Summary: Standard horizontal CPU coolers aren’t always the most efficient. Especially if it’s a stock retail AMD or Intel cooler: they are mainly built to do the job as cheap as possible. They’re typically too small and sit too close to the board to actually do anything other than cool the CPU. Poorly one might add. While the possibilities of this feature were once taken for granted, designs like the Noctua NH-C14 completely correct any short comings.
Conclusion: I have to say, I was extremely impressed with the cooling performance of the Noctua NH-C14 CPU cooler. I wasn't expecting itat all ... I thought that the NH-C14 was just another standard CPU cooler that Noctua added to their catalogue, just to make up the numbers. But I was wrong. With idle temperatures of around 23 degrees Celsius, it's identical to their flagship NH-D14.
Conclusion: Once again Noctua proves that it knows the CPU Cooler business, the NH-C14 is an excellent performing cooler for sure. The NH-C14 might be large in size meaning that it might not fit in smaller cases, but if you’ve got the room then I can certainly recommend getting one to keep your CPU running cool even under the largest loads. The two NF-P14 fans do an excellent job of keeping things cool while staying virtually silent while doing it.
Summary: High performance cooling has come a long way over the years and while most people associate aftermarket cooling options with overclocking that isn't always the case. Some coolers may be best suited as high capacity alternatives to the cheap and unattractive OEM designs.
Heatsink installation went incredibly smooth and was actually quite simple.
Conclusion: Application of the NH-C14 took just under 5 minutes, and was actually easier than the NH-D14 because the heatsink has two convenient holes that line up on top of the screws at the base. This means no taking off any of the fans. Everything you need to install the NH-C14, including Noctua’s high-grade NT-H1 thermal compound is included.
Summary: The Noctua NH-C14 is a treat to install and use. As far as its design, packaging, and product presentation goes, the NH-C14 is top-notch. I couldn't have imagined any other cooler manufacturer take up top-flow design at this market segment, and then go on to win big time in terms of performance. Not only is this top-flow cooler very much in the league of high-end side-flow tower-type coolers, but it can also compete with entry-level water-cooling in-a-box solutions.
Pros: Awesome performance, Low overall height, Low-profile ready, Good clearance with components around the socket, Good packaging
Cons: Very heavy, Expensive, Loud at maximum speed, Some installation steps cumbersome, Fans lack PWM-based control
Summary: Final Thoughts
Looking at the performance numbers this CPU cooler performs very well. At the stock speed of our CPU the NH-C14 had idle and load temperatures of 21C and 37C respectively. This is a 12C difference during idle and 16C during load, which is very impressive. Looking at the overclocked results it performed 9C better during idle and again 16C better during load. The performance really does speak for itself.
Pros: Great cooling performance, Quiet operation, Straight forward installation, Very versatile (able to remove both fans)
Cons: Might run into an issues with memory that has larger heatspreaders, More expensive than many other CPU coolers
Summary: UPDATED with new support bracket details. The Noctua NH-C14 is a big heatsink for sure, but remarkably by orienting the fans and aluminum fin stack in a top-down direction, Noctua keep the heatsinks' height to just 130mm. That's a far cry more compact than your typical 160mm tall tower heatsink, but that hasn't made the NH-C14 into a slouch.
Excerpt: Noctua strikes again and delivers the newest concept in their cooling line-up. With all the CPU coolers I have received over the years I gained a lot of respect for the Noctua name and simply, I love the "professional" or "heavy-duty" feel of the Noctua coolers. Even the smaller 90mm fan driven coolers have the feel of a superior cooler before you even strap it on to see (and not hear) the results they produce.