Getting Real: The Noctua NH-U14S & NH-U14S TR4-SP3

In order to translate high-level concepts into real world numbers, we need to take a look at actual Threadripper processors and coolers. To that end, Noctua courteously volunteered to help us prove our theory by shipping us one of their most popular coolers, the NH-U14S, along with a socket AM4 adapter. We've previously taken a look at the NH-U14S, and it was one of the best performing tower coolers we've reviewed, so we know from experience that this model cooler is already ahead of the pack in terms of cooling capabilities.

Despite that pedigree, Noctua is one of the very few companies that advise against mounting their older cooler designs on SP3/TR4 processors. For users that wish to move to a Threadripper platform, Noctua’s engineers have designed TR4-specific coolers. For those building new TR4 systems, Noctua developed the NH-U14S TR4-SP3. Still, mounting the original NH-U14S on a Threadripper processor using the AM4 socket braces is a frequently discussed and easy mod, as is with all AM4-compatible coolers. Note that Noctua's AM4 adapter does not make the NH-UxS coolers TR4-compatible out of the box!

The NH-U14S and the NH-U14S TR4-SP3 initially look as if they are the same cooler. The two coolers share the same 52 mm deep and 150 mm wide fin array, as well as the same six heat pipes. Each heat pipe expands to either side of the cooler, forming twelve evenly distributed thermal energy transfer lanes from the base of the cooler to fin array. Noctua nickel-plated the copper heat pipes to prevent them from corrosion.

 

The difference between the NH-U14S and the NH-U14S TR4-SP3 practically is only the base of the cooler. Both coolers have a nickel-plated copper base but the contact area of the NH-U14S TR4-SP3 is much greater than that of the original design. The larger base adds a little bit of weight and mass, but it would not be nearly enough to make a significant difference in the performance of the cooler if both could cover the processor's surface. As such, these two coolers are perfect for us to research just how important having a cooler that makes full contact with the processor’s lid is.

Modding the AM4 kit to fit on the TR4 cooler requires only 10 mm brackets (or just wide T-nuts and a handful of screws), which can be easily found in hardware shops, be 3D printed, or be made with a Dremel and a little bit of patience. In our case, since we already had the NH-U14S TR4-SP3 whose braces fit the size of the NH-U14S like a glove, we simply removed them from the TR4-SP3 and used them to fix the NH-U14S onto the TR4 socket.


Noctua NH-U14S mounted using the braces of NH-U14S TR4-SP3

AMD Threadripper Processors & Cooler Compatibility Testing & Results
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  • iter - Friday, March 16, 2018 - link

    Oh you are sorry for me, are you? Well that sure makes you better LOL. My life rocks because there are no spineless, fake people in it. Being a true human is a deterrent for folk like you, and that is a great thing I wouldn't change for the world, as people like you are mediocre, utterly boring and of no value whatsoever, and only fit in one place - circle jerks of similar individuals. So better save your sorry for your own sorry self. Now go find another mindless drone like you to pat eachother on the backs to create the illusion of self-worth you so desperately need. Maybe talk about gender self-identification and whatnot... Reply
  • Jedi2155 - Friday, March 16, 2018 - link

    While you my have no fake people in your life I'm going to go out on a limb and say your circle of trusted individuals is quite small. It seems you may be limiting yourself on what you're willing to understand and respect on the basis of feeling superior to others. Reply
  • bobcov - Friday, April 6, 2018 - link

    LostWander has a point which you have quite strongly validated through the wording of your post. His advice has merit. Reply
  • Arbie - Saturday, March 17, 2018 - link

    Iter, did you forget your WccfTech password? That's the right place to warp general commentary into a personal attack chain. Reply
  • linuxgeex - Monday, March 19, 2018 - link

    Agree. It's obvious to anyone that a CPU cooler only works when it's attached to the CPU. A cooler that is attached only to a portion of the CPU is intuitively only cooling the portion it is attached to.

    The article could have just said that. Instead they went so deep-dive on it that honestly it felt patronizing, and that's why I agree with your response. This article is completely over-written, one might even go so far as to characterize it as self-satisfied smart-ass rant... and don't get me wrong on that... some people actually enjoy participating in reading someone else's self-glorification, and have such small egos that they don't mind their time being wasted in the process, lol.

    As for the "hate" LostWander is speaking of, that was in s/he/it's own mind. LostWander accuses you of hate only because they don't hear the sarcasm you are directing at the Engineers who suggested building and marketing the adapter which this article reveals to be so ineffective. Those individuals deserve your wry comments because they were fully aware of the shizzle they were encouraging consumers to purchase.

    Instead, Lostwander is so defensive that s/he/it assumed that any negativity must be directed toward themself personally and so they jumped in to defend their ego by attacking you, and that is sad, especially given they believe they were delivering a message of acceptance.
    Reply
  • eek2121 - Thursday, March 22, 2018 - link

    I wouldn't say that. Prime95 small-ffts load gives me 45.5C on my Enermax TR4 AIO. That's more than 'marginal'. Furthermore, if you overclock to 4.1 GHz, it is likely you'll find the Noctua unable to keep the CPU temp below 68C. My Enermax has no problems doing so. Reply
  • romrunning - Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - link

    "AMD’s Threadripper processors certainly do not require liquid coolers to function properly at stock"

    Can we add the performance of a liquid cooler to the charts to see how the air TR-4 cooler performs against it?
    Reply
  • eek2121 - Thursday, March 22, 2018 - link

    I can tell you significantly better then that noctua. Reply
  • mrpiggy - Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - link

    'Cus it's all about that base, 'bout that base, no treble.. Reply
  • SaolDan - Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - link

    Chuckle Reply

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