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The NH-L9i is a premium quality quiet CPU cooler for Intel LGA115x based HTPCs and Small Form Factor systems. At a super-low profile of only 37mm, the NH-L9i is ideal for extremely slim cases and due to its 95x95mm footprint, it provides full compatibility with tall RAM modules and VGA cards on mini-ITX mainboards. The custom designed SecuFirm2™ mounting system for LGA115x makes installation a child’s play and thanks to the highly optimised NF-A9x14 premium fan that supports fully automatic speed control via PWM, the NH-L9i runs remarkably quiet. Topped off with Noctua’s renowned NT-H1 thermal compound, the NH-L9i fuses everything users have come to expect from Noctua’s larger coolers into a super-compact package for slim HTPC systems.

  Caution:  The NH-L9i is a highly-compact low-profile quiet cooler designed for use in small form factor cases and HTPC environments. While it provides first rate performance in its class, it is not suitable for overclocking and should be used with care on CPUs with more than 65W TDP (Thermal Design Power). Please consult our TDP guidelines to find out whether the NH-L9i is recommended for your CPU.
Details
37mm low profile

37mm low profile

Due to the slim 23mm heatsink and the NF-A9x14 low profile fan that measures only 14mm in thickness, the NH-L9 stands a mere 37mm tall, which makes it ideal for use in compact HTPCs or Small Form Factor cases that offer minimum clearance for CPU coolers.
100% RAM compatibility

100% RAM compatibility

The NH-L9i has a 95x95mm footprint that complies exactly to the Intel LGA115x socket keep-out zone. This means that it won't cause issues with chipset coolers and doesn't overhang the RAM slots, so it's fully compatible with tall memory modules.
100% compatibility with PCIe cards on mini-ITX

100% compatibility with PCIe cards on mini-ITX

Most Intel LGA115x based mini-ITX mainboards have the PCIe slot sitting right next to the 95x95mm socket zone. While larger coolers that exceed this zone are likely to block the PCIe slot, the 95x95xmm sized NH-L9i provides full compatibility with PCIe cards.
NF-A9x14 PWM premium fan

NF-A9x14 PWM premium fan

The highly optimised NF-A9x14 premium fan features Noctua's proprietary AAO frame as well as sophisticated aerodynamic design measures. Supporting PWM for fully automatic speed control, the NF-A9x14 allows the NH-L9i to stay remarkably quiet.
Low-Noise Adaptor

Low-Noise Adaptor

Allowing to reduce the maximum speed of the NF-A9x14 fan from 2500 to 1800rpm, the included (L.N.A.) makes it possible to achieve near-silent setups using CPUs with less than 65W TDP.
Custom-designed SecuFirm2™ mounting for LGA115x

Custom-designed SecuFirm2™ mounting for LGA115x

The NH-L9i bundles a custom-designed, backplate-less SecuFirm2™ mounting system for LGA115x that offers extended compatibility with mini-ITX boards and makes installation easier than ever, all while maintaining the trusted SecuFirm2™ quality.
NT-H1 thermal compound

NT-H1 thermal compound

Noctua's much-acclaimed NT-H1 is a pro-grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease-of-use and outstanding reliability.
6-year manufacturer’s warranty

6-year manufacturer’s warranty

Noctua products are renowned for their impeccable quality and outstanding longevity. Like all Noctua fans, the supplied NF-A9x14 features an MTBF rating of more than 150.000 hours and the entire NH-L9i package comes with a full 6-year manufacturer's warranty.
NH-L9i
Cooler Specifications
LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156
Height (without fan)
23
Width (without fan)
95
Depth (without fan)
95
Height (with fan)
37
Width (with fan)
95
Depth (with fan)
95
Weight (without fan)
345
Weight (with fan/s)
420
Material
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Max. TDP
see TDP guide
Fan compatibility
92x92x14mm, 92x92x25mm
Scope of Delivery
  • NF-A9x14 PWM premium fan
  • Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit
  • Screws for 92x92x25mm fans
  • Noctua Metal Case-Badge
Warranty
6 Years
FAN Specification
Model
Noctua NF-A9x14 PWM
Bearing
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
2500
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
1800
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%)
600
Max. Airflow
57,5
Max. Airflow with L.N.A.
40,8
Max. Acoustical Noise
23,6
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
14,8
Input Power
2,52
Voltage Range
12
MTBF
> 150.000
NH-L9i
NH-L9i & NH-L9a
Video Reviews
The following video reviews have not been created by Noctua. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the videos lies entirely with the authors.
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24.01.2013 // Overclockers Club
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NH-L9i Review

