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Appeared on: Monday, January 18, 2010
Noctua NH-D14


1. Features
Manufacturer
Noctua
Model
Price 

$85

Category
Power users

Noctua released some time ago one of the biggest cpu coolers you can buy, the NH-D14 premium CPU cooler. Combining a massive six heatpipe dual radiator design with a NF-P14/NF-P12 dual fan configuration, the NH-D14 is built to further improve the quiet cooling performance of Noctua's award-winning NH-U12P series.

Providing more surface area, better heat-distribution and a better airflow efficiency compared to conventional tower style heatsinks, the NH-D14's six heatpipe dual radiator design was developed to provide ultimate quiet cooling performance with the supplied NF-P14 (140mm) and NF-P12 (120mm) fans. Both fans feature Vortex-Control Notches, SCD technology and SSO-Bearings to achieve a balance of performance and quietness.

The NH-D14's asymmetrical design gives more clearance towards the RAM slots and thus ensures good compatibility despite of the cooler's size. Hanging out at the bottom of the fin-stacks, the NF-P14 fan also provides massive airflow over surrounding motherboard components and heatsinks.

Topped off with a tube of Noctua's NT-H1 thermal compound as well as the new SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system (LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA775, AM2, AM2+ and AM3), the NH-D14 seems to be a complete choice for cooling.

- Product features

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 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, ease-of-use and reliability.

- Specifications

Socket compatibility   Intel LGA1366, LGA1156, 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 (with 2 fans)
 
 
 
Material   Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
 
 
 
Fan compatibility   140x140x25 & 120x120x25mm
 
 
 
Scope of Delivery  
  • 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
  •  
     
     
    Warranty   6 Years
     
     
     


    Fan specifications
       
     
     
     
    Model   Noctua NF-P14 & Noctua NF-P12
     
     
     
    Bearing   SSO-Bearing
     
     
     
    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

    2. The package

    The Noctua NH-D14 comes in a big retail box - possibly the biggest we have seen for cpu cooler. The product is listed for €78/$85 (backed by a 6-year warranty), making it one of the highest-priced cpu coolers. The product offers full compatibility with Intel LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA775 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3 sockets.

    Let's open the box. The CPU cooler is placed in the middle of two other white boxes for the extra components:

    These are two printed manuals for the Intel/AMD sockets, Intel/AMD installation sets, several common parts compatible with all sockets and a screwdriver that will be used for the installation:

    The cooler consists of two main tower style heatsinks. Each of them is connected to the base of the cooler with six U shaped copper heatpipes (6 mm diameter each). A fan is placed between the two main heatsinks, maintaining air-flow among the aluminum fins of each heatsink. A second fan is further contributing to a better air-flow:

    The cooler's exact dimensions are 160 (H) x140 (W) x 130 (D) and its total weight is 900 g! As you can see in the picture below, the cooler's asymmetrical design gives more clearance towards the RAM slots while offering good compatibility despite it's huge size:

    The two fans are pre installed as you are opening the box. Sharing similar specifications, the 120mm (NF-P12) fan and the a 140mm (NF-P14) fan seem to be with efficient and quiet, at least according to their specifications. The NF-P12 fan can be easily moved upwards or left off in order to further improve compatibility. Both fans spin at 1200 ~ 1300 RPM with the option to lower their speed at 900rpm using a special adapter.

    Special anti-vibration plastic strips are also placed between the heatsinks and the fans in order to reduce the noise.

    Let's proceed with the installation of the cooler. Notice there is not much free space inside your PC case for the massive cooler to fit, you may remove the 120mm fan and move it to the other site of the cooler.

    Reading the manual is a very good idea before installing the cooler. As usual, you have to carefully position the backplate under the motherboard until all four screws fit in the corresponding holes around the CPU area:

    The next step is to decide the orientation of the cpu cooler according to the available space inside your PC case:

    Place the provided brackets and secure them using the available screws, as you can see in the picture below. The procedure is simple and would take you just 5mins to complete:

    After that point you are ready to apply the thermal paste and gently place the cpu cooler on the top of your processor. The 140mm fan - the one installed between the heatsinks - should be removed first in order to fasten the two phillips flat head screws:

    We have finished the installation and the cooler is standing on the the motherboard, unveiling its huge size.. As we can see, the default installation has the 120mm fan placed upon the memory modules area making it difficult to install high profiles modules:

    In case your memory modules are high, you may move the 120mm rotating fan to the front and have the memory area clear.

    For even greater air-flow, you may be able to add third fan as well, although Noctua hasn't included a third set of anti-vibration strips or installation clips for this purpose.

    You may also connect the supplied Ultra-Low-Noise Adapters (U.L.N.A.) in order to further reduce the fans' operating noise. Use the black adaptor for the NF-P14 140mm fan and the blue adaptor for the NF-P12 120mm fan:


    3. How we test

    For our tests we used an open air testbed with the following configuration:

    We tried to produce the the highest possible temperature inside our test PC using the OCCT v2.0.1 software with a custom 30mins (mixed) operation.

