Noctua NH-D15 Vs. NH-D15s: 4 things you should consider

Verdict: Noctua NH-D15 and NH-D15s are identical air coolers. The only difference is that the NH-D15s comes with a single fan, which eventually makes it less expensive and less noisy. However, if you pick performance, the NH-D15 has a slight edge. Overall, Noctua NH-15s is the most reasonable one.

There are many brands offering air coolers in the market. But only a very few of them can compete with Noctua in terms of quality.

As a brand, Noctua is well-known for its incredible line of cooling solutions. Their line of air coolers is highly focused on providing superior performance.

That said, the Noctua NH-D15 is such an air cooler that aims to provide your system with sheer cooling performance.

But is it better than then Noctua NH-D15s?

Worry not, mate! We’ll find it out shortly. As in this comparison guide, I will point out a few essential factors that will help you decide the best option.

So, what’s the waiting for! Let’s dive deep into the discussion.

Check out the latest price for the best water cooling kit.


Is Noctua NH-D15 better than Noctua NH-D15s?

In any build, whether it is high-end or mainstream, a CPU cooler is always a crucial component. A cooler plays a massive role in determining how well a system would perform to its potential.

Now, whether you should go for air or a liquid cooling solution is a different debate. The main aim should be to add a cooling solution that meets the requirement of your build in the best possible way.

Since I brought up air or liquid coolers, there is a notion that AIO cooling solutions are better than air coolers. To be honest, that’s true to a large extent, but you must remember what you are seeking.

Air cooling solutions do have some limitations. However, if you look for affordable pricing and hassle-free setting up, air coolers should always be the priority. And that said, Noctua has some of the best air coolers under its belt.

Check out the comparison between 120mm and 140mm case fans.

What’s more interesting is that you would find a few coolers from Noctua that offer better output than many liquid cooling solutions in the market.

Sounds interesting, right? It really is.

Both the Noctua NH-D15 and NH-D15s offer better output than several AIOs in the market. But the point of discussion is between these two air coolers.noctua-nh-d15-versus-noctua-nh-d15s

Which one has the edge over the other?

To know this, stay with me till the end of this guide as I will discuss a few factors that differentiate them perfectly. Check out the comparison between NZXT Kraken Z63 & Noctua NH-D15.

Here are the differences between Noctua NH-D15 and Noctua NH-D15s:

1. Noise Level

The noise level is quite crucial in the case of a CPU cooler. Because a CPU cooling solution is one of the loudest components in your system.

There are two types of gamers – one who has no issue with the noise and the other who loves super quiet operations.

Now, if you love quiet operations, then the noise level of your cooler does matter for you. And to be honest, you won’t like having something that irritates your ears.

Let’s get straight to the point. If you compare Noctua NH-D15 and NH-D15s’ sound levels, they are initially pretty much identical. Both of these models have a noise level that ranges between 19-25 dBA.

But, here’s the kicker.

Since the Noctua NH-D15 has dual fans, it produces slightly more noise than the NH-D15s. When I tested these coolers in my Ryzen build, the NH-D15s had an average noise level of around 22-23 dBA. But for the NH-D15, it was slightly higher. Check out the comparison between NZXT Kraken Z63 & Corsair iCUE H115i Elite Capellix.

Such differences aren’t that noticeable, but for the sake of comparison, the Noctua DH-15s have a slight edge above the Noctua DH-15.

2. Clearance

One of the critical aspects of buying a CPU cooler is checking whether it would fit in your system. Mainly in the case of the air coolers, there can be issues regarding the bulkiness.

And that said, such bulkiness can cause hindrance to the DIMM slots in the motherboards. The taller RAM modules may have some issues.

But is it the same for Noctua NH-D15 and NH-D15s?

No, it isn’t. The Noctua NH-D15 does cause some issues to the RAM slots in quite a good number of motherboards. Especially, it isn’t friendly at all for all those RAM modules that aren’t taller.

It sounds a bit problematic…Isn’t it?

But with the Noctua NH-D15s, you would get about 65 mm RAM clearance, which eventually gives you a lot of flexibility.

Also, Check out the battle-tested comparisons between Samsung SSD 980 Pro and Samsung 980.

Therefore, if you consider the flexibility regarding the clearance, the single fan Noctua DH-15s is a better option.

3. Performance

It is by far the most important factor while deciding which CPU air cooler you should buy.

Why are you buying an air cooling solution?

Obviously, to get the best out of your build. As, when your CPU gets overheated, it drastically drains down the output level of the system. What happens next is that you don’t get the desired result as per your expectations.

Your system doesn’t get utilized to its true potential, and as a result, it feels like all the money you invested has gone to waste.

Now, the question is, what is the level of output you will get from both these coolers?

To tell you the truth, the base output level for both these air coolers is the same. However, if you consider the dual fan NH-D15, it does provide slightly better performance.

And the reason is quite simple. The NH-D15 offers 3-4 C more than the single fan version NH-D15s. Also, check out the fastest PCIe SSD.

It doesn’t mean that the NH-D15s are bad. In my testing, the NH-D15s managed to keep the temps max at 60 C under loads that too in a Ryzen 5600x build.

It’s just that the NH-D15 has a slight edge in this aspect, considering the dual fan configuration.

4. Pricing

When you’re planning to upgrade your cooler, the budget must come into consideration. You, as a gamer, would look for something that provides value for the money.

That’s the basic instinct.

Now, the pricing of the cooling solutions differs depending on their types. Generally, the custom loop coolers are highly priced, followed by the AIO and air cooling solutions.

Since the air cooling solutions are comparatively cheaper than the other types, anyone might end up believing that all of them are reasonable.

But that’s a wrong notion.

If we just look at the pricing of both the coolers in this guide, you will find options that would seem less reasonable. If you want to overclock your CPU, here are some awesome budget best cpu cooler for overclocking.

The price of NH-D15 is high as it does have 2x fans. And when it comes to reasonability, the NH-D15s is a better option as it offers a complete package at a slightly lower price.

Is air cooling better than AIO coolers?

To be honest, this is a never-ending debate. But to put some light into it, all these things depend on the context.

Your needs define the type of cooling solution you require. Now, if your needs are such that it aligns with an air cooler the most, then be it.

There can be a good number of reasons behind choosing an air cooler over a liquid one. Firstly, the air cooling solutions are much easier to install than the cushion loop or the liquid coolers.

Their maintenance is also an easy task as you might only need to replace the fans. And that said, the most critical price is their pricing, which is way behind the liquid or custom solutions.

But before concluding, you also need to take a few things into account. Also, Check out our expert-recommended best low-profile cpu cooler for your chassis.

The air cooling solutions, especially the high-end ones, are bulky. Few of them cause clearance issues, such as obstructing the memory modules.

That’s why you need to be sure about your needs precisely. Only then would you be able to know whether air or AIO coolers are better for you.


Question: Is Noctua NH-D15s good?

Answer: The Noctua NH-D15s is a great cooler that provides value for the money. It’s whisper-quiet and does an incredible job of keeping the temperature down under load.

Question: What is the fan model in Noctua NH-D15s?

Answer: There is a single fan in the Noctua NH-D15s, which is the NF-A15 fan from Noctua.

Final Thoughts

Therefore, these are the factors that you might need to consider between the Noctua NH-D15 and NH-D15s.

In this comparison guide, I have tried to mention all those things that matter and might help you make a perfect decision. Still, if you feel that I missed out on anything, do let me know in the comments.

Leave a Comment