Noctua NH-U14S Slim 140mm Tower Cooler

Cooling
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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Noctua NH-U14S is an excellent performer overall but when you also take into account its size, it's fairly impressive. That such a thin, single fan, single tower heatsink can rub shoulders with bigger, heavier, premium coolers is delightfully surprising. Perhaps more amazing is that Noctua continues to crank out successful coolers one after another with nary a misstep. The NH-U14S is just another in a long line of solidly built, easy to install, and highly competent heatsinks.

Noctua made sure to maximize the NH-U14S' compatibility with regard to memory interference but its 165 mm height makes it less than perfect. It may be a bit tall for some of the slimmer tower cases on the market. Our other complaint is the fan, but only because of the standard Noctua set for itself with the NF-P14. The NF-A15 PWM is not quite as smooth with an odd flutter at medium speeds, but it's still better than what most manufacturer's are offering.

The only really big issue with the NH-U14S has nothing to do with the cooler itself but with the hefty price-tag. Considering the amount of materials that go into producing this thin cooler, the US$75 street price is substantial. At some retailers, you can find the larger dual fan Noctua NH-D14 for a bit less. It's nice that the NH-U14S is slim and avoids memory interference problems but the off-center design of the Thermalright HR-02 and Scythe Ashura accomplishes something similar, and they, along with the Scythe Mugen 4 and a few others, offer better value overall.

Our thanks to Noctua for the NH-U14S CPU cooler sample.


Noctua NH-U14S is Recommended by SPCR

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Scythe Ashura CPU Cooler
SilverStone Tundra TD03 Liquid CPU Cooler
Scythe Mugen 4 CPU Cooler: Scythe Strikes Back
SilverStone Argon AR02 CPU Cooler
NoFan CR-95C Copper Fanless CPU Cooler
Noctua NH-U12S Slim Tower Heatsink

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Discuss this article in the SPCR forums.



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