    We left both CPU cores running at full load for ~30 minutes. All temperatures were logged using the CoreTemp 0.99.3 and the software. We also followed two overclocking scenarios:

    We measured the produced noise with a Precision Gold N09AQ Environment Meter. All measurements were made at a distance of 30cm away from the cpu cooler running at full speed. For all the coolers we used the same thermal compound from Tuniq, the TX-2.


    4. Measurements

    The Noctua NH-D14 packs some impressive specifications. Let's see how this baby actually performs under real life usage and where it stands compared to other cpu coolers.

    We start with the Intel Core i7-920 processor under normal operation and stock voltages. As always, the less efficient cooler is Intel's stock device, which is typically bundled with the retail versions of Intel CPUs. Intel's cooler kept the CPU temperature at around 58 degrees Celsius (C) under full load. The Noctua NH-D14 cooler managed to lower the cpu temperature down to 43 degrees C (!), which is a very impressive performance and the best one we have ever measured in our labs:

    Let's overclock the Intel Core-i7 920 at 3.60GHz. The Intel stock cooler is very weak here and the CPU temperature reached the 90 degrees C. The Noctua NH-D14 cooler showed its efficiency here kept the temperature at 58 degrees C. We got the same performance with a ProlimaTech Megahalems cooler with two 120mm Noctua NF-P12 fans installed!

    Let's have a look at the noise levels. As usual, Intel's stock CPU is the less efficient cooler and thus, it is also the quieter producing just 37dB of noise, measured at a 30cm distance. At its full speed, the Noctua NH-D14 cooler produced 44dB of noise, which dropped to 40dB when we used the noise adapters:

    Great performance and relatively quiet operation may cost you more. The Noctua NH-D14 is probably the highest-priced cpu cooler we have ever tested. The only product that could compete it in terms of performance is the ProlimaTech Megahalems cooler, which would cost you around $60, without any fan included! An 120mm NF-P12 fan would cost you some additional $22, meaning that you will need $104 for the Prolimatech Megahalems cooler plus 2x NF-P12 fans. That's much more than what you will need to get the Noctua NH-D14!


    5. Final words

    The Noctua NH-D14 is probably one of the biggest cpu coolers we have ever tested in our labs. The new design results to a dual-tower cpu cooler with two powerful and silent fans installed.

    The product retails in a generous and complete package, but also at a price of $85 - that's definitely on the expensive side for a cooler. The SecuFirm 2 mounting package is simple to install and does not leave any doubt about how tight you need to tighten the mounting nuts. The provided spacers and studs with positive stops allow anyone to install it without fear of getting it hooked up incorrectly. The Intel bracket assembly comes with an insulated backplate that is drilled for multi-socket compatibility. so any socket is covered for worry-free installation. However, since the product weights around 1.2kg with the two fans installed, you will need to use a backplate in order to securely fasten the cooler on your motherboard. Installing the backplate adds some extra time to the installation procedure in order to remove your motherboard from your PC case first. Reading the excellent printed manual would help you a lot with the installation.

    Performancewise, this product smokes away the competition! We experienced a great cooling efficiency with the Intel Core i7-920 running at default speed (43 degrees C) as well as after overclocking, with the CPU temperature to stay below the 60 degrees C! The only product that could compete this performance was the Prolimatech Megahalems CPU cooler, which gave the same performance under overclocking. However, these numbers came after installing two Noctua NF-P12 fans to the Prolimatech cooler.

    The noise levels were also very acceptable despite the installed massive fans. We measured ~ 44dB at 30cm distance (open testbed). After using the noise adapters, the noise dropped to 40dB, without a serious performance hit (+3 degrees C). Great job here.

    If you want to pick up this cooler, then make sure it will actually fit into your PC chassis. Make sure that your high-profile memory modules will not block the cooler. However, despite its huge size, the Noctua NH-D14 was designed to evade all major components, offering flexible installation options for the fans in case you run out of space.

    After spending many hours testing the Noctua NH-D14 we can safely say that its performance absolutely rocks! It's been quite a while since we saw a Noctua product reaching the top in terms of performance. If buying a liquid cooling solution for your high-end system is not an option for you, the Noctua NH-D14 is probably the best option for you.

    Sometimes you need to pay more to get the best. Good job from Noctua, Editors Choice Award for this excellent product.

     

    Retail package
    Design
    Motherboard compatibility
    Installation time
    Copper Base quality

    Pros:

    + Complete retail package
    + Works with both AMD/Intel platforms
    + Includes thermal paste and noise reduction adapters
    + Includes 2 fans (120mm & 140mm)
    + Great external design and aesthetics

    + Top performance under both stock and overclocking tests
    + Low noise levels with fans spinning even at full speed

    + 120mm fan can be moved according to your needs
    + Reasonably priced for its performance

    Cons:

    - A faster fans set could boost cooling efficiency even higher
    - No installation set for adding a third fan



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