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Noctua NH-C14 CPU Cooler Review

The installation of the NH-C14 is not difficult, yet the size of the cooler and complexity of the installation warrant that a significant amount of time will be necessary. Especially due to an installation step described below, we strongly suggest that you remove the motherboard from the case prior to proceeding with the installation of the cooler. The socket 1155 installation is demonstrated in this review.

AMD users will have to use the stock backplate but Intel users need to use the supplied backplate in order to secure the retention braces on their motherboards. The figure above displays the supplied Intel CPU backplate inserted from the back of a motherboard.

After the retention braces are well secured on the motherboard (make sure they are facing outwards), a thin layer of thermal grease needs to be applied on the CPU.

With the braces attached and the grease applied, the user only needs to place the cooler onto the CPU and firmly secure it in place by using the supplied screwdriver. The supplied screwdriver can fit between the fins of a fan, therefore the removal of both fans is not required. Finally, the fans will have to be clipped back on the cooler.

Despite its much lower profile design, the NH-C14 still is a cooler of massive proportions and problems could arise in certain situations. For example, as you can see from the figure above, the cooler will block the top expansion slots of a motherboard if installed facing downwards, which could be a major problem, especially for systems without integrated graphics. This can be remedied by simply changing the orientation of the cooler, which would then float above the RAM slots and the removal of the bottom fan would become necessary. Thus, the lower height alone does not warrant that the NH-C14 will fit inside any system; we strongly recommend reading Noctua's compatibility lists and ensure that your chassis offers enough clearance prior to making a purchase.

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