Keeping Intel Core X-Series CPUs Cool With Noctua Air Cooling

Written by Michael Larabel in Peripherals on 17 September 2017 at 02:09 PM EDT. Page 1 of 4. 20 Comments.

With the ten-core / 20-thread Core i9 7900X CPU having a 140 Watt TDP, it's a lot to keep cool with air cooling. Even more, with the soon-to-launch new Core i9 models, you really need a beefy heatsink fan if wishing to avoid water cooling. In this article are some tests with different Noctua heatsinks. Besides being able to cool these 2017X processors, the other requirement too is that they fit within 4U space requirements. The heatsinks benchmarked today included the Noctua NH-C14S, NH-U9S, Noctua NH-D9L, NF-A9 PWM fan, and NF-A14 PWM fan.

With air cooling being much easier to manage especially with keeping our many benchmarking systems rackmounted, the folks at Noctua sent out some of their high-end heatsinks capable of cooling the Core i9 7900 series line-up while also being able to fit within the height requirements of a 4U chassis. Products tested for this comparison include the Noctua NH-C14S, NH-U9S, Noctua NH-D9L, NF-A9 PWM fan, and NF-A14 PWM fan. The NH-D9L I had picked up previously and had been using to cool the i9-7900X, but with the new, higher-end X-Series processors launching soon, it was time to check out some other heatsinks capable of keeping these high core count CPUs satisfied.

The Noctua NH-D9L is a dual tower CPU cooler with a height of only 110mm to make it fit even within 3U enclosures. Its smaller size also makes sure it doesn't run into any problems with RAM or PCI-E slots on compact motherboards. One NF-A9 fan is included with the heatsink but a second fan can be optionally added to increase airflow. The heatsink is compatible with most Intel and AMD sockets. The D9L is rated for a 140 Watt TDP max.

The Noctua NH-C14S meanwhile is an outright beast. The NH-C14S has a single 140mm fan that can be installed underneath the aluminum fins in order to yield a overall height of 115mm, making it suitable for fitting within a 4U enclosure. Alternatively, the fan can be placed on top of the heatsink too. I also tried mounting two fans on this NH-C14S for creating cooling potential. The C14S has a copper base and heatpipes with aluminum fins.

The NH-C14S is quite the large heatsink.

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