Noctua NH-C14S and NH-D15S Review
Published: 24th July 2015 | Source: Noctua | Price: £65.75 and £60.19 |
Well, what can we say, in terms of traditional tower coolers, the high clearance, increased compatibility version of the mighty D15, with its off-set fin stack to improve GPU compatibility, 65mm of clearance underneath to decrease issues with high heat sink RAM, and only a single fan to further lessen RAM issues has totally wiped the floor with all but its bigger brother. We were expecting it to do well, but we really weren't expecting the results we got. Go back and have a look at the charts and you'll see that this cooler is only half a degree off the pace of the D15 at 4.4GHz and beasting a good few of the AIOs on the market. In some ways this goes to show that the abilities of the Noctua range have less to do with the prowess of their prosthetic limb coloured fans, and more to do with the way the Copper contact plate, six-6mm copper heat pipes and Aluminium fin stack work together to shift that heat away from the CPU. Yes the fans are good, and yes they are near silent, but at the end of the day if the heat isn’t getting conducted up into the fins then the fans can blow as hard as they like with very little effect. Quality as always with Noctua is excellent, enforced right from the moment you open the box and encounter the individually boxed interlinking accessories. If you've never owned a Noctua you owe it to yourself to own this one.
The NH-C14S has all the usual Noctua Hallmarks, High quality, great build, fantastic accessories pack and with the SecuFirm2 fitting method it's astoundingly easy to fit, which isn't something we usually say about top flow coolers. The 140mm square framed NF-A14 PWM fan can be mounted either above or below the fins stack, With the fan mounted on top of the cooler, RAM up to 70mm tall can be used, and with the fan mounted beneath the fin stack the total height of the cooler allows it to be fitted into cases with only 115mm of clearance, making it ideal for HTPC or SFF builds. Of course the benefits of a top flow cooler mean that whichever fan configuration is chosen a good supply of cooling air will be directed down towards the motherboard and in particular the components around the socket that can get more than a bit toasty if left to their own devices. From a performance perspective the NH-C14S might languish near the bottom of the charts, but just take a look at the coolers beneath it at 4.0GHz and you'll see that actually it's not doing too bad. Lift your eyes up the charts a bit though and you'll see the NH-C14S has a bit of a thorn in its side in the shape of the recently reviewed be quiet Dark Rock TF. It must though be remembered that the TF is a twin fan beast which goes some way to qualifying its four degree lead on the C14S. It also has to be said that unless you're really into the beige and brown looks of Noctua fans, the TF will look a damn sight sexier in your rig. However, if unquestionable build quality, astoundingly low noise output, high compatibility and decent performance are you main criteria, then the NH-C14S is the cooler to go for.