This impressive CPU heatsink presents itself, as shown in the
photos I attach, with a double lamellar tower and 6 heatpipes per tower, clearly
visible both on the base of the heatsink and on the top of the heatsink, for a
total of 12 heatpipes. This heat sink was born to be assisted by at least one
fan, placed between the two towers, or by two fans, the first placed between the
two towers, the second placed at one end of one of the two towers, usually on
the side closest to the RAM modules. The use of a third fan is possible, but
Noctua itself discourages to use, since it only provides marginal improvements
in cooling but significantly increases the overall noise - also for this reason
Noctua does not provide the third fan in the package, it only provides two fans.
This sink is compatible with most Intel and AMD CPU sockets currently on the market, even with the latest one, AMD's AM4 socket. Noctua provides the kit, called NM-AM4, free for owners of this heatsink, as long as the owners of this heatsink should provide the documentation of purchase of the heatsink and the purchase documentation of either the processor or the motherboard. To find out more about this additional kit, look for the phrase "Noctua NM-AM4 mounting kit" on the Internet. The above-mentioned kit can also be purchased separately.
This sink, in order to be mounted, may require the use of the original backplate, i.e. the one supplied with the motherboard - this is the case, for example, of the AMD socket. If you bought this heatsink to replace another heatsink that bundled a custom backplate instead of the original one, then you will have to recover the original backplate. If you have lost it, you can ask Noctua technical support to get one for you. Or you can buy one on your own.
This heatsink is impressive, it may not be compatible with some motherboards, especially those that have the first PCI-Express slot very close to the CPU socket. Make sure, through the Noctua website, that your motherboard is compatible with this heatsink. Noctua also sells a variant of this heatsink, called NH-D15S, with the lamellar groups slightly offset in such a way that it can also be mounted on motherboards with the socket cpu very close to the first PCI-Express slot.
Keep in mind that because of the enormous size and weight of this heat sink, and because of the enormous mechanical stress that normally this sink could cause to the motherboard, Noctua itself strongly suggests to remove it from the motherboard if the computer must go through a transport or shipment.
The package includes:
For assembly, please carefully follow the instructions
included in the package. I suggest you to download the manual from the Noctua
website even before purchasing this heatsink in order to understand how long it
will take to mount it and what difficulties you might face during assembly.
These are my tips:
I mounted this heatsink as my previous heatsink, a
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo, did not allow the overclocking of my AMD FX-8320e
4.5 Ghz CPU, on Asus Sabertooth 990FX r2.0 motherboard; the maximum I could get
was 4.2 ghz, beyond this value the heatsink had serious difficulty to dissipate
the excessive heat generated by the above-mentioned CPU.
With this Noctua heatsink, my CPU can finally run smoothly at 4.5 ghz, and running a test with Prime95 (SmallFFT test) for half an hour, I get temperatures not higher than 52 degrees (motherboard at 32 degrees and environment temperature at 22 degrees), obviously using the two fans included in the package, which, during the above-mentioned test, run at a maximum speed of 1361 rpms.
These tests were performed using a single fan mounted on the back of my case (Corsair Obsidian 750d Airflow Edition), which is a Noctua NF-A14, at the same speed of the two fans of the heatsink, 1361 rpms. When the CPU is idle, the three fans run under 450 rpms, making the environment very quiet.
The appearance of my above-mentioned case allows an excellent cooling of internal components, so theoretically you could force the CPU over 4.5 ghz, but the problem is not only to dissipate the very high temperature of the CPU, but mainly having to handle an abnormal consumption of power, that already during the above-mentioned test reaches a maximum of 270 watts (of course the consumption refers to the whole computer), that does not include the graphics card’s consumption - Prime95 tests are dedicated to the CPU, and does not have to do with the graphics card.
Noctua, even with this sink, has done a good job. It is up to
me to declare this sink the best one on the market, it is only the second sink
that I have got, I can only say that the main problems I had with the previous
heat sink were finally solved with this sink, now the computer is silent, cool
and it does not give troubles to me anymore even with the most performing and
I recommend this sink, without hesitation, for me it is a good choice. It is silent enough, efficient, suitable for the most powerful overclockings, it is a good choice for high-energy consumption CPUs.
You just have to consider the enormous size of this sink and its weight before purchasing it, you also need to understand in advance if you need to install the second fan next to the sink and the various problems that this may create, such as a possible conflict with the RAM banks.
Silent, efficient heatsink, suitable for powered overclocking, suitable for powerful CPUs
Bulky, Heavy, the second fan could interfere with RAM banks