Compatibility and Installation Tips
There is no need to compromise if you decide to go for Noctua NH-D14, because it comes with everything necessary for installing this cooler onto any contemporary platform. In all cases the cooler needs to be installed through the mainboard PCB, but for AMD Socket AM2(+)/AM3 you will use the default backplate, so there will be no need to remove the mainboard from the system case. However, if you want to install Noctua NH-D14 onto an LGA 775/1156/1366 platform, the mainboard must be taken out, because you need to attach a universal backplate for these processor sockets first:
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the hexagonal top of the closest spindle has been installed incorrectly on purpose in order to demonstrate the way you shouldn’t fasten the backplate. The top must be locked between the backplate edges, because only in this case it will latch during cooler installation and will ensure secure hold. The photo on the right shows plastic spindles with attached steel retention plates tightened with large cross screw-nuts. The cooler is installed the same way onto mainboards for AMD CPUs, you only use different retention plates.
Once you have attached the retention to the mainboard, degreased the processor heat-spreader and cooler base surfaces and applied a minimal layer of thermal paste, you can proceed to heatsink installation. You should start with a heatsink alone, the fans need to be removed:
To avoid skewing, you should tighten the screws gradually, one-two turns per screw. Once the heatsink has been installed, the distance from the mainboard PCB to the lowest heatsink plate was 50 mm:
Therefore, it is quite possible that Noctua NH-D14 will be compatible with some memory modules featuring tall heat-spreaders. Here I would also like to add that the 140 mm fan installed between the heatsink arrays should be pushed all the way to the bottom. In this case its airflow will also cool down the voltage regulator components around the processor socket:
In conclusion I would like to show you what Noctua NH-D14 looks like inside the system case:
There is no mention about the preferable positioning of the cooler neither in the installation instructions booklet, nor in the FAQ on the official company web-site. Looks like Noctua trusts the user to make the choice depending on his or her specific platform and system case.