Noctua NH-U9B SE Review
If you in the market for a cooler that would help you assemble a nearly silent HPTC you wont find a cooler better than the NH-9UB SE2.
Fits in HTPC cases with no trouble at all
Top notch construction
Universal installation kit
2x 92mm premium fans with extra long fan cables
The second fan can be used as case fan
2 pairs of fan speed control adapters
Low noise generation
Can be used without a fan (As tested)
Ability to keep an over-clocked Core i7-920 processor under 80°C*
Vertical or horizontal installation options
*3.6GHz, running OCCT: Linpack test
Results and Conclusion
COMPACT CASE -INTEL E5200
For the compact case, OCCT (V3.1.0) was used in the standard mode. The setup is ideal for HTPC based activities. It runs off a “silent” (fan-less) video card (Sparkle 9400GT Silent Edition). There was no need to over clock the processor or to run the torture Linpack test.
ONE FAN TEST
The results are pretty much as expected. The NH-C12P SE14 leads the pack. In fact the cooler performed about the same no matter how its fan was setup (with and without fan speed control adapters).
TWO FANS TEST
Again the tests fall in line as before. The NH-C12P SE14 and stock cooler benchmarks are for reference. The difference is about 4° Centigrade. With an E5200 the results do not differ much. The cooler is not being stretched as the processor does not generate heat like the Core i7s 9 series do.
No FAN TEST
To make things interesting the cooler was run without any fans at all. The results are very encouraging. Those who are interested in assembling a “near” silent case can run the cooler without any fans. The only noise then generated is by the case fan.
MID TOWER CASE – INTEL Core i7-920 (3.6 GHz)
Time to remove the safety net. As before OCCT V3.1.0 was used. This time the Linpack “torture” test was run with HT set to “ON”.
Note: This is the same system that was used to test the Noctua NH-C12P SE14.
ONE FAN TEST
Whoa! Statistical overload! To make it easier to digest the numbers the important ones are highlighted. First the NH-U9B does well here, considering this is not its typical use scenario. The cooler was able to keep the processor cooler than a stock Intel heat-sink fan when running with a Ultra Low Noise Adapter (ULNA). Though the difference is not much (1°C).
The other interesting finding relates to another Noctua cooler the NH-C12P SE14. It equals the Thermalright 120 Ultra eXtreme when running at default speed and also matches its performance when both are tested with a slower fan.
TWO FANS TEST
The NH-U9B SE does better here. With two fans running at default speed the processor is kept at less than 80° C. Impressive for a cooler of its size. The Thermalright 120 Ultra eXtreme does better than the NH-C12P SE14 with two fans.
The Mid tower system was used as a test bed for testing noise levels.
For legibility the chart is color coded. Intel’s stock cooler takes top honors here. It generates more noise than any other cooler, including the 2 fan NH-U9B. The quietest of the bunch is the NH-C12P SE14 with its single fan running in ultra low noise mode.
Thermalright 120 Ultra eXtreme was tested using Noctua NF-P12 fan and thus generates about the same level of noise.
The NH-U9B does well here. Despite the fact it uses small fans which tend to generate a lot of noise, it is relatively quiet. Thanks to the specially designed fan and heat-sink plate design.
Here is a reference for noise levels:
The recommended price for this cooler is about US$55. You get a lot of cooler for your price. In its comfort “spot” (i.e. an HTPC/ Small Mid-towers) the cooler comes into its own. Even when paired to a monstrous machine it is able to hold its own. Considering that you not only get a top notch heat-sink, but two fans to boot, the price is justified.
After going through the design and test review of the cooler there is no doubt that the cooler performs very well when it is put in its intended milieu. When paired with a processor running at stock speed, the cooler can keep the processor in a safe temperature envelope even without using any fans
Even when the cooler is paired to an over clocked heat guzzling Core i7, it does not disappoint. The cooler was able to keep the processor under 80C. Remember that Linpack test generates massive amounts of thermal energy. Under normal operation the temperature would be much better.
If you in the market for a cooler that would help you assemble a nearly silent HPTC you wont find a cooler better than the NH-9UB SE2. If you are on a budget and are looking for a solution to keep your core i7’s thermal envelop in check the NH-9UB SE2 will not disappoint either.
- Low Profile Cooler
- Fits in HTPC cases with no trouble at all
- Competitive performance
- Top notch construction
- Universal installation kit
- 2x 92mm premium fans with extra long fan cables
- The second fan can be used as case fan
- 2 pairs of fan speed control adapters
- Low noise generation
- Can be used without a fan (As tested)
- Ability to keep an over-clocked Core i7-920 processor under 80°C*
- Vertical or horizontal installation options
- *3.6GHz, running OCCT: Linpack test
- No LEDs on the fans