Cool down your HTPC: Noctua NH-C14 review

Noctua is not new to the market but it has started to make big waves with Australians in the past 12 months. Another addition to its already strong collection of heatsinks is the NH-C14 targeted at the HTPC market but offering much more.

The C14 is a top flow design which means the heatsink lies flat across the top of the CPU as opposed to the traditional standing design. This top flow design is combined with a pair of Noctua’s famous 14cm fans to offer a high level of heat dissipation. As always heatsinks from Noctua come with the SecurFirm2 mounting system that allows flexibility and ease of mounting and supports all the major platforms including LGA1155 which is the socket from the new Intel P67 and Z68 platforms.

The C14 is offered for use in computers requiring a low profile heatsink but this unit can be mounted in a number of ways to suit the application. The traditional way is to mount the heatsink with both of the 14cm fans included which gives it a height of around 12.5cm low enough to fit in most HTPC builds.

Another option is to remove the top fan forgoing some performance but lowering the profile to only 10cm. This allowed us to mount the C14 in a classical small form factor case and a 2RU height HTPC case with no problems. Lastly you can leave the top fan intact but remove the bottom fan- this allows you to install RAM modules in the last 2 slots.

Overall the NH-C14 is a very impressive unit and the ability to remove the bottom fan and raise the RAM clearance addresses the main issue we had with Noctua’s massive NH-D14 heatsink although you still might have some clearance issues with some of the taller RAM kits on the market.

Available from Noctua retailing for $110.
APC rating: 8/10 (Highly Recommended)