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
Asymmetrical layout for better PCIe compatibility
NF-A15 140mm fan
Height (without fan)
Width (without fan)
Depth (without fan)
Height (with fan)
Width (with fan)
Depth (with fan)
Weight (without fan)
Weight (with fan/s)
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
see TDP guide
140x150x25 (with 120mm mounting holes), 140x140x25 (with 120mm mounting holes), 120x120x25
Scope of Delivery
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
Max. Airflow with L.N.A.
Max. Acoustical Noise
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
> 150.000 h
Noctua’s packaging and presentation hasn’t differed throughout the years. We get the tightly packaged and protected unit ready for installation.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.