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Noctua NH-U9B Heatsink Review

Noctua NH-U9B Heatsink Review

Three months after Noctua released their very successful NH-U12P, they are back with a new, more compact heatsink: the NH-U9B. I was so impressed with the NH-U12P when I took a look at it last month that I jumped at the opportunity to see what a 92mm version could do. The heatsinks are very similar in design–both employ four U shaped heatpipes and the same mounting system.

Image courtesy of Noctua

Specifications (taken from the NH-U9B product page at www.noctua.at)

  • Combined Dimensions: 125 x 96 x 70mm
  • Weight (without fan): 460g
  • Material Types: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints, nickel plated
  • Supported Sockets: Sockets 775, AM2 and AM2+.
  • Fan Dimensions: 92 x 92 x 25mm
  • Bearing Type: SSO Bearing
  • Noise Level: 17.6dBA (13.9/7.1dBA with in-line adapters)
  • Air Flow: 37.8CFM (31.0/24.2CFM with in-line adapters)
  • Speed: 1,600RPM (1300/1000RPM with in-line adapters)

A Closer Look

The Noctua NH-U9B comes packaged in a classy looking box with lots of technical information printed on it. Noctua takes great pride in the engineering that goes into their products.

The window gives a glimpse of the included fan and “Quad Core Ready” is confidently displayed on the back.

The accessory bundle looks very similar to that of the NH-U12P. I have been very fond of the Noctua and Coolink mounting system dubbed ‘Secu-Firm’. There are some slight differences in the ‘LGA 775’ hardware which I’ll speak to later. The included instruction manual is very thorough. It opens like a book with two unfolding instruction manuals—on the left, AM2, on the right, LGA 775. It is very well written and again, one of the best we’ve seen to date. Any questions you may have regarding installation are almost certainly in the manual. The manual included is actually for the NH-U12P, but since installation is nearly identical, it makes no difference. I was happy to see that Noctua again includes two sets of fan clips—just add another fan for a push-pull configuration.

The NH-U9B employs four U-shaped heatpipes. It is constructed of copper and aluminum and weighs in at a rather light 460g. The heatpipes and base are nickel plated.

The familiar Noctua owl is embossed into the top fin. The NH-U9B stands only 125mm fall, making it suitable for tight spaces.

The NH-U9B is only 70mm thick–a good thickness to stay out of the way of memory slots and other motherboard connectors. The trench you see down the middle is for the included screwdriver. It allows for easy access to the spring-loaded mounting screws.

Base quality on the NH-U9B is excellent. It is totally flat as was confirmed by our straight edge test. It is slightly textured like all Noctua/Coolink bases and polished.

Noctua includes a quality 92mm fan labeled the NF-B9. It has beveled blade tips that help to reduce noise without sacrificing performance. We’ll be testing the NH-U9B with the included fan, as well as our reference 92mm fan. Noctua sent me an extra NF-B9, so I’ll be conducting some dual-fan tests as well.

When looking at the NH-U9B next to its big brother, the NH-U12P, the similarities are immediately evident. There are a few differences, however.

The most significant difference in design is the tighter fin density of the NH-U9B. This was probably done to keep the fin surface area as high as possible. This likely means that the NH-U9B would benefit more from a high-CFM fan than the NH-U12P would. We’ll see if this is true in our fan tests.

Another significant difference is the height of the fin bank. As you can see, the fins are spaced quite high on the NH-U12P compared to the NH-U9B. Again, this was probably done to retain as many fins as possible. This did not impact compatibility on our Intel and AMD test rigs, but potential buyers should consider this if they have tall chipset or mosfet coolers. Noctua has a very thorough compatibility chart on their web site that you can check if you have any doubts.

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  1. Winfrey
    Winfrey Great job Mike!

    Is there any pricing on either the NH-U12P or the NH-U9B?
  2. lemonlime
    lemonlime Thanks :)

    The NH-U9B goes for around ~$50, and the NH-U12P goes for around ~$60. They can be found for less on sale, I'm sure.
  3. DogSoldier
    DogSoldier Great review. But I don't see "A higher CFM fan is needed to unleash its full performance potential due to more densely packed fins." as a Con. Amazing little piece of "cool" engineering.
  4. lemonlime
    DogSoldier wrote:
    Great review. But I don't see "A higher CFM fan is needed to unleash its full performance potential due to more densely packed fins." as a Con. Amazing little piece of "cool" engineering.

    Thanks :)

    I see what you are saying, DogSoldier. Densely packed fins may be a positive thing for some individuals. Performance on tap for those not interested in silent cooling is a good thing. From a buyers perspective though, the cost of a higher flow 92mm fan would have to be factored in.

    It would probably be more accurate to state that "The included fan is not able to unleash the NH-U9B's full performance potential", rather than mentioning the densely packed fins.
  5. lemonlime
    lemonlime Some additional information I received from Noctua regarding the review:
    Noctua wrote:
    I'm also glad to hear that you like the new backplate and the improvements of the mounting system. We'll also include self-adhesive washers to make the installation process easier in the future. The new mounting parts will also be included with the NH-U12P by the way.

    I'd also like to comment on the clearance for mainboard components and on the fin-spacing: Since the NH-U9B is quite a bit lower, we had to pack the fins a little tighter in order to keep the overall surface area large enough so that the cooler can cope with higher heat loads. The same thing goes for the smaller clearance underneath the fin stack. Due to the smaller size of the NH-U9B, this doesn't result in compatibility issues because it nicely fits into the 95mm LGA square that has a maximum component height of 25mm.
  6. GHoosdum
    GHoosdum Looks like another winner. Great review, too... I think your testing methodologies are much more rigorous than most websites go into for heatsink reviews. :bigggrin:
  7. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ The NH-U9B is still making rounds.

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