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After reviewed couple of giant CPU coolers (with 120mm fan) from Noctua; NH-U12P & NH-C12P, today we are going to review its smaller brother; NH-U9B. Noctua NH-U9B looks identical with NH-U12P but it only support 92mm fan rather than 120mm fan and Noctua NH-U9B is an ideal cooler for those are having casing space constraint especially HTPC case.
Noctua arises from a cooperation between the Austrian Rascom Computerdistribution Ges.m.b.H and the Taiwanese Kolink International Corporation and entertains a development partnership with the Austrian Institute of Heat Transmission and Fan Technology (Österreichisches Institut für Wärmeübertragung und Ventilatorentechnik, ÖIWV). These connections form the key to the achievement of our goal: The partnership with the ÖIWV permits the application of scientific measurement instrumentation, methods of calculation and simulation technology in the R&D process.
Rascom's long, customer-oriented experience in developing and distributing sound-optimised high-end products ensures a clear focus on the users' needs. The use of Kolink's advanced manufacturing technology and ultra-modern production plants allows us to efficiently implement our technical edge and provide solutions of the highest standard in quality and performance.
Package & Contents
Same with NH-C12P and NH-U12P, Noctua is using same type of packaging box ID for NH-U9B and it will be hard to differentia them instantly if they are sitting beside each others. Hence it is good to check probably to avoid purchasing the wrong model. Anyway there are two smaller boxes inside the outer packaging box; one for accessories and the other for cooler & fan.
Here are the contents of Noctua NH-U9B and all of them are segregated and packed nicely. Noctua NH-U9B is same with its brothers where it supports multiple of sockets; Intel LGA775 and AMD AMD2/2+/3. Intel LGA1366 mounting bracket is not included at default but it can be purchased separately from Noctua.
The complete installation guide of Noctua NH-U9B can be downloaded from Noctua website and frankly to say that Noctua did a good job here as the user's manual is extremely detail and clear; no issue for even a computer newbie. The rest of the accessories that come along with Noctua NH-U9B are two set of fan clips, 90 degree screw driver , anti-vibration strips, NH-H1, U.L.N.A and L.N.A which are useful.
If you have been with us for the pass two reviews on Noctua NH-U12P and NH-C12P then most probably you will have some basic understanding about how Noctua names them. "NH" stands for Noctua heatsink, "U" or "C" stands for the heat pipe structure, "12" or "9" stands for fan size and lastly "P" or "B" stands for its fan model; everything is simple and straightforward.
In short Noctua NH-U9B is exactly same with its big brother; NH-U12P but just with 92mm fan while 120mm fan for NH-U12P. If you have no idea what is NH-U12P, you may refer to our review and basically Noctua NH-U9B is a mid size of tower cooler which is having U-type of heat pipe and able to support two 92mm fans; front and back.
Same with other Noctua CPU coolers, Noctua NH-U9B is also structured by aluminum fins, copper base and heat pipe to maximize its cooling performance since this is the proven best and economic combination for a cooler. Both the front and back sides of Noctua NH-U9B are identical so that dual fan can be supported and the mounting orientation is not fixed so user can adjust accordingly to suit his/her setup.
At both sides of Noctua NH-U9B, there are three curves of aluminum fins; the center one is allocated for screw driver to fasten the cooler on the mounting bracket while the remaining two are for fan clips. The quality of these aluminum fins or basically the whole cooler is exceptional good; very promising quality for Noctua products.
Noctua uses four heat pipes for NH-U9B and these four heat pipes are in U-shaped which should perform better than C-type heat pipe in ideal case; shorter transfer path. These 6mm diameter heat pipes are made by copper material as we mentioned previous. You may wonder why these heat pipes are not come with bronze color and this is because these heat pipes were chromed with nickel plating for avoiding corrosion issue.
Let us talk about Noctua NH-U9B's base before we process with testing. The base of Noctua NH-U9B has the same concept with its heat pipes where it is made by copper material but chromed with nickel plating. The base finishing is fabulous but glossy type and so far Noctua cooler is one of the best coolers that we have ever seen with such finest finishing. Noctua NH-U9B has the same design ID with NH-U12P and NH-C12P where the installation method is standardized across all these Noctua coolers no matter it is 120mm or 92 mm cooler.
Noctua is using their latest 92mm fan with SSO-bearing; NF-B9 for NH-U9B which is having 1600RPM, 64.3 m³/h air flow and maximum noise of 17.6 dBA. With the combination of L.N.A or U.L.N.A, the fan will operate and generate lower noise. Noctua NF-B9 is same with NF-P120 where both of them come with six years warranty.