At stock speeds and voltages on the Core i7 2600K processor, Noctua's low profile NH-L9i was able to deliver a solid 13+% improvement of 10C, over the 73C load temperature delivered by the Intel box cooling solution. On top of that, it shaved 4C off the load temperature delivered by the the other low profile cooler in this comparison, the Phanteks TC90LS. With only a 65W TDP load capacity, these temperatures are a solid improvement when run on a higher wattage CPU than it is rated for. The other low profile solutions in the comparison failed to keep the CPU temps in check, with my overclocked settings. 96C is in no way kept in check, but at least Noctuas design kept the load temperature under 100C. It's not recommended to run that close to the TJ Max temp, but it was able to stay under that limit without throttling. A cooling solution for the overclocking enthusiast, the NH-L9i is not. Although some mild overclocking with a low wattage TDP processor might open some doors for this low profile solution. As it is, the Noctua NH-L9i plays well above its fighting weight when cooling a 95w TDP chip. Keeping that in mind the NH-L9i was able to deliver a 13+% improvement over the stock Intel box cooling solution when paired with my Core i7 2600K and it even out performed a competing solution by 4C running in the same configuration. Impressive to say the least from a 92x92mm cooler that stands only 37mm tall. As a low profile design, the NH-L9i is going to fit into a chassis that larger cooling solutions just cannot fit into. Perfect for a small form factor gaming rig or HTPC where space is at a premium. The compact footprint means you will not run into some of the challenges seen with larger solutions, that include fitment problems when running DRAM modules with large heat shields or space concerns with video cards that just get to close to the cooler. AMD fans will need to look elsewhere, as this cooler is going to work only with Intel LGA socket 115X motherboards and processors.
Test verdict: "For $48 you get a cooling solution that just says quality through and through. A smooth base, well thought out mounting solution, nickel plated copper base and heat pipes, excellent thermal compound, low noise adapter, and a fan that is packed full of technology to reduce noise and increase static pressure and airflow, both desirable traits in a cooling solution. Low noise cooling is where Noctua excels. You get all this, a 6 year warranty, and more with the NH-L9i. So far, this is the best low profile small form factor cooler I have tested." (Frank Dimmick, Overclockers Club)
15.01.2013 // TweakTown.com
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NH-L9i Review

Even with the TDP limitations of the NH-L9i, I am really pleased with the results it delivered. Comparing it head to head against the Phanteks, while it may have been cheaper, it doesn't test as well, doesn't have the ability to take on other fans, and frankly, doesn't look as good. There is a more solid feel, and as I like to describe it, a more professional grade feel to the Noctua solution. The thickness of the aluminum used in the fins is always thicker than most others, and almost nobody solders on heat pipes these days. Noctua seems to bend all the average manufacturers rules as they offer products that take the competition head on and seem to almost always prevail. With the NH-L9i things haven't changed, this is a really impressive solution. What impresses me even more is the shear amount of air flow and static pressure Noctua was able to pull out of this 14mm thick 92mm fan. I know most of you looked at that fan and thought that it really can't do much, it's just too tiny - well, Noctua definitely went to work with this new addition to their fan lineup. There really isn't a surface that is left untouched. The leading edge of the frame is made to allow a smoother inlet of air to the blades, and the insides of the frame have divots like a golf ball to disturb the air and keep it from staling near the frame. The shape of the blades is one thing, but there are grooves cut into each of them, and even the textured finish to the individual blades has its benefits. If you aren't really strapped down for room above this cooler, you always have the option to add a 25mm thick fan with the supplied hardware, and grab back a few more degrees as well. Noctua may not have made a cooler that everyone is going to rush out and have to buy one to put in their PCs as soon as possible, but that really wasn't the idea in the first place. Taking the idea of bringing what I already love about Noctua, the silence, better quality, and being simple to use and install, and shrinking all of that love into this tiny little package, it's just amazing to me. Noctua didn't see any reason to lower their standards just because things need to be small and low-profile to fit in the SSF chassis side of PC builds; those customers deserve the best just the same as the people who can use a D-14.
Test verdict: "Noctua delivers the ultimate CPU cooling solution for those with serious clearance issues in their compact SFF PC build." (Chad Sebring, TweakTown.com)
11.12.2012 // CowcotLand.com
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NH-L9i Review

