Noctua NH-U9, U12S, U14S TR4-SP3 Threadripper cooler review

Cooling 192 Page 11 of 12 Published by

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Sound pressure levels when overclocked

Noise Levels

With a certified dBA meter we measure how many dBAs originate from the PC. It's slightly subjective as there is always noise in the background, from the streets, from the HD, PSU fan, etc so this is by a mile or two, not a precise measurement. You could only achieve objective measurement in a sound test chamber. Take this measurement as an indication, not a precise measurement, please.

The human hearing system has different sensitivities at different frequencies. This means that the perception of noise is not at all equal at every frequency. Noise with significant measured levels (in dB) at high or low frequencies will not be as annoying as it would be when its energy is concentrated in the middle frequencies. In other words, the measured noise levels in dB will not reflect the actual human perception of the loudness of the noise. That's why we measure the dBA level. A specific circuit is added to the sound level meter to correct its reading in regard to this concept. This reading is the noise level in dBA. The letter A is added to indicate the correction that was made in the measurement. Frequencies below 1kHz and above 6kHz are attenuated, whereas frequencies between 1kHz and 6kHz are amplified by the A weighting.

TYPICAL SOUND LEVELS
Jet takeoff (200 feet) 120 dBA  
Construction Site 110 dBA  Intolerable
Shout (5 feet) 100 dBA  
Heavy truck (50 feet)  90 dBA  Very noisy
Urban street  80 dBA  
Automobile interior  70 dBA  Noisy
Normal conversation (3 feet)  60 dBA  
Office, classroom  50 dBA  Moderate
Living room  40 dBA  
Bedroom at night  30 dBA  Quiet
Broadcast studio  20 dBA  
Rustling leaves  10 dBA  Barely audible 

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Explaining sound is always difficult, but up-to 38 dBA with our testing methodology is considered to be silent. We now apply our tweak again, 16 cores at 4 GHz / 1.38 volts. With the PC in IDLE, none of the coolers can be heard. 

 

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We now put the processor under 100% load again with the processor under full load for a full stress run.  As you can see, the fans need to compensate significantly in fan RPM. It remains under 40 DBa, however, it is not silent. Especially the U9 creates audible airflow. Surprisingly enough the U12 was the most silent configuration, however, the U14 cooled far better. Basically, if noise is a thing, we'd recommend a 240mm or bigger liquid cooling solution as the 16 cores are hefty to deal with if you need a very silent solution that is. So overall this is fine, but tweaked and running all 16 cores fully stressed all the time can be heard with air-coolers. 

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