Noctua NH-C14 Reviewccokeman -
Category: CPU Cooling
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The stock CPU heat sink is often maligned for being inadequate for the task of removing the heat from our processors while they are running well outside the boundaries AMD and Intel set for the designs. What's a person to do but try and find the best cooling solution for their needs! That can include everything from a simple improvement over the stock design all the way up to phase change and liquid nitrogen, albeit the latter is more for the the true hardcore benchmarking enthusiast. The selection process often has as much to do with looks, reputation, on line buzz, price and personal experience as it does with actual performance and noise characteristics. One man's trash is another man's treasure they say. What I have to look at today is another offering from Noctua with their NH-C14 C style CPU cooler. I have looked at more than a few of Noctua's offerings including the NH-U12P SE 1366 , NH-D14 and the heat sink that compares most closely to the NH-C14, the NH-C12P SE 14. As a successor to the NH-C12P design, the NH-C14 is bigger and equipped with a pair of Noctua's NF-P14 FLX fans that offer high airflow, static pressure and a low noise signature. All hallmarks of the company's design philosophies. Each of the aforementioned cooling solutions from Noctua have been well engineered as a system that works with extreme loads all while delivering great thermal performance with little of the noise normally associated with high-end air cooling solutions. The NH-C12P was a highly touted C style heat sink that delivered exceptional performance. The question is will the NH-C14 deliver even better performance? By the end of this review I will have the answer.
Noctua's packaging is ideal for use in a brick and mortar retail store. Just about everything you would want to know about the heat sink can be found by looking through the illustrations and information on the four sides and top. The front panel shows a picture of the cooler as well as a listing of the type of cooler this is, how it can be used, as well as the mounting solution. The left side provides more detail on this information while the right side has technical drawings of the NH-C14 giving all of the critical dimensions as well as listing the contents of the package.
When you open the package you can see that Noctua takes as much care in designing the packaging to transport the NH-C14 as it does in designing the cooling solution. The accessories are held in a separate box while the cooler is inside a pair of boxes that are strategically braced to keep transit damage to a minimum. The box that houses the accessories is slim but contains all that is needed to install the NH-C14 including the SecuFirm2 mounting hardware for both AMD and Intel, s screwdriver for installation, Noctua thermal paste, a bag of common parts and detailed installation instructions.
The SeciFirm 2 mounting hardware supports all of today's popular sockets from AMD including AM2, AM2+, AM3 (backplate required) and Intel including LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA775. The AMD solutions use the existing back plate from the motherboard while the Intel solution uses a universal back plate that is insulated to prevent shorting out against motherboard components.
The Common Parts kit for the NH-C14 includes a "Y" harness to attach both of the NF-P14 fans to a single header, a pair of "Low Noise Adapters", A pair of "Ultra Low Noise Adapters" one for each of the fans, a tube of NT-H1 thermal paste, a metal case badge, four mounting brackets, four rubber studs to mount one of the NF-P14 fans to the chassis, screwdriver and the detailed instruction manual for both AMD and Intel installations. As has been seen in the past, Noctua includes everything that could be needed to get their product installed on your CPU/motherboard combination.
I must say Noctua does not fail to impress with the package they put together. Let's see how the NH-C14 looks and then put it to the test.