Par rapport au radiateur stock Intel, le gain est appréciable, même en utilisant le module LNA du bundle, qui passe le ventilateur à 1800rpm. Les nuisances sonores baissent aussi largement, et deviennent plus que supportables, alors qu'en 12V, ça souffle plutôt fort. Pourtant, pour un slim de 92mm, les nuisances restent contenues, on pouvait craindre pire. Avec un minimum de 300rpm sur la plage PWM, il est plus que conseillé de prendre un peu de temps pour configurer le PWM, afin de profiter d'un radiateur vraiment silencieux, surtout si le processeur a un TDP plus faible que notre 3570, fixé à 77W.
Test verdict: "Comme souvent avec Noctua, nous ne sommes pas déçus. La finition est exemplaire, le bundle complet, l'installation très simple, et le rapport performances / nuisances sonores est bon." (Sébastien Vandeborre, CowcotLand.com)
10.01.2013 // Custom PC March 2013
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NH-L9i Review

The star of the show was the Noctua NH-L9i, which just made a light noise at full load with its fan at full speed, but was inaudible above the rest of the hardware in our test system when using its fan-speed reduction cable.
Test verdict: "If low noise is a must then Noctua's NH-L9i is the leader of the pack. While it costs £15 more than the Arctic, it's quieter, smaller and less likely to present compatibility issues. We also consider it the best option for mini ITX boards." (Antony Leather, Custom PC March 2013)
27.12.2012 // ThinkComputers.org
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NH-L9i Review

When we look at CPU coolers it normally comes down to the numbers, how well the cooler performs, but in the case of the Noctua NH-L9i we have to look at it a little bit differently. If you look at the results on the previous page they are nothing to write home about when compared to other coolers. But if you take into consideration the size of the NH-L9i, at only 37mm high and still able to keep our i7-3370K at a respectable temperature. That is pretty impressive. Even with the low noise adapter in use the temperatures were acceptable.
Test verdict: "If you are building a small form factor system you should definitely consider this cooler." (Bob Buskirk, ThinkComputers.org)
22.12.2012 // eTeknix.com
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NH-L9i Review

The NH-L9i has excellent cooling performance for the form factor, acoustics that make it ideal for a totally silent HTPC or SFF system and a price tag that is reasonable given how unique and innovative the product is. The chances are, if you’ve gone to the effort to make a super compact LGA 1155 based HTPC or SFF system, then having to spend a paltry £33 (when all the other components probably cost hundreds) is actually remarkably little.
Test verdict: "I have really tried to find faults with this product, but I have failed more than Bulldozer in doing so. The NH-L9i is a product that delivers way more than you’d expect and serves a niche market beautifully well. For that reason I’ve decided to award the Noctua NH-L9i the eTeknix Editor’s Choice award." (Ryan Martin, eTeknix.com)
11.12.2012 // Radeon3d.org
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NH-L9i Review

