During June and October of 2014, Noctua released their two largest air CPU coolers to the PC market. With massive heatsinks, large copper piping, and two 120mm fans to push air, it seemed at the time that these two new coolers were the big daddy of CPU cooling.

Designated NH-D15 and NH-C14 , I had the great opportunity to review both models last year. With the NH-D15 still currently installed in my own personal computer, I’ve come to love the branding, style, and efficiency.

However, with their impressive size and overwhelming presence, it steered some users away in search of a different option. Even I was stunned at its presence in my very large NZXT H440 case and in some NZXT cases (like the C230 or Guardian 921RB) the CPU coolers wouldn’t fit at all.

In an effort to grab more of the computer enthusiast market, Noctua has made slight variations in both of these models: removing one of the two cooling fans, decreasing their presence, and dropping the $99 price tag.

Welcome to my review of the new Noctua NH-D15S and NH-C14S CPU coolers. Throughout this review, I will be covering the following topics: the new designs, usage, and my final thoughts. A special thank you to Noctua for providing me with these products.


As I mentioned in the beginning, I am a devotee of the NH-D15, so when its little brother arrived one afternoon, I had very nearly the same thoughts I had back in June of 2014.

Its twin-towered aluminum-finned cooling structure stands tall with thin, yet well-spaced, fins that dissipate heat that arrives from the six copper pipes. Those pipes are coated for a more aesthetic look and pull their heat from the nearly perfectly smooth CPU base.

The cooling structure of the NH-D15S carries over most of the NH-D15’s design aspects, most notably the cutouts that allow for high profile memory. In the center of the unit sits a single Noctua NF-A15 120mm cooling fan. Unlike the aesthetically pleasing aluminum and chrome finishes, the fan carries over the traditional Noctua brown and tan fan colors. While installed inside a case, the colors are muted by poor lighting and its dark enough inside that it allows the fan to “blend into plain sight”.

One recommendation I suggest for optional fan colors is to use Plasti Dip, a plastic spray paint that comes in multiple colors and can be peeled off if an error is made or your color desire changes. The fans rest on a special ball bearing, so I wouldn’t recommend coloring the fan blades themselves.

Changing gears to the NH-C14S, we find a somewhat different story over the NH-D15/NH-D15S. Noctua’s product page drops the NH-C14 in favor of the new S model. It gains a slight height adjustment, but keeps the overall dimensions the same.

In its stock positioning, the new NH-C14S is shipped with one preinstalled fan, unlike the older brother which mounted two. With a slightly smaller presence than the NH-D15, the NH-C14S uses Noctua’s new NF-A14 120mm fan mount that rests at the bottom of the heat sink and pulls through the thick cooling structure. The fan now uses a more traditional square mount, instead of the previous circular unit.

Speaking of the cooling structure, its finned array dissipates the heat from the seven,slightly smaller, copper heat pipes.

The smaller size makes it much easier to fit inside a standard ATX or some mATX cases and with four different installation orientations, the chances of interference are low.


As with any Noctua cooler, all of the accessories needed are included in your packaging including thermal paste, additional fan mounts, a long screw driver, case badging, and mounting hardware.

Both coolers support Noctua’s SecuFirm 2 Intel mounting hardware which offers lifetime upgrade support for other sockets, and for AMD fans, the box includes standard AM3+/FM2 mounting hardware.

If one day you find your CPU heating to a temperature that makes you feel uncomfortable, Noctua supplies you with two fan clips so you can attach another Noctua fan to the cooler; practically making it a full NH-D15 or NH-C14.

Recently, I decided to perform a case upgrade on a system that I currently use. The chosen case to receive the new NH-C14S CPU cooler was the Fractal Design R5. Installation of this cooler went smoothly at first, but when it came to screwing in the hardware screws, it wasn’t possible in its current setup. As you’ll notice in the photos above for both the NH-D15S and NH-C14S the fans block the spring loaded screws making it impossible to connect.

The solution may sound easy as you can just remove the fan temporarily, then replace it, but as I quickly found out, in the orientation I wanted the cooler to be faced, the fan had limited movement and made it difficult to install.

From there, both coolers installed flawlessly and were well secured with their large metal back plate. Afterwards, the CPU temps on the i5-3550 stayed in the lower 30° C for idle and jumped into the higher 50° C while gaming on games like World of Warships and Warcraft.

With one less fan, the coolers create half the sound and pressure inside the case. The case has sound dampening padding around it, so the coolers were extremely quiet and I was comfortable with temperatures that were reported from HWMonitor.

My Final Thoughts

All in all, the new and improved Noctua coolers were a nice entry into the already crowded CPU cooling market. Their more friendly price and smaller sizes may induce users to pick up one of these outstanding coolers. Backed by the six year Noctua warranty, you can be assured of genuine quality that will keep your system running cool, safe and perform to the best of its abilities.

Buy it Now:

© 2015 Justin Vendette