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Noctua NH-L9i vs a Pair of Noctua NF-A4x20 FLX: Which is quieter?


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I managed to pick up a Xeon 1240 v2 cheap ($50), I wasn't going to upgrade my i5 3470-T, but couldn't turn that deal down...

Obviously now I have a heat management issue...


Without any mods,  It idles around 50c and ramps up to the 100's under stress (Handbrake encoding) after a few minutes.


After a quick ghetto mod of shoving in 2 * 40mm fans behind the heatsink temps drop to about 30-35c idle and 65-70c after an hour encoding.


The fans I'm using are old (just what I had lying around) and they whine, I couldn't hear the server before, now I can....


So... Should I just swap out the fans for something quieter like the (a pair) Noctua NF-A4x20 FLX



or go the whole hog and replace the heatsink as well with a Noctua NH-L9i?


Modded like this; (look at the right-hand photo) (are there any quicker ways to mod/fit it?).



The cost difference is negligible, however the time spent modding it isn't, and I like to just get things up and running quickly.

The fan swap will just take minutes, and I'm ok with the temperatures I get from it, which will probably improve with better fans and thermal grease.


However, if the noise would be less then i'm happy to go with the heatsink swap...


Anyone have any ideas or thoughts? or better solutions that I may have missed...




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100 celcius? That's hot. I have a 1265L V2, which has a TDP of 45W vs your 69W, and I took the liberty of running a stress test for about half an hour. It's in an almost-closed cupboard and idles below 40 with the stock heatsink, and with the test it would not go past 81. This is all to say, are you sure your CPU is properly thermally connected to your heatsink? Does the extra 14W make such a difference?!

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Thanks for the reply Kingeth3.


That's what I thought, so I did in fact reseat it and reapply thermal compound, and it made no difference.

I also did it a 3rd time just to make sure! (However this last time, I'm now getting different temps on the cores, but that may just be due to the uneven fan airflow, it's a ghetto mod after all 🙂).

I guess that even though it's only an extra 14w it's practically 30% of your 45w.... So that could  account as a hefty bump for the extra 20c or so.... (I also live in a hot country, so ambient temperature is high).


I apply thermal compound the old fashioned way, just enough to cover the bare metal with an old credit card.

Been doing it that way for years (since the mid 90's). Never been quite sure how much to put when people refer to a pea size dot in the middle! (Peas come in many sizes!). I used to do  a lot of overclocking, lapping heatsinks (sometimes even the top of the chips themselves!), as well as watercooling. Now I can't be bothered, i just want things to run smoothly and quietly, since speed  is not really an issue anymore...

Certainly when the heatsink comes off the spread of the compound seems fairly even....


The noise of the fan is irritating, so I may have another go... 😉

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