Four Closed-Loop CPU Coolers Take On Noctua's NH-D14

Installing The ELC240

The easiest way we found to install the ELC240’s head is to first attach its bracket loosely, then insert the cooler’s base between the grooves and twist to lock.

The ELC240’s so-called 240 mm radiator (actually, 2 x 120 mm) fits the standard screw holes adopted by many case manufacturers. In our specific configuration, we're able to mount it either centered or offset to one side, where offset mounting provides additional clearance for motherboard heat sinks and fan connectors.

After twisting the cooler head to engage its installation bracket tabs, we tightened the spring-loaded screws. It turns out, however, that the LGA 2011 screws provide insufficient pressure between the cooler’s base plate and our CPU’s heat spreader.

The problem we found suggests that either the screws are too long or the springs are too short. We tested it the way Enermax shipped it anyway, and then retested after adding some washers to increase spring pressure. You’ll find the word “modified” in our performance charts to indicate the setup we tweaked.

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    Top Comments
  • EzioAs
    Love the title!

    Nice review as well. Too bad you didn't test NZXT kraken cpu coolers.

    If you ask me, I'd rather stick with the D14
    21
  • mayankleoboy1
    Keeping up and beating with all the Water coolers should earn the NH-D14 a "best of the best" award of its own. And its a ~2-3 year old product!
    19
  • austing
    I'm suprized to see a single 120mm rad can keep up with the h100i, bravo Zalman.
    11
  • Other Comments
  • austing
    I'm suprized to see a single 120mm rad can keep up with the h100i, bravo Zalman.
    11
  • EzioAs
    Love the title!

    Nice review as well. Too bad you didn't test NZXT kraken cpu coolers.

    If you ask me, I'd rather stick with the D14
    21
  • mayankleoboy1
    Keeping up and beating with all the Water coolers should earn the NH-D14 a "best of the best" award of its own. And its a ~2-3 year old product!
    19
  • mayankleoboy1
    Small nit : i would have liked to see similar test done with a 3770K and a high OC.
    3
  • sluggercz
    A possibly overlooked benefit of closed loop AIO systems are their ability to fit in SFF cases. While this certainly applies more to the single 120mm radiator designs, some cases (such as the Fractal Design Node 304) can accommodate 240mm radiators)

    (Source: Using a Corsair H60 w/ 2 Noctua NF-F12's in push-pull config in my Lian-Li PC-Q08; such large air-coolers as the Noctua could not fit due to the limited vertical clearance above the CPU)
    7
  • hero1
    Awesome review. Keep it up. I remember commenting about how much better the closed loop CPU coolers have gotten and I got down voted but this just proved my point. I have very sensitive hearing and I can never hear my CoolIt R120(?) spin apart from the initial startup. And this is inside a CM Haf XM. I play games with CPU+GPU OCd to 4.5GHzby 1.2GHz and you can barely hear any noise. First I thought something was wrong then I got my friends and wife to listen whil I played with muted sound and they were impressed. Up next is water cooling my GPU when I add another one in a month in SLI mode. Gaming PCs FTW!
    2
  • tanjo
    No NZXT Kraken and Thermaltake Water 2.0 (which is 3rd gen Asetek iirc)?
    9
  • hero1
    BTW DH-14 still deserves an award alongside the H100i and Zalman. Not many, if any air coolers out there can keep up with top notch closed loop CPU coolers.
    8
  • hero1
    tanjoNo NZXT Kraken and Thermaltake Water 2.0 (which is 3rd gen Asetek iirc)?


    Bit-tech.net has a review of Thermaltake water coolers and their top end 240mm took the crown. Better than H100i and the rest shown here.
    2
  • nukemaster
    With MB control the NH D14 can be very quiet :)

    It is HUGE, but I got it for 50$ and to me that was a great value. It was also on for 50$ again at NCIX's boxing day sale.

    Sure fills up an SSF system.
    Not embedding the image because it may mess up the page.
    http://imageshack.us/a/img39/1358/dsc0458s.jpg
    8
  • kensingtron
    I have the has even lower temps, quieter running, for a similar price and is 240g lighter!
    -3
  • kensingtron
    I have read the NH "C"14 has even lower temps, quieter running, for a similar price and is 240g lighter!
    -3
  • Crashman
    austingI'm suprized to see a single 120mm rad can keep up with the h100i, bravo Zalman.
    Others are twice as wide, Zalman is twice as thick, if you're making that choice it should be determined by your case.
    mayankleoboy1Keeping up and beating with all the Water coolers should earn the NH-D14 a "best of the best" award of its own. And its a ~2-3 year old product!
    The NH-D14 already got a "best of the best" award.
    tanjoNo NZXT Kraken and Thermaltake Water 2.0 (which is 3rd gen Asetek iirc)?
    Kraken samples got delayed until Christmas Eve, far too late for this article. All five of the companies who sent samples (the four tested plus NZXT) had previously requested this review.
    10
  • cmcghee358
    I would've liked to see a timed trial. From my experience with an H50, H70 and NH-D14, the closed loop coolers will eventually increase in temperature overtime as they are unable to fully drop the fluid to ambient before it gets pushed back to the CPU and reheated. Heating it, and the CPU just a little bit more.

    I recommend at least a 60 minute Prime95 test of each cooler to get an accurate delta over ambient
    3
  • rantoc
    H100i seems to end up poorly in about all tests, The H80i performs about as well. The only time the H100i perform as it should is with a push / pull config using a total of 4 fans. Could be just a firmware issue (Yes the H100i can be flashed)
    2
  • EzioAs
    Anonymous said:
    I would've liked to see a timed trial. From my experience with an H50, H70 and NH-D14, the closed loop coolers will eventually increase in temperature overtime as they are unable to fully drop the fluid to ambient before it gets pushed back to the CPU and reheated. Heating it, and the CPU just a little bit more.

    I recommend at least a 60 minute Prime95 test of each cooler to get an accurate delta over ambient


    60mins? Somewhere around 20mins isn't enough for these CLCs to reach equilibrium?
    0
  • rantoc
    EzioAs60mins? Somewhere around 20mins isn't enough for these CLCs to reach equilibrium?


    For an lcs without any reservoir - 60 mins sounds excessive to have them maxed out, 20 min sound more than sufficient. Some home reviewers have claimed that it takes about 60 mins for a lcs without reservoir to max out but its been busted when its been shown the ambient room temperature have been the major change for the last 45 mins...
    4
  • Anonymous
    Yes, if you knock your PC over you'll probably break your motherboard, but with such a big cooler it's going to take a bit more force.
    -4
  • Crashman
    cmcghee358I would've liked to see a timed trial. From my experience with an H50, H70 and NH-D14, the closed loop coolers will eventually increase in temperature overtime as they are unable to fully drop the fluid to ambient before it gets pushed back to the CPU and reheated. Heating it, and the CPU just a little bit more.I recommend at least a 60 minute Prime95 test of each cooler to get an accurate delta over ambient
    That could have been a useful suggestion if not for the fact that it was already the approximate method used.
    1
  • Novuake
    Is it just me or do Asetek coolers always eem to have little nitty gritty issues? Anyway. nice review. Loved it BUT I much prefer Silver Arrow SB-E extreme above the Noctua. But yes, its sad that not even the H100i outpaces the Noctua...
    1