears the top PCIe slot on most µATX and ATX motherboards. At the same time, the single fan setup and recessed lower fins guarantee 100% RAM compatibility with memory modules of up to 65mm height. Users who have sufficient room can also upgrade the cooler with either a 120mm or round 140mm fan on the front fin stack 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-D15S forms a complete premium quality solution that combines dual tower efficiency with excellent compatibility and flexible upgrade options.”

Let’s take a quick look at the product video from Noctua for a closer look at some of the cool features on offer.

Equipped with support for all major socket types, as well as the ability to mount 120 or 140mm fans, an included low-noise adaptor, the award-winning NT-H1 thermal paste and more, it’s certainly ticking all the right boxes. The cooler also comes with a fantastic 6-year warranty, so Noctua clearly has confidence in the build quality.

The packaging is typical Noctua, nicely laid out and plenty of technical information on the sides.

The cooler is very well protected with some durable card and thick foam around all major components.

There’s a small component box separate from the cooler too, which contains everything you need to get it installed.

A good size tube of thermal paste, additional fan clips, AMD and Intel kits, a universal backplate and even a special screw driver!

Thermal Grizzly Thermal Paste Vs 6 Major Brands Review

Introduction


Finding the right thermal paste for your system is no easy task, as there are quite a lot of brands out there and from my experience, one person says “X is better than Y” the other says “Y is better than X”. In all honesty, pretty much any thermal paste on the market will likely be “enough” or give you reasonable performance, but that’s not what we’re looking to find out today. When it comes to squeezing every drop of performance out of your system, a few degrees can be the difference between a failed or a successful overclock. It can also be the difference between your PWM fans running in low or high RPM mode and a whole host of other factors.

We’ve been told that Thermal Grizzly was to up and coming king of the thermal paste market, and I’ve been a loyal user of the mighty Gelid GC Extreme for a long time now, so I’m eager to see if this new kid on the block can really perform better. Although, if it’s just as good as Gelid, I will not be disappointed. Putting one thermal paste head to head with another wouldn’t make for an interesting review though, so I’ve picked up some other popular favourites, from budget friendly to the premium choices; let’s find out which one is king!

Thermal Grizzly Kryonaugt

The newest thermal paste brand on our list and also one of the most expensive, clocking in at £15.95 for 11.1g. This brand is targeted at the enthusiast/overclocking crowd.

Akasa Pro-Grade 460

Akasa is a common choice for a lot of system builders and with just 3.5g in the tube and an average price of £6, it’s still expensive, but appeals to those building a few systems or for maintaining their own.

Noctua NT-H1

Notcua is known for their high-end engineering and their NT-H1 thermal paste has proven many times before that I can offer exceptional performance. It’s obviously targeted at the high-end and enthusiast market and will cost you around £7-10 for a small 3.5g tube.

Gelid GC Extreme

The popular choice for enthusiast overclockers around the world, Gelid is highly regarded for being able to deliver lower temps with their GC Extreme. You can pick up a smaller 3,5g tube for around £8 and a 10g mini-tub for about £22, making it noticeably more expensive than Thermal Grizzly.

Arctic Silver 5

This is one of the go-to brands of thermal paste for many system builders, it’s not “the best” but it’s still very good and has been on the market for many years. More often than not, you can pick up a 3,5g tube of this for just £5, making it very appealing to a lot of people.

EK Ectotherm

This one is new to me, I have heard of it, but I’ve never used it. It’s surprisingly affordable and will set you back about £5 for a 5g tub, making it a very attractive option and EK have a rock solid reputation in the cooling industry already.

Artic MX-4

Another budget friendly option from the legendary Arctic, costing just £6 for a 4G tube and much like Arctic Silver, it has long been a popular choice for system builders.

So there’s the competitors, a nice range of budget friendly options from a wide range of manufacturers,  some new, some old, some that have been around longer than time its self. There’s going to be some interesting competition here in terms of performance and prices, so there’s only one thing left to do, let’s fire this up on our eTeknix test bench and see who takes first place!