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My Noctua NH-D14 isn't working correctly. Can anyone help?

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April 7, 2013 11:15:54 AM

Last week I built my first PC. Everything seemed to go smoothly, and I was extremely proud of the machine I built for a first try. But a few days ago, I learned that my CPU (i7 3770k) is running hotter than it should.
I haven't overclocked my CPU yet because out of the box I was pleased by the performance I was getting in games like Planetside 2, so currently it's running at 3.5GHz and hits about 83°C under Prime95 torture tests. I didn't even realize there was a problem until I met someone who runs the same CPU overclocked at 5.0GHz with the same heatsink and barely breaks 60°C.

I have no doubts that I installed the heatsink incorrectly, so to pinpoint exactly how and where I messed up I'll walk you guys through what I did and didn't do when I installed the Noctua NH-D14.

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What I did do;
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- After installing the CPU in its socket, I mounted the back plate on the back of the motherboard securely and firmly.

- I gently cleaned the CPU plate and the heatsink plate with a microfiber cloth.

- I put a drop of thermal paste about the size of a pea on top of the CPU and squished it down with the heatsink, then checked to see how evenly it spread. There is a thin layer of thermal paste on both the top of the CPU and the bottom of the heatsink.

- I wrapped the cords from the fans around the base of the heatsink to keep them out of the way, similar to the way they are when you first take it out of the box.

- I made sure it was working before installing it in the case by POSTing the motherboard.

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What I didn't do;
------------------------------------------

- I didn't tighten the screws mounting the heatsink to the back plate too tightly because I didn't want to put too much pressure on the CPU. It's firmly in place, but I didn't tighten the screws until they stopped.

- I didn't install my fans in such a way that they would blow in the same direction. One is blowing towards the front of the case, and the other is blowing towards the back of it. Mistake?

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I look forward to hearing what you guys have to say about this. Please let me know if you need any more information. I could post a picture of the inside of my case if needed.
a c 309 à CPUs
a c 121 K Overclocking
April 7, 2013 11:20:03 AM

Both fans should push air in the same direction. Preferably toward the exhaust fan in your case.
Fix that, and it should fix your problem.
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April 7, 2013 11:21:32 AM

Also, you should tighten those screws. The CPU is under pressure more from the bracket that holds it down. I wouldn't worry too much about the screws for the heat sink putting pressure on the CPU.
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April 7, 2013 11:24:01 AM

geofelt said:
Both fans should push air in the same direction. Preferably toward the exhaust fan in your case.
Fix that, and it should fix your problem.




This is the way the heatsink is mounted in my case. The middle fan is blowing towards the back of the case (Where the exhaust fan is) and the end fan is blowing towards the front. Should I flip the entire thing around or just that end fan?
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a c 309 à CPUs
a c 121 K Overclocking
April 7, 2013 11:29:33 AM

Just flip the end fan so that it sends air in the same direction as the middle fan, namely to the rear and out of your case.
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April 7, 2013 11:38:19 AM

what i can tell you for sure is that the person you talked to is lying about something. he is not getting 60*c at 5.0 with normal conditions.

what i suspect is the problem:
to little pressure on the cpu, tighten the screws
to much thermal paste, it shouldnt be pea sized it should be able the size of a BB or a little smaller. too much is bad.
fans need to be facing the back.
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April 7, 2013 11:57:44 AM

I have the exact same cooler and CPU as you. My CPU hovers around 77 during Prime95, occasionally hitting 80. It's overclocked (all 4 cores) to 4.74GHz.

First of all, this is a good cooler, among the best there is. But it is not magic. I simply don't believe that 4 cores running flat out at 5GHz with an NH-D14 goes no higher than 60. Please check your voltage with CPU-Z (or other) while stress testing your system. My 3770K ramps up to a v-core of 1.328 under Prime95. Temperature rises with the cube of voltage, so this it's highly sensitive. If your voltage is high, there might be something wrong with your BIOS settings. I have my voltage set to Auto, (which allows the BIOS to scale the voltage with load) and load line calibration (LLC) to high. LLC is important because it sets the voltage ramp curve and how it adjusts with load. (For me, these settings allow my 4.74 overclock and perfect stability - lower voltages give a blue screen under prime. This is what I've settled on as the optimal balance. My temps are ok, if a little high under load - remember Ivy Bridge runs quite hot, but that's ok - a higher overclock is possible but requires higher voltage and temps that make me uncomfortable). If you think the voltage might be the problem, then try this: set the voltage to negative offset eg -0.005v, and ensure LLC is set to normal.

