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Appeared on: Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Noctua NH-U9B SE2 review


1. Features
Manufacturer
Noctua
Model
Price 

$55

Category
Power users

Noctua's NH-U9B SE2 cooler is a special edition of the NH-U9B cooler for HTPCs or smaller cases. The NH-U9B SE2 now comes with two of Noctua's NF-B9 92mm fans and adds support for LGA1156 as well as LGA1366 via the latest SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system. It also supports AMD's AM2, AM2+ and AM3 systems.

The cooler has been designed to offer users quiet cooling, a performance level close to its bigger brothers while being much more compact. The supplied Low-Noise and Ultra-Low-Noise-Adaptors allow for full flexibility in fine-tuning the cooler for more quietness or maximum performance in push-pull mode.

- Product features

NH-U9B NH-U9B Heatsink
The NH-U9B SE2 is built around Noctua's NH-U9B heatsink that combines quiet cooling performance with compact size, making it ideal for use in HTPC systems and smaller cases.
SecuFirm SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system
Noctua’s enthusiast grade SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting provides broad socket compatibility (LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA775, AM2, AM2+ and AM3)
NF-B9 2x NF-B9 92mm Premium Fan
Including two of Noctua's NF-B9 92mm fans with Low-Noise and Ultra-Low-Noise-Adaptors, the NH-U9B SE2 offers full flexibility in fine-tuning the cooler for supreme quietness and maximum performance in push-pull mode.

NT-H1 NT-H1 Thermal Compound
Noctua's NT-H1 is a pro-grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease-of-use and outstanding reliability.
Kit Special Edition Premium Kit
Bundled with a tube of NT-H1, two exquisite NF-B9 fans and the new SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system, the NH-U9B SE2 forms a complete package that's backed up with 6 years manufacturer's warranty

- Specifications

Socket compatibility   Intel LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA775 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3 (backplate required)
 
 
 
Height (without fan)   125 mm
 
 
 
Width (without fan)   95 mm
 
 
 
Depth (without fan)   71 mm
 
 
 
Height (with fan)   125 mm
 
 
 
Width (with fan)   95 mm
 
 
 
Depth (with fan)   95/120* mm
 
 
 
Weight (without fan)   460 g
 
 
 
Weight (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
     
     
     


    Fan specifications
       
     
     
     
    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

    2. A closer look, installation

    Let's have a look to the retail package of the Noctua NH-U9B SE2. Designed mainly for HTPCs, the size of the main unit is small despite the dual fans that should be installed in a push-pull configuration in order to achieve better cooling efficiency. The product retails for a relatively affordable price for a Noctua-branded cooler, at about $55.

    There is not much we can say about the packaging since it follows Noctua's typical design with the semi-transparent window on the front and the basic features of the heatsink listed there:

    The accessories coming with the main unit are found into a smaller box and include and two NF-B9 92mm fans, manuals, the new SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system, mounting tools and screws and a Noctua's NT-H1 thermal compound:

    The Noctua NH-U9B SE2 measures 125x956x71 (H x W X D) and weighs 460 grams. Adding the two 92mm fans will give you a total 640gr, a low weight if you consider that most cpu cooler nowadays weigh about 1~1.2kg.

    Noctua followed a typical design for the main heatsink with four U-Shaped full copper, nickel-plated heatpipes connecting the base with the aluminum fins:

    The heatsink's base looks perfect made of nickel-plated copper. The bottom-surface of the cooler is optimized for the use with high-viscosity thermal compounds. As a result, we have to don't have to do with a mirror like surface.

    For the installation, you should manually add the four screws in the corresponding holes found around the base:

    Below you can see how the heatsink looks like after mounting the two fans in push-pull mode using the available clips. Noctua's NF-B9 92mm fans with Low-Noise and Ultra-Low-Noise-Adaptors offer flexibility in fine-tuning the cooler for quietness and maximum performance . The fans' speed can reach the 1600 R.P.M.:

    The installation of the NH-U9B SE2 is easy. The cooler uses Noctua's SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system
    for all the LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA775, AM2, AM2+ and AM3 systems. We have described the procedure several times in the past when we reviewed Noctua products. Reading the manual will give you a step-by-step guidance for the installation, which is straightforward.

    What we should note here is that before installing the heatsink, make sure to secure the two "wings" on the cooler's base first as you can see in the following picture:

    The cooler is ready for use installed on our test motherboard. As you can see, it is compact enough and does not interfere with r nearby components such as memory modules:


    3. How we test

    Here is our test bed:

    We produced the highest possible temperature using the OCCT v2.0.1 software with a custom 30mins (mixed) operation:

    We left both cores of our Intel Core i7-920 running at full load for ~30 minutes. The temperatures were logged using the CoreTemp 0.99.3 and the software itself. We took two measurements with our CPU running at stock speed and with then under overclocking:

    The sound measurements were logged using the Precision Gold N09AQ Environment Meter. All the measurements were taken at a 30cm distance from the cpu cooler, with its fan spinning at full speed. For all the coolers appearing in the comparison charts we used the thermal compound, the Tuniq TX-2. As a last note, we remind you that these measurements may slightly differ from any possible measurements you may have, even if you are using the same testing configuration.


    4. Performance

    Let's see how the Noctua NH-U9B SE2 performs when our Intel Core i7-920 runs at stock speed. The temperature of the CPU was lowered down to 49 degrees Celsius, which is a decent performance for a small-sized cooler. Under the same conditions, Intel's stock cooler would keep your CPU's temperature at 58 degrees C. The NH-U9B SE2 is found somewhere in the middle in the comparison chart seen below:

    Pushing the Intel Core-i7 920 to work at 3.60GHz made things harder for the Noctua NH-U9B SE2, and this time the dual 92mm fans had a rather difficult job. The temperature of the CPU reached the 68 degrees C. The performance could be better here but don't forget that we have to do with an HTPC cooling solution:

    The Noctua NH-U9B SE2 is following Noctua's tradition to produce quiet coolers. We measured just 44 dB of noise despite the dual-fan configuration of the cooler. This means that the cooler will work at the background without disturbing you when you are watching a movie:

    The NH-U9B SE2 is the most affordable Noctua product we have ever tested, priced at ~$55:


    5. Summary

    This small cpu cooler is armed with Noctua's technology and the two 92mm fans manage to produce decent results, considering the low volume of the unit.

    The retail package, as always, is pretty much complete, with everything that Noctua has get us used with. In the box, Noctua includes everything you need to get started, clear instructions and thermal compound. Besides the easy installation, the heatsink should easily fit in your HTPC and will operate silently enough to make you ignore its presence inside the box.

     

    The NH-U9B SE2 restricts itself to a small portion of the market (HTPC). However, its build quality is high, the bundle is complete, it is silent and compares well with some of the HTPC cooling solutions available today. Although the product costs a few bucks more, that can be justified as the product retains high quality standards.

    If you are seeking for top performance for your PC, then performance wise, it makes more sense to go with a traditional tower cooler. However if you have a small enclosure or an HTPC, the NH-U9B SE2 is a smart choice.

    Retail package
    Design
    Motherboard compatibility
    Installation time
    Copper Base quality

    Pros:

    + Complete retail package
    + Low volume
    + Good performance with stock/overclocked processor
    + Supports two 92mm fans
    + Low noise levels, even at full speed
    + Works with both AMD/Intel platforms

    + 6 years of warranty
    + Retail price is good for a Noctua product

    Cons:

    - Performance wise, it is not a best-buy solution
    - Installation procedure takes some time, but it is straight forward



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