HomeReviewsCoolingNoctua NH-D15 chromax.black CPU Cooler Review

Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black CPU Cooler Review

Introduction

The KING is back and the KING has new clothes! Today we are looking at the Biggest, Boldest, most efficient air cooler on the market, the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black. One might argue that this CPU cooler is too big, that it hides away the RGB light or takes up too much space, but when it comes to performance everyone agrees that if you need stability and low temperatures, the NH-D15 is the product to choose.

The NH-D15 chromax.black is an all-black version of Noctua’s award-winning flagship model NH-D15 premium-quality quiet CPU cooler. Thanks to the same proven dual-tower heatsink design and NF-A15 PWM fans, it stays true to the NH-D15’s successful formula of rivalling the performance of all-in-one water coolers while maintaining superb quietness of operation. 

At the same time, the chromax.black version with its black fans and black coated heatsink combines these assets with a sleek stealth look. Topped off with the renowned SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system, Noctua’s enthusiast-grade NT-H1 thermal compound and a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-D15 chromax.black is a deluxe choice for both overclockers and silent enthusiasts who seek an elite-class heatsink that looks just as great as it cools.

Specifications and Features

Cooler Specification:

Socket compatibilityIntel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required), AM4 (included since 2019, older coolers require NM-AM4)
Height (without fan)160 mm
Width (without fan)150 mm
Depth (without fan)135 mm
Weight (without fan)980 g
Height (with fan)165 mm
Width (with fan)150 mm
Depth (with fan)161 mm
Greutate (fără ventilator)980 g
Weight (with fan)1320 g
MaterialCopper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Fan compatibility140x150x25 (with 120mm mounting holes), 140x140x25 (with 120mm mounting holes), 120x120x25
Scope of deliveryBlack NH-D15 heatsink
2x NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black premium fan
2x Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
4-pin PWM Y-cable
NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
Black SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit
Noctua Metal Case-Badge
Warranty6 Years

FAN Specification:

Model2x Noctua NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black
BearingSSO2
Max. rotational speed (+/- 10%)1500 RPM
Max. rotational speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)1200 RPM
Min. rotational speed (PWM, +/-20%)300 RPM
Max. airflow140,2 m³/h
Max. airflow with L.N.A.115,5 m³/h
Max. acoustical noise24,6 dB(A)
Max. acoustical noise with L.N.A.19,2 dB(A)
Voltage range12 V
MTTF> 150.000 h

To point out, the height of the cooler with fans is 165 mm with standard height RAM (32 mm tall). If you have RGB RAM or higher height profile RAM modules you can raise the fans on the cooler, but the overall height grows as well, so when deciding on the case you want to choose for your build take this into consideration!

Packaging and Accessories

The Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black comes shipped in the same box size as the classic NH-D15, but this time the box itself is much more colorful, has a glossy texture and a two tone design. The front side has a visual depiction of the cooler with branding. On the back we have a list of details of the cooler features. On the sides we have technical specifications of the cooler and signs.

Inside the package we have 3 boxes that contain the cooler and accessories. The cooler is massive, has a height of 160 mm and a width of 150 mm. The cooler is pretty heavy as well (980 grams without fans). The base and the six heat-pipes are made out of copper, the cooling fins are made out of aluminium, joints being soldered and nickel plated. The cooler and fans are all colored in full black.

Beside the cooler in the boxes we have:

  • 2x NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black premium fan (one is pre-attached to the heatsink, one in a separate box)
  • 2x Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • 1x 4-pin PWM Y-cable
  • 1x NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • 1x Black SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit (Intel & AMD)
  • 2x Fan-clips for a second NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black
  • 1x Noctua Metal Case-Badge
  • 1x Custom long Philips screwdriver
  • 3x Booklets which cover all of the installation instructions

All the mounting equipment required for the latest Intel and AMD sockets (except for Threadripper) is included.

Test System

We are installing the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black inside “The Beast” but since there are problems with the delivery of the RTX 3090, we will be using a RTX 2080 Ti for the benchmark tests for now.

