Noctua have dropped support for the LGA-775 socket with their latest products, but anything newer than that is supported. This means all LGA 115x sockets as well as LGA 2011 (those with a square ILM). On the AMD side, installation is as simple as it gets so we don’t even have to talk about it.
It has been interesting to watch Noctua’s Intel installation mechanisms evolve over the years. In my opinion, it’s one of the best out there, for what can often be a complicated and cumbersome ordeal. Let’s take a look at the LGA 1150 installation method:
The first step is to make sure the cutouts on the “SecuFirm” bracket match up with the screws on the socket’s own bracket.
While keeping the bracket in place, install the four spacers. While dropping LGA-775 has allowed Noctua to permanently mount the bolts to the SecuFirm bracket, there is still no way to keep it in place during installation (this isn’t necessary if the motherboard is not installed in a case).
The next step is to install the brackets onto the bolts. Since there are only 2 holes now that LGA-775 has been dropped, it’s almost impossible to install this wrong. At this point you need to decide the orientation of the cooler – it will blow air perpendicular to these brackets. It’s usually best to have it blowing air out the back of the case, which is what I am doing with this install.
Next, remove the fan and simply tighten these two bolts. Reinstall the fan, and you’re done! Another improvement I noticed over the NH-D14 is that there is a lot more room between the two heatsinks, making this step even easier.
Now let’s take a look at how those memory heatsink cutouts work. I found the tallest heatsinks I could in the lab – a pair of Kingston HyperX Predators with their whopping 54mm tall heatsinks. Noctua says that the NH-D15 is compatible with tall memory in single fan mode, let’s see why:
The recessed fins definitely make room for the first DIMM, but the second is now in the way of the second fan. If we were to install a fan on top of this, it would extend a few more centimeters beyond the top of the heatsink, leading to inefficient airflow.
You may notice that the DIMMs on the EVGA Z87 FTW are placed right against the CPU socket area. This actually works out for us:
I don’t know if I would run the system like this, but it almost fits. It would be a much better idea to use different memory. This is why Noctua specifically mentions that the recessed fins are only meant to improve compatibility in single fan mode.
So if you have memory taller than 32mm and want to use the NF-D15, you have a few choices. Try what is shown above (not recommended), buy an NF-A12 fan (this is the same 120mm fan used on the NH-U12S) and have it sit slightly taller than stock but not too bad, or get rid of the memory and buy something with shorter heatsinks. In my opinion, the latter is the best option for most people. In fact unless you are running highly overclocked memory running at high voltage, something like Crucial Ballistix LP would probably be the best option for most.
On the next page, we’ll look at cooling performance, noise levels, and introduce a new scoring system we plan on using for cooling reviews.