Noctua's high-end CPU cooler

Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler reviewed

Is Noctua's new cooler able to beat the competition from Prolimatech and other manufacturers? PC Games Hardware checks the cooler's capabilities in a short review.

 PCGH-Score: 2.16

Noctua NH-D14 (1)
Noctua NH-D14 (1) [Source: view picture gallery]

For a long time it had been silent around the Austrian guys at Noctua, but now they are back: with a weight of more than 1.2 kilograms the new NH-D14 isn't just a big piece of metal but is also good for cooling down processors. Its design with two towers and six 6 millimeter heatpipes bears some resemblance to the Thermalright IFX-14. The Noctua cooler can be equipped with 120 millimeter or 140 millimeter fans. In the default setup a 140 mm fan is placed between the two towers and a 120 mm version is attached on the outside. Both fans have a 3-pin power connector and are separated from the metal with silicon anti-vibration stripes.

Noctua NH-D14 reviewed
With the two default fans the cooling power is very good. Our slightly overclocked Core i7-870 with 1.2 volt core voltage reaches only 49.2 degrees Celsius; only a Zalman CNPS 10x Extreme is able to deliver better results, but it is much louder, too. If we use our reference fan, a Be quiet Silent Wings with 1,500 rpm, the CPU reaches 52.3 degrees Celsius - the same level is reached by the Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B which up to now is regarded to be the best air cooler for Intel systems. At low fan speed the Prolimatech is doing even slightly better than the Noctua.

Noctua NH-D14 (7)
Noctua NH-D14 (7) [Source: view picture gallery]
With a loudness of 2.3 sone, recorded at a distance of 50 centimeters, the NH-D14 actually can't be called quiet. If you prefer silence, you should remove the 120 millimeter fan and have the 140 mm version run at almost inaudible 600 rpm - even with those modifications the cooling performance is sufficient. Anyway the NH-D14 is rather a CPU cooler for users who want to have maximal cooling performance for overclocking attempts.

As expected from Noctua the solid and easy to handle mounting kit, which holds the huge cooler firmly on the motherboard, as well as the additional accessories like voltage adaptations (for the fans) and a screw driver are excellent. The NH-D14 fits onto all currently used processor sockets: AMD's AM2 and AM3 are as well as the Intel platforms 775, 1156 and 1366 are supported.

Conclusion: The NH-D14 is the currently best CPU cooler available on the market, but with a price of about 70 Euros it is also quite expensive.

Picture gallery  (enlarge to view source)

Author: Henner Schröder (Jan 07, 2010)

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