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Nine Big Air Coolers For Intel's Haswell CPUs, Reviewed

Test Settings And Benchmarks

Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-4770K (Haswell): 3.5 GHz Base Clock Rate, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, LGA 1150, Overclocked to 4.50 GHz at 1.25 V (1.24 V Set)
MotherboardAsus Z87-Pro Rev 1.02, BIOS 1007 (05/17/2013)
RAMG.Skill F3-17600CL9D-8GBXLD (8 GB) at DDR3-1600 C9 Defaults
GraphicsIntel Integrated HD 4600 Graphics
Hard DriveSamsung 840 Series MZ-7PD256, 256 GB SSD
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerCorsair AX860i: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Platinum
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 8 Professional RTM x64
GraphicsIntel 9.18.10.3071
ChipsetIntel INF 9.4.0.1017
Benchmark Configuration
LinX 0.6.4Default benchmark at 500 repetitions
RealTemp 3.70Maximum Temperature, All Cores Averaged
Galaxy CM-140 SPL MeterTested at 1/4 m, corrected to 1 m (-12 db), dB(A) weighting

Asus’ top-overclocking Z87-Pro lays the groundwork for thermal testing, but not without compromise: knowing that CPU throttling would prevent accurate thermal measurement, I decided to prevent that occurrence by reducing core voltage to 1.25V.

LinX 0.6.4 is the new application that generates the most taxing thermals using Intel's diminutive Haswell die. I also warned cooler manufacturers that we'd have to drop them from contention if the CPU reached 100° Celsius, since throttling would prevent accurate readings above that point. For our part, I kept the room temperature below 23° Celsius. I further prevented the case from affecting thermal readings by leaving the motherboard in open air, hanging the board vertically to replicate its position in a chassis.

Lacking any mechanical support for a hanging graphics card, I used integrated graphics during these tests.

  • Madn3ss795
    No NH D14?
    Reply
  • 016ive
    Thermalright Archon SB-E X2, That's one big as* cooler!
    Reply
  • jk_ventolero
    The CM H212 Evo has been a crowd favorite for quite some time now. :) I wonder how that might have performed. :D
    Reply
  • blackmagnum
    Water cooling is the best way forward: less noise, energy efficient and low maintenance.
    Reply
  • CaptainTom
    I hate to say it but all this article demonstrated to me is that Haswell is in no way better than Ivy Bridge. Even Ivy Bridge used 25% less energy with a 10% boost when compared to Sandy Bridge, and I can still get IB to 4.8 GHz on air.

    Haswell= 10% more power for 10% more energy and 10% less headroom. Oh and it costs more...

    Man I hope AMD can whip them back into shape with Steam Roller...
    Reply
  • s3anister
    I can't even fathom why one would spend this much time to write an article like this and still leave the NH-D14 out.
    Reply
  • spazoid
    It's funny how some of you guys still think Intel made Haswell with desktops in mind. This is a CPU architecture made for mobile. It's quite sufficient for desktops in every regard. Yes, it might not outperform IB by much, and it might run a bit hotter, but in a laptop, there is nothing that compares to Haswell.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    11158600 said:
    No NH D14?
    Noctua picked the NH-U14S instead of the D14. Please feel free to ask them why.

    Since Noctua chose not to feature the NH-D14 this time, you might want to look at its closest competitor. The article links a comparison of Phanteks TCP14E and NH-D14. Since Phanteks chose to keep its big cooler in the running but Noctua chose otherwise, this was the closest "frame of reference" available.

    11159094 said:
    I can't even fathom why one would spend this much time to write an article like this and still leave the NH-D14 out.
    I can't even fathom why you would repeat the first post without regard to any response. And speaking of a response, please read above.
    Reply
  • Shneiky
    Really disappointed that there was no be quiet! and Cooler Master representatives. I would enjoy seeing how a Dark Rock Pro 2 or a V8 GTS/V6 GT.
    Reply
  • flong777
    The comments are correct concerning the omission of the NH-D14 from this testing. It really doesn't matter a damn what "Noctua picked," that is not the issue. The FACT is the D14 is legendary for its cooling and to leave it out of any major test is just plain stupid. Don't forget that it won your last competition for best cooler.

    To say compare it's performance with the Plantek's performance is lame. Use some common sense when you do these reviews.
    Reply