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Noctua NH-U14S Test and Review

Noctua NH-U14S arrived to me in the pretty standard box like for all of the latest models in Noctua portfolio which is a big carton box painted in white, brown and black forming the typical for Noctua colour scheme. Of course, there is some information regarding the features on the front panel and the full technical details and the additional information about the technologies used in this cooler are on the side panels.

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After I took a closer look I noticed that the box is absolutely the same, just a little bit bigger, since the cooler is bigger but still the same, so I went on and opened it.

IMG_7793

After I opened the main box I noticed that the inside is absolutely the same as Noctua NH-U12S’s box and all of the additional parts are separated in 3 different smaller boxes and all of them have labels and pictures of what is inside.

IMG_7798

The standard Noctua NH-U14S package offers:

  1. NF-A15 PWM premium fan with dimensions of 140x150x25 and working at maximum speed of 1500 revolutions per minute
  2. Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  3. SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit
  4. Noctua NT-H1 thermal compound
  5. Rubber dumpers and fan-clips for second NF-A15 which can be installed as a pull fan
  6. A metal advertising badge with the company logo
  7. Installation manuals for installing the cooler

After I took the smaller boxes out of the box I got this view, which is really impressive:

IMG_7794

And that is one really massive fan on top of even bigger heatsink carefully packed inside the carton “bed” protecting the structure of the cooler and especially the fins, since they are the most vulnerable to bending or any damage. Now let’s check the cooler itself. And believe me, I am really eager to see how it looks and later how it performs.

IMG_7800

After I removed the cooler out of its carton “fortress” I got this lovely view. The first thing that really impressed me was its size and its build quality. The cooler is really massive and I am completely sure it is meant to be installed in big cases taking care of low, middle and really hot processors and of course I will check out a bit later if this model can handle my CPU. But for now, let’s check out the cooler structure…

Noctua NH-U14S offers actually a pretty standard cooler setup, like 90% of the coolers on the market offering a heatsink, a cooling fan and a mounting kit. And I believe to do a proper review I should start describing the heatsink first.

1. Heatsink:

IMG_7806

Noctua NH-U14S’s heatsink is made of nickel plated copper contact surface, 6 x ø6mm copper heatpipes with nickel coating  and without a direct contact with the processor and of course aluminum fins soldiered together forming the heatsink structure with dimensions of 165 mm(H) x  150 mm(W) x 52 mm(D) and weight of  770 grams without the fan.

Now let’s check out all of the heatsink parts one by one…

IMG_7814

Noctua NH-U14S offers again not very big but still not very small contact surface, according to other CPU coolers from different brands and is made entirely of copper with nickel coating made to transfer the heat from the CPU to the aluminium fins through the 6 x ø6mm nickel plated copper heatpipes for dispersing the heat. I was wondering if I have to say it, since it is a standard feature for Noctua, but the contact surface is just perfect. When the cooler is brand new there isn’t even a scratch on it and is protected from scratches with a transparent plastic cap, which should be removed just before installing the cooler.

Now let’s check the aluminum fins…

IMG_7807

Seems so with the latest CPU coolers the guys from Noctua decided to push the performance limits offering a cooler which is a bit slimmer (just 52mm without the fan and 78mm with the fan installed) to avoid blocking the first 2 x RAM slots and still a bit wider (150mm with and without the fan installed) to provide same or better cooling performance according to some other good coolers on the market. Apart from that, the aluminum fins are with very small gaps and perfectly soldiered to the heatpipes.

IMG_7816

Maybe you’ve already noticed but the aluminum fins are actually 2 types and the smaller type is just above the contact surface. I believe this expands the cooling surface and can grant just a little bit additional cooling performance, which is really necessary since when this cooler is with 1 fan installed its dimensions are 165(H) x 150(W) x 78(D) mm and overall weight of 935 grams, which makes it pretty slim and still a bit heavy model.

2. Cooling fan:

IMG_7802

Noctua NH-U14S is supplied with just one  Noctua NF-A15 PWM with dimensions of 140x150x25 mm powered and regulated by a not very long 4-pin PWM sleeved in black cable and connector. I’ve already tested Noctua NF-A15 PWM  and I saw very nice performance. And here I noticed something very interesting…

According to the technical details, Noctua NF-A15 PWM works at maximum 1200 revolutions per minute with airflow level of 115,5 m³/h, maximum static pressure of 1,51 mm H2O and noise level of 19,2 dB(A) and here we have a fan with same name but rotating at maximum 1500 revolutions per minute with airflow level of 140.2 m³/h, unknown maximum static pressure and noise level of 24.6 dB(A). And this is the moment I started wondering, why did they install a faster and modified Noctua NF-A15 PWM? The regular can’t handle cooling the heatsink? Very interesting and since I have this fan for the tests I am going to use it.

