The Noctua NH-D9DXi4-3U is a mid-sized heatsink designed specifically for lower noise cooling of Intel Xeon processors in 3U height computer/server chassis. It's compact stature makes it ideal for rack mounted computers in a recording studio, video editing suite, operations control center, office environment or anywhere Xeon-based computers have typically had to be relegated to the 42U rack. The NH-D9DXi4-3U heatsink stands 111mm tall and has a footprint of just 95mm square, ensuring it won't overhang adjacent memory slots or interfere with PCI Express cards.
Noctua's NH-D9DXi4-3U heatsink ships with a single 92mm Noctua NF-A9 fan sandwiched in the middle of two 33.5mm thick cooling towers. An extra set of wire fan clips is also supplied for users who may wish to mount a second 92mm fan (not included) to the heatsink. For this review, Frostytech tested the NH-D9DXi4-3U with a second fan and witnessed a roughly 4°C decrease in temperature results. The stock 92mm PWM fan spins at 2000RPM; if paired with the supplied fan speed reducer, 1550RPM.
At the core of Noctua's NH-D9DXi4-3U heatsink are four 6mm diameter copper heatpipes, unfortunately the wick structure inside these heatpipes isn't disclosed. The heatpipes are soldered to every nickel plated aluminum fin and to the heatsinks' copper base plate. Soldering fins to heatpipes is a bit of a black art, but if done well it can offer lower thermal joint resistance than swaging, so for compact heatsinks it's a worthwhile process. The use of a 5mm thick copper heatspreader helps evens out temperature gradients inherent in multi-core processors which can exhibit localized hot spots due to the die layout.
Noctua's NH-D9DXi4-3U heatsink is rated for heat loads up to 140W TDP and installs onto both "square ILM and narrow ILM" Intel Xeon LGA2011-0/LGA2011-3/LGA1356/LGA1366 processors. The NH-D9DXi4-3U does not support AMD processors, for that see the NH-D9L model. It's covered by a 6-year warranty and the Noctua NF-A9 fan is rated for 150K hours MTBF. The Noctua NH-D9DXi4-3U heatsink retails for about $79CDN at Newegg.ca.
Noctua NF-A9 Fan
The NH-D9DXi4-3U heatsink cooler ships with a single 92mm NF-A9 fan that spins at 2000RPM and moves up to 78.9 cubic meters of air per hour, at 2.28mmH2O static pressure, according to manufacturer specs. All eight corners of the fan are covered with brown rubber vibration absorbing pads, allowing the fan to be mounted to any surface without the chance of creating errant noises.
As you'll no doubt notice in the photo above, the bottom set of fan rubber bumpers don't actually make contact with the heatsink. The space between the rubber bumpers is 67mm, exactly the height of the aluminum towers! To correct this, Noctua install a thin elastomeric strip to the rear aluminum fin stack, this in turn keeps the fan frame from directly contacting the metal fins. A NA-RC7 wire fan speed reducer (a 51Ohms resistor on the 12V+ PWM wire) is included which drops fan speed to 1500RPM for situations where much quieter operation is desired. Soldering dozens of heatsink fins to heatpipes can be a tricky manufacturing step to get right, so most entry level cooler makers choose instead to swage aluminum cooling fins around copper heatpipes. Adding a Second Fan For this review Frostytech tested the NH-D9DXi4-3U heatsink on our synthetic thermal test platforms with a second NF-A9 fan mounted to the front. This increased the heatsink footprint to 111x122mm and improved airflow through the heatsink as you might imagine.
A NA-RC7 wire fan speed reducer (a 51Ohms resistor on the 12V+ PWM wire) is included which drops fan speed to 1500RPM for situations where much quieter operation is desired.
Soldering dozens of heatsink fins to heatpipes can be a tricky manufacturing step to get right, so most entry level cooler makers choose instead to swage aluminum cooling fins around copper heatpipes.
Adding a Second Fan
For this review Frostytech tested the NH-D9DXi4-3U heatsink on our synthetic thermal test platforms with a second NF-A9 fan mounted to the front. This increased the heatsink footprint to 111x122mm and improved airflow through the heatsink as you might imagine.
Heatsink Mounting Hardware
Noctua's NH-D9DXi4-3U heatsink heatsink is compatible with square ILM and narrow ILM Intel Xeon socket LGA2011-0/2011-3/LGA1356/LGA1366 processors. Three sets of small metal tabs are provided which attach to the heatsink base, connecting in turn to the rear motherboard metal backplate via spring tensioned screws.
The installation process is straight forward and access is generally easy with the center fan popped out.
A multi-language manual is provided along with two extra fan clips, an extra-long allen key, Noctua NT-H1 thermal compound and NA-RC7 wire fan speed reducer.
FrostyTech's Test Methodologies are outlined in detail here if you care to know what equipment is used, and the parameters under which the tests are conducted. Now let's move forward and take a closer look at this heatsink, its acoustic characteristics, and of course its performance in the thermal tests!
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