tests of coolers Noctua NH-U9B, Thermalright Ultima-90I and Zalman CNPS9300 AT
Originally, today’s article was intended as a comparison of mid-range coolers. However, when the tests of the main participants were completed and the design of the review part of the material was already coming to an end, it turned out that cooling systems did not fall into this very average price range at all, since the recommended cost of coolers Noctua NH-U9B, Thermalright Ultima-90I and Zalman CNPS9300 ATwhich we will be testing today is below the $ 45 mark. This alignment radically changed not only the choice of a competitor for coolers, but also forced to correct the already mentally prepared conclusion. Nevertheless, in my opinion, due to the peculiarities of coolers, today’s material will be interesting and useful not only for our constantly overclocked audience, but also for all other computer users who are faced with the problem of choosing a new cooling system. Let’s start, by tradition, with a review of coolers.
An upgraded version of the previously tested NH-U9 cooler from the Austrian company Noctua comes in a small box, decorated in traditional Noctua colors. On the packaging you can find a lot of comprehensive information about all aspects of the cooling system, including its technical characteristics and key features:
On the front side of the carton there is a small cutout through which you can see a part of the cooler fan and a radiator. The smaller compartment of the box contains the accessories of the delivery set:
A set of fasteners for each type of connector is packed in a separate bag with a corresponding sticker. In addition, the delivery of Noctua NH-U9B includes the following components:
- two adapters with resistors;
- four silicone strips for fans;
- L-shaped screwdriver wrench for attaching the cooler;
- syringe of thermal paste Noctua NT-H1;
- four wire brackets for installing fans to a radiator;
- a set of screws and springs for them;
- instructions for assembling and installing the cooler.
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The tower structure of the cooler consists of 38 aluminum fins ~ 0.40 mm thick with an intercostal distance of ~ 3 mm, which are strung on four copper heat pipes 6 mm in diameter:
The dimensions of the slightly modified cooler radiator are small and are 125 x 96 x 95 mm and weigh 460 grams.
The sides are partially covered by the ends of the ribs bent downward:
The ends of the ribs have a wavy profile in order to reduce the resistance to the air flow from the fan and reduce the noise level. The stamped Noctua logo can be found on the top plate:
Copper heat pipes at the base of the cooler lie in grooves, and in the body of the heatsink they are arranged nonlinearly:
Both are designed to improve efficiency, only in the first case it is achieved by increasing the contact area of the surface of the heat pipes with the base, and in the second due to a more even distribution of heat along the fins of the radiator, coupled with the creation of additional resistance to the air flow from the fan.
The copper plate at the base is practically untreated, since the traces from the cutter are visible not only with the naked eye, but also felt tactilely:
Moreover, the base of the cooler sample provided to us for testing turned out to be concave and contacted both the flat glass surface and the processor heat spreader only along the edges:
After reading the thread of our conference dedicated to coolers from Noctua, I discovered that the problem with the crooked base of these coolers affected not only me. So, it turns out that not only Thermalright coolers sin with uneven bases. 🙂.
Well, for me, since with such a “contact” the cooler simply was not able to cool the processor even in its nominal operating mode, there was nothing left to do but align the base of the cooler with several types of sandpaper and eventually get a more or less normal print, effective heat transfer and the ability to overclock the CPU using the Noctua NH-U9B:
The base was not polished. For the sake of fairness, I would like to note that among the four Noctua coolers we previously tested, a radiator with a curved base came across for the first time.
Noctua NH-U9B, unlike its predecessor, is equipped with a new 92 x 92 x 25 mm NF-B9-1600 fan, which is a smaller version of the NF-P12 fan we tested earlier:
According to the specifications, the fan speed is ~ 1600 rpm (± 10%) with an air flow of 64.3 m3 / min and a noise level of 17.6 dBA. If you use the supplied adapters with built-in resistors, the fan speed can be reduced to ~ 1300 and ~ 1000 rpm with a corresponding decrease in air flow and noise level.
You can attach a couple of fans to the radiator at once for blowing and blowing, for which there are also four silicone strips with an adhesive side in the kit …
… and four wire clips:
With one fan installed, the cooler looks like this:
And this is what Noctua NH-U9B looks like right away with two fans inside the case of the system unit:
Thanks to the patented SecuFirm mount, the Noctua NH-U9B can be placed on the processor in any position, regardless of the type of connector. The distance from the surface of the motherboard to the bottom edge of the cooler is 32 mm. The MSRP for the upgraded cooler is $ 45.