Noctua NH-L9i Low Profile Heatsink Review

What's Inside

Overclocking

When I saw how well this low-profile cooler handled those temps I decided to go for broke and overclock.  I  restarted the PC, went  into the BIOS and enabled the overclock again, letting it ramp to 4224Mhz.

After settling in, we recorded a temperature of 45°C at idle, with the overclock and fans running at 100%, and again the same parameters as used for the non-overclocked CPU for Prime95.

Mind you I put that idle score next to my NH-D14 and noticed that my big cooler Idle temperatures at 40°C in the exact same circumstances only 5 degrees off.

Next the same testing for load as with the non overclocked situation running prime for 40 minutes, here you could see that the small cooler had some difficulty dissipating all that heat, I did try and put the fans to standard mode to see if it would matter but temperatures rose by a few degrees so I just let it run at 100%.

 
NH-D14 overclocked idle (40 C) vs load (68 C)

But it clocked in at 81° Celsius.  Now that is high, but not at the Tj. max of 105°c.  Intel’s Ivy Bridge has a built-in protection that switches of the CPU at 130°C to prevent catastrophic overheating, not that you even want to get close to that.  Still, information for peace of mind.


 
NH-L9i overclocked idle (45 C) vs load (81 C)

Where the NH-L9i has a max of 81°C, my NH-D14 had a max temp of 68°c and kept it there, even if I throttled the case fans down a bit to normal levels, so size does matter in soaking up excess heat.

On the other hand the NH-D14 won’t fit large sized RAM and it doesn’t even fit all cases as it’s that big, but it is GOOD!

Now this test was just a fluke to see how serious I needed to take Noctua’s recommendations and TDP guidelines.  I wouldn’t want to run a processor at those temperatures all day and night but I have no problem with it.  Still I need to point out that I would not run it this way as the 100% fan speed drives me insane, so I take the quiet (but still overclocked) road.

If your CPU is not overclocked and is in a good ventilated case then you can get by just fine with this cooler, even if you don’t run the fan full blast.