Face-Off: The Kraken X61, Reserator 3 Max Dual, And NH-D15

Noctua NH-D15

I love that big air coolers are so easy to manage via motherboard firmware. No additional software is needed; today's platforms continuously monitor temperatures and fan speed. The ones we test with are even able to control the fans, adjusting rotational velocity down to the quietest level needed to maintain a preset thermal ceiling.

The NH-D15 itself is a creation of beauty and majesty, towering 6.4” above the CPU and covering roughly the footprint of a mini-ITX motherboard. Noctua ships it with enough hardware to fit both versions of LGA 2011, all versions of LGA 115x and all AMD motherboards that include a four-hole backplate on the factory retention bracket. Previous high-end sockets require additional back plates. Check with Noctua for availability.

The NH-D15’s solid copper base is polished to a semi-smooth finish prior to nickel plating. The finish is almost perfect for keeping thermal compound in place without requiring a thick film of the stuff. I could go on with specs like soldered-on fins and six heat pipes, but I’d rather focus on test results than pontificate about how those things will affect them.

LGA 2011 installations thread bundled standoffs into the motherboard’s integrated support mechanism. LGA 1150 users will find an included backplate with studs and spacers to accomplish the same task, while owners of AMD CPUs are stuck threading individual screws through their board’s original backplate and Noctua’s spacers. The standoffs or spacers are topped with cross brackets that are held in place by knurled cap nuts.

Did you spot the studs that protruded from the cross bracket two photos above? Spring-loaded nuts clipped to the cooler’s factory-installed bracket (three images above) thread over those studs. The springs provide very firm pressure to assure level seating of the cooler base against the CPU’s heat spreader.

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  • LePhuronn
    It's almost 2015. Are people REALLY strapping over 1 kg of metal to their motherboards? The negligible improvement only the super big air coolers can give over AIO water units, for my money, is simply not worth the ridiculous size they take up, the continual compatibility issues they raise and the potential damage (however rare it is) they can cause warping your motherboard.

    We're almost half way through the 2nd decade of the 21st century people, enough of the metal lumps.
    -2
  • LostAlone
    Dude you sound like an idiot. A heat sink of any form requires a heat exchanger (a big block of metal), where the generated heat is dissipated out into the air. You can put the heat exchanger is lots of different places, but it has to come somewhere. In air coolers it's over the cpu because that's where the heat is. In a water loop the big block of metal is just moved eight inches back to the side of the case. That's all.

    Water cooling has always been the 'l33ter' cooling approach, but there's so much more that can go wrong with a water cooling loop, and with a higher price to boot, which is exactly why air cooling remains the dominant technology.

    You can shout about how old and uncool (pun unintended) that traditional heat sinks are SO last century, but the truth is that they are a proven technology with massively fewer points of failure. They exceed the amount of cooling required by 99% of all computer systems, which is why air is the 'stock' option, because the stock settings don't need anything more.

    For every system destroyed by a heatsink falling off, there's another one where coolant squirted all over it. Except of course that heat sinks only come off in transit, and can be totally avoided by stripping the heat sink off before you go.

    Watercooling has it's place, for sure, but it's stupid to suggest air cooling has somehow had it's day. If you knew anything able electronics at all, you'd know that air-based heat sinking is proven answer, while water is the exception that you don't use without good reason. Same here. You use water because it's the only way to get the cooling power you need. You use air for everything else. End of story.

    And you're really an idiot.
    1
  • LePhuronn
    Oh no! Somebody hiding behind a keyboard feels so safe to insult me because I have an opinion rather than engage in rational discussion!

    So not wanting to strap almost 2kg of metal to my motherboard, mess about with RAM clearance, case compatibility and generally ugly aesthetics all for 1 degree lower temps makes me an idiot? How about you just accept that there are differences of opinion and stop being a c*nt?

    And maybe I want to go liquid cooling because I actually want or need extreme heat transfer for insane overclocks. Or maybe liquid cooling can be quieter than traditional air towers. Maybe situations exist that demand moving away from traditional air cooling methods, and maybe, just maybe, I like to push the boundaries of technology and what we have available and 10cm tall lumps of metal are just archaic.

    But still, I'm an idiot so it clearly doesn't matter. But rather an idiot for having an opinion than a whining douche that can't handle somebody else's.
    -2
  • Alpha3031
    Anonymous said:
    Oh no! Somebody hiding behind a keyboard feels so safe to insult me because I have an opinion rather than engage in rational discussion!

    So not wanting to strap almost 2kg of metal to my motherboard, mess about with RAM clearance, case compatibility and generally ugly aesthetics all for 1 degree lower temps makes me an idiot? How about you just accept that there are differences of opinion and stop being a c*nt?

    And maybe I want to go liquid cooling because I actually want or need extreme heat transfer for insane overclocks. Or maybe liquid cooling can be quieter than traditional air towers. Maybe situations exist that demand moving away from traditional air cooling methods, and maybe, just maybe, I like to push the boundaries of technology and what we have available and 10cm tall lumps of metal are just archaic.

    But still, I'm an idiot so it clearly doesn't matter. But rather an idiot for having an opinion than a whining douche that can't handle somebody else's.


    It's fine if you go have your CLS, but when you complain about other people who are willing to spend less money on a quieter, albeit heavier cooler... Moral: if you want people to respect your opinion, respect other peoples opinions.

    I'm stuck wondering why they still haven't tested any of the Cyrorig coolers
    2
  • LePhuronn
    Anonymous said:

    It's fine if you go have your CLS, but when you complain about other people who are willing to spend less money on a quieter, albeit heavier cooler... Moral: if you want people to respect your opinion, respect other peoples opinions.


    I'm sorry, who called who an idiot? I don't recall personally attacking people for choosing an air tower, nor complaining about them, so perhaps your advice should be pointed at the 2nd guy.

    It's simply my opinion that for systems that require hefty cooling power the use of a massive chunk of metal is archaic and causes a number of unnecessary issues for no real benefit over a AIO water unit. I wouldn't put an AIO into a cheap build because what's the point? Cheap builds don't need mental cooling and there's plenty of air coolers with suitable dimensions and weights that provide sufficient cooling potential, very few compatibility issues and great price.

    Yet somehow my opinion warrants "you're an idiot" rather than a simple counter-point as part of a discussion. Or was my "it's almost 2015 people" comment suddenly interpreted as an attack on the entire tech population?
    -2