For heavy-hitting gamers, it is important to keep down the heat that a CPU creates, or else the performance drops become almost inevitable. If the CPU gets too hot, it can even get damaged beyond repair.
Ask anyone for a great CPU cooler and the name Noctua NH-d15 comes again and again. However, if you are looking for the best Noctua NH-d15 alternatives that will give you the same cooling experience without breaking the bank, you’ve come to the right place.
In this write-up, I have put together some great alternative coolers currently available on the market that will suit all your needs meeting all the demands.
5 Best Noctua NH-D15 Alternatives
- Best Overall CPU Cooler: Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3
- Best Performing CPU Cooler: GIGABYTE Aorus ATC800 RGB
- Best Silent CPU Cooler: Scythe Ninja 5 Air CPU Cooler
- Best High-end Cooler: Cooler Master MasterAir MA620M
- Best Premium Low-profile Cooler: Noctua NH- L9x65
Quick Overview of NH D15 Alternatives
|CPU Cooler Model||Noise Level||Supported CPU Sockets|
|Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3||26.1 dB||Intel LGA 775/1150 / 1155/1156 / 1366/2011
AMD Socket AM2(+)/ AM3(+)/ FM1 / FM2 / 754/939 / 940
|GIGABYTE Aorus ATC800 RGB||18-31 dBA||Intel 2066, 2011, 1366, 1156, 1155, 1151, 1150
AMD Socket AM4, FM2+, FM2, FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2
|Scythe Ninja 5 Air CPU Cooler||4 dB||Intel LGA 775, 1150/1151/1155/156, 1366, 2011(V3) Square ILM, 2066
AMD Socket AM4, AM3(+), AM2(+), FM2(+), FM1
|Cooler Master MasterAir MA620M||30 dB||Intel: LGA2066, LGA2011 v3, LGA2011, LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA1150, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1366
AMD: AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2+, FM2
|Noctua NH- L9x65||23.6 dB||Intel LGA1200, LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA2011, LGA2066
AMD AM2(+), AM3(+) FM1, FM2(+) AM4
Do some serious overclocking or push your gaming rig further with these top-notch CPU coolers.
Here are the five best alternatives to Noctua NH D15:
1. Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3
When you want the perfect alternative to Noctua NH-D15 that produces almost no sound, then nothing can beat the Dark Rock Pro 3 from Be Quiet!
I must also mention that there are, in fact, other coolers out there on the market with quieter operation, but this one is the ideal choice if you want to heavily overclock your PC as well.
So, let’s start from the beginning. Just out of the box, you get a magnetic screwdriver. Also, you’ll find the 4-pin PWM y-cable, all the mounting kits and fan clips, and, of course, the thermal paste. Besides, it’s surprising that they also include installation guides in many languages.
With all these in the box, you won’t need anything extra to fix this baby to your CPU for sure.
When you look at it, the Dark Rock Pro 3 almost has a similar size to NH-D15. Their specifications are also surprisingly similar as well. But the first thing you’ll notice is how finely and consistently black the thing is!
Now coming to the specifications, Be Quiet! features two SilentWings PWM fans. One of them is 120mm and can reach up to 1500RPM. The other one is 135mm, and it reaches up to 1200RPM. Besides, the cooler also supports an extra 120mm fan if you find it necessary to add another one.
And what’s more?
This dual tower cooler also features seven 6mm copper heatpipes that have an aluminum base. Stacked on these heat pipes are no less than ninety aluminum fins. These heatpipes, as well as the fins, are sprayed with gorgeous looking black ceramic paint.
As you already know, NH-D15 is probably one of the quietest air coolers on the market. But when you compare it with the Dark Rock, you’ll see both of them have almost the same size, weight, and even price!
However, with a noise level of 26 dBA even at 100 percent PWM function, the Dark Rock Pro 3 gives NH-D15 a run for its money. It is actually the outstanding looks and pure performance of Be Quiet! that makes it so unique amongst all the competitors on the market.
