If you PC case’s height is not tall enough to fit a standard tower design CPU cooler, but you still want great cooling performance, the Noctua NH-C14S C-Type Cooler maybe something you should consider.
As usual, the packaging is rather standard like any other CPU coolers from Noctua. The model name, Noctua logo and the cooler’s main features are clearly printed on the cardboard box.
Moving to the sides, you can find a detailed specification list for both the heatsink and the included NF-A14 PWM cooling fan. There are also eight different languages all briefly explaining the NH-C14S cooler.
Opening the box, two packages containing the cooler itself and the accessories can be found. The cooler is neatly and securely protected by the cardboard, with a plastic lid covering the shiny CPU plate.
The NH-C14S cooler is compatible with either Intel or AMD CPUs. For Intel, the included SecuFirm2 Mounting Kit supports LGA 2011 and LGA 115x sockets. However, the AMD set only supports from AM2 to AM3+ and FM1 to FM2+ sockets. If you are the newer AM4 socket, you will need a NM-AM4 kit. You can obtain it for free from Noctua with a proof of purchase or you can purchase for $7.90 USD (MSRP). You also get three separate user manuals and a long screwdriver for installation.
Moreover, there is the NT-H1 thermal paste, an extra holding clips for additional cooling fan and a Low-Noise Adapter. A “Noctua” case badge is included.
Noctua NH-C14S CPU Cooler
The Noctua NH-C14S cooler is using C-type design, which means the CPU contact base plate, heatpipes and the heatsink are bent to form a C-shaped. In traditional vertical tower design, the more performance you need the taller the heatsink will be. This will become a problem for smaller mATX or mini-ITX cases. A C-type cooler have the heatsink positioned sideway, so height compatibility is improved.
The NH-C14S cooler has a total of six heatpipes that go straight through the aluminum heatsink’s fin stack and back to the contact base plate for heat transfer.
The NF-A14 PWM fan sits at the bottom of the heatsink by default, and you can add one more fan using the included holding clips. On top of the CPU base plate is a huge support bar to add some rigidity to the cooler’s shape.
Here you can see the six nicket-plated heatpipes align evenly through the base plate, and the support bar in the middle.
The CPU contact plate is also nickel-plated and is polished to a sort of a mirror-like finish, though it is not perfectly reflective.
The NF-A14 PWM fan is 140 mm wide, 25 mm thick and capable of spinning from 300 RPM to 1500 RPM. The four corners are covered with the anti-vibration rubbers to reduce noise when the fan is contacting with the cooler. It also has a mean time between failure (MTBF) of over 150,000 hours, which should be pretty reliable.
How well will the Noctua NH-C14S cooler perform in our testing?
To find out how the cooler performs, the benchmarks are done using AIDA64 to run a CPU stress test. CPU, FPU and system cache are stressed during the test. Ambient temperature is around 25°C.
Results will be taken at a silent (~550 RPM) and full speed (~1500 RPM) fan profile, controlled via the motherboard CPU fan header. Both the temperature of the CPU package and the hottest core will be recorded at idle and full load with both single fan and dual fan setup.
- CPU: Intel Core i5-8400 @ 2.9 GHz (65W TDP)
- Motherboard: ASRock Z370 Killer SLI
Impressively, the Noctua NH-C14S cooler performed really well with either single or dual fan configurations. At idle, the CPU package temperature stayed at around 32°C to 33°C. With the default single fan setup, the cooler managed to keep the temperature at about 61°C during load, which the fan spun at silent mode (~550 RPM). The temperature dropped 7°C when pushing the fan to its maximum at around 1500 RPM, which is a 11.5% improvement. After adding an extra 140 mm fan, the CPU package is 3°C degree lower in silent fan profile than using only one fan, at 58°C. The temperature further decreased to 53°C, if the fan ran in full speed.
We can see a similar picture with the hottest core graph. All configurations had the hottest CPU core sitting at 31°C at idle. The dual fan setup had a slight edge over a single fan, which averaged 1°C to 2°C lower temperatures when at load.
Compared with other coolers, the Noctua NH-C14S cannot outperform the larger dual-tower cooler as expected, like the NH-D15S (its review here). However, it is more than capable of keeping a non-overclockable CPU, such as the i5-8400 we used, at a comfortable mid to high-50s degrees. If you have a slightly overclocked CPU, you should be able to maintain the temperature under 70°C with the fan spinning at or near the max speed.
The Noctua NH-C14S cooler is a great performer with outstanding build quailty and compatibility. The C-Type design reduces the overall height of the cooler, making it to fit in smaller PC cases.
The included NF-A14 PWM cooling fan operates silently most of the time. It does get louder when pushing to higher speed, but it is only audible if the room is very quiet and you are sitting right next to the fan.
The NH-C14S cooler is backed by a 6-year warranty, like most other products from Noctua. It is priced at $74.90 USD (MSRP). With that price, you get a nicely-constructed cooler, a premium 140 mm fan and some decent cooling performance. If you have height clearance problem with the PC case, this NH-C14S may be your next item in the shopping cart.
You can purchase the cooler from your local/online resellers or the links below from Amazon US.
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