The Noctua NH-D14
I reviewed a few weeks back was a beast of a heatsink; not only in terms of its size, but also performance. Of course, a price tag was also beastly, coming in at a cool $90. Today I’ll be looking at a similarly sized and priced Noctua heatsink, but the NH-C14 has a different cooling methodology.
The NH-C14 is a down-facing C-type design, but the two 140mm fans allow for a great deal of customization. Not only that, but the two Low Noise Adapters also provide the opportunity for a more silent performing cooler, but more on that later.
The basic heatsink of the Noctua NH-C14 has 6 heat-pipes coming out from the polished silver base into the aluminum fins up top. Either of the two fans can be mounted on top or bottom. The top fan allows for more ground clearance, and hence easier installation of memory modules with bigger heatsinks. Conversely you can mount the bottom fan and have a slimmer overall profile, allowing the Noctua NH-C14 to fit into thinner cases. Of course, the fact that you’re getting a Noctua heatsink, and a highly priced one at that, means you’re in need of some serious air cooling for your seriously overclocked rig. Keeping that in mind, I have tested the Noctua NH-C14 with both the 140mm fans attached to the heatsinks.
The Noctua NH-C14 also comes with the aforementioned Low Noise Adapters (L.N.A.) that allow the fans to run at a lower speed. At stock, the NH-C14 runs at 1200 rpm; with the Black LNA the fans run at 900rpm and with the Blue (Ultra Low Noise Adapters) ULNA the fans run at an incredibly low 800rpm. The noise at 1200rpm wasn’t as much as I was expecting thanks to the 140mm size and the SSO-bearings in the fans. That was the case on our open testbed, inside a PC case I’m sure you won’t hear anything more than a mild hum. While using the Blue ULNA and the fans running at a mere 800rpm, I could hardly hear them on our testbed; undoubtedly they’ll be dead silent in a case.
Application of the NH-C14 took just under 5 minutes, and was actually easier than the NH-D14 because the heatsink has two convenient holes that line up on top of the screws at the base. This means no taking off any of the fans. Everything you need to install the NH-C14, including Noctua’s high-grade NT-H1 thermal compound is included.
Now let’s get down to the benchmarks. For testing the Noctua NH-C14, I have used our resident testbed which comprises of an Intel Core i7-2600K CPU, Gigabyte P67A-UD7 motherboard, G.Skill RipJaws X 4GB ram, Zotac GTX 580 AMP! Edition GPU, WD 300GB VelociRaptor HDD with Windows 7 Ultimate and a Cooler Master 1200W Silent Pro Gold PSU. For comparisons I’ve added Noctua NH-D14
, the Cooler Master V6
and the Intel XTS 100H
Please note that I have performed the benchmarks with the standard fan adapters, which means the NH-C14 is running at 1200rpm as well as the ULNA which makes the NH-C14 run at 800rpm.
Stock performance of the NH-C14 is incredible, keeping temperatures lower than anything we’ve tested before. The ULNA performance increases temperatures at just 2°C making them the preferable choice.
For overclocking, I increased the speed of the Intel Core i7-2600K to 4.7GHz with 1.450v and the G.Skill RipJaws X
to 2134MHz with 1.660v on the current.
Stock performance of the Noctua NH-C14 is a tad bit better than the Cooler Master V6, much better than the NH-D14 under full load. With the ULNA, it is still very quiet, with temperatures once again hovering 2°C over stock speeds.
Given that both the NH-D14 and NH-C14 cost the same, I would definitely go for the latter. Not only because it’s marginally cooler, but also because of the customization in terms of space, speed and sound levels. Furthermore, the Noctua NH-C14 oozes quality in all aspects, from the thought put into making the installation process as easy as possible, to making the cooler itself become incredibly efficient at its job. If you have a high-end CPU and really want to unlock its full potential with extreme overclocked speeds, then the Noctua NH-C14 is a must buy.