Noctua NH-P1 passive CPU cooler evaluate

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Our Verdict

Noctua has performed an excellent job with the NH-P1. It achieves efficiency I did not fairly suppose doable sans followers, and achieve this whereas sustaining the excessive normal I’ve come to anticipate from the corporate.

For

  • Silent
  • Fault-proof
  • Admirable efficiency

Towards

  • Requires cautious planning
  • Area of interest
  • Pricier than your common air cooler

From a look, you may see nothing greater than a hulking CPU cooler, however the Noctua NH-P1 is much extra thrilling than that. As a passive design, it requires no fan to maintain your CPU at a secure temperature. Sure, even whereas gaming. And if you happen to hadn’t already guessed, that is a fairly large deal for silent PC builds.

The NH-P1 is able to cooling even high-end CPUs utilizing solely pure convection. That is kind of what makes it an enormous deal within the cooling world. It does this by way of a design that is vastly disparate out of your traditional chip chiller.

Evaluate the NH-P1 to the NH-D15, Noctua’s high-end CPU cooler, and you will discover a good few variations between the 2. Essentially the most instant is the density and thickness of the fins that make up a lot of the cooler’s massive dimension. These fins act as the basic warmth dissipation technique for an air cooler, and unusually the NH-P1 comes with fewer than the tightly packed NH-D15.

That appears considerably counterintuitive for the passive unit. We’re used to assuming a higher floor space will equate to higher cooling potential. But as Noctua factors out, it is about lowering airflow resistance with a passive cooler since there is no fan to assist push air by way of a dense fin stack.

The NH-P1 additionally contains a grid of cut-outs horizontally by way of the cooler design, which once more ought to assist airflow naturally circulation throughout the cooler and importantly sap away the warmth transferred into the fins from the warmth pipes.

The warmth pipes are undoubtedly of main significance right here. Sit the NH-P1 side-by-side with the NH-D15, and you will discover they’re oriented otherwise. The warmth pipes are literally longest alongside their horizontal axis, which is able to undoubtedly influence warmth dispersion as a result of reliance on gravity for a warmth pipe to perform.

The Noctua NH-P1 air cooler mounted on an open-bed test bench with pink RGB lighting

(Picture credit score: Future)

NH-P1 specs

Socket compatibility: Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3, LGA1200, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+, AM4

Materials: copper base and heatpipes, aluminium fins

Dimensions: 158 x 154 x 152 mm

Weight: 1180 g

Value: $110 | £100

Noctua has additionally expanded the warmth pipe format to extra evenly distribute the warmth throughout the floor space, and each is soldered to the fins to make sure a steady connection over time between the 2 totally different metals forming the cooler: copper for the bottom and warmth pipes and aluminum for the fins.

The NH-P1 is mechanically sound; there is no doubt about that.

The important thing factor here’s what all that optimizing nets this cooler beneath totally different circumstances, particularly gaming. To seek out that out, I’ve put it to the check.

I arrange the NH-P1 on our check bench in our air-conditioned workplace (noteworthy: ambient air temperature may have a big influence on efficiency) and ran a couple of benchmarks: Cinebench R20, x264 benchmark, Metro Exodus Enhanced Version, and Horizon Zero Daybreak.

That is a mixture of gaming benchmarks and, actually, back-breakingly intensive CPU benchmarks.

Crucial factor to notice about our check bench is that it is fitted with a Core i7 10700K. That is a 125W chip at inventory frequencies, which places it ever-so-slightly above the cooler’s optimum spec. It is rated beneath Noctua’s CPU compatibility chart as “suitable with sure restrictions.” These being the “CPU may fall barely under base-clock beneath steady full-load.”

Not too dangerous for a CPU structure famed for its excessive thermal and energy calls for.

However I wish to see how far I can push the Noctua NH-P1. In case you’re contemplating a system with this cooler, I would advocate enthusiastic about your total thermal setup in way more depth.

