|A member of the Funky Media Group|
|Review: Noctua NH-C14 CPU Cooler|
|Posted by Will Smith|
|Tuesday, 15 February 2011 23:03|
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When it comes to CPU coolers, there are two things which I always go for ... good cooling performance and low noise. I think this is the same for many users. However, some users may prefer looks and aesthetics, while others only seek out coolers that offer the best in cooling performance. During the past few months, we've reviewed quite a few CPU coolers, and although many offer similar cooling performance to each other, we've come to the conclusion that there's only one brand that stands above the rest. Who are they? ... Well, it's no other than Noctua.
In my opinion, Noctua CPU coolers are among the best on the market. They not only offer excellent cooling performance, but they're also among the quietest. This is all thanks to their large and well-designed heatsinks, along with their low noise fans, as well as their impressive LNA (low noise adaptors) feature. Take for example the Noctua NH-D14, it's one one of the largest CPU cooler we've ever come across, weighing in at an astonishing 1.3Kg! ... moreover, it come with dual ultra-quiet fans, and offers one of the best cooling performance we've seen for both idle and load temperatures.
There is one downside to all of this (if you can call it that) ... Noctua CPU coolers are not cheap. Most of their models cost above the USD $75 mark, which I think is quite an investment to make and at this price tag, it can put a lot of users off.
Noctua are well known for their silent CPU coolers. This is all thanks to the award-winning silent fans, and the LNA (Low Noise Adaptors), which are included with package. The combination of the two components enables their fans to spin at an amazingly low speed of 1,000-1,300 rpm. For those who are not familiar with Noctua products or the company itself ... here's a reminder taken from their website.
In this review, we'll be taking a look at the Noctua NH-C14 CPU cooler. It's designed for both AMD (AM2, AM2+, AM3) and Intel processors (LGA 775, 1155, 1156, 1366), and uses a C-Type design as found on their earlier model, the NH-C12P SE14. The heatsink unit itself features a nickel-plated copper base, 6 heatpipes, and a large array of Aluminum fins for quick heat dissipation. It comes with two NF-P14 140mm premium slient fans, and 2 LNA cables (low noise adaptor), as well as a tube of NT-H1 high grade thermal compound. It weighs approximately 850g (no fans) and upto 1Kg with both fans installed. The NH-C14 is slightly different to Noctua's other model, the NH-C12P SE14, which we reviewed last year. It now comes with not one, but two award-winning NF-P14 140mm ultra-quiet fans.
As with all of Noctua's CPU coolers, the NH-C14 features their SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system, which provides a broad socket compatibility (LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA775, AM2, AM2+ and AM3) and meets the highest demands in safety, performance and ease-of-use.
Taking a closer look at the Noctua NH-C14 CPU cooler, you can really see its build quality. What I really like about the NH-C14 so far, is the ability to chop and change the configuration of the fans. You can have both fans installed for maximum cooling performance, or just mount one ... either on the top for high clearance of 65mm (for certain memory with large heatspeaders) or underneath for low-profile mode, which could make it ideal for HTPC systems.
As far as cooling performance is concerned, I'm expecting the NH-C14 to be as good as their flagship NH-D14 CPU cooler. Temperature readings should be about the same for both idle and load. It'll be interesting to see how well it will compete against other CPU coolers in its class, especially against the recently launched Thermaltake Frio OCK. We will also be testing the NH-C14 on our overclocked Core i5 @ 4.0Ghz at full load ... let's see what it can do for us.
We'll be testing the Noctua NH-C14 on our test rig which consist of an Intel Core i5 - 650 @ 3.2Ghz, Gigabyte P55 USB3 motherboard, Geforce GTX 460 OC, 4Gb Crucial Ballistix DDR3-2133 and a Adata HM-850W power supply. It's the same system we've been using to test other CPU coolers.
OK, let's move on and take a closer look at the specifications and features of the Noctua NH-C14 in our next page ...