Noctua hat mit dem NH-L9 einen Low Profile CPU-Kühler auf den Markt gebracht, der seines gleichen sucht. Die Verarbeitung und der Lieferumfang lässt keine Wünsche offen. Die Verarbeitung des Kühlers ist sehr sauber, es gibt keine scharfe Kanten. Der Boden des Kühlers ist plan und frei von Rillen. Der Lüfter ist sehr kompakt und dank seines Rahmen noch zusätzlich entkoppelt. Zudem hat man das 20 cm lange Anschlusskabel mit PWM Stecker noch mit einem schwarzen Sleeve versehen. Beim Lieferumfang ist alles dabei was man benötigt. Neben einer High-End Wärmeleitpaste liegt noch ein sehr edles Case-Badge aus Metall mit bei. Die Montage des Kühler ist sehr einfach gehalten, auch kommt dieser nicht mit dem RAM oder der Grafikkarte in die Quere. Sieht man sich das Verhältnis aus Lautstärke und Kühlleistung an, so kann man den Boxed Kühler des CPU Herstellers getrost bei Seite legen. Auch hat der Test gezeigt das trotz maximaler 65 Watt TDP der NH-L9a eine CPU mit 95 Watt TDP gut kühlen kann. Hier kam die CPU beim offenen Testaufbau nicht über 42°C laut CoreTemp.
Test verdict: " Der Noctua NH-L9 ist ein kompakter CPU-Kühler mit sehr guter Verarbeitung und gut ausgestattetem Lieferumfang bei sehr gutem Verhältnis aus Lautstärke und Kühlleistung. Zudem sollte er mit jedem Mainboard kompatible sein und kommt nicht dem RAM oder der Grafikkarte in die Quere. Deshalb bekommt der Noctua NH-L9 den Top Hardware Award verliehen." (Frank Hempel, Radeon3d.org)
28.11.2012 // HiTechLegion.com
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NH-L9i Review

Performance of the Noctua NH-L9 was outstanding for such a low profile cooler. Temperatures at stock speeds on the 3570K were more than acceptable, while the G840 ran incredibly cool. The fan remained inaudible to ~2000rpm, but was clearly discernible at full speed. It’s easy to look at just the benchmark numbers and arrive at some type of opinion about a cooler. After all, cooling is their main, and basically only function. However, in the case of specialized coolers like the NH-L9 there are many more factors to consider. In true Noctua fashion, the NH-L9 addresses these factors head on and with the greatest of results. The cooling end of the NH-L9 may not look like any great achievement at first glance, but that first glance is deceptive. The big reason being the size of the coolers being compared. While the NH-L9 comes in at only 37mm tall while the next smallest comes in at 45mm, and the other two will not fit in an HTPC case with 50mm clearance at all. The ZT-560D actually stands over twice as tall as the NH-L9. While the 45mm cooler will fit in the HTPC case, it will have very little breathing room for cool air intake, while the NH-L9 will be breathing freely. This is what makes these benchmark numbers for the NH-L9 incredibly impressive. Since CPUs like a Pentium G840 or Core i3 are commonly used in HTPCs, we decided to start our testing there. The NH-L9 handled the G840 with ease, never coming close to getting anywhere near thermal limits and making a huge improvement over an included stock cooler. Moving up to the Core i5 3570K, the NH-L9 maintained its composure and kept the 77 watt processor nice and cool at stock speeds without a problem. It is important to note that Noctua states directly that the NH-L9 is not to be used for overclocking, and the statement holds true. A small OC on the 3570K sent temperatures escalating, but this is not the intended purpose of the NH-L9. Though small, the NH-L9 has the fantastic build quality you would expect from a Noctua cooler. The two heat pipes are clearly visible through a very sturdy heavy gauge aluminum fin array, and there is not a sharp corner anywhere. The fan mounts simply and securely, and has excellent rigidity for a slim fan. Installation could not be simpler, and literally requires simply tightening four screws.
Test verdict: "Noctua has another top quality product in the NH-L9, and it is easily a top choice for tight small form factor applications. Cooling is outstanding for such a small cooler, easily competing with much larger pieces. The fan does become audible at full speed, but is near silent at speeds below ~2000rpm with barely a noticeable difference in performance. The Noctua NH-L9 offers everything you could possibly ask for in an HTPC CPU cooler; small height, easy installation, excellent cooling on stock CPUs below 77 watts and near silent performance." (George Cella, HiTechLegion.com)
23.11.2012 // SilentPCReview.com
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NH-L9i Review

