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Noctua NH-L9i Low Profile Intel CPU Cooler
Author: Jason Kohrs
Manufacturer: Noctua
Source: Noctua
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Page: 4 of 5 [ 1 2 3 4 5 ]
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March 12, 2013

Installation and Operation:

The NH-L9i was installed on a Biostar H61 based Mini-ITX motherboard running an Intel G620 processor. The system is housed in the very compact Mini-Box M350 case, which forces you to use a very low profile cooler. The images below show that Noctua has used just about every fraction of a millimeter of space available to maximize the size of the NH-L9i. You can see that you have just a paper thin gap between the 4-pin 12V connector on the board, as well as the first DDR3 memory slot on the other side.

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It really is tight, but in terms of features on the motherboard it fits perfectly! Unfortunately, the NH-L9i is actually too tall for me to use in this case full-time. The M350 can use one or two 2.5" drives, which are suspended above the motherboard by a pair of brackets. I use just one 2.5" solid state drive in this system, and mount it so it is above the PicoPSU and SATA connections seen in the above images. In general, a Titan DC-155A915Z/RPW CPU cooler is used which has a fan that measures 95 x 95 x 16 mm, but an overall height of only 30mm. Just 7 mm shorter than the NH-L9i, but a world of difference between working and not working. The drive overhangs the CPU area slightly, and clears the edge of the Titan CPU cooler by a couple millimeters. With the Noctua cooler installed there is a couple millimeters of interference preventing the drive from being installed.

To test the performance of the NH-L9i it was compared head-to-head with two other coolers installed on the Intel G620 (with the case open and the SSD laid loosely to one side). The Titan DC-155A915Z/RPW and the stock Intel cooler will provide the competition for the Noctua NH-L9i. Idle testing consisted of letting the system sit at the Windows 7 desktop with no other applications running for a period of 30 minutes. Load testing consisted of running 3DMark Vantage back-to-back three times. HWMonitor 1.19 was used to monitor idle and load temperatures, and the room was maintained at a consistent 22 degrees Celsius.

The chart below shows the idle results, where we see that the Noctua NH-L9i is in the middle of a tightly bunched pack. What you can't see is that the NH-L9i was the quietest option. I didn't even use the LNA (low noise adapter), which might have bumped the temperature up a little, but would have brought the noise production even closer to silence.

The next chart looks at the load results, which shows that when the processor gets cranking, the NH-L9i offers the best response to taming the additional heat. The processor was 4 degrees warmer with the Titan cooler, and 13 degrees warmer with the stock Intel cooler.

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