Noctua NH-C14S is like a deja vu for me, as I was quite a fan of its predecessor – the NH-C14, which is a C-type cooler with dual cooling fans and offered great performance.
NH-C14S is an update to that with additional benefits from Noctua, such as improved compatibility, performance and versatility. It is part of the C series of Noctua’s portfolio and follows almost the same design language as the NH-C14.
So, without further ado…I present to you Noctua NH-C14S.
The package, at least at first glance, is almost identical to other coolers from the company and that’s a good thing, because it is elegant, simple and premium.
|Front side of the box||Back side of the box|
Right from the start with Noctua coolers, and in the case of NH-C14S, you have a very well built and massive package. Colors used for the box are standard for Noctua as I mentioned and there comes the controversy – not everybody likes the color scheme they use. White, brown and just a tiny bit of blue for the package. Brown and lighter brown for the fans…or some kind of brown, or orange. I don’t know, it’s a proprietary color scheme and we should all respect Noctua for keeping it as their main color scheme.
The box itself has a ton of information about the cooler inside, presented on the front and sides. Multiple languages are also included, but as my Japanese is a bit rusty I went with the English description.
There is no lack of technical details and specifications, so you can spend 5 minutes reading them, but I am keen on getting that big box opened and check out the “ingredients”.
|First look inside of the box||All wrapped up in carton|
After opening the box I was able to immediately notice how the cooler ships to each and every other user, fortunate enough to get his hands on a Noctua product. In this case, as in countless others the package doesn’t disappoint. Excellent presentation straight after you open the box, combined with neat and tidy drafts and inscriptions.
Three boxes are located at the top of the cooler, which is wrapped up nicely in recycled carton for protection. Those boxes contain the different accessories that would be used in order to install the cooler. Very nice arrangement, superb packaging.
And this is the view, which I got after I took both the cooler and the accessories pack out of the carton bed.
As always, let’s start checking what is inside the accessories pack.
Noctua NH-C14s ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES
As is the case with Noctua they always try to provide easily accessible information and accessories within the carton box and the NH-C14S packaging is the perfect example for that. Accessories, leaflets with installation steps were all carefully packed and what you think when you unwrap them is if they were all packed from one person with white gloves – this is the level of attention that Noctua strives for. I couldn’t be more grateful for that fact.
I took all of the boxes out of their shell and arranged them for a photo.
The standard Noctua NH-C14S package offers:
- Black metal back plate required for all Intel sockets
- 2 x front silver plates for all Intel sockets
- A set of four plastic tubes to stay between the motherboard and the front plates for LGA 115x sockets
- A set of 4 nuts to fasten the front plate to the 4 long bolts
- A set of 4 LGA 2011 screw pillars for LGA 2011 socket
- Intel LGA 115x installation manual
- Intel LGA 2011 installation manual
- 2 x front silver brackets for all AMD sockets
- A set of four plastic tubes to stay between the motherboard and the front plates for all AMD sockets
- A set of four long bolts to fasten the AMD mounting kit to the original AMD backplate
- AMD installation manual
- A Noctua NT-H1 premium thermal compound syringe
- 1 x 4-pin PWM Low-Noise Adapter (L.N.A.) sleeved in black
- 2 x additional metal fan clips for installing a second fan
- Noctua Metal Case-Badge
- A screwdriver to install the cooler on every modern socket
- 1 x NF-A14 PWM premium fan
A lot of parts are included and the build quality is close to perfect. Not only that, but essential parts from the mounting kit are made of metal, not plastic. The level of craftsmanship is very, very serious. The kit is compatible with all modern sockets and it is made to provide the best possible contact between CPU and copper plate.
Now that I’ve covered the additional accessories, let’s proceed further with the actual cooler examination, starting with the heat sink.
Noctua NH-C14s HEAT SINK STRUCTURE
So, I gave the heat sink the deserved attention by carefully checking its structure and as I mentioned in the beginning of the article, it looked quite familiar to me at first sight. Of course, I was able to notice several important differences that actually make the NH-C14S deserve its name. Unlike NH-C14, this one has only one cooling fan, thus extended compatibility and less cables to work with in the first place. An additional heat pipe is installed here, meaning that the lack of a second fan may not result in less performance. Additionally the overall thickness of the heat sink is slightly larger than with the previous model. Construction-wise, NH-C14S relies on C-type design to bring the extended compatibility in Micro ATX and mini ITX builds.
Single 140mm fan is used for the cooling, single thick tower, connected to the heat pipes and SecuFirm2™ mounting kit for all of this metal to be securely mounted on your motherboard.