The 92 mm stock fan had excellent acoustics, producing a very smooth profile. Aside from turbulence at higher speeds, the sound generated was pleasant throughout the range we tested and we didn't perceive any tonality. [...] For such a short heatsink, simply surviving our test without our overclocked/overvolted CPU throttling is in accomplishment. The NH-L9i performed fairly well, staying 20°C below the throttling point at the lowest tested speed. [...] Given its size, the NH-L9i was easily dominated by most of the heatsinks we've tested in the past. But compared to coolers with similar size profiles, the NH-L9i came out on top
Test verdict: "When you take into account that the NH-L9i is a mere 37 mm tall, its performance seems rather impressive. Additionally, unlike the NH-L12 and Scythe Big Shuriken 2, it doesn't interfere with the PCI-E 16x slot on most Intel LGA1155 mini-ITX motherboards. [...] The NH-L9i primary advantage lies in its acoustics; its fan sounds incredibly smooth compared to the more buzzy Scythe model. The NH-L9i is also 3 mm shorter, giving it a slight edge in compatibility" (Lawrence Lee, SilentPCReview.com)
20.11.2012 // El Chapuzas Informático
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NH-L9i Review

El Noctua NH-L9i ofrece un rendimiento algo limitado por su diseño y tamaño, pero a su vez permite la instalación en HTPCs y cajas muy estrechas. Es una buena opción para equipos reducidos y silenciosos, pero siempre y cuando lo acompañemos de un procesador de gama media y no de los más potentes.
Test verdict: "El precio puede parecer elevado, pero ofrece la mejor relación rendimiento/ruido que podamos encontrar con unas dimensiones tan limitadas. Desde del El Chapuzas Informático le otorgamos el Galardón de Oro al proporcionar una excelente relación rendimiento/ruido en equipos de reducidas dimensiones que limitan en gran medida el tamaño del disipador." (Iván Martínez Ortega, El Chapuzas Informático)

Installation Manual (PDF)

Information Sheet (PDF)

I get a CPU fan error despite the fan is running!

Some mainboards display a CPU fan error when the fan speed falls below a certain threshold, e.g. 900rpm. If you want to run the fan below this speed (e.g. using the supplied U.L.N.A.), please adjust the threshold in the BIOS or disable CPU fan error warning.

I get a CPU fan error using my Noctua PWM fan, is it faulty?

Noctua PWM fans feature a minimum speed of 300rpm to allow for ultra quiet operation when your CPU is at idle state and doesn’t require higher cooling performance. Some mainboards display error messages such as “CPU fan error” during the booting process when the fan speed is below a certain level. If you get such error messages using your Noctua PWM fan and if such options are available in your BIOS, please either adjust the minimum fan speed monitoring limit to 200rpm or increase the minimum PWM duty cycle. If your BIOS doesn’t offer these options, please disable CPU fan errors. For detailed information on BIOS fan settings, please consult your mainoard’s manual or contact your mainboard manufacturer.

How should I clean my Noctua cooler?

