Noctua NH L9a-AM4 Compact CPU Cooler Review

Some weeks ago, we had a chance to review the NH L9i chromax.black cooler, which is designed for small form factor PC with Intel processors. In our tests, we have used the AM4 mounting kit, which is available as a separate product. Since Noctua released the NH L9a-AM4 cooler, which is out of the box prepared for AM4 socket, then it’s time to take a look at this new cooler and compare it to the previously reviewed NH L9i version.

Our test platform will be similar, so it will also include the Ryzen 3700X, which is a challenge for any small CPU cooler.

The NH-L9a-AM4 is a highly compact, quiet low-profile cooler designed for use in small form factor cases and HTPC environments. While it provides first-rate performance in its class, it is not suitable for overclocking and or CPUs that create high heat loads. Please consult our CPU compatibility list to find out whether the NH-L9a-AM4 is recommended for your CPU/APU

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The NH-L9a-AM4 chromax.black is an all-black version of Noctua’s award-winning NH-L9a-AM4 low-profile quiet CPU cooler for AMD Ryzen based HTPCs and Small Form Factor (SFF) builds. Thanks to the same proven heatsink design and NF-A9x14 PWM fan, it stays true to the NH-L9a-AM4’s successful formula of fusing a height of only 37mm with strong performance and excellent quietness of operation, as well as 100% RAM 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™ low-profile mounting system for AMD AM4, Noctua’s enthusiast-grade NT-H1 thermal compound and a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-L9a-AM4 chromax.black is a premium choice for customers who seek an ultra-compact heatsink that looks just as great as it cools.
 

“AMD’s Ryzen platform has become more and more popular over the last few months, not only for high-end builds but also for compact HTPCs and Small Form Factor systems”, says Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). “We’ve already introduced the black NH-L9i low-profile cooler for Intel in October, but now we also want to give design-conscious AMD users a new option with the black version of NH-L9a-AM4!”

 

Award-winning NH-U12 series

Award-winning NH-L9a-AM4 cooler

Tens of thousands of enthusiast users all over the world swear by the NH-L9a-AM4’s quality and performance. Recommended by more than 150 international hardware websites and magazines, it is renowned as being one of the best low-profile coolers on the market.
 
chromax.black design

chromax.black design

The NH-L9a-AM4 chromax.black is black from head to toe: Featuring a black coated heatsink, a black fan with black anti-vibration-pads, black fan screws, and black mounting parts, it’s right at home in all-black builds and easy to integrate with other colour schemes.
 
37mm low profile

37mm low profile

Due to the slim 23mm heatsink and the NF-A9x14 low profile fan that measures only 14mm in thickness, the NH-L9a-AM4 stands a mere 37mm tall, which makes it ideal for use in compact HTPCs or Small Form Factor cases that offer minimum clearance for CPU coolers.
 
100% RAM compatibility

100% RAM compatibility

The NH-L9a-AM4 has a compact footprint that fully complies with the socket keep-out zones specified by AMD. This means that neither the heatsink nor the fan overhang the RAM, so the cooler provides easy access to the slots and is fully compatible with tall memory modules.
 
100% compatibility with PCIe cards on mini-ITX

100% compatibility with PCIe cards on mini-ITX

Some AMD-based mini-ITX motherboards have the PCIe slot located close to the CPU socket zone. While larger coolers that exceed this zone may block the PCIe slot, the compact-sized NH-L9a-AM4 provides full compatibility with PCIe cards.
 
NF-A9x14 PWM premium fan

NF-A9x14 PWM premium fan

The highly optimised NF-A9x14 premium fan features Noctua’s proprietary AAO frame as well as sophisticated aerodynamic design measures. Supporting PWM for fully automatic speed control, the NF-A9x14 allows the NH-L9a-AM4 to stay remarkably quiet.
 
Soldered interface between heatpipes and fins

Soldered interface between heatpipes and fins

With many heatsinks, the fins are press-fitted to the heatpipes. Due to the different thermal expansion coefficients of copper and aluminium, this fit can loosen over years of thermal cycling, which may lead to reduced performance. By contrast, the NH-L9a-AM4’s fins are soldered to the heatpipes in order to guarantee a superior thermal interface that doesn’t deteriorate even after many years of usage
Custom-designed SecuFirm2™ mounting for LGA115x

Custom-designed SecuFirm2™ mounting for AM4

The NH-L9a-AM4 bundles a custom-designed, backplate-less SecuFirm2™ mounting system for AM4 that offers extended compatibility with mini-ITX boards and makes installation easier than ever, all while maintaining the trusted SecuFirm2™ quality.
Low-Noise Adaptor

Low-Noise Adaptor

Allowing to reduce the maximum speed of the NF-A9x14 fan from 2500 to 1800rpm, the included (L.N.A.) makes it possible to achieve near-silent setups using CPUs with less than 65W TDP.
6-year manufacturer’s warranty

6-year manufacturer’s warranty

Noctua products are renowned for their impeccable quality and outstanding longevity. True to this legacy, the NH-L9a-AM4 heatsink is built to last, and like all Noctua fans, the supplied NF-A12x25 units feature an MTTF rating of more than 150,000 hours. The entire package comes with a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty.

 

You can buy the Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 chromax.black CPU Cooler for around $49 from Amazon – https://amzn.to/2P8x75f

 

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About Bartosz Waluk 316 Articles
Bartosz Waluk aka Woomack is from Poland. He's been interested in computer hardware and extreme overclocking for over 15 years. Bartosz has also over 12 years experience in IT what includes sales, technical support and computer building ... but not only. He joined the Funky Kit team in January 2013.