Let me have a closer look at the heat sink and its structure, beginning with the copper contact plate, whose role is of the essence for proper cooling.
|Contact plate||C-type design|
The contact plate of Noctua NH-C14S is designed with perfectly milled, nickel coated contact copper plate, that has physical dimensions of 38 x 40 mm. It also holds all the heat pipes, which in this case are 7 x Ø6mm C-shaped ones, with start point beginning at the contact plate and finish point just after the center section of the heat sink. The pipes are close to one another and follow the same design with the middle pipe being slightly smaller than the other ones. There is no contact between the CPU and heat pipes, due to the nature of the contact plate used in this cooler. Nickel coating is used for all heat pipes so the cooler has a nice, premium look.
Extended compatibility is achieved not by asymmetrical design, but by the location of the included fan, or any other fan you plan on using with this cooler.
Let’s have a look at the fin stack in that single heat sink.
|Side view||Front view|
I have to admit that the radiator looks quite beautiful. It features a symmetrical design all around and has dimensions of Height (without fan) 115 mm x Width (without fan) 140 mm x Depth (without fan) 163 mm. All of this comes in at 820 g (without fan) and 1015 grams with the included fan installed.
The cooling tower has 66 nickel plated aluminum fins, each one is 1mm thick and there is a 2mm of gap between all of them. The last fin in the array, the top one, is used for the company logo to be beautifully and cleverly engraved.
The appealing fin stack of NH-C14S is cooled by a 140mm fan, so it would be a good idea to check it as well.
|Fan brackets||Noctua NF-A14 PWM|
Noctua NH-C14S is designed to operate with a supplied Noctua NF-A14 PWM fan (compabitle with many other 140mm fans) with dimensions of 140 x 140 x 25 mm (square frame design), featuring the typical for the company colors, which I will not take the time to categorize, as probably out of 6 billion people in the world, there will be 6 billion different suggestions for the colors used. Noctua – we all secretly like the color scheme..
NF-A14 PWM is equipped with a frame that features AAO (Advanced Acoustic Optimisation) and Noctua’s proprietary Stepped Inlet Design and Inner Surface Microstructures, both of which further refine the fan’s performance/noise efficiency. The fan propeller features Flow Acceleration Channels that increase the airflow output, reduce the noise output and at the same time keep performance to a maximum. For the movement of this lovely fan, Noctua has used SSO2 bearing type, that all of Noctua’s fans are familiar with and it offers a long lifespan of about 150.000 h or more.
All of those features and improvements allow the fan to rotate at (+/- 10%) 1500 RPM when on full speed, producing airflow level of around 140,2 m³/h at a maximum noise level of 24,6 dB(A).
To install the fan onto the heat sink you’ll need the two included metal clips, which allow secure attachment both on the top of the heat sink and underneath. A second fan mounting kit is included for one more fan installation, if you choose to do so.
And this is what the cooler looks like with the fan installed.
What is unique about this cooler is the fact that regardless of where you install it (top or bottom) it will immensely provide air to all of the heat sensitive components around the CPU socket and especially the VRMs.
With the fan ready to be installed, let’s check the mounting kit and proceed with the tests. According to the official technical details, the cooler is compatible with:
- Intel LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150
- AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required)
To do the tests I will use the typical for Noctua Intel brackets and these are the parts needed so the cooler can be installed on my motherboard:
As always, first thing to do is to check the Intel installation manual, read the instructions carefully and pick up the right accessories for the actual socket. Noctua is famous for their easy installation kit and even you want to make a mistake, it’s a really tough job to mess up here.
In the case of Intel kit I will need the parts on the photo, beginning with the black, metal back plate which has holes for the nuts behind the Intel socket, so alignment is not an issue.
Basically it all comes down to a couple of simple steps, in my humble opinion. You need the backplate aligned, insert the black plastic tubes (spacers), cover them with the Intel brackets (different holes correspond to different sockets) and tighten all of that with the nickel plated nuts up until they stop. Yes they stop, you cannot overdo a Noctua mounting kit, unless you want to break it.
Last but not least is to add the thermal compound onto the CPU cover and secure the heat sink to the already mounted kit.
And this is what the heatsink looks like installed on the motherboard:
|Heatsink seen from the front/side||Heatsink seen from the side|
The complete cooler installed on the motherboard…
As you can see from the pictures above, with the heatsink installed on the motherboard the cooler is not blocking any of the DRAM slots and can be used even with memories with taller heat spreaders. Of course, if a second fan is installed then there will be some compatibility issues. Not only that, but if the fan is installed on the bottom of the heat sink, you will need to use RAM modules with maximum height of around 40mm.
