Noctua NH-L9i

Testing

The following system was used to test the cooler:
– Processor: Intel i9 9900K @ 5GHz
– Motherboard: ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming X
– RAM: GOODRAM IRDM PRO 16GB DDR4-3600MHz
– GPU: MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gaming X Trio
– SSD: Crucial MX500
– HDD: WD 1 TB Blue
– PSU: Seasonic Snow Silent 750W Platinum
– Case: Phanteks Enthoo Luxe White
– Thermal compound: Noctua NT-H2

 

Software used for testing the cooler:

– AIDA64 Extreme Version: 6.32.5600
– Intel Burn Test v2.54
– Prime95 29.1

The cooler was tested with the CPU at the default turbo frequency of 4.9 GHz and overclocked to 5 GHz with a core voltage of 1.261 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 – FPU Benchmark & Temperature monitoring.
Each test was conducted for 40 minutes.

 

Idle

 

Full Load – IntelBurnTestV2

 

Full Load – AIDA64 CPU, FPU & Cache

 

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.

 

The NH-L9i offers a great clearance regardless of what motherboard is used. This is thanks to the reduced size of the heatsink and the usage of a slim fan.

 

Final thoughts

The Noctua NH-L9i is a great small form factor CPU cooler. It not only offers a good cooling performance but it is also quiet when compared to other models. The main advantage of the NH-L9i is its small size, which results in the cooler being compatible with all types of systems.

The overall cooling performance of the NH-L9i is good, however using such a small CPU cooler with high TDP CPUs is not recommended. While in this review, the NH-L9i was able to handle a stock i9 9900K CPU, overclocking such a CPU results in instant thermal throttle.

The installation of this CPU cooler is easier than that of the stock Intel and AMD CPU coolers. The mounting system uses only metal made components and no backplate or springs.

The build quality of this CPU cooler is very good, and on the same level as high-end CPU coolers such as the NH-D15. The aluminum cooling fins might look fragile but they are in fact quite strong.

These not only aid with heat dissipation but also provide the base for the fan to sit on. The build quality extents to the heatpipes and baseplate as well, with good & even plating on the surfaces and no blemishes.

In conclusion, the Noctua NH-L9i is a good small form factor CPU cooler that offers a great performance to size ratio. The build quality is very good, on both the heatsink and the included 92mm fan. The noise output is adequate for a fan of this size with a maximum speed of 2500 RPM.

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