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

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The first thing you'll notice about the DH-14 isn't its high production values or even its unusual dual-fan design. The first thing we thought after opening the box was "Is this thing going to fit in a full-size enthusiast tower?" The answer is "yes," but pictures of the cooler on its own don't convey just how big it really is.


Don't let the silver finish fool you -- there's nickel over the copper to prevent oxidation from harming performance long-term.

Here's what it looks like when installed into a system.



The DH-14 is 6.2" tall, 5.5" wide, and 6.2" deep with fan installed. It spans nearly half the width of the Intel X79 motherboard installed above (you can also see it resting just above the EVGA GTX 580 for comparison.) Weight, with fans installed, is 2.7 lbs. The cooler's weight isn't an inherent problem -- Intel's socket system is designed to handle it, and it's arguably just as (un)safe as having a liquid cooler installed. However, the DH-14 is big enough to overlap the RAM sockets and can't be used with all DDR2/DDR3 modules. Noctua's compatibility guidelines are here.

To be perfectly blunt, installation is a pain. We ultimately decided to pull the motherboard out of its case to simplify installation. This isn't a requirement, but trying to deal with the heatsink inside even a roomy 800D was more headache than it was worth. RAM installation can also be a headache; attaching the cooler first can make it easier to align things properly, but doing so makes it more difficult to put the RAM in afterwards.

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