I recently rebuilt my PC my desktop was aging running an old 4790K (which I love and still runs amazingly well) with a GTX 680. I have since gone ahead and upgraded it with all new components and when it came time to pick a cooling solution for my 9900K I was up in the air. No pun intended I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go with an air cooling solution like my previous system or go with an AIO from a company such as Corsair.
I ended up going with air cooling to avoid the potential headache that would arise if the AIO were to fail. I then did some research and ended up going with the Noctua ND-D15 and I couldn’t be more impressed let’s jump into it.
Does It Keep Your System Cool?
If it didn’t then I would be in trouble yes the system runs very cool even under load while gaming I have no real issues with thermals. It’s also very quiet to the point when I first turned the PC on after install I had to double-check that it was on and that the fans had power. This is one of the strengths of going with the NH-D15 over an AIO is the AIO is notably louder.
Furthermore, in many tests AIO’s tend to lag behind the NH-D15 when it comes to cooling.
It’s Not All Great
One major disadvantage of this cooler is that I got the non-blacked-out version so I am stuck with some ugly beige fans. Furthermore, there is no RGB lighting option (which was fine for me but not for others). You’re also adding a very large cooler to the motherboard mounting can be tricky and it’s a chunky boy. It required me to move one of the fans to the rear so I could install my RAM and it was just a lot of work to get installed due to the amount of pressure needed to get the screws in place.
It’s not going to give you a good aesthetic and it’s a huge chunk of metal so you will need a fairly large case I am using the 750D Airflow Edition which is a clean more minimalistic basic design instead of being all about the RGB.
It’s Cheaper & More Reliable
One thing that is will always ring true is reliability. AIO’s fail quite frequently and when an AIO fails it’s not as simple as your fan stops spinning it could lead to damage to other system components. When your AIO stops working you’re also losing any bit of cooling you can’t just take off the fan and wait for the replacement to show up. You no longer have any cooling (passive or otherwise) meaning you need to go out and replace the cooler immediately if you are needing access to the PC.
Then you get into the cost of it an AIO is typically much more expensive you can purchase an NH-D15 for around $89.99. A Corsair Hydro Series 280MM radiator for comparison is around $159.99 and if you wanted a 360MM radiator it’s going to cost you around $189.99. I would also argue that a 360MM radiator is what you’re going to need to start outperforming the NH-D15 in raw cooling but at that price point, you can put that extra $100 into another component.
The NH-D15 is referred to by many as the king of the air cooler and I agree. It’s big and chunky but in terms of raw cooling performance, it does reign supreme while I do wish I could have gotten the blacked-out version I don’t look at the inside of my PC enough to care all that much. I also sleep a bit better at night not having to worry about an AIO failing.
The Noctua NH-D15 is an air cooling beast that can't be beaten. The one thing you will find yourself struggling to get over though is its size and sense of aesthetic.
- Rivals Even The Beefiest Of Water Coolers
- Supports AMD & Intel
- Great Warranty
- Very Quiet
- Beige (that is all)
- Can make installing RAM tricky