Noctua NH-C14 CPU Cooler Review (Hardware)

Posted by Jeff Lindsey (Piso_mojado), May 16, 2012 21:43

A CPU cooler can be the life or death of your PC. There have been many PCs brought to me that were blue screening, only for me to discover some failure with the CPU cooler; dust build up, loose screws, bad contact with the CPU, or insufficient thermal paste. If you want your PC to last, you have to take care of the processor. noctua NH-C14We were quite impressed with Noctua’s beastly large NH-D14 cooler that they sent us last year, and now they have sent us another large cooler called the NH-C14.

From the Ground Up

The best way to look at the NH-C14 is to start at the bottom. The CPU contact area may look like some average run of the mill metal, but in fact, it is all copper with nickel plating. Though some people will swear by a copper base, the nickel plated copper proved its performance in Noctua’s NH-D14 we review in 2011. Attached to the base are six nickel plated copper heat pipes that carry the heat to the aluminum fins.

The overwhelming majority of air CPU coolers out today stand vertically and require a lot of overhead space. Instead, the NH-C14 is turned sideways and gives you plenty of clearance options. You can have both fans attached for maximum airflow and cooling, or remove the top one for a low profile case, or even remove the bottom fan to give you the space needed for ram with really tall heatsinks.

noctua nh-c14I know some tech guys who will run a heatsink with no fans as long as there is good airflow in the case. They do this to make the case quieter overall, however, I would not recommend doing that with the NH-C14. Noctua’s fans have developed a reputation for being some of the quietest on the market. If the 19.6 dB noise level is too high for you then you can attach the 3-pin inhibitors that will bring the noise down to an amazing 10.1 dB. Doing this though will bring your fan speed down from 1200 rpms to about 750 and will decrease the overall cooling performance.

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Our Rating for Noctua NH-C14 CPU Cooler Review (Hardware)
6.5 Style (look/feel)
The NH-C14 looks good, but the tan and brown fans will turn some people off. Especially since one will be directly visible through the side window.
6.0 Functionality (what it does/doesn't do)
It gets the job done, but performance was only on par with other cheaper coolers.
5.0 Value (worth the cost vs. competition)
The price to performance ratio is really not there. I would not drop the cash for this cooler for the small performance increase.
0.0 Customer Support
9.0 Usability (comfort, usefulness, installation)
Noctua coolers are incredibly easy to install. This was not as easy to install as the larger NH-D14 due to the small screw access in the sideways heatsink.
6.5 Overall
My honest recommendation is for the NH-C14 is that it should only be used where low profile is needed. Otherwise, go the cheaper route that is comparable in performance.

Rating: 0.0, votes: 0

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