Date: May 17th, 2010
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Noctua
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH
Mr. Bones is very impressed by the shear size of the cooler and recommends that potential users do their homework to assure that the NH-D14 will fit in the system at hand. Noctua makes this easy by posting complete dimensions and an extensive motherboard compatibility table on their website.
In this photo we can see what Noctua calls its asymmetrical design. The base isn't centered on the heatpipes, but shifted a bit to the right to help with compatibility on this huge cooler. The fantails are sleeved in a black mesh material, of generous length and terminate in the standard 3-pin connectors. The central 140mm fan also sits below the finned area when installed, allowing the user to direct that airflow onto components surrounding the socket.
The base and heatpipes are copper with nickel plating and the base doesn't have the highly polished finish that we see on some coolers. The Noctua website states in the FAQ section, “The micro-grooves on the surface of the NH-U coolers' base ensure that high-viscosity thermal compounds are dispersed to a uniform thin layer across the whole contact area and that no air pockets remain between the cooler and the CPU.”
The six heatpipes fill the base area completely and the joints are soldered for maximum heat transfer. The fins on the dual radiators are aluminum, and the heatpipe/fin attachment appears very solid and the overall build quality of the cooler is first-rate.
With the fans removed for installation, the dual radiator design is much easier to see. The heatpipes are evenly spaced across the fin array and the fins themselves have a sawtooth design and are relatively widely spaced which should lead to good cooling even with moderate flow and pressure leading to quieter cooling performance.
A total of eight silicone isolators will minimize vibration noise imparted to the radiators from the fans, and they can be placed on either side of the radiator units to take advantage of the asymmetrical design.
There's no mistaking Noctua's color scheme for their fans, and they always have innovative blade designs to improve airflow, reduce noise, or both. While the vast majority of dual fan coolers on the market come with (or recommend) two identical fans, this NH-D14 has two fans that are quit different from each other. A quick look at the spec sheet reveals that the airflow and RPM numbers, while pretty close in most cases, are not identical, either. One has to assume that Noctua engineers know what they are doing here, but this is definitely unusual.