Cooling PC Hardware Reviews

Noctua NH-L9i.Chromax.Black Review | Overview and Benchmarks

Small form factor PCs or SFF are becoming really common amount the PC enthusiasts but one of the biggest issues that come with building an SFF system is being able to cool all that hardware inside a small chassis. That’s where Noctua comes in, with their NH-L9i Low Profile CPU cooler that now comes in their Chromax.Black colour scheme to suit any build.

Big thanks to Noctua for sending this out for review

What’s in the Box

Included in the box is the cooler itself, a tube of Noctua’s NT-H1 thermal paste, mounting hardware, Low Noise Adapter, a metal Noctua Case badge and some documentation to help you install the cooler.

The unboxing experience of the Noctua NH-L9i is really nice, the minute you open the box you are greeted straight with the cooler and all the accessories encased into the foam. It’s the little things like this that helps make a product great!

Design and Features

Design wise it’s pretty obvious that this cooler is really small coming it at about only 4cm tall and 9.5cm wide! The cooler is completely black all the way down to the mounting system and the only part on this cooler that isn’t black is the nickel base plate that sits on the CPU itself. The design of the cooler is actually the exact same as the non-Chromax variant with it’s two U shaped heat pipes going from the base plate out into the fins and a Noctua logo stamped onto the side.

I’m a really big ‘fan’ (get it!) of the Chromax lineup and I’m excited to see what other Chromax products bring to the market as so far all the Chromax Coolers and fans I’ve taken a look at have been awesome!!

Features

Award-Winning L9i Design

The original L9i has won dozens of awards over the years with thousands of enthusiasts swearing by the design and performance of the L9i. The L9i has also been recommended by over a hundred proffesional reviewers and journolists making it one of the most renowned low profile cooler on the market and now with an all black version!

37mm Low Profile Design

The Noctua NH-L9i is one of the smallest CPU coolers out there thanks to it’s 23mm heatsink and low profile fan. Giving it the ability to fit in basically any small form factor PC build that you could think of.

100% RAM Compatibility 

The NH-L9i is only 95mm by 95mm which means that this cooler stays within the bounds of the Intel LGA115X bounds, making it so that the L9i will not overhang any RAM in your system giving you the freedom of RAM choice when building your SFF system.

100% compatibility with PCIe cards on mini-ITX

Thanks again to the fact that the L9i is only 95mmx95mm it doesn’t interfere with the PCIe slot on Mini-ITX boards which can and has been a problem in the past with small form factor builds with the cooler blocking or overhanging the PCIe slot and making builders use things like PCIe riser cables or a different cooler. This is a must have feature for an SFF build!

Custom-designed SecuFirm2 mounting for LGA115x

Compared to the other Chromax Coolers that use the SecuFirm2 mounting system, the NH-L9i mounting system has been re-designed to be as easy as all the other coolers but without the need of a backplate which makes installation easier and quicker.

Soldered interface between heatpipes and fins

“With many heatsinks, the fins are press-fitted to the heatpipes. Due to the different thermal expansion coefficients of copper and aluminium, this fit can loosen over years of thermal cycling, which may lead to reduced performance. By contrast, the NH-DL9i’s fins are soldered to the heatpipes in order to guarantee a superior thermal interface that doesn’t deteriorate even after many years of usage”. -Noctua

Cooler Specs

WarrantyIntel LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156
Height (without fan)23 mm
Width (without fan)95 mm
Depth (without fan)95 mm
Weight (without fan)320 g
Height (with fan)37 mm
Width (with fan)95 mm
Depth (with fan)95 mm
Weight (with fan)380 g
MaterialCopper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Fan compatibility92x92x14mm, 92x92x25mm
Warranty6 Years

Fan Specs

Max acoustical noise with L.N.A.Noctua NF-A9x14 HS-PWM chromax.black
BearingSSO2
Max rotational speed2500 RPM
Max rotational speed with L.N.A.1800 RPM
Min rotational speed600 RPM
Max airflow57,5 m³/h
Max airflow with L.N.A.40,8 m³/h
Max acoustical noise23,6 dB(A)
Max acoustical noise with L.N.A.14,8 dB(A)
Input power2,52 W
Voltage range12 V
MTTF> 150.000 h

Installation

Thanks to the re-designed SecuFirm2 mounting system that the NH-L9i uses, Installing a cooler has never been this easy. All you have to do is litterally just screw it in-that’s it! No backplate, no fussing around, it’s just simple, easy as it should be. Also please use thermal paste when installing DON’T FORGET THIS!

Noise Levels

I don’t actuall have any other SFF coolers at the time of reviewing so I can’t actually compare the sound to any other SFF coolers. But I do have this to say, when the fan is at full speed without an L.N.A it does get pretty lound.

Performance

Now I know what you’re going to say. Is he really comparing an SFF cooler to tower coolers? Yes, Yes I am because that’s all I have on hand at the moment.

This is the first time I have actually tested an SFF cooler and I must say, I’m impressed. The NH-L9i performed a lot better than I actually thought it would.

Pricing

The Noctua NH-L9i can be found online for around $85 AUD and about $50 USD which is excellent value!

Conclusion

If you’re after a well performing, small form factor cooler for the Intel Platform. The NH-L9i is definetely a really good option and I would highly recommend it if you’re building an SFF gaming PC for LAN parties or a small HTPC for your living room.

If you’re after an SFF cooler for an AMD system, Stay tuned because I have a review coming of the Noctua NH-L9a Low Profile AM4 cooler.

Buy one from Amazon Australia and Amazon.com

Read my Latest Review!

Disclosure: The above Amazon Australia link is an affiliate link, meaning i get a small percentage of the purchase at no extra cost to you.

Disclosure: The Noctua NH-L9i review sample was supplied for reviewing but all opinions are of my own and not paid.

Noctua NH-L9i Chromax Black Review
  • Design
  • Features
  • Performance
  • User Friendly
  • Value for Money
4.6

Summary

If you’re after a well performing, small form factor cooler for the Intel Platform. The NH-L9i is definetely a really good option and I would highly recommend it if you’re building an SFF gaming PC for LAN parties or a small HTPC for your living room.

Caleb Terawskyj
Cleb's Tech is completely owned and operated by me, Caleb Terawskyj. I have a huge passion for technology and love being able to play with the latest and coolest tech on an almost everyday basis. I started this website/blog to just share my opinion and it has turned into much more than that. I now work with some of the biggest tech brands in the market, I would have never in a million years thought that I would be when I started but with hard work and determination I was able to.
http://www.clebstech.com

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