Noctua NH-U14S CPU Cooler Review
Noctua's design prowess shines through with the NH-U14S' performance under all conditions. The fact that the unit could maintain reasonable temperatures and system stability with a single fan running at 4/5's of its rated speed under most conditions speaks volumes. The single fan LNA configuration was overcome by the overclocked Ivy Bridge processor, but did maintain the full stability with an overclocked Haswell. However, you should have no need of the LNA cable, the stock fan configuration is just that quiet.
Before continuing with our parting sentiments on the NH-U14S cooler, we would like to take this opportunity to give our friends at Noctua a hearty "Thank You" for giving us the opportunity to review another one of their well-designed CPU air coolers. After reviewing so many dual-tower CPU air coolers, I had some reservations going into the review. Sure, the NH-U14S' single tower is 150mm wide and almost double the thickness of a standard fan, but the single 140mm fan included just didn't seem like it would be enough. Those thoughts quickly evaporated once I started putting the unit through it paces. Noctua designed the NH-U14S cooler as a high-performance unit that was compatible with any Intel LGA115x or LGA2011, or AMD motherboard. At this, they succeeded amazingly well. There were not space constraints with the cooler fitting on the MSI Z87 MPOWER board, which is notorious for is larger VRM coolers framing the CPU socket on three sides. The width-wise fit was tight, but the cooler did fit between the VRM sinks without touching. Further, you could use all four DIMM slots on the board even with a front facing fan. The NH-U14S' design and implementation conform to the high standards we've come to expect from Noctua as well - clean solder joints on all layers, nickel-plating on all copper surfaces, and enough copper heat pipes running through the unit to please even us hard-core water cooling addicts. Further, Noctua stuck to there tried and true Secure Firm2™ mounting system, both easy to use and a rock-solid grid on that heavy chunk of aluminum and copper.
The biggest downside to this cooler is the price. You will spend a pretty penny on this cooler, but the old adage remains true here - you get what you pay for. And in this case, you are paying for a high-quality, high-performance solution.
- Performance under all operating CPU and fan conditions
- Build and machining quality of the cooler
- Size compatibility with most motherboard configurations
- Fan noise in all tested configuration
- Manual quality
- Performance scaling oddities with overclocked Haswell processor
- Cooler heat pipe width - should fit, but may be tight