This unit is a fantastic option if you don’t want to use water cooling for the CPU. It has an amazing build quality with a 7-10mm minimal sag from the motherboard. Understandably, this sleek look is one of the main reasons why many people prefer it over Noctua.
- Amazing build quality
- Minimal sag from the motherboard
- The mounting mechanism is greatly improved
- Gorgeous all-black look
- Extremely low noise level even at 100 PWM function
- Doesn’t have any RGB lighting option
- Installation is a little fiddly
2. GIGABYTE Aorus ATC800 RGB
Gigabyte and Aorus have been active in the cooling segment for some time now. Their ATC800 already attracted attention at first glance with its conspicuous and colorful logo.
The plastic cover of this cooler has an aggressive gaming look. Plus, the upper cover itself has an eye-catching look, even when it’s not illuminated.
You don’t need to assemble the fans since the two 120 mm fans are already pre-assembled at the factory.
Unlike the previously discussed Dark Rock Pro 3 that can reach up to 1500 RPM at max, both the ATC800 fans can reach up to 2,000 RPM! This is truly a great leap in terms of performance, at least!
Apart from its high-speed fans, the Aorus features a stacked fins design which enhances heat dissipation due to the increased surface area. Its 6 heatpipes have specialized welding between them.
All of the heat pipes maintain proper contact with Intel’s mainstream processors. That’s why the cooler can deliver its potential to the fullest.
Moreover, the heatpipes have stacked fins that help to draw heat away faster from the CPU for a significantly lower temperature. Additionally, they also strengthen the structure of the design.
If you’re using an Intel Core i9-10900K processor, then you’ll be happy to know that, with the AORUS ATC800, you can easily mitigate the heat and over 250 Watts TDP giving you an excellent overclocking experience. This heat is usually generated when you overclock all the i9 cores at 5.1GHz under the Prime 95 burn-in test.
The RGB LED design of the cooler allows you to control the lighting patterns on the blades of the fan. You can also synchronize this light with your peripherals, thanks to the RGB Fusion 2.0 software.
But the most attractive feature of this cooler is the temperature indicator of the CPU. It allows you to adjust the fan speed according to the temperature. The change in the color tells you about how hot the thing is.
All in all, the Aorus ATC800 is another perfect alternative to the infamous Noctua NH-D15 in all its performance.
- Extravagant lighting on cover and fans
- Integrated display shows temperature and speed
- Sufficiently quiet operation
- Fan speed reaches very high up to 2000 RPM
- The mounting system could be improved
3. Scythe Ninja 5 Air CPU Cooler
Big air coolers for the CPU usually feature multiple heat pipes and numerous individual cooling fins to effectively dissipate thermal loads. If you want to keep your PC cool and silent, such stuff is what you need.
Scythe Ninja 5 is one of those kinds of thermal assassins that, in addition to keeping your PC sufficiently cool, also keeps noise levels down to an impressive 14.5dB. Besides, the rubberized mounting elbows also eliminate any vibration noise from occurring.
Sporting a pair of 120mm fans with 6 nickel-plated heatpipes, the Ninja 5 boasts a near-silent operation through its 41 interleaved aluminum cooling fins. The heatpipes are all symmetrically aligned in a V shape formation to allow linear airflow around them.
Besides, this allows the heatpipes to get as much air movement as possible without greatly increasing static pressure.
With a maximum speed of around 800 RPM, the Scythe is one of the most silent fan coolers you’ll find on the market. Even with this low RPM, many consider it rivaling the impressive Noctua D15 when factoring in the price. It costs nearly half as much as the Noctua with a similar thermal performance level.
Moreover, it offers support for nearly all CPU sockets and has a relatively easy installation. However, the size of this cooler makes it a bit tricky to work with. But it has a wicked-looking blacked-out look that even an RGB fanatic could appreciate.
It is obvious from the looks of this Ninja 5 that Scythe has spent a lot of time and effort refining its design. With impressive attention to detail and mirror shine polish, Ninja 5 makes most other coolers on the market look sloppy in comparison.
So, if you don’t mind the size, and budget is a concern for you, then there is no better option with a quieter system and top-notch performance than the Scythe Ninja 5.
