Noctua exhibited a gigantic passive cooler at Computex 2019. It cools an i9-9900K without any problems. Black coolers are starting in October.
Noctua goes passive
The Austrian cooler manufacturer Noctua is known by many for its excellent coolers and brown fans. There is virtually no other manufacturer that can cool better. Noctua also had a booth at Computex 2019. In a conversation with Jakob Dellinger lasting almost an hour and a half, I learned a lot about new products and the manufacturer’s passion.
The most noticeable immediately is a gigantic passive cooler. It looks like a huge block of thick fins. The fins are 1.5 millimeters thick and have a distance of about 10mm to each other. Six heatpipes lead from the base into the cooling tower. Noctua exhibited the prototype on an i9-9900K in a completely passive system and used Prime95 Small FFT for testing. The processor thus achieves a power consumption of up to 126 watts, which the passive cooler actually absorbs. The cooler keeps the i9-9900K at 95 degrees. Although the i9-9900K throttles down to the base frequency of 3.6 GHz, the performance is still impressive. A touch on the case confirms how warm the cooler actually gets. The case is equipped with a tempered glass panel, which should be handled with caution because of the heat. The passive cooler is expected to come onto the market in the next two years.
New NH-D15 is coming
Also the new edition of the Noctua NH-D15 can be seen at the booth. This is called NH-D15 Plus and has been improved in several points. The cooler has grown slightly in width, but now has a good 10 percent more cooling surface. The asymmetrical design including cut-outs for the RAM modules is intended to guarantee compatibility. These modules can be up to 65 millimeters high. Instead of six, there are now seven heatpipes. The fans haven’t changed, the NH-D15 Plus still comes with two NF-A15 fans.
There is also a novelty at the base. There is now also an own TR4 model with large heatplate, which covers the whole processor. Noctua also built the model onto a test system. The Threadripper 2990WX with 32 cores, which was again loaded with Prime95, achieves a waste heat of a good 437 watts. The NH-D15 Plus cools the processor to 86 degrees in this setting. There is also a comparison to the current NH-D15. Both coolers ran on two heating elements. The new NH-D15 Plus achieves a good 1.7 degrees better result. However, the price of the new top model will be a good 10 Euros higher than its predecessor. But it is available directly with Noctua’s new NT-H2 paste.
Black coolers arrive in October
Also the black versions of the NH-D15, NH-U12S and NH-L9i presented last year were exhibited again by Noctua. Instead of the otherwise silver radiators with brown fans, everything on them is black. The fans have been produced as black versions, the cooler is coated. This coating was also the main problem for Noctua in the past. The company is one of the few to solder the heatpipes to the cooling fins. The flux of the solder, however, caused problems during coating, which is why a solution had to be found first. Now, however, the coolers will soon become a purchasable reality. They come onto the market in October and perform the same as their normal counterparts, with a deviation of less than one degree Celsius according to Noctua. The price is different, though. Since the coating process is very complex, the coolers will cost a good 10 Euros more. A black version of the NF-A12x25 fan is also planned. By the way, it is also heading in the other direction: white versions of the NF-A15, NF-A14 and NF-F12 will be launched on the market in the second quarter of 2020.
NF-A14x25 is under development
Noctua has also exhibited other prototypes. The prototype of the NF-A14x25 is probably the most important. With the NF-A12x25, the company has brought an outstandingly good but also very expensive fan onto the market. This is only available as a 120 mm version, which is why Noctua has also developed a 140 mm fan. This is the same in appearance, but should perform a little better. Especially with the performance the manufacturer had problems, because the NF-A12x25 is simply too good.
Will there ever be RGB coolers from Noctua?
Finally, I talked to Jakob Dellinger about the future and the company philosophy. Noctua is always looking for the maximum, which is why the development sometimes takes years. The PR manager told me that, for example, the NT-H2 heat conduction paste for 1 to 2 degrees better performance not only spent five years in development, but is also three times as expensive in terms of basic substances. Noctua takes a long development time and such factors into account to really get the best cooling performance. RGB is not a real topic for the company because of this. Investing development resources in such things and maybe even reducing performance simply doesn’t make sense for Noctua (which I personally very much appreciate). More interesting are the All in One water coolers, but here too the pumps have to be so quiet that only an in-house development can meet the high demands.
Sometimes there is time for other gimmicks. Noctua also exhibited a cooling ventilator at Computex 2019. It’s still a prototype, but it’s already working very well. An NF-A12x25 provides the air flow, which is “unscrewed” via a kind of funnel and delivered in a targeted manner. Even five meters away, the air flow is still clearly noticeable. The fan will probably come onto the market as an actual product in 2020.