The following system was used to test the cooler:
– Processor: Intel i5 6600K @ 3.9 GHz and overclocked to 4.5 GHz
– Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Professional Gaming i7
– RAM: Ballistix Tactical Tracer 16GB DDR4 @ 2666MHz
– GPU: GeForce GTX 1070 Founder’s Edition
– SSD: Crucial MX 500GB
– HDD: WD 1 TB Blue
– PSU: Seasonic Snow Silent 750W Platinum
– Case: Phanteks Enthoo Luxe White
– Thermal compound: Arctic Cooling MX-4
Software used for testing the cooler:
– AIDA64 Extreme Version: 5.98.4800 (9/19/2018)
– Intel Burn Test v2.54
– Prime95 29.1
The cooler was tested with the CPU at the default turbo frequency of 3.9 GHz and overclocked to 4.5 GHz with a core voltage of 1.296 V.
Also, the included fans have been used at their maximum speed.
The room temperature was approximately 26°C (78°F), with 2°C margin of error.
The idle test consists of the CPU sitting idle at the desktop for 30 minutes, the temperature was measured at the end of the test.
The settings of the software used are the following:
Intel Burn Test v2.54 – Stress level: Maximum
Prime95 29.1- small FFT
AIDA64 Extreme Version – Temperature monitoring.
Each test was conducted for 40 minutes.
The noise level was measured at three different distances from the fans (10cm, 20cm, 30cm.) the noise was measured with a margin of error of ± 2 db.
Unlike the NH-D15, the S version offers good RAM clearance, with no front fan installed, the heatsink barely covers the first DIMM slot of the motherboard. In addition, thanks to the shorter fins at the bottom of the cooler, tall heatsink modules can be used.
Thanks to the offset of the heatsink and heatpipes, the NH-D15S has a good clearance for the PCIe slots of the motherboard, a clear improvement over the NH-D15.
The Noctua NH-D15S is an improved version of the NH-D15, with great cooling performance and good clearance for both the RAM and PCIe slots. The difference in cooling between the regular NH-D15 and the new S version is down to just two degrees Celsius. Even though, this cooler only uses a single 140mm fan, the loss of performance is minimal, while being only 2 to 3 decibels quieter than the NH-D15.
The overall cooling performance for the NH-D15S is very good and can be further improved with the installation of an additional fan at the front, or back of the heatsink. For this, Noctua includes an extra pair of metallic fan clips with the cooler.
As stated in other reviews featuring Noctua products, the SecuFirm 2 mounting system is one of the best in the industry at the moment. With all metal components apart from the spacers on the motherboard, the installation process is very easy. From the exposed CPU to a full desktop boot, the total installation time for me was approximately 3 minutes.
In conclusion, the NH-D15S is a great way to improve one of the best air CPU Coolers available on the market. With good memory and expansion slot clearance as well as a minimal loss in performance overall. The only inconvenient you might have with this cooler is the high price, especially if you want to add an extra fan, the cost will increase.