If you are already planning your new AMD Ryzen build and are wondering what gigantic brown and tan coolers might work then Noctua has a cooler that will make you smile.The new NH-D15 SE-AM4.This cooler is suitable for the highest standards and most demanding environments.The NH-D15 SE-AM4 is supposed to allow "overclockers to push their AM4 systems to the limit and silent enthusiasts to run the fans at super-low speeds".Physical dimensions here are quite demanding as well, so please have in mind that they are: Height (with fan) 165 mm x Width (with fan) 150 mm x Depth (with fan) 161 mm. Fully loaded and equipped with two fans NH-D15 SE-AM4 weighs in at 1320 g.When compatible with AM4,this cooler is only compatible with that socket and other revisions of SecuFirm2 are to be purchased separately.
Packaging & Contents
The packaging for the NH-D15 SE-AM4 has the same look that Noctua has had with their packaging for a few years now. What sets the NH-D15 SE-AM4's packaging apart from everything else is just how large it is.The front has the product name and a list of main features of the heatsink.The face of the box has a nice gold stamp of approval where Noctua points out that the Noctua NH-D15 design is based off the award winning NH-D14.
On the back that take a similar list but add small line drawing photos and short explanations.
Each side of the box is loaded with specifications and features.On one side Noctua provides a small snippet of what the company has to say about the cooler in 9 different languages.
The other side is loaded with the specifications of the CPU cooler. The detail even goes as far as having a small diagram of the dimensions of the heatsink and points out the 6 year warranty.
The top of box itself shows the product name, a close-up of the Noctua logo, and some heatpipes.
Inside the box we have even more boxes. Noctua has broken up all of the accessories by AMD and then a second general box with the second 140mm fan and a box with the heatsink itself in it.
The AMD box has brackets specific to manufacture chipset along with that it include the installation instructions.You get a screwdriver, a full stick of thermal paste, fan cables with resisters inline to slow the fans down as well as a fan splitter cable. You also get screws, rubber fan mounts, two fan clips, and a metal case badge. Everything I cover a Noctua heatsink I am impressed with the quality of their case badge. What I don't mention enough is that they include a full stick of thermal paste. Most manufactures just pre apply it or include a small amount but Noctua includes the same amount as what you get when you buy one of their thermal pastes. Not counting shipping, getting this on its own is like 7-9 bucks, a nice addition to your heatsink purchase.
A Closer Look
As we open the box and take a closer look at the Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4 we begin to see the quality and the great detail that the company put into the manufacturing of this product.
There is one fan preinstalled onto the heatsink.The Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4 uses a dual tower design with six heat pipes running through each tower. The quality really shows when looking through the two towers.
The top view of the tower shows the termination points for the six nickel-plated copper heat pipes.Noctua's logo and name are embossed on the top of the fins. This adds a nice visual touch, especially if you have a side window.
The six 6 mm heatpipes have been spaced apart a bit to transfer heat from the base to the dual fin stacks more evenly.
Each fin in the stack is soldered to the heat pipes and this ensures a more direct path for the heat to travel from the pipes to the fins.
The fins are closed on the sides and this helps to control and guide air flow through the fin stack.
The wide spacing of the heat pipes combined with the fact that they all have unobstructed exposure to the airflow allows for maximum heat removal.
This time around Noctua allowed for greater clearances needed by taller RAM by notching out the bottom of the towers a decent amount.
Thanks to its recessed lower fins, the NH-D15 SE-AM4 provides 64mm clearance for tall memory heatsinks in single fan mode, making it compatible with most high end RAM modules on the market. In dual fan mode, the NH-D15 SE-AM4 should be used with standard height RAM (up to 32mm).
The heatsink is shipped with your standard plastic cover over the base.The base has somewhat of a reflective property, but not a mirror finish. What is most important however, is that the base is true.
The fans Noctua provided with the Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4 have the model number NF-A15 and use an SSO bearing.
Their RPM range is 300-1500, with a maximum of 1200 RPM with Noctua's low-noise adaptors. Ridges are used to help streamline airflow, and let us not forget Noctua's very special dark brown and beige color theme Noctua uses to signal that this is in fact one of their products.
The motor magnet is placed closer to the axis of the fan blade shaft; again, for improved stabilization in combination with the new metal shell. The NF-A15 PWM has removable rubber vibration dampers to keep vibrations to a minimum. The back side of the motor contains Noctua's custom designed PWM IC, which incorporates SCD (Smooth Commutation Drive) technology to reduce noise at very low fan speeds, as the NF-A15 fan can run as low as 300 RPM. And as usual, the fan clips are easy to use and firmly secure the fan to the fin stack.
First choose either the short NM-AMB4 or the long NM-AMB5 mounting bars according to the desired final orientation of the cooler.Put the NM-APS4 plastic spacers onto the screw threads of the backplate, then fix the mounting bars using the four long screws.For the short NM-AMB4 mounting bars, make sure that the curved sides are pointing inwards. For the long NM-AMB5 mounting bars,make sure that the curved sides are pointing outwards.If there are residual traces of thermal paste or thermal pads on your CPU,clean them off first.Then press a small drop (4-5mm diameter) of the supplied NT-H1 thermal compound onto the centre of the heatspreader.Gently tighten the screws until they stop, but don't use excessive force.
