Noctua NH-C14 CPU Cooler
For those who don’t know who Noctua is, they are an Austrian base company that makes high quality, nearly silent CPU coolers. About the only way to get quieter is to run passive cooling. Now we first met Noctua and their then flagship cooler the NH-U12P three years ago. The NH-U12P beat everything we had then, and for some time after. Later that year we looked at NH-C12P, a top-down cooler with a single 120mm fan. Now three years later Noctua has released an new version, the NH-C14.
The NH-C14 is still a C shape top-down style cooler, but there are a few updates. A new fin profile, its taller, and now sports twin 140mm fans. The NH-C14 has nickel plated copper base, 6 copper heat pipes, and aluminum fins. With the NH-C14 having two fans the upper or lower fan can be removed to create high and low clearance configurations. In low clearance with the top fan removed the cooler is only 105mm tall. With lower fan removed for the high clearance mode there is 65mm of clearance to the motherboard. This is good for those running RAM with tall heatspreaders like Kingston HyperX T1.
Features of the Noctua NH-C14
- C-Type top-flow design: The NH-C14’s six heatpipe c-type design allows for superb quiet cooling performance while maintaining a much lower profile than today’s tower-style coolers and providing excellent airflow over RAM modules and near-socket mainboard components.
- Dual NF-P14 FLX fans: The NH-C14 comes with two of Noctua’s award-winning, premium quality NF-P14 140mm fans that can be fine-tuned according to the user’s needs via the supplied Low-Noise (L.N.A.) and Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptors (U.L.N.A.).
- Low Profile Mode: Run with a single NF-P14 fan underneath the fin stack and with the top fan removed, the NH-C14 measures only 105mm in height, which makes it ideal for use in smaller enclosures and HTPC applications.
- High Clearance Mode: The lower NF-P14 fan can be removed in order to provide additional clearance for chipset coolers or RAM modules with tall heat-spreaders. Run with a single fan on top, the NH-C14 provides a full 65mm of clearance.
- SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system: Noctua’s enthusiast grade SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting provides broad socket compatibility (LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA775, AM2, AM2+ and AM3) and meets the highest demands in safety, performance and ease-of-use.
- Noctua NT-H1 high-end thermal compound: Noctua's much-acclaimed NT-H1 is a well proven pro-grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease-of-use and outstanding reliability.
- Socket compatibility: Intel LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA775 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3 (backplate required)
- Height (without fan): 105 mm
- Width (without fan): 140 mm
- Depth (without fan): 166 mm
- Height (with fan): 130 mm
- Width (with fan): 140 mm
- Depth (with fan): 166 mm
- Weight (without fan): 700 g
- Weight (with fan): 850/1000* g
- Material: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
- Fan compatibility: 140x140x25mm / 120x120x25mm
- Warranty: 6 Years
- Fan specifications
- Model: Noctua NF-P14
- Bearing: SSO-Bearing
- Rotational Speed (+/- 10%): 1200 RPM
- Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%): 900 RPM
- Rotational Speed with U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%): 750 RPM
- Airflow: 110,3 m³/h
- Airflow with L.N.A.: 83,7 m³/h
- Airflow with U.L.N.A.: 71,2 m³/h
- Acoustical Noise: 19,6 dB(A)
- Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.: 13,2 dB(A)
- Acoustical Noise with U.L.N.A.: 10,1 dB(A)
- Input Power: 1,2 W
- Voltage Range: 12 V
- MTBF: > 150.000 h
Unboxing the NH-C14
Like all of Noctua’s coolers the NH-C14 is packed in a very sturdy box. On one corner there is a technical drawing showing the NH-C14 fan configurations and dimensions.
On the opposite corner are the cooler features.
Inside the first thing you see is the accessories box. Under that is the cooler box.
The NH-C14 is packed in a double box set up. The outer box creates a buffer for the inner box.
Inside the inner box the NH-C14 held snuggly in place and fully assembled.
Inside the accessories box Noctua provides everything needed to mount the NH-C14 to your favorite socket.
External Impressions of the NH-C14
The NH-C14 comes completely assembled, and ready to install into your system.
Over all the NH-C14 has an overall height of 130mm, which is short for a CPU cooler when current tower coolers are routinely over 150mm . This is good for users that have a shallow case, but require a solid performing CPU cooler. If the 130mm height is too much the top fan can be removed to have an overall height of only 105mm.
TheNH-C14 has silicon blocks in channels that the fans rest on. The fans also use spring clips to attach to the fins. The clips attach to the channel that runs down the side of the fins.
Looking from the side of the NH-C14 we can see the shape of the heatpipes. Without the lower fan the NH-C14 has a total of 65mm of clearance. With the fan it is a scant 38mm. So depending on the motherboard heatsink arrangement around the socket and the sockets relation to the RAM slots the ability to use the lower fan could be an issue. For most Intel boards with standard height RAM this shouldn’t be an issue. AMD users and those with tall RAM like the Corsair Dominators or Kingston HyperX T1 may want to do a little planning.
Looking at the heatpipe end we can see how the pipes are arranged. In the center is a support brace.
The brace helps keep the weight of the fins and the fans from bending the heatpipes.
The top of the brace sets in a channel in the fins. To keep vibrations noise down there is a silicon pad between the brace and fins.
At the bottom the brace is bolted to the top of the cooler base. The base also comes with the upper portion of the SecuFirm2 mounting system. Now these hold down screws are under the fins, and with the fans on and in the case are imposable to reach from the sides.
To gain access to the mounting screws Noctua removed a small section of fins above the mounting screws. Then with the provided tool you can reach through both fans between the fan blades and the fins of the cooler. This was quite easy to do, hard part was lining the fans back up after I took them off for the photos.
