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

Noctua NH-U14S

Unlike its monster-sized D14, Noctua’s NH-U14S uses a single radiator to reduce space, cost, and weight on the motherboard. Those sound like laudable goals as long as performance remains satisfactory, and the company offers an even-smaller NH-U12S for builds in more compact spaces.

A superbly-machined, polished, and plated base are intended to give the NH-U14S the best possible contact with CPU heat spreaders.

Designed specifically for mainstream platforms, the NH-U14S installation kit includes only a single socket support plate that fits Intel’s LGA 1150, 1155, and 1156. A second set of AMD-specific brackets use the motherboard’s integrated support plate.

The LGA support plate fits around Intel’s socket plate and rests upon the board, using a thin insulating sheet to prevent shorts. Though we expect this solution to suffice on microATX and ATX motherboards, contact pressure on nearby components could be a problem for certain mini-ITX-based solutions, as seen in our recent System Builder Marathon.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.