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  • Noctua NH-C14 Heatsink Review
  • Noctua NH-C14 Heatsink Review



    The Noctua NH-C14 is designed for Intel Socket LGA1366 / 1156 / 775 and Athlon 64 processors. Here is an overview of the system and testing methodology.
    The system as it was tested
    Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD7 Intel Z68 Chipset
    Intel Core i7 2600K (3.5Ghz) Quad Core 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache
    Noctua NH-C14
    OEM Heatsink

    The CPUID System Monitor was used to obtain and record system temperature data and being that this is a quad core processor we need something that will work across all of the cores at once.  For this task we're using a new version of Prime95 (p95v255a) that will allow you to spawn (n) instances to test with.
    Editors note: Even though the Windows 7 task manager reported 100% processor usage we could never attain a 100% of the rated heat output as documented by Intel (see below) when using Prime95 as a basis for that heat production. Knowing this we ran the stress test until the maximum temperature was attainted and stabilized.

    Other things to consider when judging software induced heat output.
    a) Clock throttling by the processor at high temperatures.
    b) Normal software isn't designed to produce maximum heat output.
    c) Variances of cooling temperature.
    d) Variances in CPU load.
    e) Inaccuracies in thermal diode readouts.
    Of course the list goes on..

    Our testing methodology is aimed to provide a real world look into this heatsink given the test system provided.
    Default Speed
    A C/W rating can quickly be calculated using this formula.

    C/W = (CPU temp - Ambient temp)/(Variance(%) * CPU Watts)
    Allowed variance for this test = 85%
    CPU Watts = 95W

    0.25 C/W = (46C - 25.5C)/(.85(95W))
    For this next test the CPU speed was cranked up to 4.7Ghz and the test was re-run.
    To calculate a new C/W rating for this test we will need to factor in the increased processor wattage. The formula and constants for this are listed below.

    ocC/W = dCPU Watts * (ocMhz / dMhz) * (ocVcore / dVcore)2
    ocMhz = 4700
    dMhz = 3500
    ocVcore = 1.48
    dVcore = 1.2
    The variance still applies for our C/W calculation
    Allowed variance for this test = 85%
    CPU Watts = 194W

    0.29 C/W = (73C - 25.5C)/(.85(194W))
    Benchmark Conclusion
    In our heatsink and waterblock tests we don't really focus on overall load temperatures but rather how well the product can remove heat given a specified heat load. Since this is a real world testing method we need to take into consideration real world variables and estimate tolerances. This is why we normally only apply 85% of the total wattage output to our heat calculations.

    The resulting C/W number is used to rate how efficient a heatsink or waterblock is based on the given heat load. These numbers can be used to determine heat capacity, the larger the difference the less efficient the heatsink is. (aka not good for overclocking)

    Given that we used the new Sandy Bridge platform for these tests you will notice that the total heat output is considerably lower than any of our other heatsink tests.  Yet, even with the lower 95w TDP we were still able to pump 194w of heat into the heatsink at 4.7Ghz and show it can handle a good overclock.  In these tests you'll notice that the C/W numbers did change between the default and overclocked tests.   All this indicates is that the heatsink was beginning to saturate and had some trouble dissipating the heat at the same rate.

    It should also be noted that we did test this heatsink using both fans spinning full speed at 1300rpm,  Despite this the system ran extremely quiet and is really one of the primary reasons for using a Noctua cooler over an OEM design to begin with.
    Keep in mind these calculations are provided for demonstration purposes only and may not reflect the actual lab tested C/W rating, but we're pretty close.