Then take off the centre fan as well as the protection cover at the bottom side of the heatsink.Then put the heatsink onto the CPU and screw it to the screw threads of the mounting bars.Tighten the screws until they stop, but don't use excessive
force (max. torque 0.6 Nm).
Reattach the centre fan and,optionally,install the second fan using the supplied steel clips.
Unlike many tower heatsinks I have used in the past, the NH-D15 SE-AM4 in single fan configuration mode did not interfere with my RAM, thanks to the high clearance fins. However, once you add the second NF-A15, here is where you may start to have issues.It will definitely interfere with your memory, no matter what profile it is. Therefore, you will need to mount the fan a little higher to accommodate the difference. This configuration may not be possible for some people, because some chassis simply are not wide enough to support so much space between the side panel and the motherboard. Therefore, it will make much more sense if Noctua included a 120mm NF-F12 fan instead.
Use the heatsink with the centre fan only in order to guarantee best compatibility with tall RAM modules. Add the second fan to the front fin-stack for further improved cooling performance.
Test System & Methology
Processor:AMD Ryzen 7 1700
Motherboard:ASUS Crosshair VI Hero
Memory: 16GB Mushkin
Graphics Card: Sapphire HD 6970
Power Supply: Antec HCG 750W
Boot Drive: Ocz Vector
Storage Drive: 3TB Seagate Barracuda
Boot Drive: Ocz Vector
Chassis:dimastech Bench Table Easy V2.5
CPUID HW Monitor 1.23
CPUID CPU-Z 1.65
I am testing the performance as follows:
Ambient temperatures are kept at 23C throughout my tests.
The CPU Fan is set to 100% to eliminate inconsistencies as a result of PWM control.
Idle temperatures are obtained after booting the PC and idling on the desktop for 30 minutes.
Load temperatures are obtained after running OCCT Linpack test for 30 minutes.
To measure noise levels i disable the two front in-take fans, rear exhaust and GPU fan.
On the following pages you'll have the opportunity to read what Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4 is capable of.
Stock performance on the Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4 is really strong.The impressive load performance is 1-2 degree cooler than no less than two AIO water coolers.
This next set of numbers has me completely stunned, I had to re-test a couple of extra times just to make sure it wasn't an external factor screwing up my numbers, but what you're seeing is real, the Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4 is the coolest air cooling CPU by a huge margin. It is even cooler than the Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240 and Be Quiet Silent Loop 240mm, all of which are high-performance water cooling units!
The Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4 is one of the quietest CPU coolers we've ever tested,operating no louder than a whisper.
While water cooling has been especially popular over the last few years, there are still a lot of people who would prefer to not deal with the additional risks and installation complication. On top of that, when you are looking for really high end cooling it actually costs a lot more than you think to go water cooling. This is where companies like Noctua come in. You see cheap water cooling doesn't always compete with air cooling, especially when it comes to noise/performance ratio. So Noctua continues to innovate in the air cooling market. Their top dog is called the NH-D15 SE-AM4.The Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4 heatpipe tower CPU cooler is a beast that is ready to tame the heat from new AMD's high powered processors. With six heatpipes, two towers of cooling fins, and the ability to support a pair of 140mm fans, undersized is not a word that could describe the NH-D15 SE-AM4.Noctua always puts together an excellent selection of accessories and other components to make sure their coolers fit AMD4 CPU socket, and the bundle included with the NH-D15 SE-AM4 is no exception. You not only get mounting hardware, but the screwdriver necessary to install it. Additionally you get some premium thermal paste, noise reducing cables and cable adapters, and since it is a cooler capable of supporting two fans, they include the second fan. All of this probably adds a decent percentage to the final price(EUR 89.90/USD 99.90), but you shouldn't be left stuck looking for anything extra to complete the installation.The size of the NH-D15 SE-AM4 will make it difficult to consider this cooler for use in many smaller systems. As we found, even an average sized mATX case was too small to allow for the use of the NH-D15 SE-AM4, as well as all of the other components typically installed. While the design of the cooler helps to avoid system memory installed close to the CPU, we found there could still be interference with the first expansion slot, case exhaust fan and the case side panel. This is not really a "con", but it is something to keep in mind while shopping for a cooler!The sweet spot for quiet lovers is to get an NH-D15 SE-AM4. and attach Low Noise Adapters to both fans. Set up this way, the NH-D15 SE-AM4 cools like a champ while literally purring like a kitten. Actually, since I have raised kittens, I can tell you that they purr much more loudly than the NH-D15 SE-AM4.
The Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4 is the new Gold Standard of air-cooling on AM4.While the NH-D15 SE-AM4 may not be a good fit for anyone with a smaller enclosure its performance is quite up to all-in-one water cooling levels.This is one of the best air-based heatsinks on the market. Noctua has found a way to incorporate broad memory module compatibility with a design that is deceptively simple to install and boasts a whisper quiet acoustical profile. That's an achievement that very few competing products have been able to attain.Finally, if you have ever worked with Noctua, you know they provide world-class customer service. Every once in a while someone on a forum needs something from Noctua, be it a replacement fan or a new set of clips. Their experience has left them uniformly pleased.