CPU Cooler

Noctua NH-C14S CPU Cooler Review: Balance Through Asymmetry

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A Closer Look at the Noctua NH-C14S

Noctua NH-C14S CPU Cooler Review: Balance Through Asymmetry air, C-type, CPU Cooler, Fan, heatsink, nf-a15, nh-c14s, Noctua 1

Just like the new NH-D15S, the NH-C14S is a single-fan update to its predecessor and sports an obvious lean to accomodate for extra PCI-E clearance. There are also six 6mm heatpipes that distribute heat to the aluminum fin array but unlike the original NH-C14, the sides are folded and closed off so that airflow is focused through the body and no longer open on all sides. The center area of the fin array is also now only slightly tapered towards the center while the original NH-C14 had a deeper, sharp center cut for the optimal operation of the NH-C14 fan. An extra heatpipe extends from the primary stage heatsink at the base and is reinforced as it feeds into the center of the aluminum fin array.

The NF-A14 (square frame) fan is bundled and pre-installed in “low-profile mode” pushing air upward to the larger body. The original NH-C14 used a pair of NF-P14 fans with rounded frames. On the NH-C14S, the fan can also be positioned at the top to blow down on the main body to accommodate for tall RAM heatspreader designs or simply just as an extra fan.

Just like the original NH-C14, there is a cut-out in the middle of the fin array so that the screw driver can pass through for easier installation. Anyone who has installed C-type coolers will be familiar with the pain, heartache and annoyance associated with mounting one on most designs that require the use of a spanner so these cutouts are a blessing, especially when installing the NH-C14S on a motherboard that is already on a chassis.

The contact surface is slightly convex at the center, semi-reflective and has visible round micro-machine marks which makes it suitable for more viscous thermal compounds such as Noctua’s NT-H1. The surface area measures 40 x 38mm, suitable for coverage of even the large LGA2011 CPU integrated heatsink surface area. The nickel plate finish prevents oxidation of exposed copper and also contributes to the premium feel of the build quality.

The bundled Noctua NF-A15 fan has a 140mm frame and standard 140mm mounting holes since the NH-C14S uses the square-frame version compared to the NH-D15/NH-D15S which uses the round-frame version. It already comes pre-installed and thus already comes with a pair of wire fan mounting clips. The retail NF-A15 can be purchased for around $25-$30 USD two of these fans alone are worth more than half of the NH-C14S suggested retail price if bought separately, hence bundling only one allows Noctua to offer it at a much lower price.

The NF-A14 fans feature the latest in Noctua fan technology including SSO2 bearing, inner surface microstructures, stepped-inlet design, and flow-acceleration channels. SSO2 stands for 2nd generation Self-Stabilizing Oil-pressure bearing technology which is essentially an oil-based hydrodynamic bearing with a self-stabilizing magnet in the rear of the brass bearing shell. The stepped-inlet design of the frame allows more air to be drawn in while the flow-acceleration channels on the seven-bladed NF-A14 works in conjunction with the inner-surface micro-structures to improve airflow while minimizing noise caused by turbulence. Unlike the round-frame retail NF-A15 fan which runs at 1200 RPM, the NF-A14 bundled on the Noctua NH-C14S is similar in ratings and specifications to the one bundled with the NH-U14S and NH-D15 and runs at a higher 1500R PM max.

The fan cable is nicely sleeved and has a black 4-pin connector, Readings from ASUS Fan Xpert II reveal the real-world controllable PWM range:

nfa15fxpert

 

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Ron Perillo

Ron is a non-binary tech writer that presently identifies as a reviewer but is currently transitioning toward modding.
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