One of the system improvements one can make for his system is buying one aftermarket cooler for his CPU, in order to keep temperatures low and achieve better overclocking results. Today we are making the review of the Noctua NH-D14, a high-end CPU cooler.
Noctua was founded in 2005 and their headquarters are located in Austria. They specialise in silent PC cooling products.
Let’s take a look at the NH-D14’s specs:
Socket compatibility: Intel LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA775 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3 (backplate required)
Height (without fan): 160 mm
Width (without fan): 140 mm
Depth (without fan): 130 mm
Height (with fan): 160 mm
Width (with fan): 140 mm
Depth (with fan): 158 mm
Weight (without fan): 900 g
Weight (with fan): 1070/1240* g
Material: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Fan compatibility: 140x140x25 & 120x120x25mm
Warranty: 6 Years
Model: Noctua NF-P14 & Noctua NF-P12
Rotational Speed (+/- 10%): 1200 / 1300 RPM
Rotational Speed with U.L.N.A. (+/- 10%): 900 / 900 RPM
Airflow: 110,3 / 92,3 m³/h
Airflow with U.L.N.A.: 83,7 / 63,4 m³/h
Acoustical Noise: 19,6 / 19,8 dB(A)
Acoustical Noise with U.L.N.A.: 13,2 / 12,6 dB(A)
Input Power: 1,2 / 1,08 W
Voltage Range: 12 V
MTBF: > 150.000 h
NH-D14 6 heatpipe dual radiator design
Providing more surface area, better heat-distribution and superior airflow efficiency than conventional tower style heatsinks, the NH-D14’s six heatpipe dual radiator design was developed to provide ultimate quiet cooling performance in dual fan mode.
NH-D14 Dual NF-P14/NF-P12 fan setup
The NH-D14 sports a premium quality dual fan setup consisting of Noctua’s award-winning NF-P12 (120mm) and NF-P14 (140mm) fans, both of which feature Vortex-Control Notches, SCD technology and SSO-Bearings in order to achieve a perfect balance of performance and quietness.
NH-D14 Asymmetrical design for high compatibility
An asymmetrical design that gives more clearance towards the RAM slots ensures good compatibility despite of the cooler’s size. The NF-P12 fan can be moved upwards or left off in order to further improve compatibility.
NH-D14 Excellent component cooling
Hanging out at the bottom of the fin-stacks, the NF-P14 fan doesn’t only contribute to the NH-D14’s superb CPU cooling capabilities but also provides massive airflow over surrounding motherboard components and heatsinks, thus ensuring excellent component cooling performance.
SecuFirm SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system
Noctua’s enthusiast grade SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting provides broad socket compatibility (LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA775, AM2, AM2+ and AM3) and meets the highest demands in safety, contact pressure and ease-of-use.
NT-H1 NT-H1 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.
A Closer Look
The Noctua NH-D14 comes in a wwhite box on which the cooler itself is illustrated and the main characteristics are stated. At the back side there is a more detailed explanation of the product’s features.
Inside the package you will find everything you will need regarding the cooler’s installation and operation. More specifically:
# 1x NF-P14 premium fan
# 1x NF-P12 premium fan
# 2x Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptor (U.L.N.A.)
# Y-Split Cable
# 4x Vibration-Compensators (for using NF-P12 as case fan)
# 4x Fan screws (for using NF-P12 as case fan)
# NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
# SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kits
# Noctua Metal Case-Badge
As we can see, the cooler itself is quite big.
The heatsinks are also big. Generally, the cooler gives the impression that it is actually a high-end cooler.
Overall, the cooler is well-built and its structure is neat.
Although we would say it is not huge, it is quite big, thus some users may have problems installing it into the case.
Test Setup and Testing Procedures
The machine’s specs on which we tested the cooler are:
Processor: Intel Core i7 920
Motherboard: Asus P6X85D
RAM: 6 GB Mushkin 6-7-6-18
VGA: Gigabyte GTX480 1536MB
HDD: Velocity Raptor 150GB
PSU: Nexus 1000W
Case: Thermaltake Armor VA8003BWS
Operating System: Windows 7 64-bit
We ran temperatures tests in 4 system’s states:
- Idle, default frequencies
- Full load, default frequencies
- Idle, i7 920 overclocked to 4GHz
- Full load, i7 920 overclocked to 4GHz
We tested the NH-D14 against:
Intel’s Stock Cooler
They are both coolers of the same price range and category, and the Intel stock cooler comes with the i7 bundle.
Temperature Test Results
As we can see, it is a good start for the Noctua, as it provides the lowest CPU temperature in idle mode.
In default frequencies at system load, the Noctua is still the best performer, with the Prolimatech Megahalems and Thermalright True being quite close.
Afterwards we decided to overclock the i7 920 to 4GHz. Noctua wins again, with the other 2 coolers being close and the Intel cooler not being able to keep up.
At the last diagram, we see that Intel’s cooler is missing. That’s because under system load, the overclocked i7 overheated. Also in this test, the Noctua NH-D14 proved to be the most temperature efficient cooler.
To sum up, the Noctua NH-D14 proved to be the best performer, keeping the CPU cool under heavy conditions.
It is obvious that Noctua’s cooler is a solid suggestion for the power user who demands extra cooling in his system.
The Noctua NH-D14 proved to do what it promises in our whole test range. While it costs around 70 euros to buy, it is totally worth the money, especially for the user who wants to squeeze some extra power from his CPU.
It is true actually that it is quite big and may not fit in some cases, howerver we did not encounter any installation problems.
(+) Outstanding performance destroys competition
(+) Package contains everything you will possibly need
(-) Quite big in size, may not fit all cases
Thus, we give the Noctua NH-D14 a rating of 10/10 and our Editor’s Choice Award.