And this is what the cooler looks like installed on the motherboard and inside the case ready for testing.
Noctua NH-C14S looks amazing and absolutely obliterates the space between the CPU and side panel, just a massive cooler. Of course, this is somewhat to the fact that the fan is at the top. There is no interference between the first PCIX x 16 slot and the cooler itself.
Since the cooler is installed and ready to face the tests I believe it is time to check my testing rig and continue the article.
Noctua NH-C14s TESTS
With the C-type cooler installed, the time to check my testing rig has arrived.
- CPU: Intel i5-4670K
- At standard frequency 3.400 MHz (Voltage set to Auto when not OC-ing)
- At low overclock frequency of 3.900 MHz (at 1.20V)
- At medium overclock frequency of 4.300 MHz (at 1.23V)
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VII HERO Z97
- Video card: MSI AMD R9 280X GAMING 3G
- Memory: Kingston Hyper-X SAVAGE 8 GB, Dual channel, 1866 MHz
- Solid State Drive: Intel 530 Series, 120 GB
- Hard drive: Western Digital 640 GB Black Series
- Case: Silverstone Kublai KL05
- Power supply: Corsair RM750 W
- Cooler: Noctua NH-C14S
- Thermal paste: Noctua NT-H1
For the test I will be using the supplied 1 x 140mm fan and will test the cooler at maximum RPM.
The tests were conducted in a closed system with:
Two 120mm case fans:
- BeQuiet Silent Wings2 140mm case fan, serving as front intake, rotating at ~ 1000 RPM.
- Silverstone Kublai KL05 stock 120mm fan, serving as rear exhaust, rotating at ~ 1500 RPM.
One 140mm fan:
- BeQuiet Silent Wings2 120mm case fan, installed as top exhaust, rotating at ~1500 RPM
Room temperature of about 21-22 degrees Celsius.
And here I want to describe my testing method.
I will install Noctua NH-C14S and do stress tests using Prime95 AVX software with constant load on the cooler for 14:30 minutes with custom settings of minimum FFT size (in K of 128), max FFT size (in K of 128) and Run FFTs in place at standard frequency of 3.4 GHz (Voltage set to Auto when not OC-ing), at low overclock frequency of 3.9 GHz (at 1.20V) and at medium overclock frequency of 4.3 GHz (at 1.23V) using the supplied fans installed on the radiator.
Now let’s check out the test results:
|Noctua NH-C14S @3.4, Idle||Noctua NH-C14S @3.4, Load
|Noctua NH-C14S @3.9, Load||Noctua NH-C14S @4.3, Load|
All of the test results have been summed up in the following charts:
And the fans speed during the tests:
I believe the time to express my feelings and thoughts regarding the product has arrived.
Noctua NH-C14s CONCLUSIONS
1. Noctua NH-C14S performance:
As the hours were passing by, I was able to find myself in the position of being captivated by the cooler. The packaging, execution, build quality, additional accessories and so on. With Noctua the list goes on and on.
Noctua NH-C14S is a worthy successor to NH-C14 and is even supreme due to its performance, being achieved with one cooling fan out of the box. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical because it’s very hard to achieve excellent cooling performance and proper heat dissipation with one fan, which is actually blowing on top of the CPU socket. Well, if you have additional case cooling you can achieve great overclocking results with this massive piece of metal and plastic.
The fan was almost silent even when spinning at maximum speed and that is 1500 RPM, not a low speed by any stretch of the imagination. Stable temperatures were observed throughout the entire testing period and on top of that you have silence and reliability.
With the fact that Noctua designed this one to help cool the ever so evolving HTPC cases and systems, makes them even a better company that stands out from the rest. Not because I am a fan of Noctua in particular, but because this is the truth.
2. Noctua NH-C14S appearance:
Although many would argue about the color scheme of Noctua, I would say that they deserve that recognition, that distinction from other companies. Why? Because they offer the full package. Always. The cooler offers a bit different appearance than the standard tower coolers as you can actually see only the fan a just a tiny bit of the heat pipes through your side panel window for example. It is a beautiful, premium and very well performing cooler, worthy of admiration and close up shots.
According to my review, I think that Noctua NH-C14S deserves the following reward:
Official price (MSRP) for Noctua NH-C14S: 74.90 euro
Official warranty: 60 months
Special thanks to Noctua for providing us with a test sample.