[section_title title=”Closer Look”] Having a closer look at the coolers, I have shown both cooler side by side so you can see the difference in size, this is due to one having 120mm and the other 140mm fan mountings. On the left we have the NH-12s and on the right we have the NH-14s. As you can see, Noctua have kept with their usual beige style fan colour, which you either love or you hate it. I personally would love to see a black version but who knows what the future will hold.
Due to the installation method being the same on both coolers, I have illustrated the NH-14s in this instance but rest assured both install the exact same way. Starting with the first part of the installation, we have the back plate which goes on the back of the board, with the already affixed screws which pop through the mounting holes (LGA 1150 in this case). The next step involves putting the spacers on the screws. After that the 2 bars go on the mounting screws as illustrated below. Now for the trusty application of the Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste which again, comes supplied with the cooler. The main part of cooling tower is very easy to install, which is always a good thing in my opinion. The tower is installed via the 2 screws which are present on the bars which were illustrated earlier in the installation process. The 2 nuts are aligned and then screwed on. There is a screw driver tool included which is a great compliment to an already great mounting kit. Noctua really have gone all out here. Once the bolts are tight (never over tighten as this can cause damage), it’s time for the final stage. Re-attaching the fan is easy; it clips on into the coolers grooves which are easy to pick out. To demonstrate memory clearance, I have pictured the cooler at an angle which depicts this. As you can see unless you have low profile memory in the closest slot to the CPU, you’re going to have a bad time installing the fan. For 2 modules, installation won’t be a problem; there is a little more clearance on the NH-12s but not enough for anything more than low profile once again. Here is the cooler installed onto my ASRock Extreme3 and ready for testing.
CPU – Intel i7 4770k Motherboard – ASRock Z87 Extreme3 Memory – Patriot Viper3 8GB (2400MHz CAS10) 2x4GB Graphics – HD 4600 325/1200MHz Cooler – Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme Storage – Western Digital 320GB Caviar Blue (7200RPM 8MB Cache)
To test the capability of the coolers, our testing methodology is simple. We measure the temp after 10 minutes on idle, both at 3.9GHz which our samples stock turbo boost speed and with an overclock of 4.5GHz. To test the loaded temperatures I use prime95 and its torture test for 10 minutes and record the max temperature given. Any time a cooler hits 100c on any test, it is automatically classed as a fail, simply due to the extreme temperatures which isn’t good for 24/7 systems.
Noise levels are tested with a decibel meter and the readings of the noise levels are taken when the coolers are in idle and loaded states. The background noise during testing is very minimal and not enough to disrupt the readings given.