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Noctua NH-D14 CPU Cooler
Date 10th February 2011
Author DiGiTaL MoNkEY
Editor James "Agg" Rolfe
Manufacturer Noctua


Noctua has become synonymous with quality, excellent customer service and class leading performance over the years, continually growing and expanding its presence to over 30 countries across the globe. Today we have the opportunity to test Noctua's most ambitious CPU cooler to date, and observe how it will handle our overclocked AMD Phenom II X6 Black Edition. So let's get stuck into it!


The Noctua NH-D14 box must be the largest CPU cooler box I've ever encountered. The large size is to make sure the cooler is protected from top to bottom, as the last thing you want is just before installation is finding the product damaged.

Inside the box we find Noctua's own SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system providing support for Intel LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155 and LGA775 sockets, as well as AMD's AM2, AM2+ and AM3 socket processors. A tube of Noctua NT-H1 thermal compound is also included along with two optional Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptors with varying voltages for the included NF-P14 and NF-P12 fans, a Y-splitter power cable, four case fan screws, four anti-vibration fan mounts, a Noctua metal case badge and instruction set for Intel and AMD installation. One of the best accessory packages on the market.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

On to the cooler itself. The NH-D14 comes preinstalled with two fans by default. The one between the two cooling towers is 140mm in size while the outer fan is smaller at 120mm due to RAM clearance requirements. Since the NH-D14 is such a behemoth of a cooler it can extend over the first RAM slots on most motherboards, so Noctua have compiled an extensive list of motherboards and RAM that are compatible with this cooler. As a general rule if you stick to memory that is under 44mm tall you shouldn't have any problems.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

The mounting base of the cooler is where the heart of the design is. Noctua have included no less than six large heatpipes that help carry all that heat to the twin towers for quick dissipation. The contact area is not mirror finish as found with some coolers, and while some may find a mirror finish visually appealing, it does little if any extra for heat transfer compared to a well machined and even contact surface.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

Removing the fans from the heatsink body reveals multiple anti-vibration mounts that act as a buffer between the fan and the heatsink fin array to reduce any vibrations, helping keep it quiet. Each fan has its own rubber grommets that the metal clips attach to for even more noise prevention.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

Noctua's engineers stick to an asymmetrical design to help compatibility with a variety of motherboard VRM/MOSFET locations, especially on high-end motherboards. The matte finish is also a welcome addition as some coolers can get quite gritty and fingerprinty with just a few mishandlings and installations making glossy finishes impossibly hard to get clean.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

Noctua choose to include their own NF-P14 and NF-P12 fans in the package. Each feature Vortex-Control notches, SCD technology and SSO bearings, helping maintain your system's quietness as well as airflow performance. Both fans present a sub-20dBA acoustical noise rating. Maximum rotational speed varies per fan with the NF-P14 rotating at 1200rpm (64.9CFM), while the NF-P12 runs at 1300rpm (54.3CFM). If that's still too loud for your application, with the included resistor adapters these speeds and acoustics can be reduced even further into sub ~13dBA noise levels.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

So how big really is this cooler? Well the Noctua NH-D14 weighs just over 1240 grams (1.24KG) and measures in at 160mm (H) x 158mm (D) x 140mm (W) with both fans attached. However if numbers aren't your game, in the left photo below we've compared it to a mainstream Intel LGA775 heatsink you may find alongside your newly purchased processor.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

Installation was fairly simple and detailed extremely well within the included manuals for both Intel and AMD processors. Each CPU installation kit was packaged individually to reduce any confusion, and Noctua even included a Phillips-head screwdriver (of sorts) for installation, as well as their own thermal compound.


All original content copyright James Rolfe.
All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.
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