I have the NH-D14. When I bought my new motherboard I discovered I can't control the fans on this cooler (they are 3-pin, VOLTAGE-controlled).
I bought a 120mm Noctua PWM fan to replace both of these fans. I didn't get two because I found two fans to be overkill anyway.
So now my computer is much quieter in idle mode. EVERY fan in my PC now varies their speed according to temperature (case fans, CPU fans via BIOS/Windows softare, and the graphics/PSU use internal control)
I am using stock clock settings on my CPU. Fans are running 100%. I have used the pea method and the card spread method for thermal paste. Core #2 has been the hottest since I got the CPU.
w/ pea method
@idle it hovers all cores between 29-32C
@ load while playing Borderlands 2 it has all cores 0,1,3 around 54C. Core #2 @ ~57C
w/ card spread method(maybe I did it wrong)
BL2 @ load was ~61-63C
Are these temps too high? Specifically the pea method. I was expecting my CPU to never exceed 50C with this cooler.
CM Storm Sniper
Edit: It is 74F in my house.
Prime 95 showed 58,61,63,59
The Noctua NH-D14 is a good cooler but is still dependent on ambient room temperature plus internal case generated heat of where it gets it's air to cool with.
It's interesting you used 2 different thermal compound application methods, and what's interesting to me is you had the opportunity to inspect the thermal footprint between changes.
Did you notice anything unusual about the footprint across the CPUs heat spreader?
Meaning was it even?
The purpose of thermal compound is only to fill the microscopic imperfections between the 2 mating surfaces and take the place of the air between them, which requires a very small amount of thermal compound and less is always best, no matter the application method.
Once you are satisfied your application method is applying just enough thermal compound to do the job of conducting the heat from the CPU to the Heat Sink Base, then the other cooling factors are:
Ambient Room Temperature, Internal Case Temperature (Depends on the airflow path setup inside the case), and The Heat Sinks cooling capabilities itself, (which can be improved with higher CFM 120mm fans and a fan controller).
Now if you have no overclocking intentions, you're OK right now, just make sure you do not overdo applying the thermal compound.
Too much thermal compound acts like an insulator instead of a conductor.
Yes, I think I have applied Thermal Paste at least 20 different times until I got it perfect the way I want it. I am satisfied with the cooler. I also realize that my 670 is pushing some heat back into the case which is driving my temps up quite a bit.