Noctua NH-D15S CPU Cooler Review

Another D15 from Noctua? Well, the NH-D15S is designed to offer more support for those with tall RAM heatsinks among other things

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Conclusion

It’s been quite an interesting review today, especially since the new variation from Noctua is essentially the NH-D15 with a couple of minor adjustments; is it enough to warrant a purchase though?  Noctua cooling performance is famed right throughout the industry and I can imagine some people will be wondering “which award have Noctua won today”; is it the case?  Are Noctua just gold dust for the quality or have they slipped down the ranks behind other manufacturers?  Let’s find out…

Performance

Performance wise, the Noctua NH-D15S is a very interesting cooler indeed; it performs superbly overall and effectively dominates the charts for air coolers.  One thing that needs to be said, the Noctua NH-D15 which this cooler is a slight variation of, is about 2-3c cooler on average, but it sacrifices cooling performance for acoustic performance; not the case with the NH-D15S which is the perfect blend of the 2!  Although some of the top performing AIO water coolers do out perform the NH-D15S, it does offer a better cooling and heat dissipation method to air cooling so that has to be taken into consideration.

The packaging and accessories in all of their glory
The packaging and accessories in all of their glory

Design

Another great example for Noctua’s progression as a brand and manufacturer; offering good performing products with amazing compatibility.  The main focus here is, of course, the heat sinks asymmetrical design which allows users to effectively use any DDR3/DDR4 memory modules they wish; no more crying about how your RAM heatsinks are too tall and incompatible.  Another good thing about the NH-D15S is the ability to add an extra fan thus making it a regular D15; it has the same 6 copper (nickel plated) heat pipe design so all the hallmarks of the NH-D15S are in check.

Perhaps something which Noctua could take on board, is the inclusion of variation of beige clad coolers and the new black coolers; this would give consumers a choice and it might actually improve sales as let’s be honest, the beige can be garish, especially when trying to colour match your systems components.

Value

I think this is the big kicker in this review as we have seen, the quality is there, the performance is there and the design is good; the price however is a little twisted in my opinion.  Coming in at around £65, this is around £5 cheaper than the flagship NH-D15, which to me is a little hard to swallow all things considered.  On one hand, the performance difference isn’t that large between the 2 and overall, the NH-D15S is a superb solution, but I think minus a fan, the price could have been compensated a little more for this; if the NH-D15S was around £50-55, it would be excellent value for money.  Of course, take into consideration the PCIe and memory compatibility support, something the NH-D15S gives you which most other air coolers could only dream of.

Final Words

I think the 411 or addendum here is that the Noctua NH-D15S can’t really do any wrong as a product; it caters for those with tall memory, large graphics cards and those who don’t want to sacrifice on quality.  If you are tight of space, a single fan cooler is enough for you or even if you have a maximum budget of £65, then the NH-D15S is going to brighten up your day.  However if you aren’t restricted by memory and only use low profile heat sinks, then I would pay the extra and get the NH-D15; all subjective of course!

  • Gold Award – The bottom line is that the Noctua NH-D15S is a solid performer, as well as offering fantastic compatibility which is aimed to “help” enthusiasts and consumers with large memory heatsinks, as well as PCIe slots; could have been a Platinum though if the pricing was better.
  • Design Award – As I mentioned above, the compatibility problems most large tower air coolers bring to the table has been wiped out by the NH-D15S; the only thing you need to worry about now is your side panel hitting off the 165mm single fan behemoth!

Aesthetically pleasing, works very well, with zero configuration means I give our Gold Award. Good job guys

awards-design.png

Huge thanks to Noctua for sending the NH-D15S in for review today!

  • Performance
  • Design
  • Value
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Summary

Pros:

– Excelling memory compatibility
– Strong performance for a single fan cooler
– Build quality and a 6-year warranty are something special
– Best mounting kit in the industry!

Cons:

– Beige is an acquired taste
– Dual fan NH-D15 is a mere £5 more expensive which could be a better option for some

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