The NH-D15 cooler performs up to Noctua's promises, delivering top performance in most cases even against water coolers without the noise normally associated with high performance air coolers. It does falter a bit when running the cooler fans with the LNA cables in conjunction with an overclocked Haswell processor. However, the system remained stable even under those conditions with some minor CPU throttling evident only.
With the NH-D15 cooler, Noctua took the design of their popular NH-D14 cooler and tweaked it for high performance and better board compatibility. The build quality and design of the NH-D15 is excellent, as we've come to expect from Noctua, with all copper surfaces nickel-plated for corrosion and scratch resistance. Further, the nickel-plating gives the cooler a chromed appearance, consistent with its shiny aluminum twin radiators. In implementing the NH-D15, Noctua cut cross-sections out of the lower outside of both cooling towers, giving the unit better compatibility with most board designs including the LGA2011 boards with DIMM slots on both sides of the CPU socket. They compensated for this surface area loss in the radiator by pairing the unit with two if its AF-15 140mm fans. There mounting system remains one of the easiest to use as well, so no complaints there.
As I've stated in previous reviews of Noctua units, the one down side of this unit is the price. For the premium price you pay for this unit, you could purchase an equivalent liquid-based all-in-one cooler. However, you do not have to worry about leaking coolant with the Noctua, and its premium price is more than justified by its performance and build quality.
- Performance under all operating CPU and fan conditions
- Build and machining quality of the cooler
- Size compatibility with most motherboard configurations
- Fan noise in all tested configuration
- Manual quality