We warned companies that any cooler that allowed our CPU to top 100° Celsius at 1.25 V would be disqualified from further contention, and found ourselves lucky that we were even able to get the room cold enough in July to finish testing. Of the coolers that survived our tests, Scythe’s Ashura barely qualified at a 98° maximum in a 23° room.
For many overclockers, that means Scythe’s top-value Ashura presents a worst-case cooling scenario, and that anything less powerful isn’t going to satisfy you if you're overclocking a Haswell-based processor. Noctua’s NH-U14S takes a distant second in value, and this $75 part is the cheapest (and hottest) cooler worthy of a full recommendation.
With a 29 decibel noise reading in our lab, Noctua’s NH-U14S climbs a little higher up the value chart when acoustics are considered. The top position of Scythe’s Ashura would qualify it for a value award, if not for the caveat that users must keep the inside of their case below 25° in order to make proper use of a modest 1.25 V overclock.