Noctua NF-A14 & 15 Reviewed

Thermal testing with the NH-D14 

Note: We also added the 120mm NF-F12 to the front of the NH-D14 cooler to test it in a fully PWM mode. We found that in all tests, the NF-F12 was the louder fan and the A15 was not clearly audible over the F12 – in other words, it was consistently the least audible fan in our test bench. 

When you consider margin for error, we ended up with roughly the same thermal results for all NH-D14 fan configurations at idle. This is expected with the NH-D14 because the cooler is massive and it doesn’t take a lot to keep an idle Sandy Bridge CPU cool. Under load, at 12v, or using the sock NH-D14 fans with low noise adapters, the fans also achieve very similar results to each other even when overclocking. 

PWM mode with the ASUS Standard Fan profile in Fan Xpert + proved to be very effective at keeping the noise levels right down and the temperatures very respectable. We used a new sound level meter for these tests and it only measures the dBA – the “A” curve. What we noticed was that the perceived difference was even greater than the recorded difference. In PWM mode, our “modified” NH-D14 was virtually silent in an open air test scenario.

What the graph also doesn’t tell you is that the middle ground is the real game changer. The standard configuration of the NH-D14 cooler is a fixed speed fan setting unless you have the fans hooked up to a 3rd party fan controller (so a non-standard installation). In general use, even the power user would struggle to push the A15 over what we consider to be a ‘noticeable’ noise threshold.

This mod to our CPU cooler gave us the airflow when we needed it with a barely noticeable increase in fan noise. We also received an almost silent but effective cooler for 90% of our day to day tasks – handbrake was the only application we used in an everyday scenario that really stressed the Intel 2500K CPU for long enough to get the PWM fan speed up.

A15 D14 Delta Temps

A15 D14 Noise Levels



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