Here at Geek Cube, we have known for a while that Noctua have nothing to prove. Continually they have shown that their cooling products mean serious business and this claim can be backed up by many other reviews out there. Noctua produce some of the best CPU coolers out in the market, and we’re not expecting this offering to be much different. Today, we will be looking at one of Noctua’s LGA1156/LGA1366 coolers – the NH-U9B SE2. Designed for maximum thermal efficiency and minimal acoustic emissions, the NH-U9B SE2 is well suited for even small cases.
“Designed in Austria, Noctua’s premium cooling components are internationally renowned for their superb quietness, exceptional performance and thoroughgoing quality. Having received more than 1000 awards and recommendations from leading hardware websites and magazines, Noctua’s fans and heat sinks are chosen by more than a hundred thousand satisfied customers around the globe.”
- Socket compatibility: Intel LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA775 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3 (backplate required)
- Without fan: 125mm (H) x 95mm (W) x 71mm (D)
- With fan: 125mm (H) x 95mm (W) x 95/120* mm (D)
- Without fan: 460 g
- With fan: 550/640* g
- Material: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
- Fan compatibility: 2x 92x92x25mm
- Scope of Delivery:
- 2x NF-B9 premium fan
- 2x Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
- 2x Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
- Y-Split Cable
- NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
- SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kits
- Warranty: 6 Years
- Model: Noctua NF-B9
- Bearing: SSO-Bearing
- Rotational Speed (+/- 10%): 1600 RPM
- Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%): 1300 RPM
- Rotational Speed with U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%): 1000 RPM
- Airflow: 64,3 m³/h
- Airflow with L.N.A.: 52,6 m³/h
- Airflow with U.L.N.A.: 41,1 m³/h
- Acoustical Noise: 17,6 dB(A)
- Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.: 13,1 dB(A)
- Acoustical Noise with U.L.N.A.: 7,9** dB(A)
- Input Power: 1,32 W
- Voltage Range: 12 V
- MTBF: > 150.000 h
The Noctua NH-U9B SE2 packaging will come as no surprises to anyone has seen Noctua packaging before. Sporting the professional brown and blue theme, it is clear Noctua mean business and do not rely on bright colours and flashy graphics to attract users. On the package itself, we find snippets of information regarding product features and specifications. There is also a windowed area on the front of the package which gives us a peek of one of the two Noctua NF-B9 fans included with the cooler.
If you’re familiar with Noctua’s CPU coolers, you may have already noticed how the NH-U9B SE2 looks much like the NH-U12P. That is because the NH-U9B is essentially a scaled down version of its bigger brother. The NH-U9B SE2 comes with the SecuFirm2 multi socket mounting system which gives compatibility with several socket configurations including LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA775, AM2, AM2+ and AM3. The NH-U9B SE2 is based on Noctua’s well-respected and successful NH-U9 series. As just mentioned, Noctua also provide two 92mm NF-B9 fans with Low-Noise and Ultra-Low-Noise-Adaptors.
Removing the contents of the box reveals the NH-U9B SE2 cooler, two NF-B9 fans, a bag of ‘common parts’, an installation set for AMD and Intel processors, four fan mounting brackets and a set of instructions. Noctua also kindly provide their HT-N1 thermal compound and four anti-vibration strips.
The bag of ‘common parts’ includes two sets of low noise and ultra low noise adaptors, mounting brackets and screws, a case badge and a Phillips screw driver to install the brackets.
Looking more closely at the cooler, we can see at the top there is the Noctua logo alongside four protruding heat pipe ends on each side. The NH-U9B’s dimensions are 12.5 cm x 9.5 cm x 7.1 cm and 460 grams without the fan and 12.5 cm x 9.5 cm x 9.5/12.5 and 550/640 grams depending if one or both fans are attached. The base and heat pipes are copper and the fins are made of aluminium with soldered joints and nickel plating.
The included 92mm NF-B9 fans have seven fan blades each with ‘Vortex Control Notches’ which are designed to split the airflow into smaller vortices across the fan blades in to increase the range of sound frequencies. As a result, the sound produced by the fans is less noticeable. The fans come in usual Noctua colours and operate at 1600RPM at full speed, 1300RPM with the low noise adaptor and at 1000RPM with the ultra low noise adaptor.
Testing & Performance
The Noctua NH-U9B SE2 was tested on the LGA1366 based Core i7 920 CPU which was clocked at its stock frequency of 2.66GHz and kept at stock voltages. It was also tested when overclocked to 3.5GHz.
Firstly, the back plate was installed by sliding the screw thread through the mounting holes on the motherboard and then adding the included spacers over these thread screws, followed by the two mounting bars. These mounting bars are secured into place with four thumb screws.
Next, the included NT-H1 thermal compound was applied. Noctua recommends applying a small 4-5mm diameter drop. The last step involves mounting the heat sink by placing the cooler onto the CPU and screwing it down to the mounting bars with the screws on the side of the fastening brackets.
Our test system specifications were as follows:
- CPU: Intel i7 920
- Motherboard: Asus P6X58 Premium
- Memory: G.Skill Black DDR3 1600MHz 6GB Triple Channel Kit
- Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB
- Hard Drive: Samsung 1 TB 7200 RPM
- PSU: Antec Quattro 1200W
- Case: Antec Twelve Hundred
For our testing we compared the NH-U9B SE2 with its bigger brother, the NH-U12P, to see how much of an effect the difference in size makes.
Temperatures were measured using Real Temp 3.40 and Prime95 was used for stressing the system. Reported temperatures are the average temperature of the 4 cores.
For idle testing the system ran without any extra applications for 30 minutes to let the temperature settle.
For load testing, Prime95 was running in-place large FFTs in Torture Test mode.
As expected, the NH-U12P’s size advantage naturally makes it the ‘better’ performer. Even still you have to really admire how well the NH-U9B SE2 did considering its differences. At both stock and overclocked settings, the smaller NH-U9B SE2 really holds its own leaving only 7 degrees or so between the two.
As if thermal performance wasn’t enough, the Noctua NH-U9B made next to no noise. We were truly impressed. Using the LNA and ULNA adaptors made it even more whisper quiet.
It is easy to see how closely the NH-U9B SE2 and NH-U12P are related as the similarities are clear. We can see that the NH-U9B SE2 really is much like a scaled down version of its older brother but performance wise, it is truly fantastic. This is why we’d say the NH-U9B SE2 is perfect for smaller enclosure, but definitely still very much suited for larger ones too. The NH-U9B SE2 features much of the same technology as its older brother and great the Secufirm2 mount system makes installation of the NH-U9B SE2 a breeze.
Noctua’s clever Vortex Control Notches on the fans keep things very quiet whilst keeping performance to a maximum. Using the LNA and ULNA adaptors are particularly useful if you want near silence.
If you looking for a cool and quiet solution for your HTPC or small enclosure, we believe Noctua’s NH-U9B SE2 is what you need. There is probably not another cooler out there for your HTPC or small enclosure which does better than the NH-U9B SE2. Even if you own a larger case, this cooler still performs brilliantly although the logical choice would be to go for its bigger brother if you have the funds. However, with Noctua you can’t go wrong.
- Solidly built
- Includes fans and thermal paste
- Excellent thermal performance