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Dual-tower cooler: the Noctua NH-D15 chromax in black 2024)

My thoughts on the Noctua NH-D15 chromax in black: design, cooling, performance.
Jason Young



September 9, 2023


I’ve been using the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black for a while now, and I have some thoughts I want to share. It’s a cooler that stands out in a crowded market for its looks and performance. Let’s talk about how it fared for me in everyday use—from its design to how well it keeps my computer cool and quiet.


Property Value Property Value
Product Dimensions 5.51”L x 5.91”W x 6.3”H Brand Noctua
Power Connector Type 4-Pin Voltage 12 Volts
Cooling Method Air Compatible Devices Desktop
Noise Level 24.6 dB Material Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Maximum Rotational Speed 1500 RPM


Click on photos to enlarge them:

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Design and Aesthetics of the NH-D15 chromax.Black

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When it comes to the NH-D15 chromax.Black from Noctua, I’ve got to hand it to them for the aesthetics. I’ve followed the evolution of their coolers closely, and this all-black redesign is a modern twist that integrates well into any setup, particularly those with RGB lighting or a stealth look. It turns the traditional, almost industrial appearance of the classic NH-D15 into something more sleek and contemporary.

Here’s a quick rundown of the visual pros and cons:


  • The all-black coating gives a subtle but impressive look.

  • It pairs nicely with a variety of RGB setups.

  • The matte finish on the heatsink and fans looks premium.


  • It’s a large cooler, which may overshadow surrounding components.

  • The sheer size can dominate the visual landscape inside the case.

Beyond the aesthetics, I think the dual-tower design with its vast array of fins is a statement piece. It looks powerful and capable, and in practice, it really is. But one can’t help but consider the dimensions of this beast – it takes up quite a bit of space over the motherboard, and in some setups, this can be a tad overbearing.

Although the size of the NH-D15 chromax.Black is partially responsible for its excellent performance, it’s also been a thorn in my side during the build process. I love how it looks once installed, but there’s no denying that this cooler demands a spacious case. And if you’re a fan of high-profile RAM, you might feel a bit limited by the clearance.

The inclusion of the renowned NF-A15 fans is another highlight. These are some serious fans that have a reputation for top-notch performance, and in the hue, they’re just the perfect blend of form and function. The low-noise adaptors included ensure that these fans not only look good but operate at barely audible levels, an important feature for someone like me who appreciates a quiet working environment.

In terms of material quality, you’re getting copper heat pipes and base, aluminum cooling fins, and all of it is nickel-plated, ensuring both durability and an aesthetic edge. The thermal compound provided also reflects Noctua’s commitment to quality, giving you peace of mind that you’re not skimping on any aspect of the installation.

Admittedly, it would’ve been nice to see a bit more flexibility in fan placement to avoid some of those clearance issues, but in a roomy case and with standard-profile RAM, the NH-D15 chromax.Black is an eye-catching centerpiece that doesn’t sacrifice looks for performance. It manages to be a conversation starter while keeping a low profile, noise-wise, and that’s an aesthetic win in my book.

Installation Experience and RAM Compatibility

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Embarking on the installation journey of the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black was definitely one for the books. The initial unboxing experience was impressive, signaling Noctua’s attention to detail and commitment to quality. With all components neatly organized and easily accessible, the setup was promising from the get-go. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Instructions: Clear and concise. Noctua made sure that even a first-time installer like me would have no trouble following along.

  • Mounting system: SecuFirm2 turned out to be pretty straightforward after getting the hang of it, though it initially looked daunting.

  • Parts quality: Everything feels premium, which you’d expect given Noctua’s reputation.

However, not everything was smooth sailing. The size of the cooler presented a challenge with RAM clearance. Despite having a spacious case, I had to make some adjustments to accommodate this behemoth of a cooler. For those with high-profile RAM, you might have to either raise the front fan or opt for running a single fan setup—both of which could slightly affect cooling performance or the overall aesthetics.

This leads to compatibility considerations. To avoid surprises, I highly recommend checking Noctua’s website for detailed compatibility information or searching related user forums and discussions on MacRumors for personal experiences with similar builds.

Once installed, the cooler eclipsed much of the motherboard’s real estate. While it’s a minor issue, it does mean that future upgrades or tweaks that involve the area around the CPU will likely require the cooler to be removed, which could be a minor inconvenience.

Yet, these drawbacks are somewhat minor. The installation really isn’t rocket science, and with a bit of patience, the end result is more than satisfying. The cooler sits snugly in place, the fans purring at barely audible levels even when the CPU is under load.

