When we tested Noctua’s tower-style NH-U12P in August 2009, its performance was excellent, making it a close second to our then-champion Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme. Given the success of coolers with one fan and one set of cooling fins, it’s logical to think that, hey, maybe two sets of fins and two fans would be even better! Thus (probably) was born the Noctua NH-D14, with its two pounds, 12 ounces of cooling power.
It's so big and heavy that we want to hate it, but installation is easy and the cooling is superb.
The NH-D14 consists of six heat pipes rising from a heat exchanger into two stacks of cooling fins, with a 14cm fan between the fins and a 12cm fan on the outside. It looks like the NH-U12P, doubled. And it’s enormous, albeit easy to install. The center 14cm fan removes easily—Noctua has really improved its wire retention clips—and an included long Philips-head screwdriver makes attaching the NH-D14 to its mounting bars simple, though we struggled with the sheer footprint of the device; some configurations may require moving the 12cm fan, lest it interfere with RAM cooling fins.
Both the 12cm fan (NF-P12) and 14cm fan (NF-P14), like other Noctua fans, include optional low-noise (and thus low-rpm) adapters, though even at full blast the fans aren’t too loud. Both fans connect to a PWM splitter cable, so you can run them both from the CPU fan power leads.
Once on, the NH-D14 performed to within a few degrees Celsius of our champion air cooler, the cheaper, smaller, and lighter Cooler Master Hyper 212+. And there’s the rub. The NH-D14 is a great cooler, with massive airflow and great construction, but it can’t take the top slot from a cooler that is half its size and a third its price.
Top-tier performance; massive airflow; relatively easy install; improved fan clips.
Massive; default 12cm fan placement interferes with tall RAM.
100% Burn (C)
Best scores are bolded. Idle temperatures were measured after an hour of inactivity; load temperatures were measured after an hour's worth of CPU Burn-in (four instances). Test system consists of a stock-clock Q6700 processor on an EVGA 680i motherboard inside a Corsair 800D case with stock fans.