Let’s face it, Noctua has been in the cooling business for years.
They are well known for their CPU coolers in both small and large form factors that are efficient and look good. On the other hand, their case and CPU fans are well known for their signature brown and tan color, but once again are great for cooling almost anything down. Today, we will look at one of their new AM4 CPU coolers, developed for the small form factor community, the Noctua NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 ($50).
Noctua NH-L9x65 SE Key Features
- Award-winning NH-L9x65 cooler: Tens of thousands of enthusiasts users all over the world swear by the NH-L9x65’s quality and performance. It is recommended by more than 100 international hardware websites and magazines. It is renowned for being one of the best sub-70mm low-profile heatsinks on the market.
- Dedicated special edition for AM4: The NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 brings the NH-L9x65’s signature quiet cooling performance to AMD’s new AM4 platform. Its highly compact design and low profile are ideal for cooling lower TDP AM4 CPUs in the HTPC or Small Form Factor cases.
- 65mm low profile: Due to its compact heatsink and the 14mm thin NF-A9 low profile fan, the NH-L9x65 stands only 65mm tall, which makes it ideal for use in compact HTPCs or Small Form Factor cases that offer limited clearances for CPU coolers.
- 100% RAM compatibility: Being 95mm wide, the NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 complies with the AMD AM4 socket’s keep-out zone. This means that it won’t cause issues with chipset coolers and doesn’t overhang the RAM slots, making it fully compatible with tall memory modules.
- 100% compatibility with PCIe card on mini-ITX: Many mini-ITX mainboards have PCIe slots sitting close to the socket zone. While larger coolers with 120mm or 140mm fans exceed this zone may block the PCIe slot, the compact footprint, the NH-L9x65, provides full compatibility with PCIe cards.
- Easy access to near-socket connectors: Many low-profile coolers use larger fans or heatsinks to achieve sufficient cooling performance, but by protruding over the socket zone, they make it difficult or even impossible to reach near-socket connectors on tightly packed ITX mainboards. Thanks to its compact footprint, the NH-L9x65 provides easy access to all connectors and components.
- NF-A9x14 PWM premium fan: The highly optimized NF-A9x14 premium fan features Noctua’s proprietary AAO frame as well as sophisticated aerodynamic design measures. Supporting PWM for fully automatic speed control, the NF-A9x14 allows the NH-L9x65 to stay remarkably quiet.
- Low-Noise Adaptor: Allowing to reduce the maximum speed of the NF-A9x14 fan from 2500 to 1800rpm, the included (L.N.A.) makes it possible to achieve near-silent setups using CPUs with up to 65W TDP.
- SecuFirm2 mounting system: Noctua’s SecuFirm2 mounting systems have become synonymous with quality, safety and ease of use. To achieve the best compatibility and match the airflow path inside the case, the SecuFirm2 mounting for AM4 makes it possible to install the cooler either in standard orientation or turned by 90 degrees.
- NT-H1 thermal compound: Having received more than 100 awards and recommendations from hardware journalists around the world, Noctua’s NH-T1 is a proven professional grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease of use and outstanding reliability.
- 6-year manufacturer’s warranty: Noctua products are renowned for their impeccable quality and outstanding longevity. Like all Noctua fans, the supplied NF-A9x14 features an MTTF rating of more than 150,000 hours, and the entire NH-L9x65 package comes with a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Noctua NH-L9x65 SE Specifications
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 95mm x 65mm x 95mm
- Weight: 413 grams
- Heat-pipes: 4 x 6mm
- Material: Copper base and heat-pipes, aluminium fins, soldered joints and nickel plating
- Maximum Cooling Capacity: 95W
- Recommended TDP: 65W
- Fan Dimensions (W x H x D): 95mm x 14mm x 95mm
- Speed: 600-2500 rpm
- Bearing Type: Sleeve Bearing
- Air Flow: 57.5 CFM
- Noise Level: 23.6 dBA
- Connector: PWM
- Compatibility: AMD: AM4
Noctua NH-L9x65 SE Unboxing
As we take a closer look at the box, you are greeted with the standard Noctua brown and white themed box. The front of the box has the Noctua logo, the features of the NH-L9x65 SE-AM4, and they also put a sticker to remind you that this cooler is a special edition for AMD AM4.
The top of the box is nearly identical to the front.
The right side of the box has explanations of the features.
The left side of the box has the specifications listed.
Opening up the top cover of the box, you first find the SecuFirm2 mounting and accessories box. There is a nice depiction of each item inside the accessories box. Below the accessories box, you find the NH-L9x65 cooler secured in cardboard to protect the fan and heatsink during shipping and handling. Inside the accessories box, you have your mounting and accessories separated in small bags with everything labelled. For your mounting kit, since this is the Special Edition AM4 cooler, you only get mounting that will work with that socket. A screwdriver/Allen key is provided if you can’t find your own screwdriver around the house.
You also have clear instructions on how to install the cooler.