Dust: Fans and heatsinks inside computer cases tend to accumulate dust over longer periods of usage. In order to maintain maximum performance, please clean your fan and heatsink regularly. For cleaning, please first remove the fan from the heatsink and clean it using a duster, slightly moist tissue or canned air. Please be careful not to use too much force in order to prevent any damage to the fan. Please do not use a vacuum cleaner as this may apply excessive force to the fan and do not put the fan under running water as water residues inside the motor may lead to short circuits. Please also note that the fan is not designed to be taken apart by the user. Removing the impeller from the frame will break the sealing of the bearing and results in a loss of warranty. Before reinstalling the fan, clean the heatsink itself with a duster or vacuum cleaner. Finally put the fan back on and connect it to your motherboard fan header or fan controller.
Thermal paste residues: Whenever you take off the heatsink from the CPU, we recommend to clean the CPU as well as the base of the cooler before re-applying thermal paste and re-installing the cooler. You can either just wipe the base and the CPU clean with a dry, lint-free tissue or, for more thorough cleaning, use a lint-free tissue moistened with either a mild solution of washing-up liquid or isopropyl alcohol. Do not put the cooler or CPU under running water. Note that both the base of the heatsink and the CPU should be dry, free from residues of thermal compound and free from grease before re-applying thermal paste and re-installing the cooler.

The mounting brackets don’t touch the mainboard, is this an issue?

No. The mounting brackets are not meant to touch the mainboard and the flexibility of the brackets is required to create the appropriate contact pressure. There should be up to 3mm (Intel) or 4mm (AMD) space between the mainboard and the mounting brackets when the cooler is correctly installed.

nh-l9 mounting bar spacing

Is the NH-L9i compatible with the Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI and GA-Z77N-WIFI?

Yes, after a slight revision, the NH-L9i is now fully compatible with these mainboards.

Which Noctua coolers are compatible with LGA1150?

The mounting is identical on all LGA115x sockets (LGA1150, LGA1155, LGA1156). The following coolers are thus compatible with LGA1150 out of the box and don’t require any upgrades in order to be used on this platform: NH-C12P SE14, NH-C14, NH-D15, NH-D14, NH-L12, NH-L9i, NH-U14S, NH-U12S, NH-U12P SE2, NH-U9B SE2. In addition, all older models which have been upgraded with the NM-I3 kit can also be used on LGA1150 without any further upgrades.

The following coolers can be made compatible to LGA1150 using the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit and are eligible for Noctua’s free mounting kit offer: NH-C12P, NH-U12, NH-U12F, NH-U12P, NH-U12P SE1366, NH-U9, NH-U9F, NH-U9B.

The following coolers can be made compatible to LGA1150 using the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit but are not eligible for Noctua’s free mounting kit offer: DX-Series Xeon coolers, NH-D14 SE2011.

The following coolers are mechanically incompatible with the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit and can not be made compatible with LGA1150: DO-Series AMD Opteron coolers, NH-L9a.

I’ve used all the NT-H1 thermal compound that came with the cooler, can you send me more?

Please kindly note that the NT-H1 thermal compound supplied with our coolers is a consumable item so our manufacturer’s warranty does not include providing additional thermal compound. You can purchase NT-H1 from our resellers.

Which sockets are supported or can be supported using upgrade kits?

Please refer to our socket compatibility chart.

My Noctua PWM fan starts to spin when the PC boots but then stops, what is wrong?

Some mainboards feature 4-pin fan headers that actually don‘t use a PWM signal on Pin 4 to control the fan speed but rather reduce the voltage on Pin 2 (like a standard 3-pin fan header). In this case, it may occur that the mainboard reduces the voltage so much that the fan stops. Please refer to your mainboard manual to check whether or not your mainboard has 4-pin fan headers that control the fan speed by reducing voltage on Pin 2 rather than by changing the PWM duty cycle on Pin 4:

4 pin fan header types

Note that mainboard manufacturers use different terms to indicate that Pin 4 is not being used for PWM control (e.g. “+5V”, “VCC” or “NC”), but if one of these terms is used, you can be sure that the fan header does not support PWM. If Pin 4 is described as “Speed Control” or “PWM” or the like, you can be sure that the fan header supports PWM.

Unfortunately, the description of Pin 2 is not always a clear indication as some manufacturers use terms such as “Fan PWR” or “Power” for both types of fan headers. However, if Pin 2 is described as “Speed Control”, you can also be sure that the fan header does not support PWM based speed control. If Pin 2 is described as “+12V”, this is a clear indication that the fan header supports PWM.

