disregard the whole idea of noob gains and what they are and when they stop. i think its somewhat overblown; when you start lifting, gains come easy, and then the longer you're at it, gains don't come as easily - thats it. i think its very hard to satisfy that question the way you've worded it; i may have exhausted my noob gains on SL and plateaued, but then i got coached and i made ironclad progress on a new routine without stalling on anything for months. are those noob gains too? maybe, but ultimately it doesn't matter one bit. i dont want to talk too much about noob gains since i think you're barking up the wrong tree (yes I know you've admitted to this), but i think in a very general sense, gains are when [everyone's body structure/proportions/existing strength/propensity for certain movements] + specific programming + gains acquired during said programming = X level of strength. this is largely a load of horseshit since the quality of programming and how well you respond to it has a lot to do with how you progress when you're a beginner/intermediate, but in a very very broad and intentionally vague sense i think that's how you could define it. i think "noob gains" stop when progressing past X level of strength becomes difficult and the programming/diet/whatever has to be adjusted. in fact you should probably ignore everything before this sentence because it is too vague and misleading, but i suppose its an answer for the sake of having an answer. but by answer i really just mean my take on things, so take it with a grain of salt... fuck. anyways... instead of being concerned with the noob gains thing, i really think you should be concerned with your attitude towards progress. getting gains at a snails pace is still getting gains, which is all you can ever hope for. if you lift long enough, it will happen - and what do you have to gain from being terrified of slow gains? think about why you got into lifting in the first place; you want to look better and be stronger, and now you continue to lift for the sake of lifting because you enjoy it. making slow gains is not mutually exclusive with the reasons you are lifting; its part of it. i think as you get stronger, you'll manage your expectations better; surely everyone gets bummed out the first time they stall on something after crushing it for months, but that same guy who keeps kicking ass two years down the road doing the right things consistently will be happier than a pig in shit when his squat goes up 10 lbs in a one month cycle. you'll appreciate the slow gains more than you will appreciate the easy gains since you had to work so hard for them. if you manage to stay injury free in the long term and enjoy the small victories every week, you will succeed. worry about consistently doing the right things to get you to your goals and you win.