The other thing: yes I think your fans are set up sub-optimally. They should both blow in the same direction. Having them blow in opposite directions creates a vacuum (negative pressure) between them, which means less air molecules to take away the heat! Remember, two things are needed for cooling to work optimally: one is a high heat gradient (high difference between the coolant, ie the air, and the thing its cooling) - this is what the fan is for. The second is positive pressure. This just means there is more air to do the cooling. So, this means the fans should blow in the same direction and towards the back of the case. This may WELL be what's causing your problem. The thermal paste sounds about right to me, and think the fan is probably mounted tightly enough.

To summarise, based on what you've told me and my experience with similar components, your temps are indeed far too high, particularly as you've not yet tried overclocking. However, you should certainly reduce your expectations of what this cooler can do (and take the story about 5GHz under load at 60 degrees with a pinch of salt!). Your voltage could be part of the explanation so I'd recommend checking that, but the most likely problem is the direction of the fans. Of course, you should also check that the fans are both working.

Oh, one last thing. Did you install the Y connector that comes with the NH-D14? This is basically a resistor that reduces fan speed (supposed to reduce noise). Basically it cripples the cooler so I'd recommend not installing it. This cooler is not loud by any stretch of the imagination.
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a c 95 à CPUs
a c 224 K Overclocking
April 7, 2013 12:13:34 PM

Setsukai said:
I didn't even realize there was a problem until I met someone who runs the same CPU overclocked at 5.0GHz with the same heatsink and barely breaks 60°C.

Edit: an i7 3770K overclocked to 5.0ghz on air cooling barely breaking 60c is TBS!

- After installing the CPU in its socket, I mounted the back plate on the back of the motherboard securely and firmly.

- I gently cleaned the CPU plate and the heatsink plate with a microfiber cloth.

- I put a drop of thermal paste about the size of a pea on top of the CPU and squished it down with the heatsink, then checked to see how evenly it spread. There is a thin layer of thermal paste on both the top of the CPU and the bottom of the heatsink.

- I wrapped the cords from the fans around the base of the heatsink to keep them out of the way, similar to the way they are when you first take it out of the box.

- I made sure it was working before installing it in the case by POSTing the motherboard.

Edit: Good to this point!

------------------------------------------
What I didn't do;
------------------------------------------

- I didn't tighten the screws mounting the heatsink to the back plate too tightly because I didn't want to put too much pressure on the CPU. It's firmly in place, but I didn't tighten the screws until they stopped.

Edit: Bad! Really Bad!
#1: All the back plate screws should be firmly tightened!
#2: The 2 actual heat sink clamp down screws should be tightened until they bottom out, then and only then is the proper heat sink pressure applied!


- I didn't install my fans in such a way that they would blow in the same direction. One is blowing towards the front of the case, and the other is blowing towards the back of it. Mistake?

Edit: The fans are supposed to work together, both pulling or both pushing, not opposing each other and cancelling each other out, if you installed the way they were shipped to you you've installed the fans properly, you have to manually remove and relocate the clamps otherwise.

From the picture you show the fans are oriented properly, because they pull through the impeller, the fan motor body is the exhaust side of the fan, and that's for all fans.


------------------------------------------

I look forward to hearing what you guys have to say about this. Please let me know if you need any more information. I could post a picture of the inside of my case if needed.


Tighten the pressure screws until they bottom out!

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April 7, 2013 12:29:59 PM

bwrlane said:
I have the exact same cooler and CPU as you. My CPU hovers around 77 during Prime95, occasionally hitting 80. It's overclocked (all 4 cores) to 4.74GHz.

First of all, this is a good cooler, among the best there is. But it is not magic. I simply don't believe that 4 cores running flat out at 5GHz with an NH-D14 goes no higher than 60. Please check your voltage with CPU-Z (or other) while stress testing your system. My 3770K ramps up to a v-core of 1.328 under Prime95. Temperature rises with the cube of voltage, so this it's highly sensitive. If your voltage is high, there might be something wrong with your BIOS settings. I have my voltage set to Auto, (which allows the BIOS to scale the voltage with load) and load line calibration (LLC) to high. LLC is important because it sets the voltage ramp curve and how it adjusts with load. (For me, these settings allow my 4.74 overclock and perfect stability - lower voltages give a blue screen under prime. This is what I've settled on as the optimal balance. My temps are ok, if a little high under load - remember Ivy Bridge runs quite hot, but that's ok - a higher overclock is possible but requires higher voltage and temps that make me uncomfortable). If you think the voltage might be the problem, then try this: set the voltage to negative offset eg -0.005v, and ensure LLC is set to normal.

