Noctua originates from a collaboration between the Austrian Rascom Computerdistribution Ges.m.b.H. and the Taiwanese cooling specialist Kolink International Corporation, pooling more than thirty years of experience in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of high-end cooling components. Established in 2005, Noctua took international silent enthusiasts’ hearts by storm and quickly developed into one of the most acclaimed suppliers of premium quality quiet cooling products. Today, Noctua is present in more than 30 countries across the globe and working with several hundred sales partners. Chosen by noise-conscious PC users, system integrators, and industry clients alike, Noctua has become synonymous with impeccable quality, excellent customer service, and class-leading quiet cooling performance.
Noctua has released two more coolers in chromax.black series. This time we are seeing a black edition of their famous NH-U9S and NH-U9S coolers. In this content we will take a look at the chromax.black version of the NH-U9S. Are there any differences between the original NH-U9S and NH-U9S chromax.black edition? Except for the black color from head to toe, there is not a single difference there. Even the mounting hardware and the fan clips are in black color. So, expect the same performance from the chromax.black edition but with a more neutral/stealth look. We have the same 6 years warranty from Noctua on this cooler. The cooler is designed for small form factor or compact chassis with 100% RAM and PCIe clearance in combination with silent cooling performance in 92mm sizing using NF-A9 fan.
Item: NH-U9S Chromax.Black
Price: $64.90 on Amazon
These prices are at the time of the review.
Packaging and Contents
The cooler is shipped inside a cardboard box with a chromax style packing theme. We have tons of information and data printed all around on the main packing box.
The NH-U9S is the Chromax.Black version of the famous NH-U9s. The cooler is designed for 100% RAM clearance.
This is the top cover of the packing box.
Salient features of the coolers are:
- black design
- NF-A9 chromax.black
- PWM support and Low Noise adapter
- Excellent RAM compatibility
The dimensions of the cooler are presented pictorially. More features are printed as well.
The specifications and the scope of delivery (packing list) are printed here.
We have two boxes inside. One is the accessory box and one has the cooler and the fan in it.
The cooler is tucked inside another cardboard box which is a standard packing style from the Noctua.
Let’s take a look at what is provided in the box.
- 1x Intel backplate [NM-IBP2]
- 2x Intel brackets [NM-IMB3]
- 2x AMD brackets [NM-AMB11]
- 4x White color spacers for AMD sockets
- 4x Gray color spacers for AMD AM4 socket only
- 4x NM-ALS1 Screws for AMD
- 4x Black color spacers for Intel [NM-IPS1]
- 4x NM-ITS1 Thumbscrews
- 4x NM-IBT2 Bolts for Intel Socket LGA-20xx
- Installation guides for the Intel LGA20xx socket, Intel other sockets, and AMD sockets
- 1x Noctua NT-H1
- 1x Low Noise Adapter NA-RC7
- 2x Metal Fan Clips in black color
- 1x Screw Driver
- 1x Metal Noctua Case Badge
It is time to take a look at the design. Here is what Noctua is saying about this cooler, “The NH-U9S chromax.black is an all-black version of Noctua’s award-winning NH-U9S premium-quality quiet CPU cooler. Thanks to the same proven compact 92mm tower heatsink design and NF-A9 PWM fan, it stays true to the NH-U9S’s successful formula of fusing strong cooling performance with excellent quietness of operation and outstanding RAM, case, and PCIe compatibility. At the same time, the chromax.black version with its black fan and black coated heatsink combines these assets with a sleek stealth look. Topped off with the renowned SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system, Noctua’s enthusiast-grade NT-H1 thermal compound and a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-U9S chromax.black is a premium choice for customers who seek a compact, highly compatible 92mm heatsink that looks just as great as it cools.”
The dimension of the cooler is 125x95x95mm (HxWxD). This dimension without the fan is 125x95x68 (HxWxD). The weight of the cooler is 618 g with the fan. The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150, LGA1200 and AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required), AM4 sockets. The cooler has 6 years warranty from Noctua. This is a single-tower configuration with one fan.
