Noctua NH-C14S Review 14

Noctua NH-C14S Review

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Conclusion

  • The Noctua NH-C14S can be found at retail for $79.99.
  • Exceptional performance
  • Very quiet
  • Good memory and PCIe clearance
  • Easy to install
  • Exceptional build quality
  • Well packaged
  • Excellent accessories bundle
  • Six year warranty
  • Expensive
  • Extra NF-A14 fan is expensive
  • Color theme not for everyone
Noctua's NH-C14S is definitely impressive since it offers performance almost on par with the NH-D15S, but with better memory clearance. It also has the added bonus of cooling surrounding motherboard components. Like all Noctua coolers, it's very quiet, coming in at just 43 dBA with the fan at maximum RPM. Did I mention that it offers exceptional clearance? Not just for memory since its offset design means it does not interfere with the motherboard's first expansion slot. This makes the NH-C14S a suitable candidate for many mini-ITX and micro-ATX systems, especially with its maximum height of 115 mm in low-profile mode. As expected, build quality is top notch, and installing the NH-C14S is a breeze with Noctua's tried and tested SecuFirm 2 mounting system. Add in the solid packaging, a good accessories bundle, and an awesome warranty, and you end up with a very attractive product.

When it comes to negatives, the price is the biggest one at $79.99. The NH-D15S, which does offer similar clearance and slightly better performance is only $5 more, which has Noctua's own top-tier contender hit the NH-C14S a bit below the belt. An additional NF-A14 fan is also expensive considering its $22 price tag if you want to squeeze as much performance as possible out of this cooler. The only other issue is the color scheme. Some may love Noctua's brown and tan colors, and the colors are part of their unique branding, but they do make the cooler clash with most color themes.

Overall, the better clearance and refined design make the NH-C14S a winner. The fact that it performs within 5% of the top-tier cooling options on mainstream platforms is fantastic. That said, I do feel the NH-D15S is the better option. For just $5 more, you get better performance with similar clearance benefits. Let's face it, if you are going for a low-profile system and are looking at Noctua coolers, you are more likely to go with the NH-L12. At 115 mm in height in its low-profile mode, the NH-C14S is indeed smaller than typical tower coolers, but it will still be a tough fit for most of today's SFF cases. Depending on motherboard, CPU, and RAM, though, the NH-C14S may prove more beneficial in its down-draft orientation since it will actively cool those other components.

If you do prefer a C-type design cooler that cools more than the CPU and need top-tier performance with no noise, the NH-C14S may just be what you are looking for.
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