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Noctua NH D14 Cooler review – The ‘Austrian Sandwich’

We set up a system in a controlled air conditioned room at a maintained 24c – which we would assume would be a comfortable environment for most people. We have included a variety of coolers tested over the last few weeks and also a reference cooler for comparisons as some people might be looking for an upgrade.

We use the following for measurements as many onboard software based results are not accurate.

MultiMeter Thermal Probe
Digital Sound Level Noise Decibel Meter Style 2
Raytek Laser Temp Gun 3i LSRC/MT4 Mini Temp

For testing we used the ever popular Intel 920 Core i7 at reference speeds/volts then we overclocked it to 3.8ghz with 1.4 volts. We used the excellent Asus Rampage II Gene motherboard. To keep results as real as possible we built the system inside an Lian Li Armorcase – the general public will not be running a system on a clinically created open bench within a laboratory environment. We tested the Noctua NH D14 cooler with fans on full and also with the ULNA to reduce noise via slower spinning fans.

Incredibly the Noctua NH D14 cooler outperformed our previous joint winners the Megahalems and Thors Hammer. Things will get interesting when we overclock the CPU.

For the overclocked settings we had to omit the reference Intel heatsink as it was not up to the task. The results show however that the Noctua NH D14 is actually outclassing some heavy hitters in the shape of the Megahlems and Thors Hammer – when we move the fans to low noise however the temperatures heat up by 3 c under extended load. Still well within safe parameters mind you so if you wanted as silent a system as possible, this is certainly feasible long term.

Let’s Crank it.

We decided to throw all caution to the wind and put some all in one liquid cooling kits into the mix, with the new award winning Coolit ECO ALC and the Corsair H50. Our Intel Core i7 D0 stepping 920 is a very good overclocker and we knew it would hit 4.2ghz with more voltage (1.48) – this is the best way to really see the limits.

We were really not expecting these results – the Noctua NH D14 outperforming the fantastic new Coolit ECO A.L.C. cooler by just over 1c under load! The Corsair H50 is still the leader but its minimal.

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