The other thing: yes I think your fans are set up sub-optimally. They should both blow in the same direction. Having them blow in opposite directions creates a vacuum (negative pressure) between them, which means less air molecules to take away the heat! Remember, two things are needed for cooling to work optimally: one is a high heat gradient (high difference between the coolant, ie the air, and the thing its cooling) - this is what the fan is for. The second is positive pressure. This just means there is more air to do the cooling. So, this means the fans should blow in the same direction and towards the back of the case. This may WELL be what's causing your problem. The thermal paste sounds about right to me, and think the fan is probably mounted tightly enough.

To summarise, based on what you've told me and my experience with similar components, your temps are indeed far too high, particularly as you've not yet tried overclocking. However, you should certainly reduce your expectations of what this cooler can do (and take the story about 5GHz under load at 60 degrees with a pinch of salt!). Your voltage could be part of the explanation so I'd recommend checking that, but the most likely problem is the direction of the fans. Of course, you should also check that the fans are both working.

Oh, one last thing. Did you install the Y connector that comes with the NH-D14? This is basically a resistor that reduces fan speed (supposed to reduce noise). Basically it cripples the cooler so I'd recommend not installing it. This cooler is not loud by any stretch of the imagination.


I did use the Y connector. What should I be using instead? It seems like the only way to plug both fans in is to use a connector like that, unless there's another plug somewhere that I missed.
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April 7, 2013 12:38:56 PM

I also agree with cbrunnem the person you spoke with is not being honest with you. 60*c at 5.0 yeah and i am Jesus Christ lol.


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April 7, 2013 12:40:47 PM

Setsukai said:
bwrlane said:
I have the exact same cooler and CPU as you. My CPU hovers around 77 during Prime95, occasionally hitting 80. It's overclocked (all 4 cores) to 4.74GHz.

First of all, this is a good cooler, among the best there is. But it is not magic. I simply don't believe that 4 cores running flat out at 5GHz with an NH-D14 goes no higher than 60. Please check your voltage with CPU-Z (or other) while stress testing your system. My 3770K ramps up to a v-core of 1.328 under Prime95. Temperature rises with the cube of voltage, so this it's highly sensitive. If your voltage is high, there might be something wrong with your BIOS settings. I have my voltage set to Auto, (which allows the BIOS to scale the voltage with load) and load line calibration (LLC) to high. LLC is important because it sets the voltage ramp curve and how it adjusts with load. (For me, these settings allow my 4.74 overclock and perfect stability - lower voltages give a blue screen under prime. This is what I've settled on as the optimal balance. My temps are ok, if a little high under load - remember Ivy Bridge runs quite hot, but that's ok - a higher overclock is possible but requires higher voltage and temps that make me uncomfortable). If you think the voltage might be the problem, then try this: set the voltage to negative offset eg -0.005v, and ensure LLC is set to normal.

The other thing: yes I think your fans are set up sub-optimally. They should both blow in the same direction. Having them blow in opposite directions creates a vacuum (negative pressure) between them, which means less air molecules to take away the heat! Remember, two things are needed for cooling to work optimally: one is a high heat gradient (high difference between the coolant, ie the air, and the thing its cooling) - this is what the fan is for. The second is positive pressure. This just means there is more air to do the cooling. So, this means the fans should blow in the same direction and towards the back of the case. This may WELL be what's causing your problem. The thermal paste sounds about right to me, and think the fan is probably mounted tightly enough.

To summarise, based on what you've told me and my experience with similar components, your temps are indeed far too high, particularly as you've not yet tried overclocking. However, you should certainly reduce your expectations of what this cooler can do (and take the story about 5GHz under load at 60 degrees with a pinch of salt!). Your voltage could be part of the explanation so I'd recommend checking that, but the most likely problem is the direction of the fans. Of course, you should also check that the fans are both working.

Oh, one last thing. Did you install the Y connector that comes with the NH-D14? This is basically a resistor that reduces fan speed (supposed to reduce noise). Basically it cripples the cooler so I'd recommend not installing it. This cooler is not loud by any stretch of the imagination.


I did use the Y connector. What should I be using instead? It seems like the only way to plug both fans in is to use a connector like that, unless there's another plug somewhere that I missed.


Just plug the fan connectors directly into the motherboard.
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April 7, 2013 12:55:31 PM

As it turns out, the fans were both blowing towards the back of the case, so I was wrong about that. The screws, however, were looser than I remembered and I was shocked to find out just how loose they were. I've tightened them and I'm currently running a Prime95 heat and power intensive torture test at 60°C - I'd call that a significant improvement! Thanks guys!
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