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Noctua NH-D14 CPU Cooler Review

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Cobalt 5th January 2010, 10:49 Quote
So the poor performance on the AMD system actually said nothing about its performance on AMD systems. Nice one BT.
xaser04 5th January 2010, 11:21 Quote
Seems to cool well, although it should do at that price!
Horizon 5th January 2010, 11:24 Quote
At that price point it would have made sense to include the Corsair H50 in the charts.
mrb_no1 5th January 2010, 11:25 Quote
i wonder how much more thermal performance they can squeeze out of air cooling, are we not close to the edge of its capabilities....and so we move to watercooling.
Abhorsen 5th January 2010, 11:36 Quote
On the last graph for some reason you highlighted the Titan Xmas edition instead of the Noctua?
LeMaltor 5th January 2010, 11:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobalt
So the poor performance on the AMD system actually said nothing about its performance on AMD systems. Nice one BT.

Indeed, exhaust fans anyone?
docodine 5th January 2010, 11:45 Quote
Why aren't you using open test benches instead of normal PC cases? Surely you'll get more standardized results.
mrb_no1 5th January 2010, 11:54 Quote
docodine - i think they do it as it gives more real world results. Its easier for people to relate to the case that it is in rather than an open test bench which can completely destroy any relevance the results might have to a normal user comparing situations. As such this allows people to make informed decisions. You could also argue that when they overclock a new cpu, why not use ln2 cooling as they can surely achieve a greater overclock from chip, true! but less than 0.1 of the users on here will probably ever try it, and based on that idea i think most of have our electronics inside of a case.

plus, from a scientific point of view, if they use same case in all heatsink tests, its a constant and therefore isnt a problem.
Baz 5th January 2010, 11:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeMaltor
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobalt
So the poor performance on the AMD system actually said nothing about its performance on AMD systems. Nice one BT.

Indeed, exhaust fans anyone?

The system has two exhaust fans in the roof of the case. All the other AMD coolers were tested in the same case with the same cooling layout and performed notably better, so there's obviously a flaw with the NH-D14 here to some degree. We're not going to retest all the other coolers just because the NH-D14 wasn't up to snuff - the whole point of having a set testing rig is that results are directly comparable. Stick a 120mm Delta fan behind this cooler and I'm sure you'd see a few degrees come of the AM2 temps, but it'd kind of miss the low noise point.

Also, fixed the AM2 graph on page three.
SchizoFrog 5th January 2010, 12:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrb_no1
i wonder how much more thermal performance they can squeeze out of air cooling, are we not close to the edge of its capabilities....and so we move to watercooling.

People were saying the same thing 5 or 6 years ago and I am sure even further before that... then they came up with heat pipes and air cooling got a new lease of life with icons such as the Artic cooling Freezer Pro 7 and now the Titan Fenrir. As CPU manufacturers are always trying to keep their processors within certain temp thresholds air cooling will never be killed off, in my opinion anyway. I mean just look at the temps that CPUs run at now (at stock, not fair to compare overclocked examples) compared to the infamous temps of the P4 series. Then there is future developments such as Vapour Chambers as used on some ATi GPUs and other things that I am sure the cooling manufacturers are working on that we don't know about yet.
SchizoFrog 5th January 2010, 12:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baz
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeMaltor
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobalt
So the poor performance on the AMD system actually said nothing about its performance on AMD systems. Nice one BT.

Indeed, exhaust fans anyone?

The system has two exhaust fans in the roof of the case. All the other AMD coolers were tested in the same case with the same cooling layout and performed notably better, so there's obviously a flaw with the NH-D14 here to some degree. We're not going to retest all the other coolers just because the NH-D14 wasn't up to snuff - the whole point of having a set testing rig is that results are directly comparable. Stick a 120mm Delta fan behind this cooler and I'm sure you'd see a few degrees come of the AM2 temps, but it'd kind of miss the low noise point.

Also, fixed the AM2 graph on page three.

It does seem a bit strange though to use a test rig that has a different layout from that of most people's machines, with no rear exhaust. A bad idea is always a bad idea, no matter how long you run with it and force the issue.
mclean007 5th January 2010, 13:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
It does seem a bit strange though to use a test rig that has a different layout from that of most people's machines, with no rear exhaust. A bad idea is always a bad idea, no matter how long you run with it and force the issue.
I'm going to stand up for Team BT here and say that my interpretation of the testing procedures is that they aim to test hardware in as wide a range of scenarios as possible within time constraints. In an ideal world, a HSF would be tested on every platform in every case, with every set of components, but clearly that is impossible. So BT does the next best thing and picks a few combinations of hardware to test, the hope being to highlight any incompatibilities and/or deficiencies. There is nothing wrong with that, so long as each HSF is tested in the same combinations of hardware as its peers (which BT does), so we can get a fair comparison.

