Summary: Noctua's low profile NH-L9i heatsink stands 36mm tall so it will fit into the smallest of small form factor chassis. The NH-L9i is designed to cool Intel socket LGA115x (1155/1156/1150) processors only, which is a departure from the one-size-fits-all approach we're used to.
Conclusion: Performance numbers on the i3 were nearly identical to the stock cooler. The Noctua kept it 1-2 degrees cooler, and that is impressive for a cooler that is as low in height as it is. What I did get, was beautiful silence! My test bench is open air. And ratcheting up the utilization, the cooling solution was q-u-i-e-t. *Much* more quiet than the Intel 80mm solution. And that is a HTPC requirement.
Summary: The NH-L9i low profile Intel CPU cooler may not be the cooler of choice for the typical computer, but it is an excellent choice for those building up an extremely compact small form factor system. It was able to outperform another low profile cooler and the stock Intel cooler, while also being by far the quietest of the three. In addition to keeping the CPU temperature and noise level down, installation time was also kept to a minimum.
Pros: » Ultra compact, » Quiet straight out of the box, but low noise adapter makes it nearly silent, » Impressive performance for such a little cooler, » Simple installation
Cons: » 65W TDP rules out some popular Intel CPUs for use with this cooler, » Priced close to $50 (US)
Summary: The Noctua NH-L9i is a premium heatsink designed for systems where space is an issue and noise control is of utmost importance like a HTPC and SFF (Small Form Factor) PC. These systems often feature half height chassis designs and sometimes have the PSU directly over the CPU both of which limit the size of your heatsink. The Noctua NH-L9i is designed to address these issues and boldly cool where no other cooler can.
Pros: Low Profile Cooler, Silent Operation, Large Mass Design, Better Than OEM, Perfect for HTPC
Cons: Limited heat capacity, Clearance issues with some pwm heatsinks
Excerpt: Noctua is company known for high quality and excellent performing CPU coolers and fans. It’s safe to say that most of their product line is aimed at the high end user who wants to push their system or CPU to the limits. Enthusiasts, or overclockers they would be called, and that’s all fine and good if you’re that type of person, Noctua certainly has a cooler for you that will keep your CPU cool even under overclocked conditions.
Summary: The Noctua NH-L9i is a very well-made, low-profile CPU cooler, with the same construction quality we are accustomed to seeing in other coolers from this manufacturer.
However, there is no point in comparing the cooling performance of such a low-profile cooler to the high-end tower coolers. Therefore, we must pay attention to the data comparing the portrayed cooler to the stock cooler and other low-profile models.
Conclusion: Noctua are recommending a price of $47.90/€39.90 for the NH-L9i. For British customers this translates into approximately £33. Obviously there will be variance between retailers depending on their pricing strategies and delivery costs but generally speaking this product is coming in at £33/$48/€40. For what some may see as a glorified stock cooler, this is quite pricey indeed.
Summary: It has been a long time since I've looked at a traditional HSF. My last few cooling reviews have been of high-end liquid cooling solutions so the change was quite dramatic going with the Noctua NH-L9i. Let's make one thing perfect clear - the quality of this cooler is stellar. What I'm talking about with the big change is the size and performance capability of the product - the Noctua is not in the same class of course.
Pros: Good performance, Very low profile, Easy installation, Quiet, High quality construction
Cons: Base finish is a little rough, Price is a tad high for the performance
Summary: Naturally, the Noctua NH-L9i can't compare to some of the larger CPU coolers on the market. Against the Noctua NH-L12 , arguably the premiere small heatsink, you can expect a hit of 15~20°C and that's with the NH-L12 in its shorter 66 mm tall, single 120 mm fan configuration. When you take into account that the NH-L9i is a mere 37 mm tall, its performance seems rather impressive.