Installing the NH-C14
Noctua provides everything that is needed to mount the NH-C14 to your Intel LGA socket or AMD AM2/3 socket. They even provide a long screw driver to aid in the installation.
Here is the items from the common parts bag. In it are the fan speed reducers, a Y splitter cable, tube of thermal paste, and Noctua logo badge. there is also some miscellaneous fan mounting parts that would be used for mounting a case fan. You won't need these to mount the cooler, but could come in handy for something later.
In the AMD parts bag there are some spacers, screws, and mounting straps.
In the Intel bag there is all the hardware, mounting straps, and universal backing plate.
For the 1155/1156/1366 sockets the center padding has to be removed to allow for the backing plate for the socket itself.
The backing plate has a key stamped on it to show what hole is for what socket. Here we can also see a couple of round notches on one side of the bracket. These are clearance for the 1156 socket plate mounting screws on the motherboard.
Noctua's manual is also one of the nicest out there. Simple easy to follow diagrams and directions.
Installing the lower portion of the SecuFirm2 system is very simple and easy to do. Now you have to decide what fan configuration you want to use.
There is 3 options for you to choose from. Today we will be testing the Dual Fan configuration only.
With the NH-C14 installed it clears the ram and the rest of the motherboard components nicely. The fan body does hang over the RAM slots on our Intel DX58SO motherboard.
For the test system we run Kingston Value RAM as they don't have heat spreaders and they are also a standard height. Now to show what room is above that I put my tape measure in. Noctua says the motherboard clearance with the lower fan is 38mm (1.5"), and without is 65mm (2.5").
Here we have the NH-C14 installed in our Intel Core i7 Test System
Legit Reviews Intel Core i7-930 Test System
Here are the parts that make up the Legit Reviews Core i7-930 test system:
|Intel Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Core i7 930||Click Here|
|Motherboard||Intel DX58SO||Click Here|
|Memory||Kingston DDR3 3GB 1333MHz ValueRAM||Click Here|
|Video Card||EVGA GTS450||Click Here|
|Hard Drive||Western Digital 250gb SATA||Click Here|
|Power Supply||NZXT HALE90 750W||Click Here|
|Chassis||Cooler Master HAF 912||Click Here|
|Operating System||Windows 7 Professional (64bit)||Click Here|
To test the coolers the system will be left idle at the desktop for 30 minutes and the temp recorded. Then it will run at full load with Prime95 Blended test for 30 minutes and the temperature will be recorded. There will be 3 levels tested with our Core i7-930 clocked at a stock 2.8 GHz, a mild OC of 3.5 GHz and a high OC of 4.0 GHz. All temps will be recorded with CoreTemp, and the temp reading from all 4 cores will be averaged. The thermal paste used on all coolers will be Gelid GC Extreme.
- CoolIT Eco 240
- Corsair H70
- GlacialTech Alaska
- Intel retail box Cooler
- Prolimatech Super Mega
- Zalman CNPS9900 MAX
With our test system running at the stock 2.8Ghz the NH-C14 is doing very well. Cooling at a very nice 54.25*C with the fans at full speed. Even with the Ultra Low Noise Adaptor the NH-C14 was still running a nice 56.75*C, a whopping 22.75 degrees cooler than the stock Intel cooler.
With the system bumped up to a mild overclock of 3.5Ghz the NH-C14 is still doing well keeping pace with the Super Mega. Coming in at 61.25*C the NH-C14 is only 1 degree off the Super Mega. With the Ultra Low Noise Adaptor the NH-C14 comes in at 63.00*C.
Here is where the disappointment set in. With the system overclocked to 4.0Ghz the NH-C14 could not keep up. I tried re-seating the cooler, and redoing the TIM, even took the side panel off to see if I could get a complete 30 minute run of Prime, and I could not. The longest I could get was 10 minutes before the system blue screened due to the temps, and those were well in excess of 90*C..
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
Noctua has upped the performance from the old NH-C12P with the new NH-C14. The new design did very well at the stock speeds and handled the mild overclock just as easy. But when I really pushed the system the NH-C14 just couldn't take it. The Intel i7-930 is a little on the toasty side when compared to the new 1155/1156 CPUs out on the market now. Aside from not being able to handle the 4.0Ghz OC, I am quite happy with the NH-C14.
The NH-C14 does a couple things that other coolers I have tested recently cant. First its short, real short. Even with the top fan installed it is a good inch shorter than most tower coolers today. If you drop the top fan it gets even shorter. This makes the NH-C14 a good option for those running smaller/narrower cases that a typical 150mm+ tall cooler cannot fit in. The other rather large plus is the Noctua's fans, they are dead quiet. Just shy of 20dBA at full speed, and if that is too loud then the Ultra Low Noise Adaptor will drop that to a smidgen over 10dBA.
The third thing that makes a Noctua coolers so attractive is they carry a 6 year warranty. Noctua, so far, has also offered a free mounting kit for their coolers when they updated it for socket compatibility. All you have to do is prove you own the cooler and they will send you the mounting kit. So if you bought a NH-U12P three years ago for your LGA775 system, and you are about to upgrade to an newer socket like the 1155/1156/1366, all you have to do is get in touch with Noctua and get a updated mounting kit free of charge.
Currently I could find the NH-C14 for $89.99 plus shipping. That price tag puts the NH-C14 into the highend air column. Which is where it preformed up until we did an extreme overclock. So I have mix feelings on that. I can say that the NH-C14 would be a solid performing cooler for the those who want quiet performance but are not pushing their system to the limits.
Legit Bottom Line: Noctua's NH-C14 CPU cooler is a very nice near silent cooling solution for the mainstream user that wants performance. Costing $89.99 it is in the high end air rage, but comes with a 6 year warranty and those beautifully silent Noctua fans.