Noctua NH-U14S 

Starting things off, we have the Noctua NH-U14S. Noctua supplies the NH-U14S inside a large, sturdy cardboard box. The artwork on the box is austere, limited to providing useful information about the cooler itself.

Inside the box everything is individually packed into separate cardboard boxes. Alongside with the mounting hardware, Noctua is also offering a basic screwdriver for the installation of the cooler, a fan speed reducer, a metallic case badge and a syringe with NT-H1 thermal compound.

Noctua offers a very large selection of CPU coolers, with at least one product per cooler type. The NH-U14S is their version of a single tower cooler that makes use of a 140 mm fan and, according to Noctua, it has been designed so as to offer the best possible overall performance while staying clear of the LGA2011/LGA2066 RAM slots. It also is slightly taller than the other coolers of this review, even if only by 4-5 mm (0.15”-0.2”).

The company characterizes the NH-U14S as a “slim” cooler, but the dense fin array is 52 mm deep and 150 mm wide, providing more than ample heat dissipation surface. In theory, the cooler should be able to handle thermal loads well above 200 Watts. The top fin of the array is not thicker but has the company’s logo and name engraved on it.

The NH-U14S makes use of six thick heatpipes to transfer the heat from the base of the cooler to its fin array. Each heatpipe expands to either side of the fin array and the designers had each heatpipe expanding at a different distance from the center of the fin array, resulting to twelve evenly distributed thermal energy transfer lanes from the base of the cooler to fin array. The heatpipes are made of copper but are nickel plated. The joints are all soldered, ensuring maximum thermal transfer and mechanical cohesion.

Only the bottom part of the cooler’s base that makes contact with the processor is made out of copper. The top half of the base is made out of aluminum and the mounting bracket is nickel-plated steel. As only the bottom part actually contributes on the transfer of the thermal energy from the CPU to the heatpipes, this is a very reasonable design for the reduction of a cooler’s weight and overall cost. A full copper base would substantially increase the weight of the design without offering any advantage.

The copper base of the NH-U14S has also been nickel plated and is very smooth, yet not machined down to a perfect mirror finish. It appears to be easy to clean and difficult to soil. Noctua generally does not polish the bases of their coolers as it makes no apparent difference on performance, so they opt to not raise the cost of their products even higher for something that would not make an actual difference. 

Introduction Phanteks PH-TC14S
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  • Lolimaster - Thursday, May 25, 2017 - link

    The efficieny and temps of Ryzen are so nice that you don't need AIO or big tower coolers, most of the time the stock cooler is more than enough, and it's silent :D

    I think the best cooler for Ryzen is the Coolermaster Hyper 212X, everything else is basically overkill.
    Reply
  • Lolimaster - Thursday, May 25, 2017 - link

    This will probably be nice for Ryzen 9 monsters. Reply
  • CheapSushi - Thursday, May 25, 2017 - link

    I wish there was also a passive test. So we can actually see how that heatsinks on their own performance to gauge the efficiency and quality of the designs themselves. The fans add another variable. Maybe even have a case fan for some airflow. I'd like to see how the heatsink itself does because there can be situations where maybe there is a superior heatsink design here but the company has a poor fan compared to another competitor. The competitors fan could just be superior, thus brute forcing the better temps. How would you really tell? There's no passive test. Reply
  • bug77 - Thursday, May 25, 2017 - link

    Hm, why doesn't the article list the weight of these coolers? When they're so large they tend to add quite some torque to the motherboard, so weight should be an important criterion when choosing between these. Reply
  • doyll - Thursday, May 25, 2017 - link

    Great testing! TRUE Spirit 140 Direct did exceptionally well for an economy cooler. Would be interesting to see how the TRUE Spirit 140 Power, Archon IB-E X2 and some of the other Thermalright coolers. The PH-TC14S definitely is not a great cooler. Reply
  • fanofanand - Thursday, May 25, 2017 - link

    The fact you threw in the Wraith cooler makes me sooooo happy! I was hemming and hawing between 1600 and 1600x with the free cooler thrown in being a nice boost for the 1600. Seeing that the better coolers show a pronounced improvement in most cases tells me that free cooler shouldn't be the decider. Reply
  • Peichen - Thursday, May 25, 2017 - link

    Thermalright is like Cooler Master, simple design that reduce cost but performs well. People that have been OCing for the last 20 years know Thermalright's design is usually test proven Reply
  • Leyawiin - Thursday, May 25, 2017 - link

    I own two of the original (smooth surface) Thermalright True Spirit 140. Its a very good cooler in many respects save for the fan mounting system. They have the most weak, fiddly wire fan mounts I've ever seen. Plus the rubber anti-vibration pads they were using back then simply won't stay on. I decided with later builds to use Noctua in subsequent builds and even though they're about a quarter to a third more expensive its worth it just for their great mounting system. Plus they regularly send me emails to remind me that all my coolers from them are eligible for free mounting hardware for new sockets. No other company that I know of does that. Reply
  • azrael- - Monday, May 29, 2017 - link

    I think that one important aspect of any cooler review should be the *weight* of the cooler.

    Considering that in most system configurations the motherboard is mounted vertically and coolers are hanging off the motherboard, you really don't want them to be too heavy. Even though the cooler may be securely attached to the motherboard the heavier it is the more stress it exerts on the motherboard. Preferably, I don't want mine to weigh much in excess of 500g.
    Reply
  • azrael- - Monday, May 29, 2017 - link

    I think that one important aspect of any cooler review should be the *weight* of the cooler.

    Considering that in most system configurations the motherboard is mounted vertically and coolers are hanging off the motherboard, you really don't want them to be too heavy. Even though the cooler may be securely attached to the motherboard the heavier it is the more stress it exerts on the motherboard. Preferably, I don't want mine to weigh much in excess of 500g.
    Reply

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