The top fin of the heatsink has the Noctua brand logo and name printed in the middle. We can see the terminating tips of the heat pipes. Everything about this cooler is in black color. The complete fin assembly is soldered with the heatpipes. In stock configuration, 1x NF-A9 PWM chromax.black fan is installed. The top view is giving us the hint on the fins geometry and design. Take care when handling the cooler as it is fingerprint magnet and those prints don’t look good on such a beautiful cooler. There is a hole drilled to the very bottom fin. This is to give access to the screw mounted mounting plate on the base of the cooler. The user has the option to take the plate off. This will come in handy in case either of the spring-loaded screws is damaged. Instead of replacing the entire unit, one would simply get the replacement plate. The heat pipes are installed more towards the sides of the heatsink than in the middle as most of the middle section is without pipes coverage. The rear side has a deep inset in the fins which is there to give access to the spring-loaded screw on the plate. Since the plate is installed in an offset fashion to provide 100% RAM clearance this was needed to access the screw.
The front and the rear sides are not identical. Taking a look at the front side of the heatsink, the cooler is fully black from top to the bottom. The heatsink comprises 44 aluminum fins which are black coated and nickel-plated per tower. The fin stack is less dense. There are 3 small columns comprising V-Shape notches on both sides which help reduce the resistance to the airflow and reducing noise. There is a bit of curve design in the center.
Taking a look at the rear side of the heatsink, we can see that the layout is almost identical to the front side but with one major difference. There is a deep half-circular inset in the middle of the heatsink. As mentioned above, this is there so that the screwdriver can easily reach the spring-loaded screw on the bottom.
The left and right sides are identical in layout. This is where the fins have a joint assembly. We have raised surfaces on both ends with little cutouts. This is where the fan’s metal clips are inserted to install the fan on the heatsink. The user can optionally install a second NF-A9 PWM fan on the rear for which an extra pair of clips is provided.
As we have mentioned above that the cooler is following an offset design despite being symmetrical in layout. This is made possible by having the mounting plate sitting with one end extending over the place where the fan will be installed on the front side whereas the rear end is terminating right below the terminating end of the fins. The above picture is showing the dimensions from the base. We have 47.5mm on both sides taken from the middle.
The Noctua NH-U9S chromax.black has 5x copper heat pipes which are also black color coated. The heat pipes are going inside the heatsink at a regular interval in each tower to maximize the point of contact with the fin stack hence covering a large surface area for maximum heat dissipation. The heat pipes seem to be having a 6mm thickness. There is an offset design and the heatpipes are laid out to support this offset design.
The copper base has an approximately 38mmx39mm size. It is nickel coated and mirror finished. There is no warning sticker pasted on the base out of the box. There is a transparent cover that is used to protect the base while shipping.
The base is in mirror finish as can be seen from the picture above.
The above picture shows the cross-section of the cooler.
Noctua has supplied their NF-A9 PWM chromax.black fan with this cooler. This fan has dimensions of 92x92x25mm and it is using Noctua’s legendary SSO2 bearing. The fan has 7 blades. The anti-vibration pads are in black color as well which can be color customized in 6 colors using NA-SAVP5 chromax accessories. The NF-A9 impeller features suction side Flow Acceleration Channels. By speeding up the airflow at the crucial outer blade regions, this measure reduces suction side flow separation and thus leads to better efficiency and lower vortex noise. The frame of the fan is in black color as well and is following the same stepped inlet design with the same inner surface microstructures.
Looking at the backside of the fan, we can see 4-arms assembly holding and securing the fan with the frame. One of the arms has a latch that catches the black color wires. There is a sticker pasted in the center with the Noctua brand logo printed up top followed by the CHROMAX branding. The power rating of the fan is printed at the bottom.
Here are the specifications of the fan:
|2000 ± 10%
|Speed with LNA (RPM)
|1550 ± 10%
|Airflow with LNA (m³/h)
|Noise with LNA [dB(A)]
|Input Power (W)
|> 150,000 hrs
Noctua has provided two black clips in the accessory box for the second NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black fan. There is a low noise adapter cable labeled NA-RC7 included as well that will lower the rotational speed hence reducing the sound level.
The power cable is using a 4-pin PWM connector and is approximately 210mm in length.
The cooler was tested on the LGA-2011-v3 using Intel i7 6850k and Asus Rampage V Edition 10. The installation mechanism is quite simple on this socket.
Install the 4x NM-IBT2 bolts on the socket area.
Place the 2x NM-IMB2 mounting bars on the bolts making sure that the edges of the bars point outwards.
Secure the mounting bars to the bolts using 4x NM-ITS1 thumbscrews.
The rest of the steps are:
- Apply the NT-H1 thermal paste on the IHS.
- Take off the fan from the heatsink.
- Place the heatsink by aligning the spring-loaded screws on the mounting plate with the standoffs on the NM-IMB2 mounting bars.
- Start screwing the spring-loaded screws.