One aspect that’s particularly appealing is Noctua’s inclusion of all necessary accessories, such as the NT-H1 thermal paste, and for platforms like Intel LGA1700, which I’m using, the inclusiveness of the mounting kit avoids any last-minute hunt for compatible parts.

In essence, the installation experience and RAM compatibility aspect of the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black places it firmly in the realm of high-end air coolers that cater well to enthusiasts who value quiet operation and potent cooling performance. Yes, size matters, but so does effectiveness, and this cooler from Noctua manages to strike a balance that many users will find well worth navigating.

Cooling Performance and Operational Quietness

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The Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black literally changed the game for me when it comes to cooling performance and maintaining a quiet working environment. There’s something deeply satisfying about hearing… well, practically nothing, even when your CPU is churning through intensive tasks. Let’s break it down into the pros and cons:


  • Exceptional cooling performance; keeps my CPU temperatures in a happy range, even under load.

  • Whisper-quiet operation; the fans are so silent, I sometimes forget my PC is even on.

  • Zero hassle with pump noise or failures since it’s air-based cooling.


  • Gigantic size can be a challenge for smaller cases or motherboards with an awkward layout.

  • The sheer heft of it means you’ll need to make sure your motherboard can handle the stress.

Now, I’ve had my share of coolers, but the NH-D15 stands out for its ability to keep my CPU temps way lower than what I’ve seen with other coolers on the market. Even when overclocking, temps remained cool and composed, always below the danger zone, which is a testament to its superior heat dissipation. Gamers and performance seekers would appreciate this cooler for its ability to handle high-intensity sessions without breaking a sweat.

Moving to the quietness, I’ve got to say, my experience aligns with what everyone raves about. This cooler makes it possible to work in peace or enjoy a gaming session without the distracting hum of a loud cooler fan. It’s particularly great for video calls or any sound-sensitive work, as my microphone no longer picks up that annoying fan noise.

However, not everything is perfect. The size of this unit can be cumbersome. Compatibility with certain cases and motherboards is a significant consideration; you’ve got to ensure there’s enough clearance for this behemoth around your CPU socket. It’s also heavy, and while my motherboard isn’t complaining, I’d advise others to ensure their board can take the weight without warping over time.

In conclusion, if you can fit this cooler into your rig and your motherboard can support it, you’re likely in for a treat. The performance and silence are bar none, and while you might spend some time scratching your head during installation because of its size, the payoff in efficient cooling and inaudible operation is well worth the hassle. Just make sure you check compatibility with your case and motherboard beforehand to avoid any surprises.

Longevity and Reliability

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Having journeyed with the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black for a substantial amount of time, I’ve come to appreciate its longevity and reliability. This isn’t just an impulse buy; it’s an investment in your PC’s future. So let’s break down my thoughts:

  • Durability of the build: The heatsink’s robust construction and the quality of the fans are immediately apparent.

  • Consistent performance: Over time, it consistently delivers excellent cooling without decline.

  • Peace of mind: There’s an undeniable comfort in knowing that my CPU’s temperatures are in good hands, repeatably.

Now, despite these shining points, there are some drawbacks to consider. For starters, the sheer size of the NH-D15 chromax.Black might limit your case and motherboard choices. It’s akin to finding the right parking spot for a large vehicle—doable but requires consideration. Furthermore, while the installation process is straightforward, the physicality of affixing something this mammoth can be intimidating, especially if you’re a first-timer or dealing with a smaller workspace.

That said, the trade-offs are almost negligible when weighed against the assurance that your cooler isn’t going to fizzle out on you unexpectedly. We’ve all heard the horror stories of pump failures in AIO systems, and I breathe easier bypassing that risk altogether with a high-grade air cooler like this. Moreover, the included 6-year warranty is a testament to Noctua’s confidence in their product’s longevity, which, let’s be real, is pretty comforting.

Allow me to level with you; no component is immune to the effects of time. However, the NH-D15 chromax.Black seems to defy this universal law, maintaining peak performance well beyond the expected lifespan of its counterparts.

As I wrap up, it’s clear that the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black offers a balance between short-term gains and long-term stability. It’s an old-school, air-cooling behemoth that brings modern performance and quiet operation to the table, rewarding those who can accommodate its physical presence with unwavering reliability. I reckon any serious PC builder or enthusiast looking for impeccable cooling without the anxiety-inducing quirks of more delicate systems should definitely consider this unit.

In the realm of coolers, it’s a standout choice, striking an equilibrium between brawn and silence, all while promising to keep things chilled trip after trip around the sun.