Noctua NH-C14 CPU Cooler
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 03-15-2011
Provided by: Noctua

Noctua sure make some high quality coolers. So far I have only experienced the NH-C12P SE14 and this latest, the NH-C14, however both of these heatsinks have been top notch. The fit and finish is very good, and I especially like the mounting system with its bolt-through design. Noctua thoughtfully provides a slender Phillips head tool that can reach through the heatsink fins and both fans to attach the cooler without having to remove the motherboard to do it. The included fans move a sizable amount of air, and even though I found them to be reasonably quiet, Noctua also includes two sets of adapters enabling them to run virtually silent if desired, with little impact on performance.

It is however in the performance department that I have found these Noctua coolers somewhat lacking, at least in the two "C" style heatsinks that I have reviewed. Although different processors were used to test each of the coolers, both represented AMD's top-of-the-line at the time, each rated at 125W TDP. Of course when overclocked and overvolted the thermal characteristics go through the roof, and it was only under these conditions that the Noctua coolers failed to keep temperatures at a stable level.

As this is the first air-cooled solution I have tried on the 1090T X6, I can't fault the NH-C14 too much, since I have no idea whether this would be typical of another cooler or not. I can tell you that a liquid-cooling system does not have this problem under the same conditions, however that would be like comparing apples to oranges.

I found the NH-C14 available online anywhere from $80 to $90, which is quite high for an air cooler. Granted you do get two of the superb P14 fans, two sets of voltage reducers, a special installation tool, case badge and thermal compound and of course the high-quality cooler itself. However at that price range you're comparatively looking at an entry level liquid cooled system like the Corsair H50/H70. Judging by the performance I saw from the C14, if you're after maximum overclocking you'd do better to look elsewhere. awards the Noctua NH-C14 our Bronze Seal of Approval.

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