Noctua NH-D14 High Performance CPU Cooler Review - Installation and Testing


I'll be honest, the idea of installing this beast had me a bit nervous, worried it would be tricky, would have problems fitting, etc.  Well, installation of the NH-D14 is as much a breeze as it could be.

I opened the little "folder" which has separate installation packets for AMD or Intel installation (kudos on presentation!), and followed the very clear instructions, and I had it mounted in under ten minutes!  Rock solid stable, and nothing tricky about it, and it fit perfectly in my Antec 900!



It fits neatly in my mid tower Antec 900, and lines up awesomely with the rear fan and top fan, so in addition to the push-pull of the Noctua fans, you have another pull right out the back, and pulling air vertically through the heatsink out the top as well!  Case geometry compliments the NH-D14 awesomely!  It straddles the RAM modules easily and without event as well!



Looks intimidatingly awesome with the whole setup running!



Idle Testing

For idle testing, we booted up the system, allowed the CPU to stabilized at below 2% usage, and then tested for 10 minutes, and we used RealTemp to record the CPU temperatures.

Scythe Katana 3                                                                           Noctua NH-D14



Load Testing

For our load tests, we used Prime95 to stress the CPU to 100%, and let it run that way for one hour, and then use RealTemp to record the temperatures

Scythe Katana 3                                                                           Noctua NH-D14


Overclock Testing


Using the same methods as before for idle, except with a 25% Overclock, (3.3GHz, up from 2.66GHz stock)

Scythe Katana 3                                                                           Noctua NH-D14




Using the same methods for stock load testing with the same 25% Overclock

Scythe Katana 3                                                                           Noctua NH-D14



The load readings on Realtemp did not read properly after the overclock, but other tools were used to verify that the CPU was 100 percent loaded.


As you can clearly see from the results of the load tests, the NH-D14 becomes increasingly efficient as greater loads are applied.  In comparison to the Katana 3 cooler, you can begin to see the dominance of this high-end cooler in overclocking conditions.  The Katana did better under idle conditions, and matched the NH-D14 in stock load conditions.  However, as the Katana 3 experienced 8-9°C increases after the overclock, the NH-D14 achieved an incredibly small 1-2°C increase!

The incredible efficiency of the NH-D14 with high heat loads is the reason that it has set so many air cooling overclocking records.  The six heatpipes, dual towers, push-pull fans, and overall size of the heatsink enable it to achieve incredible thermal performance.  We were having trouble with the BIOS resetting on us when we tried to push the OC, but given the minimal gain in temperatures from a 25% OC, 4GHz rock stable seems like the furthest thing from impossible on this thing.

Final Thoughts

Like we said earlier, Noctua is looking to become the staple as the best of the best in air cooling, and, as of now, they've got the crown.  Numerous air cooling records have been set on the NH-D14, and it's by far the best cooler I've yet to use.  This performance does have a price though, as it is currently priced at around $100 with shipping included.  However, packaged with two ~$25 dollar fans, a ~$15 tube of high performance NT-H1 thermal paste, and great product presentation really put the word "value" next to a 100 dollar cooler.

The primary concern for this cooler, after you've decided you need top-end performance and are willing to pay the price, is that it will fit in your case, and that it won't contact the RAM modules.  If you are using RAM with a large heatspreader or heatsink, you may need to make some careful measurements.  This cooler was designed to be as universal as possible, and clearing the RAM modules shouldn't be an issue.  It fit very well in my relatively small mid-tower Antec 900, so most cases should be in the green as far as it fitting.

Really, this is about as good as it gets for air cooling, and if you are looking for the best, look no further.  On top of the impressive performance, the premium P12 and P14 fans are whisper quiet, the two fans quieter than many other singe-fan coolers we have yet tested.


  • Top of the line performance
  • Two premium fans included
  • High performance NT-H1 Thermal paste included
  • Easy mounting and clear instructions
  • Very quiet


  • Pricey (Good value to spite the price tag)
  • Heavy


Noctua has developed a product they can be truly proud of, which is the best of the best for "standard" air cooling.  With that said, it goes without saying that we gladly present Noctua and its NH-D14 the Tech Kings Crown for a recommended product!


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