Here is the complete installation of Noctua NH-U9B with a single NF-B9 fan. Since Noctua is using standard fan for NH-U9B, that means the fan is upgradeable or in case the fan is dead. The overall dimension of Noctua NH-U9B without fan and fan are; 125 x 95 x 70 and 125 x 95 x 95 mm (H x W x D). Such dimension cooler is not huge and it should be fitted in most of the HTPC and small case. In term of weight, Noctua NH-U9B is around 550g with fan and 460g without fan; ~640g for dual 92mm fans setup.
Besides that we have included the size comparison between Noctua NH-U9B and NH-C12P. Noctua R&D did a good job here where they are able to standardize the design, layout and even installation method. This is good for consumer as well as Noctua itself for reducing its manufacturing cost where aging can be avoided.
Installation, Testing & Performance
Its turn to discuss about Noctua NH-U9B installation and it is important to have a simple installation method for reducing its complexity as well as setup time. We have selected Intel LGA775 for our setup and the first step of the installation process is fastening the LGA brackets on Noctua NH-C12P base with four screws; remember to ensure these LGA fastening brackets are not installed on top of the base as it needs to be installed underneath of the base else the cooler base will not contact with the processor.
After the mounting bracket is secured on the motherboard then the cooler can be installed on it by fastening it with two sets of spring screw. As we mentioned before, Noctua has pre allocated some space for screw driver installation and basically it is only useful for AMD socket due to different mounting bracket design.
Same with other good/bulky coolers, it is required to install the LGA back plate on the motherboard and it requires LGA mounting bars as well for Noctua NH-U9B. The flexible alignment of these LGA bars is up to the motherboard design; either north/south or west/east which is good to increase its compatibility.
Before the fan; NF-B9 is installed on NH-U9B, it is advisable to install the vibration strip on the fan mounting placement to reduce the vibration noise; four strips are provided as NH-U9B can support up to two 92mm fans. The final step will be mounting the fan on the cooler and it will be easier to install the bare heatsink on the motherboard first then follow by the fan.
Here is the complete installation of Noctua NH-U9B on our test setup. As you can see there are plenty of room for doing all kind of installation and it shouldn't cause any incompatibility with most of the setup unless for those extreme slim case which may have height problem with Noctua NH-U9B as this cooler is having vertical placement rather than horizontally.
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8300 @ 2.83GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3
Heatsink: Noctua NH-U9B
Memory: 4GB 800MHz DDR2 Memory
Hard Drive: 250GB 7200RPM 8MB Seagate
Graphic Card: OEM Nvidia GeForce 9800GT 512MB
PSU: In Win Commander 1200W
Router: TRENDnet TEW-639GR
Optical Drive: DVD RW HLDS
Monitor: Dell 22" Wide Screen LCD
Speaker: Edifier R501
Operating System: Microsoft XP Pro SP2
Benchmark Software: HDTech, CrystalDiskMark
Ambient Temperature: 27 Degree Celsius
Last but not least, let us have a performance comparison between Noctua NH-U9B with its brothers; NH-U12P, NH-C12P as well as the rest of the top CPU coolers that are popular in the market right now. With the full speed of Noctua NH-U9B (in 1600RPM), this cooler is having similar performance with other 92mm coolers such as 3350A and Silent Spirit. Besides that as expected the performance of Noctua NH-U9B is following its fan speed; higher fan speed will result in better performance. Noctua NH-U9B is a flexible cooler with its changeable fan and dual 92mm fan supported; its performance can be further improved provided noise is not a concern. Overall Noctua NH-U9B is not a bad cooler as we can't really compare such small cooler with the rest of the giant coolers that we have compared in our test since they are come from different categories. In term of noise, NH-U9B is just barely audible and similar with NH-C12P and NH-U12P.
Noctua provides very complete range of CPU cooler offerings; 120mm or 92mm coolers as well as U-type or C-type cooler which should fulfill most of the users and Noctua NH-U9B is another good choice for those are looking for a smaller cooler for their setup. Besides that Noctua did a good job to standardize its design ID and installation method. For a ~50USD cooler, Noctua NH-U9B is still acceptable although its price is a bit higher but Noctua NH-U9B comes with luxury accessories, upgradable feature and one last thing is don't worry about Noctua products as they always come with great quality and promising peformance.
* Silent & moderate performance for mainstream usage
* Good for space constraint setup
* Easy installation & excellent finishing
* Four heat pipes with nickel coated surface
* Comes with U.L.N.A, L.N.A & NT-H1
* LGA1366 mounting bracket need to be purchased separately
Thanks to Noctua for providing this sample for us to review.
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