A graph showing results for the Noctua NH-P1 CPU cooler across various workloads

(Picture credit score: Future)

Check rig

CPU – Intel Core i7 10700K

Motherboard – MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi

RAM – Corsair Vengeance RGB Professional @ 3,200MHz

PSU – NZXT 850W

Chassis – DimasTech Mini V2

In operation, the idle efficiency is instantly a bit of greater than I would anticipate from a high liquid cooler at the moment. That stated, it is nonetheless inside a standard working vary that I’d be comfy with. 

The gaming efficiency is fairly spectacular, too. A excessive of 89°C in Horizon Zero Daybreak throughout a number of runs bodes effectively for its thermal functionality. Metro Exodus at 81°C much more so.

After all, the admittedly aggressive CPU benchmarks do not see this cooler fare practically fairly as effectively. A burst of Cinebench R20 is not sufficient to hit our CPU’s Temperature Junction Most (Tj Max), however an prolonged run is. Inside only some runs, the CPU started to throttle down as temperatures hit a relentless 100°C. That is a totally nice temperature to run at; that is why Intel units that because the Tj Max, however it is going to have an effect on efficiency for prolonged workloads.

It is also price noting that the CPU by no means as soon as boosted to its Turbo Increase Max 3.0 frequency of 5.1GHz throughout my testing. Turbo Increase 3.0 depends on thermal headroom to spice up as much as the max frequency the chip provides, so the system clearly felt it lacks the NH-P1.

The Noctua NH-P1 air cooler mounted on an open-bed test bench with pink RGB lighting

(Picture credit score: Future)

But what this testing tells us is that even in an ill-optimized setup akin to our open-bed check bench with minimal airflow, the Noctua NH-P1 offered ample cooling for our gaming benchmarks. I really feel that is fairly spectacular, particularly when you think about how one can optimize your system to higher assist the NH-P1.

Noctua goes into in depth element as to how to do that. Nonetheless, the final thought is to get a naturally breathable case, purchase a motherboard with ample VRM cooling, choose a graphics card that will not spit out extreme warmth (or higher but, an APU), and do not go overboard along with your alternative of CPU. Any zero-RPM and semi-passive modes are a bonus, too.

All as a lot widespread sense as the rest.

I additionally examined the NH-P1 with the optionally available NF-A12x25 LS-PWM fan. Now I really feel this considerably defeats the aim of the cooler, if solely as a result of Noctua’s NH-D15 is cheaper and sometimes very quiet, anyhow. It is a minimum of an possibility for the area of interest of a high-performance PC that will not be simply serviceable, and due to this fact some redundancy if a fan breaks could be required.

Listed here are the outcomes with the optionally available fan:

A graph showing results for the Noctua NH-P1 CPU cooler across various workloads

(Picture credit score: Future)

Clearly, although, the NH-P1 is a distinct segment product with explicit use circumstances, and that comes with some drawbacks.

It is unlikely to unlock your chip’s most potential, and it could possibly’t be paired with a hulking triple-fan fanatic graphics card for a very good motive. All of which is able to rule it out for a lot of. 

And with a better price ticket than we have come to anticipate out of your traditional air cooler ($110/£100), its specialties additionally come at a substantial price.

However I say so what if the NH-P1 just isn’t a CPU cooler to suit all PCs. A silent, failproof, or dust-proof design with way more functionality than underpowered passive designs of the previous is a big win for PC builders restricted by circumstance. And all it takes is being a bit of smarter about the way you piece your machine collectively to get all of it working comparatively harmoniously with out even a whiff of energetic cooling.

Noctua NH-P1

Noctua has performed an excellent job with the NH-P1. It achieves efficiency I did not fairly suppose doable sans followers, and achieve this whereas sustaining the excessive normal I’ve come to anticipate from the corporate.

Jacob Ridley

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his personal tech weblog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking issues at PCGamesN, the place he would later win command of the package cabinet as {hardware} editor. These days, as senior {hardware} editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the newest developments within the know-how and gaming trade. When he isn’t writing about GPUs and CPUs, you will discover him making an attempt to get as far-off from the trendy world as doable by wild tenting.