Review: Noctua NH-D15S Heatsink

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Noctua NH-D15S (12)

The Noctua NH-D15 was the successor to the draw dropping awesomeness that was the NH-D14. The D15 offered some outstanding performance – but it certainly came at a price. The giant heatsink like the D14 had some compatibility issues, whereas the overall size would interrupt the placement of a GPU in the first PCIe slot and the height allowances for your RAM. This is a common issues with heatsinks that offer even close to this level of performance.

Thankfully Noctua have made some changes and we now have the NH-D15S. The new heatsink is mostly the same as the previous NH-D15, but this time comes packaged with a single fan instead of two, and of course some adjustments for added PCIe compatibility. The lack of as second fan reduces the overall costs of the unit, but also promotes easier compatibility with memory height.

Let’s get this review started. Below are some of the main specs, with the full details below that.

High-compatibility version of NH-D15
Compared to the award-winning NH-D15, the S-version uses an off-set, asymmetrical layout and a single instead of dual NF-A15 fans. This allows the NH-D15S to provide state-of-the-art heatsink performance while maintaining superior RAM and PCIe compatibility.

Excellent RAM compatibility

Thanks to its recessed lower fins, the NH-D15S provides 65mm clearance for tall memory heatsinks, making it compatible with most high end modules on the market. As the lower fins are recessed on both sides of the heatsink, compatibility is excellent not only on LGA115x and AMD, but also on LGA2011 where there are RAM slots on both sides of the socket.

Asymmetrical layout for better PCIe compatibility

As many current motherboards have the top PCIe x16 slot sitting close to the socket, bigger heatsinks tend to block it. Due to its asymmetrical layout, the fin-stack of the NH-D15S is off-set towards the upper edge of the motherboard when installed in standard orientation. This allows it to clear the top PCIe x16 slot on most current µATX and ATX motherboard.

NF-A15 140mm fan

Complying with Noctua’s AAO standard and featuring sophisticated aerodynamic design measures such as Flow Acceleration Channels, the NF-A15 has quickly built up a reputation as one of the best 140mm fans on the market.

Dual-fan ready

Using the supplied extra fan clips, the NH-D15S can be upgraded with either a second round-frame 140mm fan with 120mm mounting holes (such as the NF-A15) for maximum performance or a common 120mm fan (such as the NF-F12) for improving performance while maintaining compatibility with RAM modules of up to 45mm height.

Cooler Specifications
Intel LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required)
Height (without fan)
160 mm
Width (without fan)
150 mm
Depth (without fan)
135 mm
Height (with fan)
165 mm
Width (with fan)
150 mm
Depth (with fan)
135 mm
Weight (without fan)
980 g
Weight (with fan/s)
1150 g
Material
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Max. TDP
Fan compatibility
140x150x25 (with 120mm mounting holes), 140x140x25 (with 120mm mounting holes), 120x120x25
Scope of Delivery
  • 1x NF-A15 PWM premium fan
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • Fan clips for second fan
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit
  • Noctua Metal Case-Badge
Warranty
6 Years
FAN Specification
Bearing
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
1500 RPM
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
1200 RPM
Max. Airflow
140,2 m³/h
Max. Airflow with L.N.A.
115,5 m³/h
Max. Acoustical Noise
24,6 dB(A)
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
19,2 dB(A)
Input Power
1,56 W
Voltage Range
12 V
MTBF
> 150.000 h

 

The NH-D15S

Noctua NH-D15S (1)

Noctua NH-D15S (2)  Noctua NH-D15S (5)

Noctua’s packaging and presentation hasn’t differed throughout the years. We get the tightly packaged and protected unit ready for installation.

Noctua NH-D15S (4)

The included accessories more than keep you covered. They include the SecuFirm2 mounting brackets for Intel and AMD support – which still to this day make for the easiest installation of a heastink. Noctua also include Thermal Paste, a low-noise adapter, and extra fan clips should you wish to add a second fan.

Noctua NH-D15S (19)Noctua NH-D15S (6)

Noctua NH-D15S (9)

Here is the best look of how the new NH-D15S should no longer block the top PCIe slot, As you may notice, the heatblock has been shifted slight more to the left. Assuming standard installation, this means that more of the tower will hang to the top part of your motherboard, resulting in it being further from the PCIe slots.

Noctua NH-D15S (12) Noctua NH-D15S (11)

Noctua NH-D15S (7)

Noctua NH-D15S (8)Noctua NH-D15S (10)

Another great shot of the shift too the left. An easy way to solve issues with the PCIe compatibility, but considering Noctua’s general attention to detail, we have to ask. Why wasn’t this the case in the original design.

NF-A15 PWM Fan

Noctua NH-D15S (17)

Noctua NH-D15S (14) Noctua NH-D15S (13)

Noctua NH-D15S (16)

The included A15 PWM fan is the same as before, but this time around, there is only one fan included with the unit, which helps keep overall costs down for those wishing for better memory compatibility.

Now its time for some testing. So let’s get to the numbers

Testing

Test setup
Intel Core I7 4770k CPU
Gigabyte Z87X-OC Motherboard
Kingston HyperX Predator 2400Mhz
Corsair AX1200 PSU

Our tests are straight up. We stress our 4770k at stock, and again on overclocked to 4.4GHz. We repeat these tests with any extra fans that may be used with the heatsink.

Stock Tests

Lastest Heatsink chart Stock

Overclock Tests

Lastest Heatsink chart OC

Conclusion

The newest form of the D15 solves the biggest issue it had. Now the D15S in a standard orientation will not interfere with your top PCIe slot. Performance was neck and neck with the previous NH-D15. The new unit comes in at a cheaper price thanks to Noctua dropping out the extra fan, but does still include the clips should you wish to add the second one. Adding a second fan however, will put the cost slightly above the original NH-D15.

The NH-D15S offers the same performance as the NH-D15, but does it without getting in the way. Noctua also dropped the price by removing the second fan and leaving it up to the end users to decide if they need it. There are no other heatsinks out there that can offer this level of performance, and now without the issues with the first PCIe slot – we can say for sure that this is the best heatsink on the market.

We of course award the NH-D15S with Gold and 100-percent recommend it to anyone looking for the best performing heatsink on the market.

Geektech.ie Gold Award

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