3. Mounting kit:

After checking the heatsink and the fan I believe it is time to check the most important part which are the mounting brackets for installing the cooler. As every other CPU cooler offered from Noctua, this one too offers the patented SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit which when installed on an AMD motherboard looks like this:

IMG_7848

The standard AMD mounting method requires the original metal backplate to be used and the SecuFirm2™ parts are installed directly to it. According to the official technical details and the smaller boxes which I found in the package this model is suitable to be used in systems with these sockets:

  1. Intel LGA2011 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1150
  2. AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2 (backplate required)

I really like what I’ve seen so far and I believe it will be nice to check out how Noctua NH-U14S performs in direct comparison against let’s say one of the best single tower coolers in it’s class and on the market and in that case Prolimatech Megahalems.

And this is how both of the coolers looks side by side.

IMG_7817

As you can see on the picture above:

  1. Noctua NH-U14S is a bit wider and its heatpipes spread covering a bigger surface of the aluminum fins than Prolimatech Megahalems. The heatpipes for the second model are in one line
  2. Noctua NH-U14S is a bit thinner than Prolimatech Megahalems for avoiding RAM blockade.

IMG_7821

Both of the coolers offer nickel plated copper contact surface and 6 x ø6mm copper heatpipes with nickel coating.

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Since Prolimatech Megahalems arrives without a fan I decided to do the tests by using the Noctua NF-A15 PWM fan on both coolers. And later add one more Noctua NF-A15 PWM fan but working at 1200 revolutions per minute which was provided to me from Noctua and to do a push-pull setup.

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Of course, both of the fans will be connected, powered and regulated directly from the motherboard using the PWM Y-splitter provided with the second fan.

 

Before I start doing the tests I believe this is a good moment to describe the system I am going to use, which for this test and review is:

CPU: AMD Athlon X4 620 at standard frequency of 2612 MHz and overclocked at 3640 MHz (at 1.5V) per core for the tests.

Motherboard: GigaByte 790X-UD3P

Video card: Sapphire 5830 Extreme 1GB DDR5 256bit

Memory: 2 x 2GB Apacer 800 MHz

Hard drive: Kingston SSD SV100S264G

Case: SilverStone Raven RV-03

Power supply: Antec HCP-750W

Cooler: Noctua NH-U14S and Prolimatech Megahalems

Thermal paste: NT-H1 thermal compound

Fan mounted: 1 x Noctua NF-A15 PWM working at 1500 revolutions per minute provided with Noctua NH-U14S and a second Noctua NF-A15 PWM working at 1200 revolutions per minute provided from Noctua for push-pull setup.

The tests were conducted in a closed system with:

  1. 180mm fan on the bottom panel putting fresh air in and spinning at about 1200 rpm
  2. 180mm fan on the bottom panel putting fresh air in and spinning at about 1200 rpm
  3. 120mm fan on the top panel taking hot air out and spinning at about 1020 rpm.
  4. Room temperature of about 18 degrees.

Both of the 180mm fans were connected together to the chassis 2 connector  and were rotating at maximum speed.

Testing procedure:

I will install both of the Noctua NH-U14S and Prolimatech Megahalems and do tests at default frequency 2612 mHz at idle and stress and at overclocked frequency of 3640 mHz again at idle and stress using 1 x Noctua NF-A15 PWM working at 1500 revolutions per minute provided with Noctua NH-U14S and a second Noctua NF-A15 PWM working at 1200 revolutions per minute provided from Noctua for push and push-pull setup.

Mounting procedure:

Since the case is made with 90 degrees rotated motherboard I had to install both coolers in vertical position so they can follow the natural airflow inside the case:

And this is what the coolers look like when they were installed on the motherboard.

Noctua NH-U14S Prolimatech Megahalems
IMG_7848 IMG_7831
IMG_7851 IMG_7832
IMG_7854 IMG_7834

As you can see to install the fan on Prolimatech Megahalems I had to move the memories on the 3 and 4th slots because the first two slots were blocked, while Noctua NH-U14S was just fine.