- Once the heatsink is installed, connect the fan to the heatsink using the black fan clips.
- Connect the PWM connector of the fan power cable to the 4-pin PWM fan header on the motherboard.
- This will complete the installation.
The Noctua NH-U9S Chromax.Black has 100% clearance for the RAM and PCIe slot. This is true even on the mini-ITX boards since the cooler has a small footprint and is designed around the concept of providing a quiet and adequate cooling solution whilst having no clearance issue.
Following test bench has been used: –
- Asus Rampage V Edition 10
- Intel i7 6850k
- CORSAIR VENGEANCE RED 16GB @ 2666MHz
- Colorful GeForce GTX 1050Ti Vulkan
- Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
- Cooler Master MWE 650W Gold
- Custom open-air test bench
The software used for testing and monitoring include:
- Asus Real Bench v 2.56 (Intel)
- Real Temp GT v 3.70 (Intel)
Here is the settings table for testing:
|OC Clock (MHz)
|OC Voltage (V)
|Test Run Time
|Tested using Integrated Hub on the radiator at Auto/PWM
Manually set to run at 100% speed.
Auto PWM using CPU Fan Header
We are using Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste for coolers testing. Using the same thermal paste for all coolers would ensure standardization. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs. The testing is done on an open-air bench system. Once inside the chassis, the temperatures are expected to rise and would largely depend upon the optimal airflow inside the chassis.
Not every run of the stress test may yield the same result. This could well be due to many factors like mounting pressure, thermal paste application, varying ambient temperature, the temperature sensor of the die. Not to mention the silicon differences even among the same category of the chips. Hence, it is pertinent to mention the testing methodology along with the specifics.
Let’s take a look at the results.
100% PWM Cycle
You may be thinking hey, this is not a good performance but hold on! That is not the case. This cooler is at a difference of like 10°C when compared with the king of the ring i.e NH-D15 which given its size and intended purpose, is more than good enough.
The sound meter was showing the noise level to be 43 dB(A) with an ambient sound level of 32 dB(A).
Noctua has released two more chromax.black series coolers. This time we have NH-D15S and NH-U9S in the chromax.black edition. This time we have tested the Chromax.Black edition of the famous NH-U9S. This is a single-tower, compact size cooler with 92mm sizing. The dimension of the heatsink is 125x95x68mm (HxWxD) without the fan. The dimension with the fan is 125x95x95mm. The weight of the cooler is 618 g with the fan. The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150, LGA1200 and AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required), AM4 sockets. The cooler has 6 years warranty from Noctua.
There are 44 aluminum fins which are black coated and nickel-plated. They form a less dense stack and are soldered to 6mm 5x copper heat pipes which are also black coated to form two towers. The heat pipes are terminating at the top where their pointy heads are coming out of the top fin plate. The top plate has the Noctua brand logo and name. The copper base is mirror finished and has a dimension of approximately 38x39mm. The mounting plate is already installed on the base module of the cooler. It has two spring-loaded screws which are used to secure the heatsink to the mounting hardware.
The NH-U9S chromax.black is following the offset, asymmetrical design which is coming from the base in the way the heat pipes are installed to compliment the mounting plate’s installation. This design gives the cooler 100% RAM clearance on a dual-channel motherboard.
The Noctua has provided an NF-A9 PWM chromax.black fan. This fan has a maximum speed of 2000 ±10% RPM. With LNA, this speed is 1550 ±10% RPM. The fan takes the input power of the 1.5W at 12V DC. The maximum airflow is 78.9 m³/h. The maximum acoustical noise is 22.8 dBA. With LNA it is 16.3 dBA. The fan has a 4 pin PWM connector. The cable’s length is approximately 210mm. Noctua has provided their Secu-Firm-II mounting hardware making the installation of the cooler super convenient. The cooler supports the AM4 socket out of the box as mounting hardware is provided for this socket.
The price of the Noctua NH-U9S chromax.black at the time of this review is $64.90/£59.99. This is a bit premium price tag for this size cooler but we are getting 6 years warranty from the Noctua on this cooler and the same build quality the Noctua is known for. The thermal performance of this cooler is where it is expected to be as this compact-size cooler is intended for use in SFF builds where space constraint is a major consideration. Noctua has done a good job in bringing an all-black edition of their famous NH-U9S cooler while maintaining a good thermal performance over the low profile coolers and offering near-silent operation even at the fan’s full speed.
We are thankful to the Noctua for giving us the opportunity to review their NH-U9S chromax.black CPU air cooler.