Please also note that in some cases, the descriptions of the pin layouts in the mainboard manuals may not be correct and some models actually allow you to switch the fan headers from voltage control mode to PWM control mode in the BIOS even though the pin descriptions do not indicate PWM support. We thus recommend to look for these options in the BIOS before taking other measures. In case of doubt, please contact your mainboard manufacturer.



To resolve the issue, you can:

  1. Choose a higher fan speed profile in the BIOS (e.g. „normal“ instead of „silent“, etc.) or deactivate automatic fan speed control and use a Low-Noise Adaptor instead.

  2. Use the mainboard‘s fan speed control software or 3rd party tools like Speedfan to regulate the fan speed. Unlike BIOS based fan speed control, the supplied software usually checks whether the fan has stopped and increases voltage accordingly or at least offer more options to set up the fan properly.

  3. If your mainboard features other 4-pin fan headers that use PWM for speed control, you can run multiple fans from these headers using Y-split cables. Make sure not to exceed the specified maximum power draw of the fan headers (usually 10-12W) though.

My Noctua PWM fan runs at a much higher minimum speed than advertised, what is wrong?

The specified minimum speed refers to the speed at 20% PWM duty cycle. There can be several reasons why the fan doesn‘t go as low as indicated:

  1. Many mainboards do not go below 40%, 50% or even 60% PWM duty cycle on case fan headers. Please refer to your mainboard manual to verify whether the fan header actually goes down to 20% duty cycle. If that's not the case, in some cases you can use the fan speed control software supplied with your mainboard to overcome these limitations and reduce the fan speed even further. However, 3rd party tools like SpeedFan offer greater flexibility and better options to work around the limitations imposed by the mainboard vendors.

  2. Some mainboards feature 4-pin fan headers that actually don‘t use a PWM signal on Pin 4 to control the fan speed but rather reduce the voltage on Pin 2 (like a standard 3-pin fan header). As the fan speed at minimum voltage is usually higher than the speed at 20% PWM duty cycle, the fan can not reach as low minimum speeds under voltage control as under PWM control. Please refer to your mainboard manual to check whether or not your mainboard has 4-pin fan headers that control the fan speed by reducing voltage on Pin 2 rather than by changing the PWM duty cycle on Pin 4:

    4 pin fan header types

    Note that mainboard manufacturers use different terms to indicate that Pin 4 is not being used for PWM control (e.g. “+5V”, “VCC” or “NC”), but if one of these terms is used, you can be sure that the fan header does not support PWM. If Pin 4 is described as “Speed Control” or “PWM” or the like, you can be sure that the fan header supports PWM.

    Unfortunately, the description of Pin 2 is not always a clear indication as some manufacturers use terms such as “Fan PWR” or “Power” for both types of fan headers. However, if Pin 2 is described as “Speed Control”, you can also be sure that the fan header does not support PWM based speed control. If Pin 2 is described as “+12V”, this is a clear indication that the fan header supports PWM.

    Please also note that in some cases, the descriptions of the pin layouts in the mainboard manuals may not be correct and some models actually allow you to switch the fan headers from voltage control mode to PWM control mode in the BIOS even though the pin descriptions do not indicate PWM support. We thus recommend to look for these options in the BIOS before taking other measures. In case of doubt, please contact your mainboard manufacturer.


    If your mainboard features other 4-pin fan headers that use PWM for speed control, you can run multiple fans from these headers using Y-split cables. Make sure not to exceed the specified maximum power draw of the fan headers (usually 10-12W) though.

What Thermal Design Power (TDP) is this cooler recommended for and how much Watt (W) of heat can it dissipate?

Please refer to our TDP guide for information on maximum recommended TDP and heat dissipation.

Can I install a Noctua cooler in my system from Dell, HP or Lenovo?

Systems from Dell, HP or Lenovo often use motherboards which differ slightly from the specifications issued by Intel and AMD. While those changes are usually subtle, they can led to compatibility issues with coolers that where built to comply with these specifications.

