WHEN WE REVIEWED the first-edition Noctua NH-D14 back in April 2010, we praised its quiet performance, but our then-current test bed didn’t put out enough heat to best showcase its cooling chops. Fortunately, our new one does. This coincides nicely with Noctua’s release of the NH-D14 SE2011, which includes (gasp) LGA2011 support and updates the D14’s two fans to include PWM, or pulse-width modulation.
If you own an earlier Noctua cooler, the company will send you the LGA2011 mounts for free.
The new NH-D14 is just as massive as the old one. With both fans attached, the heatsink stands 6.5 inches high, 6.2 inches deep, and 5.5 inches wide and weighs more than two pounds, 12 ounces. The cooler’s six heat pipes rise into two sets of cooling fins, each the size of a lesser cooler’s entire allotment. A 12cm PWM fan clips to the front and a 14cm fan clips between the two sets of fins, both using Noctua’s wire clips, which are easy to install and remove. Installation is easy; just remove the center fan, mount four double-sided thumbscrews to the unified backplate, install two mounting bars over those, secure them with thumbscrews, and tighten the two spring-screws on the D14 onto the posts on the mounting bracket.
Because it’s so massive, the NH-D14 blocks some RAM slots; we had to use low-profile RAM in order to fit the 12cm fan onto the cooler. But once that was accomplished, the NH-D14 achieved the lowest CPU burn temps of any air cooler in our roundup, at just over 72 C. When we added the resistor cables, the temperature increased to 76 C, but fan noise became almost imperceptible—certainly quieter than the case fans.
Of the air coolers we’ve tested on LGA2011 thus far, the NH-D14 takes the crown. If it weren’t quite so massive, it’d be even easier to recommend, but it still garners our firm approval.
Noctua NH-D14 SE2011
Massive performance; quiet; easy installation.
Massive footprint; front fan can interfere with RAM heat spreaders.
Dimensions HxDxW (inches, with fans)
2 lbs, 12.8 oz
1x 12cm, 1x 14cm, PWM
Add’l Fan Support
CM Hyper 212 Evo
NZXT Havik 120
All temperatures in degrees Celsius. Best scores bolded. All tests performed using an Intel Core i7-3960 at 4.2GHz, on an Asus P9X79 Deluxe motherboard with 16GB DDR3/1600, in a Thermaltake Level 10 GT with stock fans set to High.