Noctua NH-D9L CPU Cooler Review: The Mini NH-D15
Installation of the Noctua NH-D9L
Before proceeding with installation, lay out all accessories and cross reference the package content with the illustrated user’s guide.
AMD installation is universal since the mounting holes remain unchanged for several years now since AM2 all the way to AM3+ and FM2+ except with the new AM1 socket. The motherboard’s backplate is utilized but the plastic brackets and screws have to be removed. Simply place the white plastic spacers on the small protruding piece of the backplate, then place the curved mounting bars and secure them with the four long screws. The mounting bar should be curving toward the CPU socket. It is easy to do with the motherboard outside of the case horizontally, although installing with the motherboard already installed vertically on a case will take a bit of effort as the spacers can fall off. The NH-D9L can only be installed in a standard horizontal push (or push-pull) configuration on AMD systems.
Installation on LGA2011 motherboards with integrated locking mechanism does not require a backplate or spacers but requires the NM-IB2T bolts to be hand-screwed in place first. Installation on older LGA775 and LGA1366 is not supported, but mounting kits for these are available free of charge from Noctua with a valid proof of purchase (such as a receipt).
Installation on LGA115x first requires the backplate to be positioned through the mounting hole, now made simpler since the posts are integrated into the plate itself unlike in previous generation Noctua coolers. The spacers can be placed next with the mounting bar pair going on top to be secured with the four thumbscrews. This last part with the mounting bar is identical to the LGA2011 installation. Make sure to position the mounting bar with the curve facing away from the CPU area. Use the outer holes for LGA2011 mounting and use the inner holes for LGA115x mounting. Unlike the AMD mounting system, users can orient the mounting bars for either horizontal or vertical heatsink mounting since Intel mounting holes are equidistant from each other.
Apply the desired thermal compound quantity then simply align the NH-D9L screws to the mounting bar’s center male protrusion. The last step is re-attaching the fan with the wire clips and plugging in the 4-pin connector to the header. Make sure to change the settings in the BIOS/UEFI to a lower fan speed alarm setting or to set it to “ignore” completely as Noctua fans run at a very low speed and will trigger the fan speed alarm upon boot-up.
Compatibility and Clearance Issues
RAM, motherboard and video card clearance is dependent on your motherboard’s design. Thankfully, Noctua keeps a comprehensive list on each heatsink’s product page for reference: http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=compatibility_gen&products_id=106&lng=en
The test system motherboard is an ASUS Maximus VI Gene motherboard with a 28.5mm clearance between the CPU socket and the first DIMM slot and has a 45mm gap between the CPU socket and the topmost PCI-E x16 slot. Unlike most other tower coolers, the NH-D9L actually has better RAM compatibility with Type B mounting (vertical exhaust) due to its 95×95 square foot print. In Type A mounting (horizontal exhaust), there is only 25mm of space between the motherboard and the optional front intake fan and although this optional fan can be moved up, height clearance will have to be compensated for.
PCI-E clearance for both Type A and Type B mounting is fully compatible even on his motherboard where the top-most PCI-E sits close to the socket. This also includes the optional intake fan placed in Type B mounting mode.