REVIEW: Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 a low profile cooler perfect for AMD APUs

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Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 is the CPU cooler that we present today in our review, a model that is designed specifically for AMD AM4 processors with a consumption lower than 95W TPD. This set of fan and dissipator has as always an excellent design and finishes with a very contained height that is ideal for compact mini PC boxes. In our tests we will see how it is defended with the new AMD Athlon 200GE APU and with the powerfuls APU Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G. Let’s check how this cooler works with AMD APUs.

  • Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 can be purchased at Amazon.com only for $39,99

PRODUCT DETAILS

Specifications

ModelNoctua NH-L9a-AM4
Basic SpecsMaterials: Copper base / Aluminum fins / Nickel-plated
Compatible: AMD AM4
Maximum TDP: 95W
Measures: 37 x 114 x 92 mm (10 mm fan height)
Weight: 465 g with fan / 390 g without fan
Fan: NF-A9x14 / 600 – 1800 (LNA) – 2500 RPM / SSO2 Bushing
Contents: Fan / LNA cable / Thermal compound NT-H1 / Assembly kit AM4 / Manual

Description

The Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 fan comes in a box with all the components perfectly fitted. The fan assembly Noctua NF-A9x14 with the cooling block has measures of 37 x 114 x 92 mm and weighs 465 g, in the lower area has a contact surface where we can apply the thermal paste included NT-H1. We have a mounting plate and screws for the AM4 socket, in the manual the entire process is explained in detail, the LNA cable is an extra for those who want to limit and fix the RPM.

  • Materials: Copper and Aluminum Nickel-plated in silver.
  • Compatible: AMD AM4 Socket
  • Accessories: Cooler / LNA Cable / Thermal compound NT-H1 / AM4 Assembly kit / Manual
  • Fan: RPM 600 – 1800 (LNA) – 2500 / Socket SSO2 / Max. Airflow 57.5 m³/h

START UP

Testing hardware

In our tests on the Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 we will use all the APU available in the market, on the one hand the new APD AMD Athlon 200GE and on the other the powerful with the powerful APU Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G that we have already seen in their respective reviews with active ventilation. The motherboard and the RAM memories are the same ones that we used before, so the results are going to focus only on the thermal aspect.

To assemble the set we have opted for the following elements:

ComponenteReferenciaPrecio
Processor 1Ryzen 5 2400G$162
Processor 2Ryzen 3 2200G$105
Processor 3Athlon 200GE$60
MotherboardMSI B350I PRO AC$120
RAMGSkill Flare X DDR4 3200MHz – 16GB (8 GB x2)$264
PSUPico PSU 200W + Power brick 5.5×2.5mm 90W + 12V 4 Pin to 8 Pin adapter$70
StorageSamsung 970 EVO NVMe M.2 500GB$142

Assembly

The assembly of the Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 is very simple, first place a drop of thermal paste in the center of the processor, then place the fan and from below assemble the four screws, you have to progressively tighten the screws giving four turns each time to extend the pressure.

The height of this fan with only 37 mm allows us to mount it in any box for low that is as it is below the RAM. This fan does not have any problems of compatibility with any type of RAM since the 92 m mwidth allows it to be the 114 mm if it can cause some problem if we have extra heatsinks in the board in some component.

HARDWARE TESTS

Processors

The Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 processor is designed for processors with a TDP of 47 W, as we see in the detail of the AMD APU the desktop models AMD Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G has a variable consumption between 45-65 W cTPD what surpasses the capacity of this heatsink, the model AMD Athlon 200GE if that fits well since it remains in only 35 W TPD.

Athlon 200GERyzen 5 2400GRyzen 3 2200G
CPU architectureZen 14nm+ FinFETZen 14nm+ FinFETZen 14nm+ FinFET
SocketAM4AM4AM4
FanBasicWraith StealthWraith Stealth
Cores / Threads2 / 44 / 84 / 4
Base clock (GHz)3.23.53.6
Max. (GHz)3.93.7
GPURadeon Vega 3Radeon RX Vega 11Radeon Vega 8
Stream Processors192704512
GPU Max. (MHz)100012501100
L2/L3 Cache (MB)566
RAM GHzDDR4-2677DDR4-2933DDR4-2933
RAM ChannelsDual ChannelDual ChannelDual Channel
TDP35 W65 W65 W
cTDP (Watts)45-65 W45-65 W
Price60$ aprox.$161 aprox.$105 aprox.

Electric consumption

Before seeing the Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 tests we will see the consumption figures that the equipment we have analyzed with the AMD APUs can have in their assembly. These figures are indicative since they include all the hardware and not only the processor, but we can clearly see the difference between the powerful Ryzen desktop models and the new AMD Athlon.

Temperature

We perform several types of tests comparing the Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 refrigeration system in AMD APUs with the standard fan. As we see the temperature difference is very similar to the Wraith Stealth series fan, the differences are minimal and we have excellent ranges in any use scenario.

  • Measuring temperature: 24ºC.

In the tests with the APUs Ryzen 5 2400G, Ryzen 3 2200G and Athlon 200GE we have excellent results, the system maintains always low temperatures with a minimum acoustic level. The values are very similar to the standard fan being this much more voluminous and generating much more noise.

Noise test

As we can see the data of the Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 are excellent, as we see in basic use we are in only 14 dBA what makes it practically inaudible with the minimum of 600 RPM, we reach 18 dBA if we navigate in a heavy way staying in 1000 RPM. Only bringing the APU to a performance scenario triggers the fan, as we have seen it is at a maximum of 2500 RPM but it does not generate a high sound either.

CONCLUSIONS

Score

Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 _

0.00
8.5

Performance

8.5/10

Hardware

9.5/10

Noise

9.5/10

Thermals

8.5/10

Price

6.5/10

Pros

  • High performance
  • Compact
  • Low noise
  • Thermal compound and LNA cable included
  • Good design

Cons

  • Price

Opinion

The cooling system Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 as we see is a very good solution for the new AMD APUs that fit without problems to the limit of this hardware that is in 95 W TPD. The assembly is very simple and the final result is a very compact assembly with maximum compatibility. The materials and design as always stand out on the part of Noctua and we have the highest quality both in the metal parts and in the fan.

In general as we see the model Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 is an excellent option to mount it in a very compact box, as you can see in our assembly the set with an NVMe disk integrated in the plate and a PicoPSU font is tiny. The system is always maintained with a low noise level and only if we get the maximum performance the processor will hear some noise but it is low compared to conventional models.

In general, this system is the best low profile we have tested and we think it is the ideal for small boxes, it is clear that it has a price but it depends on what we value quality and silence.

WHERE TO BUY

  • Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 can be purchased at Amazon.com only for $12,98

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