- Excellent performance for a very low price
- The operation is extremely quiet
- Easy installation despite the size
- Comes ready to install out of the package
- Slight compatibility issues might arise due to the large size
- Only two fans can be attached
4. Cooler Master MasterAir MA620M
This CPU cooler looks a bit odd since you cannot see the fan from outside. Actually, the fan is located at the center, making it look like a single large heatsink. Its clean black monolithic design brings out a unique look to the Cooler Master MA620M.
On the top, you can see two thin lines of LED light outlining the Cooler Master’s logo. This light can be controlled with RGB software.
Coming back to the fan, this 120 mm PWM fan runs between 650-2000 RPM. But the best part is the noise level which goes as low as 8 dB to 30dB. Although the fan is very efficient on its own, you cannot change it without causing some major damage to the cooler.
Moving down, the cooler features 6 heatpipes made of copper that is painted black. These heatpipes go up to the heat sink in a “U” shaped form. There is a solid copper base under the cooler that is properly machined for smooth contact with the CPU.
The thing that catches your attention at first is the clean matte black design of MA620M. Besides, it has been constructed to look like a large heatsink without a fan. But there is a fan at the center with two separate heat sinks on either side. You can install it to pretty much any system you want too.
While the Cooler Master looks gorgeous, it doesn’t stick the landing. It is because of the complicated and sometimes annoying installation procedure that pulls it down. But when you compare, its good points outweigh the bad by a long shot.
MA620M brings something unique in place of Noctua NH-D15 and within a very low budget too.
- Great cooling performance with a high-speed fan
- Probably the best-looking cooler on our list
- Supports a broader range of CPU sockets and systems
- Provides the most value for your buck
- The installation process is a bit tedious
- Changing the fan is tough
5. Noctua NH- L9x65
If you have a small form factor PC, then you probably do not have much choice when it comes to cooling the processor with a good cooler. Most coolers on the market are bigger than what your PC will allow. So, you might need to sacrifice the size, which takes down the performance along with it too.
I do care about your problems, and that’s why I have picked the best miniature-sized cooler you’ll find on the market.
Noctua has a good reputation as a high-end manufacturer of cooling fans and has become synonymous with quality and quiet operation. Their Noctua NH-L9x65 packs some serious cooling power despite the size.
This NH-L9x65 is a small, low-profile cooler and slightly larger in size than the Intel stock heatsink, which means it is the smallest cooler on our list. Since it is a pretty compact cooler, it won’t be the most suitable option for overclocking. But still, this pint-sized device might have some surprises in store.
To maintain its rock-solid reputation as a high-end manufacturer of cooling fans, Noctua has included amazing specifications to their NH-L9x65. One of which is its potential to be one of the quietest low-profile coolers on the market.
With a cooling capacity of 95W, Noctua features 49 aluminum-made fins, a single 92mm fan, and 4 heatpipes. The heatpipes and mounting screws are allowed to pass through perforations in some areas of the fins.
And the heat pipes with 6mm diameter are separated into two sets. Each of these passes through the base from two sides. This improves the heat transfer amidst the compact footprint of the cooler.
The whole of the cooler is made out of aluminum and copper, especially the nickel-plated base, which is brushed to an almost mirror-like texture.
In terms of speed, the fan has an RPM between 300 and 2500. This is huge, considering none of the other four coolers on our list can reach this much! Such a high speed is bound to produce some noise due to vibration.
That is why the corners of the fan have been rubberized to dampen this vibration while in use, resulting in producing as low as 33dB noise at full speed.
Moreover, the SecuFirm 2 mounting system makes the cooler easy to install. Even for an ITX system with crammed components, the installation won’t take more than 5 minutes max.
- Extremely easy and fast installation
- Very high RPM of 2500
- Really low sound on high speed
- Simple and small design with no clearance issues
- Inadequate performance for high TDP processors
- The fan color is not very appealing
After researching for days, I have come up with the best Noctua NH-D15 alternatives for your needs. I hope this article will help you with a new CPU cooling solution. Have a great gaming experience.