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Noctua NH-C14 Review

ccokeman    -   April 5, 2011
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Conclusion:

The Noctua NH-C14 is an improvement over the NH-C12 in both size and cooling capability. With this cooler you have the tried and true C style design from Noctua with an added twist. The addition of a second NF-P14 fan to assist the top mounted fan in moving airflow through the heat sink. When tested against the NH-C12P SE14 in the stock testing, it delivered slightly better cooling numbers in both the idle and load tests. Where the NH-C14 excels against it predecessor is when the thermal load increases. In the overclocked testing, the NH-C14 bested the NH-C12P SE14 by three degrees Celsius in the load testing. This result puts the NH-C14's cooling capabilities ahead of some of the all-in-one liquid and tower solutions in the comparison field. In the looks department, Noctua continues to impress with the nickel plating and finish. I did not notice any areas that looked like the finish was ready to come off. These good looks and excellent fit and finish come with a price tag though. At $89, though steep for a heat sink, you get what you pay for it seems when it comes to fit, finish and cooling performance.

Noctua has equipped this cooler with two of its largest fans to push the airflow needed to keep the thermals in check. The NF-P14 FLX fans come with a wealth of innovative technologies that deliver increased static pressure without increasing the noise signature of the design. The use of offset Vortex notches on each of the blades reduces the effects of turbulence to improve airflow velocity and static pressure, making these fans ideal for use on a heat sink. In addition to the the Vortex notches, the NF-P14 FLX fans use a combination of a metal reinforced (brass) bearing shell and SSO (Self Stabilizing Oil Pressure) bearing to minimize any imbalance for added longevity and noise suppression. With two of these fans in place, you have the ability to remove either one to fit the NH-C14 into any number of situations. You can go ultra low profile with a single fan under the fin array for use in HTPC or shallow chassis. High clearance mode allows for a single fan on top to address clearance issues caused by dram modules or motherboard heat sink cooling solutions. While, the dual fan option can be used in all other situations. Noctua's Secufirm 2 mounting solution is standard with this cooler and the Noctua lineup. This mounting solution has got to be one of the easiest to work with and provides excellent retention properties to hold the up to 1000g weight of the NH-C14 when equipped with both fans. It is a bolt through design but if you are putting together a new build then it's no harm, no foul but, if this solution is an upgrade, then motherboard removal will be necessary. There is no doubt that the NH-C14 is larger than the NH-C12. Fitting this heat sink into a cramped chassis may present some unique challenges. When installed horizontally, the NH-C14 hangs over the top edge of the motherboard by about .75 inch in my chassis. This is not a problem in the HAF 932 but in a mid-tower it might be an issue with the cramped quarters normally associated with the PSU motherboard spacing. This again means that depending on the location of the socket on the motherboard being used this may not present an issue.

Noise is just about always the enemy of a good air cooled heat sink. As proven in the past, this does not have to be so. Noctua engineers their cooling solution to be effective with their own low noise, high performance fans. This means that when the NF-P14 FLX fans are spinning at 1200+/- rpm they are pushing over 65CFM at 19.6 dBA. By using the "Low Noise" and "Ultra Low Noise" adapters, the fan speed as well as noise signature drops to an almost inaudible 13.2 and 10.1 dBA respectively. Couple the low noise generated by the fans and the rubber isolation mounts for both fans attached to the fin array and you have a very low noise solution with no vibration noise that can cause an irritation to the senses. I did not think that a C style heat sink could stand up any better to the tower heat sinks or all-in-one liquid solutions on the market but Noctua again delivers a product that does the job of removing the thermal load while looking good and remaining dead silent.

 

Pros:

  • Multiple configurations
  • Dual 140MM fans
  • Quiet cooling
  • Radiant cooling
  • Large cooler
  • SecuFirm 2 mount
  • Included thermal paste
  • Six year warranty

 

Cons:

  • Large size 
  • Price


 

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  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: Continued
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing:Setup and Results
  5. Conclusion
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