Noctua NH-D14 Heatsink Review

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A Closer Look

Impressive.  But did you catch the dimensions at the beginning?  160mm.  That’s 6.29 inches sticking out from your motherboard into your case.  So if you plan on getting this heatsink, you had better measure your case first.  Because chances are good that you’re going to be taking off a side fan on even a full-ATX case.

Okay, I’m not trying to harp on this thing right away.  It’s probably a real monster when it comes to cooling a CPU.  So size aside for now, I shall install this thing and see what kind of power it has.  Installation was fairly easy, with a couple of snares, since I was installing inside the recently reviewed Raidmax Raptor chassis.  The right panel comes off and has easy access to the rear of the motherboard for just this purpose.  For those Intel users without a case with rear mobo access, you’ll be needing to remove your motherboard from the chassis to install this heatsink.

 

All that needs to be done is to remove the stock (or whatever you have) heatsink, and then get to the rear of the mobo to remove the stock mounting plate.  The NH-D14 comes with install kits for Intel and AMD processors, and comes with a mounting plate for Intel processors.  Most AMD boards come with a plate preinstalled, so no worries for my fellow AMD fanboys.  You can leave your mobo in the case for installation.  If you find that your AMD board doesn’t have a plate, you can just float an email to Noctua and they’ll take care of you.  They’re good people like that.

  
Intel, AMD, and Common parts in separate bags


Installing on either system is going to be slow, focused work.  Turning your case on its side would probably be best for this due to loose parts that you have to tighten and the general weight and mass of the heatsink during install.  Replace that mounting plate if required, install some included mounting bars, and you’re ready to install the NH-D14!

The trick here is to remove the center fan before you attempt to stick it in there.  Don’t even put it in to eyeball it.  Remove that center fan.  You need it out to tighten down the screws onto the mounting bars.  Also, plug in the fan connectors to the motherboard right now if you’re using onboard power.  Once the heatsink is installed, you can’t even get to the CPU fan plug.  I learned this the hard way.  Also, large RAM (like those with big heatsinks) might not fit under this.  Mine barely did.  Okay, back to the mounting.  Once those two screws are tightened (don’t overdo it here unless you want stripped screws), you can slide the fan back in and clip the wire retainer back into place.