Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 CPU Cooler Review and Benchmarks

Updated on July 4, 2018

Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 CPU Cooler

Hello everyone. Will here and today, I am bringing you a review of the Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 CPU cooler. In this review, I put the NH-L9a through a battery of tests from CPU stress testing with Prime95 and Intel Burn Test along with multiple consecutive runs of Cinebench and a long 6-hour gaming session on Destiny 2 at maximum graphical settings. For comparison, I used AMD’s included Wraith Stealth Cooler on the Ryzen 5 2600 processor. So, how did the Noctua stack up? Well, let’s find out.

I do not own this image
I do not own this image | Source

Specifications

First up, the specifications. The Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 cooler is very small and low profile making it a perfect fit for even the smallest of computer cases, measuring at just 37mm in height which includes a 23mm thick heatsink and a 14mm thick NF-A9x14 low profile fan. With the small footprint of the heatsink there is no overhang of the heatsink or fan over the RAM slots which gives you more options and greater flexibility at RAM module choices. The heatsink has a copper base and heat-pipes, aluminum cooling fins, and soldered joints and nickel plating and the cooler weighs just 465g with included fan. The NH-L9a is recommended for CPUs/APUs that call for a 95 watt TDP and Noctua does not recommend overclocking with this cooler. The NH-L9a cooler comes with a 6 year warranty from Noctua.

What's Included in the Package?

  • Single NF-A9x14 PWM premium fan
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm2 AM4 Mounting Kit
  • Screws for 92x92x25mm fans
  • Noctua Metal Case-Badge

Installation and Build Quality

In my install of this cooler, I had no issues. The cooler’s included instructions made installation a snap and as promised by Noctua, this cooler had plenty of clearnance for RAM as it did not overhang and I was able to install the G.Skill TridentZ with ease and plenty of workspace left to install other components. The Secufirm2 mouting system was straightforward and allowed exceptionally easy installation of the cooler. The cooler felt extremely sturdy and compact and there was no concern or worry about possibly bending any of the cooling fins.

Test System and Testing Methods

The test system for this comparison is my trusty Ryzen 5 2600 system. The Ryzen 5 2600 was not overclocked this time given Noctua’s recommendation and preliminary testing showed extensive overheating and shutdown no matter which cooler was used. So, in these tests, the Ryzen 5 2600 will be run at stock speeds and at stock voltages. The RAM in the system is the G.Skillz TridentZ 16GB kit of RAM clocked at 2267MHz in dual channel configuration (2x8GB). The graphics card used is the EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 edition. The system is housed inside the Fractal Design Node 202 HTPC/Mini-ITX case with 2 Thermaltake Riing12 fans in intake configuration over the graphics card portion of the case. Powering the system is the Silverstone SX650-G, 80+ Gold rated 650-watt power supply.

For testing, I chose 4 test sets. First, I tested the coolers in 10 consecutive runs of Cinebench. This was followed by the Intel Burn Test with the maximum settings and was run for 30 minutes. I then followed that up with Prime95 stress test with small EFTs for one hour. Finally, I played Destiny 2 on maximum settings at 4K for 6 hours on a normal gaming session. I recorded all of the temperatures through minimum and maximum temperatures reported by Hardware Monitor. All tests were run while at an ambient temperature of 22.2 degrees Celsius (~72 degrees Farenheit). *All testing temperatures will be noted in degrees Celsius*

Temperature Benchmarks and Acoustics

So, let’s take a look at the results now. The idle temperatures on the Wraith Stealth cooler were within tolerance ranging from 47.1 degrees to 47.4 degrees while the Noctua NH-L9a ranged from 41.5 degrees to 42.5 degrees. That is a substantial difference in idle temperatures and is significant at nearly 12% difference. As for testing the maximum temperatures, first up is the Cinebench testing of 10 consecutive runs. The Noctua NH-L9a beat out the Wraith Stealth cooler substantially, dragging the Wraith by roughly an 11 degree difference. The Wraith cooler was fairly weak here hitting a maximum of 88.9 degrees while the Noctua held up quite nicely hitting a maximum of 77.8 degrees. In Intel Burn Testing, the Wraith Stealth cooler hit a maximum of 90.5 degrees and proceeded to crash, not allowing me to finish the test while the Noctua hit a maximum of 75.3 degrees. In Prime95, the Wraith Stealth cooler reached a maximum of 90.3 degrees while the Noctua again blew it away reaching only 80.6 degrees. Finally, in the dedicated gaming session, Destiny 2 at 4K had the Wraith Stealth reaching 88.7 degrees while the Noctua NH-L9a hit a maximum of 81.9 degrees.

So, for the acoustics. Well, not a lot to say here. The Stealth ramps up really fast and is quite audible pretty much for the duration of any use session. The Noctua remains very quiet throughout but is still audible though not so bad that I want to rip my eyeballs out. Most of this noise issue could be from the size of the case and the vented section right over the CPU compartment so, in a different case, the noise may not be quite as audible. Again, the low amount of sound emitted is very tolerable and is whispers compared to the Stealth.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. The Noctua NH-L9a is an impressive upgrade over the stock AMD Wraith Stealth cooler. Given the $40 price tag, this cooler is definitely a great alternative to the AMD Wraith Stealth for a quieter, more stable platform in a mini-itx/HTPC system. This is a cooler that I would absolutely recommend without reservation specifically for these “travel” mini-itx systems or home theater PC systems.

Fractal Design Node 202 Travel Gaming PC featuring Noctua NH-L9a

Thanks for Stopping By

Thanks for stopping by and checking out this review of the Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 CPU cooler. Leave a comment below and don’t forget to vote in the poll. Check back often for more reviews and updates. Thanks again and have a great day!

Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 CPU Cooler

Do you think the NH-L9a cooler is worth upgrading to over stock cooler for around $40

See results

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, turbofuture.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://turbofuture.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)