A Closer Look
When looking at the cooler, we first notice a downdraft cooler with an NF-A9x14 fan blowing air straight down through the heatsink. An advantage of this design on an ITX motherboard is that you will also be providing additional airflow to the surrounding VRM components around the socket.
We can notice that it is a very nice nickel-plated copper plate with 4x6mm heat pipes that run through it to dissipate the heat. The mounting bracket for the cooler and the NF-A9x14 are already attached to the cooler.
The fin array on the heatsink is pretty dense for the small footprint that it occupies. Besides the included fan in the normal Noctua color scheme, the overall design of the NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 is a work of art. There are no LED or RGB included, just a proven high-performance fan, with a sleek and dense heatsink.
Testing System and Installation
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 2400g
- Motherboard: Gigabyte AB350N Wifi ITX
- Graphics Card: Onboard Vega 11 Graphics
- Memory: 16gb Gskill Flare X 3200mhz
- Storage: 240g Samsung 850 Evo ssd
- Power Supply: XFX TS 750w
- Case: Cooler Master HAF Evo XB Test Bench
- Idle Temps: The temperature is recorded after 5 minutes of idle
- Metro LL Benchmark (Very High, AF 16X, No AA, PhysX dis): This is looped into 3 consecutive runs and the highest temperature is recorded
- ROG Realbench 15 min Stress Test: This test is accomplished to put a realistic load on the CPU/GPU. It runs LuxMark and Handbrake to stress the CPU, cache, GPU and RAM of your system.
- Ashes of the Singularity CPU Test: The CPU test is used to place a great gaming load on the CPU, with many calculations being made with the many units on the screen during the test.
- Rise of the Tomb Raider: This game is less demanding on the CPU and more demanding on the GPU but is a great title to benchmark game performance.
- Cinebench R15: This is a great CPU test to use all of the threads on your processor.
Installation with the provided instructions was pretty straightforward. First, you want to remove the NF-A9x14 fan from the heatsink to access the mounting screws.
Next, you want to remove the included AM4 cooler mounting brackets. The SecuFirm2 mounting system uses the stock backplate. Next, you add plastic isolators to provide a firm base for the mounting hardware and make the tension on the mounting holes more distributed. After that, it’s time to place the mounting brackets on top of the isolators and install the screws. Lastly, you add the provided thermal paste to the CPU HIS and place the heatsink on top of the brackets and secure it down. As previously mentioned, you can notice the great amount of clearance around the motherboard socket to access any connectors without the heatsink or fan getting in the way.
The following are what I believe to be a great group of real-world representative tests to stress the CPU and integrated Vega GPU and, lastly, the CPU cooler that is attached. The ambient temperature of the room during testing is 20 C. The testing was conducted with the 2400g stock settings, an Overclock of 3.9 GHz on the CPU and an Overclock of 1500 Mhz on the GPU and lastly, both the CPU and GPU Overclocked. During testing, the hottest package temperature is recorded.
System Idle (after 5 min of Power On)
The Noctua NH-L9x65 was able to keep the 2400g at 27.3 C and below during idle in all test variations of idle. While this isn’t cooler than the wraith stealth, the fan was completely silent.
Metro Last Light (Very High, AF 16X, No AA, PhysX Disabled (3 runs)
When testing Metro Last Light, you can see that the Noctua NH-L9x65 can shine, keeping the 2400g overclocked on both the CPU and GPU cool with a temperature of 62.6 C.
15 minutes of ROG Realbench Stress Test
For Realbench, the Wraith Stealth had consistent temps in the 80’s C, while the Noctua NH-L9x65 was in the high 60’s for the OC CPU run, in the ’90s for the OC GPU run and at a great 69.3C for the combine OC test.
Ashes of the Singularity (CPU Test)
For a game that is primarily used as a benchmark, the Noctua NH-L9x65 was able to keep the 2400g (1500 MHz on the GPU) at a slightly cooler 74.6C C, compared to 75.1 C with the Wraith Stealth.
Rise of the Tomb Raider Benchmark
For Rise of the Tomb Raider, the Noctua NH-L9x65 was able to keep up close to the Wraith Stealth with a temp of 61.1C during the OC GPU run, compared to 59.8C with the Wraith Stealth.
Cinebench R15 (3 consecutive runs)
During testing of Cinebench R15, the Wraith Stealth allowed the 2400g (GPU 1500 MHz overclock) to climb to a toasty 93 C after one run. The Noctua NH-L9x65 under the same overclock can maintain a maximum of 83.8 C after three runs.
While this CPU cooler is not as great at dissipating heat compared to a large CPU tower cooler, for its amazingly small footprint and maximum height this cooler is astonishing. If you are looking for a cooler to keep your CPU temps under control in a Small Form Factor case, you need to make sure this is the cooler in your build.
- Effective and Efficient CPU cooler
- Small footprint
- Great height clearance for small ITX cases
- Mounting hardware clearly labeled and organized