Testing on an AMD rig with only top exhausts allows us to see how the HSF performs in terms of ease of installation on AMD boards, ease of installation in cases with top vents, and performance on a system with both those features. What the test highlighted was that this particular HSF can only be installed in one orientation in an AMD rig, and this caused problems for a case with only top exhaust vents. That is a perfectly valid conclusion. They aren't saying don't get this for an AMD board, just to be aware that installation flexibility is limited on current AMD platforms and that this might cause problems with some people's setups. Given the HSF made adequate contact with the AMD heatspreader, we can infer that the inferior performance on AMD was an airflow issue caused by the combination of limited mounting options and lack of rear exhausts, and, in the absence of the airflow issue highlighted, it would perform in line with its Intel performance, i.e. within a degree or two of the Titan Fenrir.

I guess in conclusion what I am saying is, if you skim BT's reviews and only read the performance graphs and conclusion, you are likely to be misled. Read in full, and you will get the full picture. IMHO there is nothing wrong with this review or with the HSF testing procedure.
pullmyfoot 5th January 2010, 15:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobalt
So the poor performance on the AMD system actually said nothing about its performance on AMD systems. Nice one BT.

yeah I was like WTH. they should have done one with a proper setup instead of leave it at that.
xaser04 5th January 2010, 16:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
It does seem a bit strange though to use a test rig that has a different layout from that of most people's machines, with no rear exhaust. A bad idea is always a bad idea, no matter how long you run with it and force the issue.
I'm going to stand up for Team BT here and say that my interpretation of the testing procedures is that they aim to test hardware in as wide a range of scenarios as possible within time constraints. In an ideal world, a HSF would be tested on every platform in every case, with every set of components, but clearly that is impossible. So BT does the next best thing and picks a few combinations of hardware to test, the hope being to highlight any incompatibilities and/or deficiencies. There is nothing wrong with that, so long as each HSF is tested in the same combinations of hardware as its peers (which BT does), so we can get a fair comparison.

Testing on an AMD rig with only top exhausts allows us to see how the HSF performs in terms of ease of installation on AMD boards, ease of installation in cases with top vents, and performance on a system with both those features. What the test highlighted was that this particular HSF can only be installed in one orientation in an AMD rig, and this caused problems for a case with only top exhaust vents. That is a perfectly valid conclusion. They aren't saying don't get this for an AMD board, just to be aware that installation flexibility is limited on current AMD platforms and that this might cause problems with some people's setups. Given the HSF made adequate contact with the AMD heatspreader, we can infer that the inferior performance on AMD was an airflow issue caused by the combination of limited mounting options and lack of rear exhausts, and, in the absence of the airflow issue highlighted, it would perform in line with its Intel performance, i.e. within a degree or two of the Titan Fenrir.

I guess in conclusion what I am saying is, if you skim BT's reviews and only read the performance graphs and conclusion, you are likely to be misled. Read in full, and you will get the full picture. IMHO there is nothing wrong with this review or with the HSF testing procedure.


Whilst I agree with much of your post, I think SchizoFrog's point was that most of us have cases that have a rear exhaust. Testing in a case without one (fitted in this case) seems a little odd. I may be wrong here but he wasn't questioning why multiple test setups weren't used, merely why a rear exhaust has not been used in these sort of reviews since the get go.
trig 5th January 2010, 16:59 Quote
i've never really agreed with bit's testing procedures on these things. open test benches is the only way to give truly accurate/un-biased results. you can point out that a fan can only mount with the air exhaust in one direction, and people can then make an informed buying decision. additionally, and i think it's kinda funny that bt omits this piece of information now, but they tend to use the thermal paste that comes with the kit. now, i can see a point to doing that, but since most enthusiasts will use their tim of choice (as5, etc) then i think it would be better if they tested all on one particular tim. but that's just me...
supermonkey 5th January 2010, 17:07 Quote
I was curious about the AMD system's results, as well. You mentioned that the Noctua cooler's design prevents it from being rotated to blow the hot air out the top of the case.

This is definitely an important thing to mention for anyone running an AMD system with a similar case style. In that respect I'm glad you mentioned it, because not only is the information useful, it also helps to explain the results.

To get a more comparative test, would it have been appropriate to rotate the other AMD system coolers to also blow hot air horizontally, instead of vertically (since you couldn't rotate the Noctua cooler). Would that have allowed all the coolers on the AMD system to perform on a more equal platform?

