Noctua NH-D14 Heatsink Review

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Testing

The ambient air reading at idle for the stock cooler was right around 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 Fahrenheit) when I had a couple of instances of Firefox open, MS Word, AIDA64 running idle, and a couple other background programs running.  I also use Arctic Silver 5 for all my heatsinks, stock or not.  So any temps you see will be a tad lower than normal thanks to that.  But the difference in temperature between stock and performance heatsinks will not change due to that.

 
Noctua Load Temp

Alright, so on with the load.  I fired up AIDA64 and set it to stress the CPU.  I let it run for 25 minutes at 100% load to see what kind of temperatures I would get.  This was my first time stressing this particular CPU, so I was a little excited to see what kind of stock temperatures it could generate for a 125-watt CPU.  After 25 minutes I had my results.  I ended up with a maximum of 44 degrees Celsius, or 111.2 Fahrenheit.  Not bad.  I expected higher temps.  I can’t wait to see the overclock temperatures with the Noctua on there.

Speaking of the Noctua, I installed it (with a little knuckle-bruising) and let my computer cool down sufficiently before firing it back up.  I let it sit idle again while I spent some time making some lunch.  I then came back and looked up pictures of lolcats, checked Facebook, and then checked to see what ambient temps the NH-D14 gave me.  Where I had 27 ° Celsius on stock cooler at ambient temps, the Noctua NH-D14 dropped it to 18 ° Celsius (64 °F).  That’s a difference of 9 degrees on the Celsius scale, or 16 degree Fahrenheit, depending on which scale you prefer.

Under load conditions, the Noctua blew the stock cooler away at a frosty 34 degrees Celsius.  I was expecting a drop, but not one that big.  I ran the stress test again and got the exact same results.  I then switched over to Prime95 and ran the most heat-inducing test available.  34 degrees the whole way.  Color me impressed.

  
Left: Overclocked Idle temp, Right: Overclocked load temp


Now it was time to see what the NH-D14 could do in an overclock situation.  I restarted the system entered Setup to overclock the system.  I made the jump from 4.2Ghz to 4.6Ghz and then booted into Windows.  I let it run for a while on its own and then checked the temperature.  I was sitting at 24 degrees Celsius. I loaded up my programs and ran the stress test.

Under load, the NH-D14 did great on an overclocked CPU.  It took almost a full 15 minutes just to break 40 degrees Celsius.  To put this in perspective, this CPU at stock settings is considered to be at a normal temp under load when it is the mid 50’s.  And I barely got to 40 C.  That’s not bad at all.

So, to wrap this up, I am very satisfied with what the NH-D14 has to offer by way of cooling.  It performed well under all conditions I threw at it and kept coming back for more.  My only real gripe is the size of the thing.  If it works, it works… and that’s what matters.  From what I hear, Noctua has lower profile CPU coolers out now on their website, so my griping may be for nothing anyway, if I can just purchase a smaller unit.  To conclude, this is a great cooler.  Thumbs up from this guy.

REPORT CARD : Noctua NH-D14 Heatsink
category
rating
comments
Quality
5
Manufactured very well
Innovation
5
Two great fans and a LOT of surface area FTW!
Performance
5
Some of the best temps you can get with air cooling
Installation
4
Won’t fit in every case
Value
4
Can be found online for $80
Don is an avid gamer, writer, screen writer,part time game maker, film director, and horror film fanatic. You can check out his book "How to Survive Zombies and Other Disasters" on Amazon.