Articles: Cooling

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Design and Functionality

Well, this is a typical top-cooler, which differs from all other same-type models by two cooling fans, which are attached to the top and bottom of the heatsink and work for air intake and exhaust:


Note that these fans are not some 92 mm or 120 mm big, but measure 140x140x25 mm, which is becoming the most popular fan size for CPU coolers.

With two fans attached to it the cooler dimensions are 166x140x130 mm:

It weighs 1000 g with both fans on it and 850 g with only one fan. The heatsink itself weighs 700 g.

Let’s take a closer look at the heatsink:


In fact, it is designed in a classical way for a top-cooler. There are six heatpipes, 6 mm in diameter, coming out of the copper base in the same direction. The heatpipes hold a fin array of 68 aluminum 0.4 mm thick plates. The plates are spaced out at 1.65 mm from one another. It gives us the total calculated effective heatsink surface of 7,130 cm2, which is way less than what the leading tower coolers have to offer these days.


The heatpipes pierce heatsink fins at the same level, but not evenly. As you can see from the photo above, the side heatpipes are spread out far apart, while the most heavily loaded central heatpipes are grouped in pairs, for some reason. It is pretty strange, as we would assume these particular heatpipes would need to be as far apart from each other as possible, in order to ensure that we get more effective heat transfer and that the heatsink plates get heated evenly. But for some reason, this hasn’t been done. Here I have to add that the entire NH-C14 heatsink is nickel-plated.

For added robustness, there is a steel rod coming out of the cooler base that partially holds the heatsink:


Note that this rod is half-wrapped in silicone. I assume this is done to eliminate vibrations between the rod and the heatsink when both cooling fans are working.

The heatpipes are soldered to the heatsink fins, as you can see by small traces of soldering solution in contact spots:

Our particular Noctua NH-C14 sample can’t boast an ideally even base surface. However, it is still better than the base plate of Thermalright coolers:


The original heat-spreader of our LGA1366 processor left a satisfactory thermal paste imprint on the cooler base:

The heatsink base measures 40x38 mm. The contact surface is finished in such a way that you can not only see, but also feel the machine marks to the touch. However, it is not one of Noctua’s omissions, but a special feature. According to Austrian engineers, when you use thick thermal interfaces, like their own in-house Noctua NT-H1, this base surface will provide maximum efficiency during heat exchange by eliminating all pockets of air that may get caught between the two contacting surfaces.

As you may have already seen above, Noctua NH-C14 cooler comes bundled with two 140-mm nine-blade Noctua NF-P14 fans.

We have already reviewed these fans in our 140 mm Fan Roundup. They showed pretty mediocre performance although they are not that cheap (about $20 a piece). Therefore, we will not dwell on them in this article: you can always check out the corresponding part of our recent roundup for more details.

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