Heatsink Roundup Q4 2005 Holiday Edition

Cooling/CPU Cooling by jmke @ 2005-12-24

We are proud to present you with our last heatsink roundup of 2005. Featuring the latest offerings from Arctic, Scythe, Silverstone, Sharkoon and newcomer Noctua. We compare them to the best out there in 3 different test setups.

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NH-U 9: Install/Test

Installation :

The NH-U 9 uses a custom mounting bracket, so you need to remove the stock AMD one, and thus remove your motherboard from the case. The Athlon 64 mounting brackets installed

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It turns out that the orientation of the NH-U 9 is not ideal when combined with this DFI motherboard, blowing hot air upwards. Unfortunately there is no way to rotate the heatsink towards the rear.

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Fan mounting is through the use of 2 clips, installation is easy when you still have the motherboard outside the case. Once inside the case swapping fans can be a challenge, as this large heatsink will occupy the space needed to maneuver to get to the clips. Bridged or webbed fans are incompatible with these clips (example).

Noctua provides 4 strips of rubber to reduce fan vibration (so you’ll have 2 spare ones). The photo below is from the NH-U 12, which uses the same mounting method:

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And here is the NH-U 9 ready to go!

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Performance and Noise :

Now for the fun part, testing the performance of this unit, since they claim to be the best I decided to compare the NH-U 9 results with Thermalright’s well known XP-120 in the graphs below. (The NH-12 will face the Scythe Shogun on the next pages). When looking at the performance results you’ll have to keep in mind that this heatsink is not orientated ideally, and you might see better performance when you can blow hot air towards the rear.

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The NH-U 9 pulls it off and offers a better performance/noise ratio than the XP-120, what’s more, the Coolink 92mm fan proves to be better than my reference Delta! Promising results so far, now let’s add more case cooling:

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(please note that the Titan fan pushes 110CFM at 12v and doesn’t do this silently)

Again impressive results from the NH-U 9 unit in this test, although its lead over the XP-120 is diminishing. When paired up with the Vantec Tornado its offers excellent performance (to no surprise);

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On par with the XP-120 with both noisy and silent fans!

The Verdict:

Once every so often a new heatsink manufacturer comes along and takes the performance crown from the current crop of contenders; Noctua certainly is aiming to be that company, and with the NH-U 9 they have a winner on their hands as it offers excellent performance, be it with silent or noisy fans. With multiple socket compatibility and competitively priced it comes recommended for those seeking a budget-wise CPU cooling solution and possibility to use a fan of their choice.

Compatible with all current AMD and Intel sockets
Excellent performance with both silent / powerful fans
Competitively priced

Motherboard removal required
Can not change heatsink orientation

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