Overclocking On Air: 10 LGA 1156-Compatible Performance Coolers

Noctua NH-D14

Austrian firm Noctua has earned an impressive reputation in just a few years for its designs that offer excellent cooling-to-noise ratios. More recently, the firm translated its technical prowess into an enormous cooler that should, by way of sheer size, be able to outperform most competitors' devices. Roughly 50% bigger than the average “big air” competitor, the NH-D14’s $90 Web price is also around twice as expensive.

A great deal of installation flexibility adds some value to that high price, with support for single or dual fans and a full range of LGA 1156, LGA 1366, and LGA 775, plus AM2, AM2+, and AM3 processors. Noctua also adds two fan resistor wires for manual speed reduction.

An ultra-fine machined finish holds a thin film of thermal compound well, without being prone to the distortion that normally accompanies the polishing process. The NH-D14 appears to have the flattest mating surface of today’s competitors.

Noctua claims many innovations in fan design, but perhaps the most innovative feature of the NH-D14 is its multi-fit LGA support plate. Peeling the center portion of its rubber pad allows the plate to fit perfectly on LGA-1156 motherboards, with full mounting pressure against the motherboard’s integrated support plate relieving pressure from the circuit board.

Two curved brackets adapt LGA sockets from a four-screw to a two-screw mounting. These brackets, along with associated spacers, screws, and nuts, must be installed before the motherboard is placed inside most cases. Installing the sink inside or outside the case is as easy as unclipping the center fan to gain access to those two screws.

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    Top Comments
  • arkadi
    I just love to read toms old school articles like this one :)
    19
  • Other Comments
  • kumaiti
    Not a single top down cooler?? That is disappointing, though I can already see the excuse: "they don't have as much performance as the tower coolers".
    -15
  • mrgrey
    Argh - unbelievable! I literally just purchased my build on newegg, and they just posted this article. I bought the Arctic Cooling 7 over the Hyper 212+, not having seen the article yet.

    Hey Tom's - what temps are you getting at 3.2 GHz with the Arctic Cooling 7? Did you use arctic silver 5?
    3
  • barmaley
    Test settings page reads: CPU Intel Core i7-860, but CPU-Z screen shot under it reads Intel Core i7-870. Which one is it that you tested Tom?
    3
  • Anonymous
    Is there an article testing thermal compounds?
    2
  • nzprogamer
    mrgreyArgh - unbelievable! I literally just purchased my build on newegg, and they just posted this article. I bought the Arctic Cooling 7 over the Hyper 212+, not having seen the article yet. Hey Tom's - what temps are you getting at 3.2 GHz with the Arctic Cooling 7? Did you use arctic silver 5?


    no worries there you will be fine
    0
  • nzprogamer
    i had the 212 and sunbermtech both were running really good and cool. but i would buy the sunbeamtech with the easy exchange fan kit.
    0
  • arkadi
    I just love to read toms old school articles like this one :)
    19
  • falchard
    What no Coolermaster V10 or Thermaltake SpinQ Vertical?
    -5
  • Crashman
    kumaitiNot a single top down cooler?? That is disappointing, though I can already see the excuse: "they don't have as much performance as the tower coolers".
    falchardWhat no Coolermaster V10 or Thermaltake SpinQ Vertical?
    You would have to ask the manufacturers, since they picked the coolers.
    8
  • micky_lund
    prolimatech megahalems
    -3
  • Anonymous
    If NH-D14 is in this, where's Prolimatech's Megahalems and Thermalright's Venomous X?
    -4
  • mayor_mccheese
    just bought a freezer pro too :(
    2
  • Crashman
    BobalinaIf NH-D14 is in this, where's Prolimatech's Megahalems and Thermalright's Venomous X?

    Thermalright sent the MUX-120.
    3
  • Spanky Deluxe
    Why no Megahalems? They're widely considered the best air coolers out there right now.
    1
  • pbrigido
    Even though the Zalman CNPS10X didn't win any of the tests, I still prefer its design because of the all copper contact between the CPU and the heatsink. Nice to see some of these tests again...can you also do one to compare the effectiveness of different thermal compounds?
    1
  • Crashman
    Spanky DeluxeWhy no Megahalems? They're widely considered the best air coolers out there right now.


    Some companies didn't respond to the invitation. Sorry, I didn't keep a list.
    4
  • fred2421
    Quick question..these temps you are showing they are all with an ambient temperature of 11C? So when you say 82C over ambient the temps are actually 82+11=93C?
    5
  • ubernoobie
    the best cpu cooler is now the thermalright vemonous I believe
    -1
  • JohnnyLucky
    Interesting article. I knew results would vary from other reviews. That's normal.

    I was surprised the new Thermalright Venoumous X was not included. It's an updated version of the Ultra 120 Extreme specifically designed for the new Intel Core i5/i7 cpu's.

    Didn't THG mention in an older article that those extra tall heatspreaders that sort of look like a comb did not provide any additional cooling over stock heatspreaders?
    0
  • Silmarunya
    It's clear the AC Freezer 7 is a poor choice for higher end overclocking, but how does it fare as a medium end OC cooler? Could it bring, say, an i5-750 to 3.5GHz without giving in?
    0