Final words and conclusion
Final words and conclusion
You know, the Noctua NH-C14 CPU cooler definitely surprised me in terms of cooling performance. I mean it's hard to beat the massive dual-radiator dual-fan NH-D14, but somehow it managed to do exactly that, despite of having just one radiator. The trick here is that the Noctua NH-C14 CPU cooler makes use of the two massive 140mm fans, they suck in air at the (cooler) top side and blow it downwards and two of these fans create so much airflow that if you sit next to the PC open your hair will move.
Now that does bring me to a downside, this cooler was a tiny bit noisy. And despite the fact that the two fans used are the same is used on the D14 we measured a 40~41 DBa noise pressure. Residual noise is hard to explain as a DBa number doesn't is not an absolute but it has everything to do with the radiator design. The cooler design seems to create a slight 'whirling' noise. Not irritating, but not something I'm used to from Noctua coolers either.
Now, one thing I'd like to add is that the cooler comes with two sets of adaptor cables (Low-Noise-Adaptors and Ultra-Low-Noise Adaptors) which allow you to cap the speed to 900 and 750rpm respectively. Especially the latter setting makes the cooler virtually inaudible -- but at the cost of performance of course. There's no denying that the cooler makes itself heard at full fan speed, the idea here was to give users as much flexibility as possible. If they want the best possible performance and don't mind the noise, they can run it at full speed, but if you are more sensitive on noise, you can simply use the supplied adaptors.
The Noctua concept is still working really well. The dilemma anno 2010 though is that some people will dislike the sheer design/looks of the unit. I mean these are big cooler and the Noctua color schema is getting less popular as well. I'd LOVE to see an all black Noctua cooler with black colored fans, imaging the x-factor on such a design.
Performance overall is very comparable to the performance of Noctua's NH-D14 coolers and Zalman's CNPS 9900 MAX .
The Noctua NH-C14 CPU cooler also has a lot of additional capacity, we like that very much. The result as such is that the cooler becomes even more impressive when you start to overclock. In combo with this fan we overclocked our poor little 2.67 GHz processor to 4.2 GHz @ 1.5 volts. With that added 1.5 GHz overclock on all cores we started to stress all processor cores 100% once again and we barely reached 60 Degrees C, that is very impressive stuff to witness.
Mounting the Noctua NH-C14 CPU cooler is a breeze, Sure the motherboard will need to come out, but the mounting design and ease of use in installation is just great. Even a Philips screwdriver is included in the kit and you don't even have to disassemble the fans to install the cooler, just align the fan blades with the holes in the cooler and you are good to go.
Okay, it's time to end this article. Performance wise you'll achieve nearly perfect heatpipe based cooling which is downright impressive. The noise levels are manageable but even with the fan RPM capped in the BIOS you will be able to hear the cooler, nothing extreme though but it's there. The looks and aesthetics, well you either love or hate the design I guess, there is nothing in-between it. We would really like to recommend Noctua to look into aesthetics more, these coolers end up in high-end system, and these are all black or at least have a black base color these days.
But overall we feel the Noctua NH-C14 CPU cooler is a truly excellent performing cooler, the looks are a matter of taste, the performance grand and the noise levels OK. The product can be spotted for roughly 69 EUR in the stores as we speak and is covered by a 6-year carry in warranty.