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

Written by Michael Larabel in Peripherals on 17 September 2017. Page 4 of 4. 20 Comments

Here's the look at how the different CPU heatsinks compared over the roughly ~90 minute benchmark process with a variety of different single and multi-threaded benchmarks as well as the brief idle periods between the Phoronix Test Suite automatically changing the test being run:

Noctua CPU Heatsink Intel X299 Testing

All of the heatsinks tested yielded an idle temperature of 23~27°C. The highest idle temperature was the NH-C14S, likely due to the alternated air-flow path compared to the other tested air coolers.

The average temperatures of the tested heatsinks ranged from 54°C with the NH-D9L using two fans to on the higher-end was the bulky NH-C14S. Using two fans certainly helped the heatsinks. Showing the i9-7900X is too much for the Freezer i11 to handle, its average temperature was more than 10°C higher on average.

The peak temperature obviously was highest with the Freezer i11 while the NH-C14S with its C-type flow design in the rackmounted chassis. The other Noctua heatsinks tested were seeing their peak temperatures only in the 70s with this 140 Watt TDP processor, not bad!

One of the most intensive tasks that Linux users run into is multi-threaded code compilation, so here's a breakdown at just those thermal numbers when compiling the Linux kernel and then compiling Clang:

Noctua CPU Heatsink Intel X299 Testing
Noctua CPU Heatsink Intel X299 Testing

The Noctua heatsinks were doing a good job at keeping the i9-7900X running cool while the Arctic Freezer i11 was hitting its peak temperatures and running into thermal throttling.

Noctua CPU Heatsink Intel X299 Testing
Noctua CPU Heatsink Intel X299 Testing

When running single-threaded tests like LAME MP3 encoding, the temperatures were quite low.

Overall the Noctua heatsinks were working well for cooling this high-end Intel desktop processor, fit within 4U space requirements, and didn't hit any compatibility issues with the DDR4 DIMMs or other motherboard components. The only difficult installation was the NH-C14S being a bit of a squeeze and not as optimal for a server chassis installation, but it still worked.

The Noctua NH-D9L and NH-D9S were both super easy to work with and did a phenomenal job at cooling the high-end Core i9 7900X processor. If greater cooling performance is desired, an additional Noctua fan can be rear-mounted on these copper+aluminum heatsinks. Priced at $50~60 USD, the NH-D9L and NH-D9S are priced competitively for high-end air cooling. Noctua's air cooling products can be found at both NewEgg and Amazon. Thanks to for sending out these review samples for testing.

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About The Author
Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via