Even in case the cooler is mechanically compatible and can be instaled, other issues can occur, e.g. proprietary fan connectors, BIOS errors due to a low fan speed, shutdowns, etc. Some of these problems can be avoided with some technical knowledge, but especially BIOS related can often not be resolved.

Due to the large number of possible issues with systems from Dell, HP and Lenovo, which can't be resolved with different mounting parts alone, Noctua does not officially support such machines.

I'm experiencing fan speed issues with my motherboard from Supermicro, what can I do?

The BIOS of many motherboard models from Supermicro expects a certain minimum fan speed (usually 700rpm), which is higher than the minimum fan speed that can be achieved with Noctua's PWM fan models. The BIOS may interpret the low minimum RPM of Noctua fans as a fan error and thus try to run the fan at 100% for a short period before going back to automatic control.. This can result in oscillating fan speeds and fan speed warnings in the BIOS or the fan management console.

Unfortunately there is usually no option to set a lower minimum value that would suit the low minimum speed of Noctua PWM fans.The issue can thus only be resolved by either disabling automatic fan speed control in BIOS, which will cause the fans to run at a constant speed, or by requesting a modified BIOS file from Supermicro, which takes the minimum fan speed of Noctua fans into account (charges might apply).

My Intel -K series CPU is running too hot although my heatsink supports the specified TDP, what's the problem?

Intel's unlocked -K series CPUs can dissipate more heat than indicated by the TDP specification if a) the TDP limits are extended or disabled in the motherboards' BIOS or b) the motherboard applies some overclocking by default, e.g. by raising the supply voltage of the CPU and using higher Turbo-Mode multipliers. This can lead to temperature issues.

The actual power draw of the processor can be monitored with software provided by the motherboard vendor or with 3rd party tools like HWInfo or HWMonitor. If you encounter temperature issues and notice a higher than specified power draw, please limit the TDP to the specified value by choosing appropriate BIOS settings. In doubt please contact your motherboard vendor for details on how to do this.

All our TDP recommendations are based on thorough testing with the default values specified by Intel.

Is the cooler compatible with the LGA1151 socket?

Yes. Due to the heatsink mounting mechanism being identical on LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155 and LGA1156, the cooler also supports LGA1151.

Why doesn't the base of Noctua coolers have a polished, mirror like finish?

As most of today's PC enthusiasts use high-viscosity thermal compounds, the contact surface of Noctua coolers is optimised for use with this type of pastes. The micro-grooves at the contact surface ensure that high-viscosity thermal compounds are dispersed to a uniform thin layer across the whole contact area and that no air pockets remain between the cooler and the CPU. With a polished, mirror like surface, the risk of uneven dispersion is much higher. As too thick layers of thermal paste and air pockets drastically deteriorate heat transmission, the micro-grooves are is of vital importance to the overall cooling performance of Noctua coolers when used with today's high-viscosity thermal pastes.

Should I take the cooler off before transporting my system?

Due to the low weight of the cooler, it is not necessary to take it off for transport.

Are there any concerns using Noctua CPU coolers on Intel Skylake (LGA1151) CPUs?

Our SecuFirm2™ mounting systems undergo comprehensive compatibility tests before being approved for new platforms. We have neither detected any problem with regard to the Intel LGA1151 platform (“Skylake”) during these tests nor have we received any reports from our customers, sales partners and system integrators that would indicate any possible issue. Our SecuFirm2™ mounting systems (with the exception of some compact L-type models) rely on coil springs to create the required contact pressure, which gives a certain flexibility both with regards to tolerances in stackup height and shocks or other forces. Compared to spring-less mounting systems, which exclusively rely on the bending of the mounting brackets in order to create contact pressure, this allows to reduce the mechanical stress on CPU, socket and motherboard and thus helps to prevent possible damage from excessive forces. However, as it is not possible to reliably calculate or control the forces that act upon a system during transport (e.g. in shipping), we generally recommend, due to safety reasons, to take off coolers with a total weight of more than 700g (incl. fan).

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