Among other things, I've got the Biostar TZ77XE3 mobo, and a Noctua NH-D14. Due to the placement of the top pci-e slot on the mobo, I've had my Gigabyte GTX 670 in the second slot This limits it to pci-e 8x instead of the 16x in the first slot. Sadly, the cooling fins and 140mm fan are a little too large to allow a card in the top slot. (the lesson here: do your homework before buying components!)
Now, I'm fine with this arrangement. While I've overclocked both my 3770k and the 670, I'm not worried about setting benchmark records so 8x has been fine for me.
The twist in this story? I've been offered a second Gigabyte GTX 670 for an absolute steal. So much so that I'm now considering options.
The one I'm leaning towards the most is modifying the NH-D14 to allow the less than half a centimeter I need to easily clear the card. By this I mean trimming off a few millimeters off of the offending cooling fins. Of course, this would also require a smaller inner fan. The plan would be to purchase the same 120mm fan that comes with the kit and use it to replace the 140mm fan in the middle.
So I know that sounds very specific, but has anyone replaced the 140mm fan with a smaller one? Has anyone trimmed a heat sink to clearance a video card? I realize I'm castrating the D14 a tad by doing this. As I have a spare 120mm fan that fits, I may give that a go. It's more of a case fan than a cooler fan though. It would give me a rough idea on the sort of performance hit the cooler would take.
The reason I'm going to this trouble is because I'm trying to save a bit of cash. With the new video card, I'm already going to need a better psu. I don't feel like replacing (arguably) the best cooler on the market, nor do I want to buy a new mobo and have to go through that trouble.
I personally would prefer to see the D14 stay intact - sell it on EBay or save it for a next build or something. I'm just not comfortable with mutilating such an expensive and highly rated HSF
Sorry, just my feelings here
If you would post a picture of your situation it would help tremendously, helping you resolve this.
Have you considered re-orienting the direction the Noctua is positioned?
The fan clips are designed to run 120mm fans the 140 has 120mm fan mounting tabs, so fan arrangement is really up to the end user, there is nothing set in stone.
Been out of town for a few days, but I'm back now.
I can try to get you a pic tonight, but I can tell you right now that a card will not fit due to interference.
It isn't just the fan clip that is in the way: it is also the fins. There is no way in hell I would mount the video card strained to an angle. That is asking for trouble. I've also looked into using a pci ribbon, but decided against it due to (lack of) mounting issues and reports of them not offering the most stable performance.
There is not enough room to mount the cooler up-down. I've looked into that as well.
I guess in the end this is all a moot point. The deal is gone