I believe it is time for the tests to begin.

 

First test is with Noctua NH-U14S with 1 x Noctua NF-A15 PWM as a push fan working at 1500 revolutions per minute installed inside the case:

IMG_7858 IMG_7865
Noctua NH-U14S 1 x NF-A15 @ 2612 idle Noctua NH-U14S 1 x NF-A15 @ 2612 stress
Noctua NH-U14S 1 x NF-A15 @ 2612 idle Noctua NH-U14S 1 x NF-A15 @ 2612 stress
Noctua NH-U14S 1 x NF-A15 @ 3640 idle Noctua NH-U14S 1 x NF-A15 @ 3640 stress
Noctua NH-U14S 1 x NF-A15 @ 3640 idle Noctua NH-U14S 1 x NF-A15 @ 3640 stress

 

Second test is with Prolimatech Megahalems with 1 x Noctua NF-A15 PWM as a push fan working at 1500 revolutions per minute installed inside the case:

IMG_7838 IMG_7842
Megahalems 1 x NF-A15 @ 2612 idle Megahalems 1 x NF-A15 @ 2612 stress
Megahalems 1 x NF-A15 @ 2612 idle Megahalems 1 x NF-A15 @ 2612 stress
Megahalems 1 x NF-A15 @ 3640 idle Megahalems 1 x NF-A15 @ 3640 stress
Megahalems 1 x NF-A15 @ 3640 idle Megahalems 1 x NF-A15 @ 3640 stress

 

Third test is with Noctua NH-U14S with 1 x Noctua NF-A15 PWM as a push fan working at 1500 revolutions per minute and 1 x Noctua NF-A15 PWM as a pull fan working at 1200 revolutions per minute installed inside the case:

IMG_7860 IMG_7863
Noctua NH-U14S 2 x NF-A15 @ 2612 idle Noctua NH-U14S 2 x NF-A15 @ 2612 stress
Noctua NH-U14S 2 x NF-A15 @ 2612 idle Noctua NH-U14S 2 x NF-A15 @ 2612 stress
Noctua NH-U14S 2 x NF-A15 @ 3640 idle Noctua NH-U14S 2 x NF-A15 @ 3640 stress
Noctua NH-U14S 2 x NF-A15 @ 3640 idle Noctua NH-U14S 2 x NF-A15 @ 3640 stress

 

Fourth test is with Prolimatech Megahalems with 1 x Noctua NF-A15 PWM as a push fan working at 1500 revolutions per minute and 1 x Noctua NF-A15 PWM as a pull fan working at 1200 revolutions per minute installed inside the case:

IMG_7845
Megahalems 2 x NF-A15 @ 2612 idle Megahalems 2 x NF-A15 @ 2612 stress
Megahalems 2 x NF-A15 @ 2612 idle Megahalems 2 x NF-A15 @ 2612 stress
Megahalems 2 x NF-A15 @ 3640 idle Megahalems 2 x NF-A15 @ 3640 stress
Megahalems 2 x NF-A15 @ 3640 idle Megahalems 2 x NF-A15 @ 3640 stress

All of the test results have been summed up in the following charts:

Performance

And the fan speed during the tests:

Fan Speed

So I believe after I am done with this test and review it is time to share my thoughts about Noctua NH-U14S.

1. Noctua NH-U14S performance – Well what can I say…
Since DVTests.com started back in 2010 I am using Prolimatech Megahalems as a main cooler for comparisons against bigger CPU cooler models and I never saw even one single tower cooler to reach its performance. To be honest I was wondering of what cosmic materials Megahalems was made which had granted it the title one of the best single tower coolers for years. From what I saw after I finished the tests I can say that it seems Noctua got the same materials and made a cooler to provide the same or even better performance than the very well-known model from Prolimatech.

Since the cooler is thinner I believe Noctua NH-U14S can become the perfect solution when used with every motherboard providing the option to work with 4 installed memories and I can recommend it to be used in every modern rig cooling all kind of processors without any problem. Apart from that, when I do the tests I always use the cooler with fans working at maximum speed and they are always noisy but when I am done testing I always put them back to automatic control and for Noctua NH-U14S I can say it is one of the most silent CPU coolers I’ve ever touched.
To summarize this I can say: great build quality combined with awesome performance at very low noise level and let’s not forget the huge additional accessories.

