August 28, 2015

REVIEW: Noctua NH-C14S

Not all cases are large enough to fit a NH-D15 cooler, this is where Noctua's NH-C14 cooler comes in. The fin stack is rotated 90 degrees to reduce it's height without affecting performance too much compared to other single stack tower design coolers. The extra "s" at the end of the NH-C14S indicates that this model has an asymmetrical design to improve compatibility due to the fin stacks blocking the top most expansion slot on some motherboards. The fin are shifted slightly more to one side to allow clearance for the expansion slot.

Noctua has made many exceptional coolers and this is no exception. Thanks to it's fans and fin stack facing downwards, the cooler also provides cooling to the VRM components around the cpu.


The cooler comes in the same typical Noctua packing with key features and specifications listed on the box. On the side you find a 2D model of the cooler as well as the scope of delivery. The heatsink is well packaged and will withstand any complications it may face during shipping, such as the deliveryman throwing it over your fence.

Inside is the accessory box which includes everything you need to get started as well as the cooler itself, protected in it's eco friendly packaging. The accessory box includes Noctua's SecuriFirm2 mounting system for both Intel 115x/2011x and AMD systems, a low noise adapter, a metal Noctua badge, a tube of Noctua's NT-H1 thermal interface material, a screw driver, and illustrated instruction manuals.

The Cooler

Looking at the cooler from the front you can see the asymmetrical design which allows more space for the top most expansion slot on certain motherboards. The included 140mm fan can be mounted on both the top or the bottom, with the option of adding an additional fan with the included extra fan mounting clips. The cooler measures 115x140x163mm with the fan installed on the bottom.

The fin stacks have two holes to assist in mounting the heatsink by allowing a screwdriver (which is included with the heatsink) to pass through to allow easy access to the two pre-sprung mounting screws. The heatsink provides a lot of clearance for ram with super tall heat spreaders, and even more with the fan mounted on top of the fin stack.

The nickel plated copper base has 7 heatpipes the come out of it from only one side. The base is extremely flat which helps with heat dissipation.


The SecuFirm2 system makes installation very simple. For Intel systems, simply align the extremely thick backplate with the three holes on the back of the socket and it should smoothly slide into the motherboard. for Socket LGA 2011, simple screw in the included risers into the built in backplate on the motherboard. Once the backplate is installed, flip the motherboard over and place the black risers onto the screws jutting out and screw in the top brackets with the curves facing away from the centre. All that's left is to screw it all down with the four thumb screws and you're left with an extremely secure platform to mount the heatsink onto. With the SecuFirm2's extremely thick backplate, there will be little-to-no flex on the motherboard when the cooler is installed.

You will need to remove the fans to install the heat sink onto the brackets, but Noctua makes that easy with their tool less clips. Use the included screwdriver, or your own, to screw the two screws on the cooler to the brackets. The included screwdriver clears the top of the heat sink nicely and gives you a nifty tool to throw into your tool bag if you ever need it. The black springs ensure that the correct pressure is placed onto the CPU, so just simply keep screwing it in until it stops.


Test Configuration:

Motherboard : MSI Z77A-UD65

CPU: Intel Core i7 3770K (OC @ 4.6GHz)

Memory: Intel Extreme Masters 2x4GB 1866MHz

GPU: Gigabyte Radeon HD 6950 2GB

PSU: Corsair CX600

Software: Intel Burn Test v2.53, CPU-Z Version 1.60, RealTemp 3.60

*Temperatures were measured using RealTemp with an ambient room temperature of 27 degrees Celcius and the system was left to idle or run on full load for 10 min before temperatures were taken.

** Noctua's ND-H1 thermal paste was used for all testing

Even with one less fin stack, the NH-C14S is quite comparable with the much larger NH-D15


Despite it's size, the NH-C14S performs as well as it's bigger brothers. There are fewer compatibility issues with both ram and motherboard expansion slots on motherboards. Even with the fan on the lowest position, I had difficulties finding ram that wouldn't fit, and that includes DDR2 from when everyone wanted the biggest heat spreader.

The cooler comes in at a reasonable $74.90USD which is a bargain for the performance it provides as well as how easy it is to set up thanks to both it's design and included accessories. Noctua is the only company I know of that includes a screwdriver to help you set up your cpu cooler. With that price, you are also backed by Noctua's eight year warranty and mounting hardware for future sockets as they are released. It's hard to find something bad to say about Noctua coolers so if you are in the market for a small form factor, high performance cooler with a price that wont break the bank, look no further than the Noctua NH-C14S.

Rating 10/10

Martin Tam is an editor and the Director of Video Production at [blank]’s Universe. He is also a technology enthusiast that particularly enjoys computers and photography. He enjoys breaking things and sleeping in his spare time.