Noctua NH-D14 vs Corsair H100 for 2600K OC'ing? Update: Went with both!

Discussion in 'Cases & Cooling' started by Idontcare, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. Idontcare

    Idontcare Elite Member

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    For 2600K sandy bridge, which would be expected to give better OC's (lower temps)?

    There looks to be about a $30 difference between them, that doesn't bother me as they are both ~$100 so I consider the price delta a wash.

    Mostly interested in performance and noise. The H100 uses fans for the rad, so I have to imagine the noise is comparable (unless I put the H100 into a push-pull setup which would then use a total of 4 fans, that would presumably be "louder" than the NH-C14).

    FWIW I have an ABS Black Pearl which has 2x120mm fan mount at the top which I would attach the H100 radiators (unless anyone here knows this to be a bad idea?).

    That said, I've always considered these Corsair self-contained water-cooling things to be sorta gimmickie, that is until I saw the H100.

    So which would be preferred for high-end OC'ing with a 2600K?

    Edit: Update - I decided to go with both the H100 and the NH-D14, will test them out and see which I like most in terms of OC'ing performance and noise, whichever I like the least will be put to use in my HTPC build.
     
    #1 Idontcare, Jul 28, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011
  2. Spikesoldier

    Spikesoldier Diamond Member

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    I've got the D-14 so I'm inclined to recommend the C-14. Noctua's a good company and their products are win.

    As far as acoustics go, silent when enclosed in a case.
     
  3. Idontcare

    Idontcare Elite Member

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    Just to confirm, the only difference between the C-14 and the D-14 is that the D-14 comes with one 120mm fan and one 140mm fan whereas the C-14 comes with two 140mm fans, yes?
     
  4. 996GT2

    996GT2 Diamond Member

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    The two have completely different designs. The D14 is a dual-tower, while the C14 is a top-down blower design with a single fin stack.

    The benefit of the C14 is that it provides airflow to VRMs and other components around the motherboard. The trade-off of the top-down blower design is worse performance due to the smaller fin stack.

    The D14 performs better by ~5C compared to the C14 and costs about the same ($69.99 @ Directron). The D14 might even be a little less expensive actually.

    If you want to stick with air cooling, I'd go for the D14. The H100 should perform a bit better than the D14 with its 2x120 radiator, but it will be louder because you have 4 fans and a pump running. Unless you have a 990X or something, a D14 is more than sufficient. I've had my 2500K @ 4.8 GHz, 1.45V with the D14 and max load temps in Prime95 were well under 70C.
     
    #4 996GT2, Jul 29, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  5. BonzaiDuck

    BonzaiDuck Lifer

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    Hello there, Idontcare -- we've been poking in these forum doors since '07 if I remember. . . .

    I have the Noctua D-14. I could've easily sprung for the Megahalem. Just off the top of my head, the water-cooling options may give you about 10C to 15C advantage. I took a look at the H100, and was impressed. I must've looked at one of those preassembled H80's or something even less formidable. And I haven't attempted to build a WC rig yet. That being said, I did see some statistical results comparing some water-cooling systems to the air options, and planning on at least a possibility of replacing the Noctua with a decent WC kit, I somehow came to the conclusion about that 10C to 15C advantage.

    Somebody else, please correct me if I'm wrong about that.

    I've just spent a few days putting an i7-2600K through its paces. Techs at ASUS cite their own figures that something like 40% of their 2600K's will OC to 4.6/4.7 Ghz; another 40% might go to 4.8/4.9, and the remainder will OC to 5.0 Ghz. While that may be "on air," it just seems to me you have two choices:

    -- Stay within the thermal and voltage specs (although there apparently isn't a reliable, official voltage spec -- but the Sandy is 32nm silicon like the Nehalem, so infer it from that)
    -- Cool the heck out of it and overvolt the CPU until you get to 5.0 or beyond

    With the air coolers, you can stay within the thermal spec and still OC to the Nehalem voltage spec -- more . . . or less . . . . You might be able to reach 4.7 Ghz and only peak out the temperature at 4 to 5C above the throttling threshold -- that is, I mean by throttling according to the TM1 "Adaptive Thermal Monitoring." People say [people say . . ] that you can run these processors beyond 80C, and the TJunction temperature is around 98C.

    Some people are pushing these things well above the thermal spec of 72.6C on air. It's thin silicon, so you can choose to add a little more risk with each successive increment of voltage and heat.

