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It’s clear from the moment you receive the vast box that Noctua means business with its NH-D14 cooler. The heat sink is comfortably the largest we have tested and the cooler comes with two fans as standard. A massive 140mm fan is sandwiched between two large banks of cooling fins and a second 120mm fan is mounted to the front of the fan for good measure. This push-pull dual fan configuration often provides better performance, so we can understand the Austrian manufacturer’s decision to go for it.
Noctua has improved its mounting method compared to previous efforts, and although still trickier than the easiest coolers to mount we were still ready to begin testing within 7 minutes. First of all a backing plate needs to be fitted with four bolts, the position of which varies depending on the kind of Intel socket you are using. After threading these bolts through the motherboard mounting holes you then slide on four plastic collars and attach two curved mounting bars using thumb screws. The main heat sink assembly is then screwed onto these mounting bars –a process made significantly simpler by Noctua’s inclusion of a long-handle Philips screwdriver. The D14 ships in two versions - one for mainstream AMD and Intel sockets (1366, 1156, 1155, AM3) and one for Socket 2011 Sandy Bridge E setups.
Despite being a truly massive cooler the NH-D14 fitted onto our Sabertooth P67 motherboard with room to spare. The height of the cooler above the memory slots was also such that we could still use all four memory slots with heat-spreader equipped memory modules, though the very tallest (like Corsair’s Vengeance series) will still likely need a little modification before being fitted. For motherboards with more room around the socket you should have no problems.
Unusually, Noctua does not include a PWM-enabled fan with its flagship cooler; both of the two fans instead come with normal three pin tails. Users prioritising performance rather than noise will want to fit the Noctua’s fans directly to the motherboard, but those preferring a quieter life will want to use the included resistors. Two are provided (one for each fan) and they are colour coded so that you know which resistor is correct for its respective fan.