Noctua NH-C14 CPU cooler review

Cooling 189 Page 6 of 9 Published by


Baseline testing the cooler

Testing The Cooler

Time to test. The cooler will work absolutely great with any processor from low to high-end (Core i3/Core i5/Core i7 quad-core and even six-core included up-to 130W) at default operating speeds, and there's room left for overclocking as well.

Now what we always do (for a little more serious testing), is test it with the processor and motherboard set at defaults AND with higher requirements, mildly overclocked as a reference. We change the processor frequency and voltage.

Methodology -- We use an eVGA p55 Classified 200 motherboard, equip it with a Core i5 750 (2.67 GHz) processor, which we overclock to 3.3 GHz/1.3 Volts. Now we'll test the cooler in two utilization stages:

  1. Actively cooled - The CPU has nothing to do (IDLE)
  2. Actively cooled - Four processor cores 100% stressed (LOAD)

Test 1 - The Baseline Performance

Above we show two baseline temperatures modes. The processor at default settings with Speedstep CE1 enabled etc (clocks down in frequency and voltage in IDLE). Now if you do not plan to overclock, that is your baseline temperature at 23 Degrees C in IDLE and 37 Degrees C under load.

Then in dark blue you can see the results done with a tiny slight overclock at 3.3 GHz on the Core i5 750 processor, we apply 1.3v on the CPU and still get excellent temperatures. Roughly 46 Degrees C when we stress all the processor cores. That in fact is impressive already.

Test 2 - IDLE Temperature

Let's have a look at the results compared to other coolers we tested under the same conditions. Below, the IDLE temperatures, thus your processor is doing barely anything. Just sitting and waiting in your system.

Now we compare all cooler based on that small overclock and fixed 80% fan RPM. As you can see, the cooler positions itself in the high-end performance range of heatpipe based coolers (with a fan), 27 Degrees C.

Test 3 - LOAD Temperature

But now let's have a look at the processor's LOAD temperatures. We measure in a 21 Degrees C ambient room temperature.

Please understand, for the above results -- temperatures are based on a slightly overclocked Core i5 750 processor with a little extra voltage (1.3v), the fan speed is set at 80% RPM on ALL coolers shown for objective comparison reasons. Obviously LOWER = BETTER.

  • Anything at roughly 50 Degrees C or lower we consider enthusiast class cooling.
  • Anything in-between 51 to 60 Degrees C we consider performance cooling
  • Anything in-between 61 to 70 Degrees C we consider mainstream cooling
  • Anything above 71 Degrees C we consider average cooling

We are way below 50 Degrees C with the processor slightly overclocked under full load. That means it's high-end performance in the heatpipe cooler class.

Roughly 46 Degrees is what we get returned with the overclocked processor.

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