Test System:

CPUIntel Core i9-10900k
Thermal compoundNoctua NT-H2
MotherboardMSI MEG Z490 ACE
RAMHyperX Fury Black 4×32 Gb DDR4-3200
GPUPNY GeForce RTX 2080 Ti XLR8 Overclocked
SSDSamsung 960 PRO 512 Gb
HDD2x Seagate SkyHawk 6TB
Case Thermaltake Commander C35 TG ARGB
PSUSegotep KL-1080W
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows 10 Pro x64
KeyboardThermaltake TT Premium X1 RGB Cherry MX Blue
MouseTt eSPORTS Iris Optical RGB Gaming Mouse
MousepadTt eSports Draconem RGB Touch Edition Gaming Mouse Pad Review
HeadsetTt eSPORTS Shock Pro RGB Gaming Headset

Testing methodology

  • The Intel Core i9-10900k CPU will be tested at stock values and then overclocked to 5.4 GHz at 1.300v
  • Room temperature was recorded at ~ 22°C
  • All CPU fans will be left on the ‘standard’ auto % rpm curve to simulate real life usage patterns
  • RAM is set to XMP Profile 1, running at 3200 MHz at 1.300v

For testing we will use:

  • Cinebench R20
  • SuperPI
  • AIDA64 Extreme Version
  • Intel Burn Test
  • Prime95
  • Cinebench R15
  • Gaming (Ultra settings)

Performance

Here are some stock results:

Overclocking

Intel processors have offered excellent overclocking headroom for years, and with the 10th Generation CPUs, this hasn’t changed one bit! Many people stay away from overclocking, fearing they might damage their hardware. So if you don’t know what you are doing please don’t do it. To overclock our i9-10900k we went into the motherboard BIOS and we set the CPU to run at 5.1 GHz with Load Line Calibration on Level 2 with a CPU Core Voltage of 1.320V.

First OC phase was set at 5.1 GHz. Temperatures go up to 82 degrees in Cinebench R20 and 74 in Cinebench R15. While stressed CPU voltages go up to 1.35V and power consumption is up to 212W! OBS Running.

Second OC phase was set at the infamous 5.2 GHz, a point everybody is asking about and temps go wild: 100 degrees in Cinebench R20 and 95 in Cinebench R15. The sensor is a bit off, but lets bear with it. While stressed CPU voltages go up to 1.35V and power consumption is up to 235W! OBS Running.

Third OC phase was set at 5.3 GHz! At this point we only tested the system in Cinebench R15, temps go up to 96 degrees. Cinebench Multi-core score: 2665. Remember, we have a bunch of other programs running in background. While stressed CPU voltages go up to 1.35V and power consumption is up to 325W! OBS Running.

With OBS off we are testing the i9-10900k at 5.3 GHz. We decided to test this time with the programs closed. So with everything closed, at 5.3 GHz, the max temp is 87 degrees and the score is and amazing 2740. So the difference is around 10 degrees and the score is 75 points higher.

We took things even further. While in stress tests, 5.2 GHz on all cores was the most we achieved with the system staying stable, we found out we can push it harder for everyday stuff, like editing or gaming. The BEAST is now stable at 5.4 GHz with idle temps of 28-30 degrees at 1.42 Volts and we can play our favourite games at 4k resolution without issues. So here is a video of us playing Counter-Strike:Global Offensive and Mafia: Definitive Edition:

Conclusion

So what is it to say about the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black other than the fact that it is indeed a BEAST? We built the system and tested the cooler with one of the most powerful CPUs on the market the Intel Core i9-10900k and we pushed it to the limit. As expected, the Noctua cooler kept everything under control and you can see the results above.

Even though the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black is one of the more expensive air CPU coolers, the price is directly reflected in the performance and quality. The cooler is the BEST BUY option available on the consumer market today and will remain the top cooling solution for quite some time, I may guess. The only downside to the cooler is its size.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Build Quality
Features
Performance
Value

SUMMARY

Even though the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black is one of the more expensive air CPU coolers, the price is directly reflected in the performance and quality. The cooler is the BEST BUY option available on the consumer market today and will remain the top cooling solution for quite some time, I may guess. The only downside to the cooler is its size.

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