Noctua's DH-14: Air Cooling Keeps Up With Liquid?

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A few months back, we examined the performance of four liquid coolers for the Sandy Bridge-E socket LGA 2011 platform: Corsair's H80 and H100, Maingear's Epic 180, and Intel's own reference cooler. Liquid coolers are popular with high-end OEMs and some enthusiasts, but they aren't cheap -- and there's a certain group of enthusiasts who aren't comfortable with flowing liquid in their systems.

Recently, we spoke with the team at Noctua, who offered to send us one of its high-end air coolers for comparison. We've been curious about the company since it came across our radar with its upgrade offer for anyone upgrading to Socket 2011 last year.

Before we get started, we can't resist sharing the following:


image credit:  NewEgg.com

The banner above is running at NewEgg and it's hilariously inappropriate. Regardless of whether you favor air, liquid, or dropping your system in non-conductive oil, we promise you that it's *not* thirsty. Even if it somehow was, giving it a drink is a very bad idea. Like, feeding-Mogwai-after-midnight level bad.

Noctua's DH-14:



It's immediately obvious that Noctua takes a different approach than Intel and Corsair when it comes to product packaging and presentation. Both of the Liquid Cooler manufacturers are shipping what amount to rebadged third-party kits -- and it shows. All three products ship with the necessary mount hardware and a folded square of paper with diagrammed directions, and that's it. There's no accompanying text, no technical info on the fans or pump, nothing.

Noctua's DH-14 kit, in contrast, contains a full-color instruction brochure with numerous diagrams that show installation from various angles. It even includes a long screwdriver to aid with fan installation.

Does it matter? From a performance standpoint, no. An experienced enthusiast could figure out how to mount either kit without any instructions whatsoever; customers are ultimately concerned with how each cooler performs, not with how nice the packaging or documentation is. On the other hand, as someone with no previous experience with Noctua, the company's packaging, documentation, and the inclusion of a screwdriver were all impressive. Combined with the company's history of offering socket upgrade kits, it gives the impression of a manufacturer who views a cooler as a long-term investment.

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These guys have a fantastic reputation, and this cooler is considered by many to be the best in Air Cooling.

One thing that I noticed was that you have the cooler pointed straight up, with the air intake quite close to the video card. Most of the enthusiast's installations of this cooler that I've seen in the past have the cooler pointed so that the air flows out the backside of the case. (pointed right to left)  They say that the cooler's performance is increased by doing it this way.

Noctua has a kit available for mounting some of their coolers 90 degrees from stock orientation, but this cooler may be able to do that right out of the box.

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Thats a BIG HS, I use to have a noctua HS back in the day it worked quite well. 

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Noctua coolers are always the best kind of coolers but they've always been known to be big and clunky, and for good reason. I have never had the space in order to justify having one but I always see the results in these CPU coolers and I'm reminded as to why Noctua is so popular/good. This is no exception; the latest in the long line of Noctua coolers proves itself without really trying and even though it's so massive and hard to install, it's worth it for superior temps and superior noise.

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This company Phanteks is giving Noctua a real run for their money.

See Here.

It's said that they actually beat the NDH-14 cooling performance because of a coating they have put on the fins. They come in four colors too.

 

Phanteks PH-TC14PE 140mm UFB (Updraft Floating Balance) CPU Cooler Phanteks PH-TC14PE_OR 140mm UFB (Updraft Floating Balance) CPU Cooler Phanteks PH-TC14PE_RD 140mm UFB (Updraft Floating Balance) CPU Cooler Phanteks PH-TC14PE_BL 140mm UFB (Updraft Floating Balance) CPU Cooler

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Thanks for the solid and enjoyable review ,, I suppose if I were to honestly have a choice between the the Noctua DH-14 and the Phanteks in the neils post, I would choose the Phantek ,simply because they may perform a bit better and having the choice of colers would seal the deal for me.

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