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