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

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The DH-14 is the nicest high performance cooler we've ever tested, and it's the LGA 2011 cooler we'd choose for ourselves out of all the options offered here. It doesn't perform quite as well as Corsair's H100 liquid cooler at maximum load, but this is where features like Noctua's upgrade guarantees and overall level of presentation come into play. Noctua's website is stuffed with intricate product details, while the shipping documentation, how-tos, and included tools are first-rate. Unpacking the DH-14 gives one the impression that Noctua knows you just spent $89 on a cooler, and they've gone out of their way to recognize that fact.

None of that would mean squat if the cooler's performance wasn't first rate—but it is.

Granted, there are a few caveats. The sheer size of the DH-14 means it won't fit in anything but a roomy tower, and that bulk is likely to make some users nervous about hanging so much weight off their CPU socket. Finally, at $89, the DH-14 is far from cheap. Those interested in Noctua's fan designs and long-term upgrade offers but don't want to drop so much coin, may want to investigate the NH-U9B, at $59.95.

In total, the DH-14's strengths more than outweigh its weaknesses.  If you're looking for one of the best, and quietest air coolers money can buy, look no further.

  • Quietest cooler we've ever tested
  • Excellent overclocking potential
  • Free mount kits for future socket switches
  • Excellent packaging
  • Absolutely' enormous
  • Difficult to mount
  • Not compatible with all RAM

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