2. Noctua NH-U14S appearance – There is nothing more to say except: Massive!

After I installed Noctua NH-U14S for the first time I saw something that I really liked. The cooler itself is one very wide and still very thin heatsink that makes a serious impression when somebody checks out the case from outside. The cooler made me feel that I am owning one serious performance beast (and that is actually true) which is capable to keep every central processor unit cooled and in that case looks beautiful. Even though I am not big fan of Noctua colour scheme I can say that the cooler was looking really nice inside my case.

Update: 29.05.2013.

About a month ago I decided to improve my hardware just so I can do better and more accurate tests and reviews and I decided to update with additional Noctua NH-U14S  test with my new testing rig:

CPU: AMD Vishera FX-8350

  1. At standard frequency 4.020 MHz (at 1.344V)
  2. At low overclock frequency of 4.220 MHz  at 1.38V)
  3. At medium overclock frequency of 4.420 MHz (at 1.416V)
  4. At high overclock frequency of 4.720 GHz (at 1.452V)

Motherboard: GigaByte 990FXA-UD3

Video card: Sapphire 5830 Extreme 1GB DDR5 256bit

Memory: 2 x 4GB Geil Black Dragon 1866 MHz

Hard drive: Kingston SSD SV100S264G

Case: SilverStone Raven RV-03

Power supply: Antec HCP-750W

Cooler: Noctua NH-U14S

Thermal paste: Gelid GC-Supreme

Fan mounted:

The standard 150mm fan PWM powered and regulated, provided with the CPU cooler working at 1500 revolutions per minute range with airflow level range of 140,2 m³/h and noise level range of 24,6 dB(A).

The tests were conducted in a closed system with:

  1. 2 x 180mm fans on the bottom panel putting fresh air in and spinning at about 1200 rpm
  2. 120mm fan on the top panel taking hot air out and spinning at about 1020 rpm.
  3. 120mm fan behind the motherboard and spinning at about 1400 rpm.
  4. Room temperature of about 21 degrees.

Both of the 180mm fans were connected together to the chassis 2 connector  and were rotating at maximum speed.

Testing procedure:

I will install Noctua NH-U14S and do stress tests at standard frequency 4.020 GHz (at 1.344V), at low overclock frequency of 4.220 GHz (at 1.38V),  at medium overclock frequency of 4.420 GHz (at 1.416V) and at high overclock frequency of 4.720 GHz (at 1.452V) using just the standard 150mm fan provided with the cooler rotating at maximum speed.

Noctua NH-U14S @ 4020 1.344V Noctua NH-U14S @ 4220 1.380V
Noctua U14S @ 4020 1.344V Noctua U14S @ 4220 1.380V
Noctua NH-U14S @ 4420 1.416V Noctua NH-U14S @ 4720 1.452V
Noctua U14S @ 4420 1.416V Noctua U14S @ 4720 1.452V

All of the additional test results have been summed up in the following charts:

Temperature

And the fan speed during the tests:

Fan Speed

Very, very, very good result!

According to my reviews, I’ve decided that Noctua NH-U14S  deserves the following reward:

 Best-Perf-Silence1

Official price (MSRP) for Noctua NH-U14S: 69.90 euro

Official warranty: 60 months

I thank Noctua for the sample.

Dobrin Krastev is the owner, reviewer and newsman of www.DVTests.com with more than 15 years' experience in personal computers, server and storage systems, UPS, peripheral devices and software. Passionate about testing and reviewing, AMD overclocking using AM3 990FXA and AMD FM2 A85X test systems and building modding projects.

  1. That’s awesome review of a very good cooler. Big ups for the work, pictures, graphics and explanation 🙂

  2. Very, very in-depth. I like it! 🙂 You deffinitely need to contact Thermalright, they have multiple single tower coolers that will put the Noctua under the blanket crying and some of them for less money. Nevertheless, its a good cooler and will find its audience of those Noctua fanboys that adore the brown and the quality :D. Even more in Bulgaria with the limited availability of high end coolers and failry good Noctua dealers it loooks like a good high-end alternative. Interestingly its still around 8-10mm shorter than TR Archon/TRUE Spirit 140 and presumably it will have similar combined area with all the fins covering every square centimetre of the fans effective blowing area. So you don’t need width of 21+cm of your case in order to just get it in.