Noctua is a brand that doesn’t need an introduction. They are well known for their performance CPU coolers in the CPU coolers world. The only thing they lack right now is a water cooling or an AIO solution, but even then, their air CPU coolers are on par with most of the AIO coolers we see on the market. And today, we are going to take a look at one of their air CPU cooler known as NH-C14S which is a single fan version of NH-C14. But luckily Noctua has provided us with another fan so we can check out the performance of NH-C14 with both sing and dual fans.
Noctua NH-C14S is a copper baseplace and alluminiums heatsink CPU cooler, that features 140mm fan and has the capability to hold two of them. The fan features the SS02 bearing, also made by Noctua and has rubber pads on the corner to help with the acoustic performance. The only weird thing about the CPU cooler before even getting into the review is the unconventional theme of the Noctua products. The fan the NH-C14S feature is brownish in color, which I’m sure you don’t get to see daily even in real life. Anyways, the Noctua NH-C14S also comes with 6 years of warranty, so the company has your back for a long period. Now, without any further ado, let’s start the review with the unboxing video.
Noctua NH-C14S Unboxing Video:
Noctua NH-C14S Photo Gallery
Noctua NH-C14S Specification:
CPU Cooler Specification:
|Socket compatibility||Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required), AM4 with NM-AM4|
|Height (without fan)||115 mm|
|Width (without fan)||140 mm|
|Depth (without fan)||163 mm|
Height (with fan)
|115 / 142 mm|
|Depth (with fan)||163 mm|
|Weight (without fan)||820 g|
|Weight (with fan/s)||1015 g|
|Material||Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating|
|Max. TDP||see TDP guide|
|Fan compatibility||140x140x25mm (with square frame)|
|Scope of Delivery|
|Model||1x Noctua NF-A14 PWM|
|Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)||1500 RPM|
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
|Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%)||300 RPM|
|Max. Airflow||140,2 m³/h|
|Max. Airflow with L.N.A.||115,5 m³/h|
|Max. Acoustical Noise||24,6 dB(A)|
|Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A||19,2 dB(A)|
|Input Power||1,56 W|
|Voltage Range||12 V|
|MTTF||> 150.000 h|
Motherboard: Asus z170P
Processor: Intel I5 6600K 4.5GHZ OC
RAM: Apacer Panther Rage 16GB 2400MHz C16
SSD1: Apacer AS720 240GB
SSD2: PNY Optima 120GB
SSD3: Kingston SSDnow V300 120GB
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM
GPU: MSI R9 280X 3G
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-C14S + Noctua NF-A14
Thermal Compound: Noctua NT-H1
PSU: Chieftec Nitro 1200W 85+ bronze
Chassis: Thermaltake Core P3
Noctua NH-C14S Installation:
So, the Noctua NH-C14S was tested in a total of 4 configurations. One where the chipset was on default clock speed of 3.5ghz and 3.9ghz turbo. We tested the thermal performance with both single and dual fans configuration here. And the second configuration included the I5 6600K overclocked to 4.5ghz with 1.344 Vcore voltage and once again the thermal performance was tested with both single and dual fans here.
The fan speeds were left on default/standard curve in the bios. In each configuration, two readings were noted, one when the system was left idle for 10 minutes and another one when the system was under 100% load for 30 minutes, so the heat builds up.
Prime95 Small FFTs was running for 30 minutes to build up the heat and Realtemp, and HWmonitor were used to notice the temperature across the cores. What you see in the charts below is the average temperature of the four cores.
A room temperature of 28 degrees was maintained during the test period, and Noctua NT-H1 thermal compound was used with each cooler.
Real acoustic performance is something that can only be measured in an isolated environment, which of course I didn’t have at home with all the environmental noise. So I will not be mentioning the acoustic performance in numbers in the review, but what I can tell you is that the Noctua NH-C14S is an almost silent CPU cooler. You can hardly hear anything from the cooler at a distance of few feets. Since I’m using the Thermaltake Core P3 chassis, which is an open chassis, so I could hear the fan spinning when it was on full throttle at a distance of 2-3 feet, but it wasn’t much noticeable and hardly disturbing. So if you’re using a concealed chassis, that will surely help your case even more.
So as we can see, the Noctua NH-C14S does have a pretty good performance. At a room temperature of 28C, the I5 6600K reached a minimum average temperature of 30C while near 63C on load. I feel pretty relaxed when I say I’m good with those temperatures at the stock speed, but a little concerned with the overclocked temperature because my overclocked test is a bit overkill at 1.344 Vcore voltage. When it comes down to overclocked performance, we saw a good gain on the max temperature reaching 85C. Now compared to a liquid cooler, even if an AIO, but a 360mm AIO with 3x 120mm fans, the temperature seems justified considering it’s only air cooler and is only powered by 1/2 fan(s).
We didn’t have an air CPU cooler to compare against the Noctua C14S, but even when compared to the 360mm AIO cooler, the comparison doesn’t seem unfair as the C14S is not lacking behind by a huge lead.
As for the cooler itself, there’s not much difference between the performance of single and dual fan setup, so spending an extra $21.95 for another NF-A14 fan doesn’t seem like a good move for near 1-2 degree centigrade improvement. As for the build quality, I’m very happy with the quality of the product and the thermal and acoustic performance of the NH-C14S. The rubber padding on the fan helps out with the acoustic performance of the cooler as the fans are barely noticeable from 2-3 feets away, and in a concealed chassis, I’m sure you won’t even notice it spinning. As as far as clearance of PCIe and RAM slots are concerned, you’re good. You’ve got good enough space for the PCIe slot, but when it comes to the RAM clearance, if you have the fan installed in the middle of the cooler, the fan will make it a little difficult to install a medium-sized RAM. But if you’re using the cooler with the fan mounted on the top, then you’re good to even install RAMs with high-profile heatsinks.
The only con I can say about the Noctua NH-C14S I found would be the theme of the cooler. The brownish theme of the fan simply might not be the best option for many, and you don’t see many systems with a brownish theme nowadays. But if the color is no issue for you, then I guess you can’t go wrong with the Noctua NH-C14S.
As for the pricing goes, the Noctua NH-C14S costs about $74.90 which seems down right great for the performance if you take a look at the comparison between the 360mm AIO and this cooler. So in short, with Noctua NH-C14S, you’re getting a C-Type CPU Cooler, which puts your fan on display in the system in a unique way, has great thermal performance, is very silent and is priced about right. But the additional fan that costs about $21.41 for an improvement of ~1-2 degree Centigrade doesn’t seem to be a good deal. So in the end, I would like to rate the Noctua NH-C14S a 4.5 out of 5 stars and give it our previous Editor’s Choice award.