Around two weeks ago, I received the Noctua NH-DH14 HSF cooler. Had purchased it from theITWares (Rahul). So decided to do a review of this cooler.
This is a twin tower+heat pipe cooler, manufactured by an Austrian company known as Noctua. This brand is renowned for creating excellent CPU coolers, fans, and thermal interface material.
Below are the specifications and dimensions taken from the official product page.
As you would have noticed it comes with a well bundled package, and is compatible with all mainstream AMD/Intel socket packages. All accessories are included, and nothing needs to be purchased separately to have this product up and running.
Opening the box:
The box came in a well bundled and perfectly wrapped/insulated box. Rahul had done the packaging real well, with lots of foam and plastic blister surrounding the box, sealed safe and sound with duct tape. Inside was the cooler and two original invoices. Post removing all this mumbo-jumbo we get:
The box has a clear image of the parts, and a list of all company shipped accessories. Dimensions are also printed on the side, and a high resolution image of the heat-pipe array.
One we open the flap, we encounter two small packages, in simple white covering.
The thinner box, has all the accessories which come with this kit. You will get a Common Parts envelope, and two more bundles for AMD and Intel, all clearly labeled. Also they have included a long handled Phillips tools [quite handy, since mounting the bolt-down requires this], and a manual again for AMD/Intel, in its own sleeve casing. Nice and sweet.
The manual is carefully detailed, and diagrams are to scale, and the English is perfect. The common part kit and Intel kit are on shown below.
The common part kit has: NT-H1 TIM (a large syringe), course fan screws, two way fan splitter, and 2x Ultra Low Noise Adapters. These can be used to make the fans spin at lower speed, and enable less noise. The specifications table explains the logic. The Intel kit has a SecuFirm2 mounting kit (common for LGA775, 1366, 1156), mounting screws, bolts, spacers, back plate, and insulation pad which is necessary for LGA775. The AMD kit is similar. Also included is a metalic Noctua sticker, which can be slapped onto the the outer computer chassis.
Now we open the second box. Noctua has taken great pains to make sure the cooler is not damaged. It is well insulated and layered. Something like a Chinese doll....! The top two portions are pried apart, and the flap removed. Walaa...! The gleaming contact surface (protected by a plastic cover) grins out at you. This is a BIG cooler. For sure. The question surfaced in my mind. Will it fit inside the CM690..? Is there enough clearance around the socket area..? It comes from the foundry with the cooling fans attached.
And now some images of this monster. Gently I took it out, and placed it for show. Let the catwalk begin.
One image for reference, so you get an idea of the size, the 2 bundled fans, have to be removed for the installation process.
The core contact surface has a finite machine finish, and is shinning smooth. This cooler has 12 heat pipes (yes 12), which run through the fins. Notice the fins are grooved, to aid in cooling and quick heat dissipation. The company name and logo are emblazoned on the top. Sheer craftmanship, and wonderful engineering, yea.
The contact area offers ~4.3cm of surface area, and the finishing is excellent. Sure catches the light. Go ahead, look at them.
Two more images to wrap up the show. Enough is enough. Cannot stop myself. Do notice how the towers, are machined to radiator similar specifications. A nice aerodynamic design. Notice the anti-vibration pads on the fins. The fans will be clipped on top of those. Great insight.
The cooler is bundled with two Noctua fans. The NF-P14 and the NF-P12. These operate at 1200 and 1300 RPM respectively, and can be down-graded to run at 900 RPM if the ULNA (ultra low noise adapter) is utilized. The specification above explain the power/air flow/noise metrics in greater detail.
These fans are 'clipped' onto the cooler using the spring clips they are attached with. Since the lock can be made to any fin, the fan placement height can be easily adjusted. Theoretically a third fan can be mounted also.
Versus previous cooler - Coolermaster Hyper212:
I was using the CM Hyper 212. Decided to show them side-by-side. Since the Hyper 212 is a popular cooler, people can compare, and get a sound idea if their cases and socket area will allow the Noctua ND-D14. The Hyper 212 is totally dwarfed though.
Installation of the Cooler:
The NH-D14 is a backplate/bolt-down HSF. Which means, that the motherboard has to be taken out, and prepped, so the cooler can be fastened down. Quite a task. The residual TIM on the CPU head is cleaned using Isopropyl Alcohol.
The backplate for the Intel series is common. It will accommodate LGA 775/1366/1156 socket package. The LGA 775 needs an insulation rubber shield, which needs to be placed. The manual states this too. The back-plate has three sets of holes for each package, and the holes are labeled a,b,c with the socket name etched onto the back-plate itself. Handy, if one looses the manual. The bolt in screws are threaded, and the plate is put 'behind' the motherboard, and the screws are threaded through.
Now the SecuFirm2 clips are placed. At this point the orientation of the cooler must be decided. As of now the SecuFirm2 clips are perpendicular to the DIMM slots, which will enable the cooler+fans to be parallel to the DIMMs. If the SecuFirm2 clips are mounted parallel to the DIMMs, so forth the cooler orientation will change 90 degrees.
The CPU is TIM'ed with a pea-sized drop of NT-H1 and bolted down, using the bundled Phillips screwdriver.
I wanted to see how well and uniform the pressure would be on the CPU, gives a good idea of the TIM spread. Pulled off the cooler and verified. Seems quite good. Satisfactory. Also you can see how much clearance the board will get.
With the fans on, things start to get crowded.
Only at one point the cooler touches the board -- at the Northbridge heat sink. It is just a light contact, no pressure as such. So I guess, I am safe here..!
Placed the rest of the components and shut the case. Did it..? Yes, just about. The cooler IS NOT touching the plexi-glass window. CM690 passed the test. Sigh of relieve. Gosh...!
Tested the cooler using the following method. Similar runs had been done using the Hyper212 prior to removing it. All systems settings remained constant. Ambient temperature was ~34C.
1. 10 minute run of RealTEMP with Prime95 (4x worker threads).
2. 10 minute run of OCCT+Linpack.
3. Crysis Warhead Benchmark Tool @ 3X loops @ enthusiast settings (Ambush level).
Q9550 @ 3.5Ghz @ 1.352V
XMS2 4 GB @ 5-5-5-15 @ 2.1V
The results are below, All images on the left are for the Hyper212, and the right ones are for the NH-D14.
RealTEMP with Prime95 (4x worker threads):
Crysis Warhead Benchmark Tool:
So overall temperatures have come down 6-7 degrees. Which I think is quite decent. The real test of course would be when I try to push this chip to > 3.8Ghz territory, that will show the true nature of this cooler. Will update TE / this thread with those results, as I will strive for higher OC with good cooling. Over all I think this is a good cooler. Slightly on the high side, but the bundle is really decent and resourceful. You would notice, not a part had to be sourced from elsewhere. All is included. Manual is comprehensive, and overall leaves one with a feeling of good equipment has been purchased.
Price: INR 4750/- + 200 Shipping
Purchase Point: theITwares (Rahul)
Shipping time: 48 hours.
Machine finished to perfection.
Quite fans (with low power option).
Slightly expensive for mainstream users.
Size/dimensions have to be carefully mapped, can cause issues with socket motherboard parts.
Official product page.
Link to theitwares.
Hope readers and future HSF buyers find this useful.