Noctua NF-D14 Review
?The Noctua NH-D14 is a CPU cooler that is built for ultimate quiet cooling performance, combining a massive six heatpipe dual radiator design with an exquisite NF-P14/NF-P12 dual fan configuration.
Topped off with a tube of NT-H1 thermal compound as well as the new SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system, the NH-D14 is an elite choice for the highest demands in premium quality quiet cooling.
Measuring 160x140x158mm (including the fans), the NH-D14 is a behemoth of a CPU cooler. The base and fins are all made of copper, while the cooling fins are created from aluminum. Two fans provide the actual cooling, with one 120mm fan attached on the outside of the heatsink, and one 140mm fan in the middle of the two heatsinks. If you want, you can also take out the external fan and attach it to your PC case’s side as Noctua has provided additional rubber stoppers and cabling should you want to go that route.
The process of mounting this cooler was pretty standard. A word of caution, ensure that there is enough space in the case and around the CPU socket on the motherboard. The NH-D14 has been known to have clearance issues on certain motherboards, specifically with the memory slots. Before purchasing this heatsink, or any cooling solution for that matter, take out a ruler and make sure it will fit.
Fitting the cooler was actually relatively easy and while the sheer mass might seem immediately concerning, the whole procedure was painfree and actually quite quick. It took approximately 12 minutes from start to finish. Each and every component feels nicely secured and extremely durable. The application process was really well thought out, especially the inclusion of the L-shaped Philips screwdriver and the NT-H1 thermal compound.
One thing to note is that the center fan must be removed to secure the cooler to the motherboard. To check to see if the cooler is properly seated on the CPU and that the thermal insulation material is properly applied the cooler was removed.
The NH-D14's base makes very good contact with the CPU and the TIM spreads nicely across the IHS.
Although the NH-D14 is very large it does not interfere with any other components on the test system. It looks very sleek and compliments the test system's appearance nicely. The 120 mm fan had to be mounted a bit higher up on the cooler than it came in the box to make for clearance for the heat-spreaders on the test systems memory. This was not a problem though because the 140 mm fan still provides adequate airflow to keep the modules cool during use.
Considering the huge size of the NH-D14, and the fact it comes equipped with two large fans, it was expected to have some seriously impressive temperatures. The NH-D14 duly delivered when fitted to an overclocked, overvolted Core i7-965 Extreme Edition. At full speed, it produced an idle delta T of 16°C and a load delta T of 45°C. With the ULVA resistor cable attached to slow the fans, these temperatures rose to a 17°C idle delta T and a 48°C load delta T.
These temperatures put the NH-D14 comfortably towards the top of performance graphs.
The incredible thing is that the Noctua NH-D14 remained just as silent during the load tests as it had been during idle state, in both stock and overclocked situations.
Overall, the Noctua NH-D14 is quite simply the best performing air cooler around. It is massive and expensive, but no other cooler can come close to matching its prowess, and certainly not at these low noise levels. You may not find a better CPU cooler on the market than this.