Noctua NH-C14S Reviewred454 -
Category: CPU Cooling
» Discuss this article (0)
Noctua NH-C14S Introduction:
There is a lot of competition in the world of CPU coolers. Manufacturers are constantly raising the bar with the latest tech, but with CPU coolers the tech of transferring heat is fairly straightforward. Air coolers are about as simple and reliable as it gets. So how does a manufacturer make it to the top? In order to stay competitive, a lot of engineering and design goes into getting every last bit of efficiency out of a cooler. Of course, the performance is the driving factor, but there are other subtleties that go a long way toward making a great cooler. There is the packaging, instruction set, and the installation kit. Noctua excells in all those categories. To say that Noctua builds some of the best coolers on the market is really an understatement. You get more than a cooler - you get an experience. If you have never owned a Noctua cooler, then you are missing out on pure cooling nirvana.
Today we have the NH-C14S, which happens to be a top-flow cooler. I love top-flow coolers - you get the added benefit of air being pushed down over your motherboard, which helps to cool your RAM and all the motherboard components. On the surface, it would appear to be an updated version of the original NH-C14, and this is basically true. Noctua wouldn't just make a few tweaks and leave it at that - no, certainly not. So let's get a closer look at the latest from Noctua.
Noctua NH-C14S Closer Look:
Noctua's standard graphics and packaging design involves a common theme that is easily recognizable. This layout features information on all sides, which I really like, but not a clear shot of the entire cooler. The vertical text on the front is lightly embossed, which adds a flair of refinement. There is also an embossed, round silver badge stating that this is based on the award-winning NH-C14 cooler.
On the front panel, we have a partial image across the top cover of the fin stack and a list of the detailed specifications, including Low Profile Mode, High Clearance Mode, NF-A14 140mm premium fan, and the SecuFirm2™ mounting system. On the back is a more detailed description of the features that make the NH-C14S a robust and capable cooler along with some nice illustrations.
One side panel features technical specifications, and at the bottom right corner, there are two small illustrations showing the overall dimensions. The opposite side offers more details on some of the unique features of the NH-C14S in nine languages. Let's open the box and see what the NH-C14S is all about.
The hardware and installation accessory boxes are strategically placed on top. Noctua puts a lot of effort into packaging that protects the contents. The packaging system is logical and efficient, and the hardware boxes have graphics that show the contents. Noctua organizes your experience from the moment you open the main box. In all the excitement and anticipation of getting a new cooler, it is easy to overlook the packaging details. But opening a Noctua box gives you a real appreciation for packaging and effective presentation.
After you remove the hardware boxes, you can see the cooler base nested in its own little pocket; the clear plastic cover protecting the nickel plated copper base. The cardboard encloses the cooler to provide full protection from just about any type of rough handling.
The cardboard enclosure opens up and allows easy removal of the cooler. I try to keep the clear plastic base cover in place until I am ready for the thermal paste application. Noctua includes separate instructions for each socket family. The text is easy to follow and the illustrations are printed in color. Noctua goes the extra mile to make the installation process as easy as it can be. I think Noctua really sets the standard for installation kits.
The hardware set features Noctua's classic SecuFirm2™ mounting system and includes mounting for the latest Intel and AMD sockets. The Accessories box contains the typical Noctua stock - the angled phillips screwdriver, some fan clips, thermal paste, a speed reducer, and a case badge. All of these items are neatly packed in the box and not just loosely thrown together.
The Intel kit has you covered for all the current sockets, including the latest LGA2011-3 and LGA1151. The backplate is a robust painted metal stamping that firmly secures the cooler base to the motherboard. Then there is the AMD kit, which is a little simpler, with fewer components. It covers the latest FM2+ and AM3+ sockets (backplate required). Now we are ready to get an up-close look at the cooler.