EDIT: To add to that, I infer from the article that the AMD system is tested with a different case. Won't this skew the results somewhat? It doesn't truly show how a cooler fares with AMD vs Intel - we've seen through other tests that case design can play an important role in system cooling.
TSR2 5th January 2010, 17:27 Quote
However, surely it would have been more sensible to design the Nocuta to be able to exhaust towards the roof of the case on an AMD system, even at the expense of horizontal, given that there is often some form of exhaust there (and it is becoming more fashionable to have one as it is seen as improving performance owing to convection)? At least BT put in a note to explain.
Pookeyhead 5th January 2010, 17:28 Quote
So it's massive, costs £70, and isn't really much better than the Fenrir or TRUE.

Fab!... I'll take ten of them please :)


These coolers are getting stupid. The strain on the mobo must be huge. I notice mine flex a little with a TRUE on it, but this monster? No thanks.

Seriously... if you're into spending £70+... just work a little harder for a little longer and water cool the damned thing :)

If you need anything beyond what a TRUE or Fenrir can deliver, then you probably should be water cooling anyway.
HandMadeAndroid 5th January 2010, 17:38 Quote
for that kind of cash you could have a closed loop water cooling unit from corsair...just a thought

http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/Components/Cooling/Watercooling/Corsair/C-CWCH50-1.html
Horizon 5th January 2010, 17:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HandMadeAndroid
for that kind of cash you could have a closed loop water cooling unit from corsair...just a thought

http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/Components/Cooling/Watercooling/Corsair/C-CWCH50-1.html

was my post invisible?
smc8788 5th January 2010, 17:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by trig
open test benches is the only way to give truly accurate/un-biased results.

Maybe, but they're also not real-world tests. How many people do you know who run their systems outside of a case? Consistency is most important above all else, but I agree the case does add in another variable (although there enough variables as it is).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookeyhead
So it's massive, costs £70, and isn't really much better than the Fenrir or TRUE.

...

It's perhaps worth considering the cost of Noctua coolers isn't so much due to the cost of the heatsink itself, but the fans they comes with. In this case, it includes 2 fans which alone come to £35 if you were to buy them separately, or half the total cost.

It's just a shame the included fans don't appear to be up to the job, and for £70 I would expect a well designed HDT heatsink.
mrbens 5th January 2010, 18:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookeyhead
So it's massive, costs £70, and isn't really much better than the Fenrir or TRUE.

Fab!... I'll take ten of them please :)

Exactly! A bit pricey!

I'm suprised there's barely any difference between the fans at full and low speeds, makes me wonder why most fans want to spin fast as default unless you use a fan controlling method.

Bit-tech did you take any pics of the cooler actually installed? It'd be nice to show people the kind of space this thing takes up.

I love my watercooling setup but it did cost about 5x the price of this cooler but it keeps my pc chilly and near silent and my 4870X2 is in the loop too so I could get rid of the NOISY fan on that! (and it looks beautiful in subtle glowing uv blue) :) only problem now is my heating bill has gone up (and my living room, where the pc is, still isn't as hot) as my previous PC was like an extra radiator in the room pumping out hot air!

EDIT: thanks for the interesting article BTW, I think bit-tech needs some love at the moment lol, don't listen to all the moaners!
trig 5th January 2010, 18:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by smc8788
Maybe, but they're also not real-world tests. How many people do you know who run their systems outside of a case? Consistency is most important above all else, but I agree the case does add in another variable (although there enough variables as it is).

i hear ya, but how many people own the cases they are using? not really a real-world scenario there either. sure, most people have a case, but not the ones they are using. open test benches removes that variable, but as you say there are others...

open test benches, standard tim...removes a couple big variables
tk421 5th January 2010, 19:23 Quote
re-donk-u-lous.

i'll stick with my $20 CM TX3. it doesn't make slushies, but i havent blowed anything up yet.
CampGareth 5th January 2010, 19:35 Quote
I second pretty much everything pointing out the poor case choice, surely the general public are more likely to have a lower grade case such as an Antec 300 or 900. These cases will skew the results somewhat but I do agree that bench testing isn't going to give accurate real world results.

If you argue that the Cosmos is an enthusiast grade case I'd have to ask you to reconsider and on that train of thought, guess which case I have. No, not one of those. A what now? Ah well, let me stop you there as it's uncommon but quite brilliant:

An Acme ACM826, it's a 6U rackmount case with a removable motherboard tray, dual PSUs and 2 rows of 4x80mm fans. It was free.

Enthusiasts either tend to be rich and buy the very best they can brand new, or they just take advantage of what they can find and my guess is that most are in that latter category in which case they wont have a Cosmos or anything of the sort. The only conclusion to be drawn there is that the case argument is pointless and for those of you who bothered to read this, "you read it! you cant un-read it!"
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