Noctua NH-U14S Reviewred454 - January 5, 2014
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Noctua NH-U14S Conclusion:
Noctua's arsenal of cooling solutions now adds the NH-U14S to the list of impressive air coolers. From the moment you open the box you know that you are in the world of high-end cooling. At $75.99 (NewEgg), the NH-U14S is indeed toward the upper range of what most people will spend on a cooling solution for their computer, but for that price you get a cooler that can trade punches with larger coolers like Noctua's D14, and even considerably more expensive AIO units, like Cooler Master's Nepton 280L.
The solid design of the base, heat pipe, and fin system all come together to deliver great cooling performance. But a great system also needs a great fan to handle the thermal load, and Noctua tops it off with the NF-AF15 140mm fan. This PWM fan is engineered to quietly and efficiently move air through the fins and it does just that. The second generation SSO2 full metal bearing is machined from solid brass, which improves fan life by improving blade stabilization. The NF-A15 PWM fan comes with removable rubber vibration dampers, and the motor contains a new NE-FD1 PWM IC to reduce noise at very low fan speeds. And speaking of noise, the NF-A15 fans are designed with noise reduction in mind and at maximum RPM, the NF-A15 fans are rated at 24.6 dBA – not what we condiser loud, but they are practically inaudible from three feet away when installed in your case. To take it a step further, Noctua includes an L.N.A., or Low Noise Adapter, that drops the maximum fan speed down with a corresponding reduction in the noise level to 19.2 dBA. And at 18.6 dBA, the NF-A15 fans are virtually silent.
While the cooling performance alone is enough to justify buying this cooler, on top of that is that fact that the slim design of the NH-U14S addresses the compatibility issues of larger performance memory modules. With large, bulky coolers this is certainly something that typically required either the purchase of low profile DIMMs or you had to leave the slots that interfered with the heat sink and fans empty. A few coolers would allow you to offset the fan, but this ultimately sacrificed cooling performance. So why spend all the time and money putting a system together and then have to compromise on the amount of memory? Well, all of these issues go away with the NH-U14S and I was able to populate all four DIMM slots on the test motherboard with no interference. Noctua's SecuFirm2 mounting system covers all the latest sockets and is one of the most comprehensive installation kits on the market. It has everything you need to install the NH-U14S on any modern board.
It can be somewhat intimidating to get your head around the number of cooling solutions on the market today. If air cooling is right for you, make sure you consider Noctua's NH-U14S. It is easy to install and offers quiet, high-end cooling performance. The slim design solves the memory space / accesibility problem and still delivers high-end performance. Add the six-year warranty to the mix and you can't go wrong!
- Cooling performance
- Memory compatibility
- Low noise
- Lower noise options
- SecuFirm2 mounting
- 140mm PWM fan(s)
- Vibration dampening
- Attractive / Innovative design
- Six-year warranty
- Solid build quality
- Dual-fan capable