    So it all depends on whether the 10 to 15C actually makes it possible to get stability at a lower voltage. I'm just not so sure that it does. You may stay well within the 72.6 C limit or any looser limit you care to define. After that, it's just a matter of the voltage.

    With my system, I was able to get to 4.73 with the peak "Maximum stress" IntelBurnTest temperature at around 76C. That was with the Noctua. Also keep in mind that I have a biased thermal sensor under the cap that probably contributes to reporting a temperature that is 5C or so in excess of the true temperature. So it MAY be that my 4.73 Ghz was really giving a temperature of about 72 to 73C.

    And the fact is -- if you're cautious about voltage, if that's the game you're playing with yourself (because that's my game, too) -- the Noctua or competing heatpipe cooler would be adequate to get to "that point" -- 1.37V or so. At that point -- maybe a little sooner -- your temperatures will be pushing toward 80C. Maybe, with the bias in my own sensors and a "guesstimate" about what they really are, 75C. Maybe a tad better.

    I've had exchanges with others here -- and seen forum posts elsewhere -- with people reporting 4.8 Ghz and temperatures in the low 80's. One Intel tech told an enthusiast: "Who SAID you can run these chips above 80C degrees?!"

    That's what the Intel guy said, and others here may tell you something different.
     
  6. Spikesoldier

    Spikesoldier Diamond Member

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    While that may be true, I think the D-14 has it beat on surface area, and mass, which IMO makes it a better heatsink. I assumed you chose the C-14 due to clearance/height issues.

    The difference in CFM pushed/pulled by the fans is negligible.
     
  7. XLNC

    XLNC Senior member

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    I have the C-14 in a Fractal R3 and it's solid. I removed one of the fans to use it on the case elsewhere, and temps hover around 35C-40C at idle. One thing to keep in mind, if your case is not wide enough, you'll have barely enough gap between the side panel and the top fan which may restrict air intake. At worst, it will cause a slight buffeting noise.
     
  8. Idontcare

    Idontcare Elite Member

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    Doh! :oops:

    I had briefly looked at the two models after reading about one of them on frostytech and had come to the (obviously) wrong conclusion!

    Thanks for explaining the difference. I'm going to do more homework now!


    Hey there BonzaiDuck!

    Yeah I'm back, despite all our collective frustrations over the ASUS striker extreme I am looking at diving into a ROG Extreme IV for the 2600K.



    Actually, just to prove how ignorant AND naive I was, I had chosen the C-14 because Newegg has it bundled with the 2600K right now ($15 off on the bundle).

    Sounds like the D-14 is the far better HSF though.

    I've got one of those ABS Black Pearl cases which are ridiculously wide (well, not absurd, its not like cube case that is) and the side panel is actually a metal-mesh, so plenty of good airflow.

    That was one of the reasons I was keenly interested in this style of fan because I knew with my case the C-14 would have access to plenty of room-temp air to draw into the case.
     
  9. 996GT2

    996GT2 Diamond Member

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    The D14, along with the Thermalright Silver Arrow, are the two best air coolers available right now. Both perform about the same and both cost $70 (D14 from direction, SA from mWave). Both come with two good fans that would cost ~$30-40 if bought separately: 120/140mm in the case of the D14, and 2x140mm in the case of the Silver Arrow.

    All the other air coolers, including the C14, are behind those two. So, you have a pretty easy choice if you want the best air cooler out there.

    Both the D14 and SA will outperform a Corsair H70 even though the H70 has much faster spinning (and louder) fans. I don't think they'll outperform an H100 since the H100 has a 2x120 radiator, but I think the two top air coolers shouldn't be far behind the H100. And both cost considerably less than an H100 or even H70/H80.

    As tested by Xbitlabs, the H70 with 2x1980 RPM fans still can't match an air cooler with 2x1270 RPM fans. The Corsair H80 is similar to the H70, with a slightly different block design and even faster and louder (2500 RPM) fans compared to the H70.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Idontcare

    Idontcare Elite Member

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  11. 996GT2

    996GT2 Diamond Member

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    Yeah, although you can get a pretty decent estimate of H100 performance vs. the NH-D14 from the numbers of the H70 posted in that chart.

    The D14 is usually 4-5C better than the H70, and even with the H70's fans on max speed (2000 RPM) the D14 is still a bit ahead.

    I'm not sure you can really trust HardOCP's testing methodology, though. First of all, they use a temp probe on the CPU, so the actual core temps are not what's being measured. Also, in their D14 review they have it as being worse than an Ultra-120 Xtreme, which is just ridiculous.

    This chart should be a more accurate representations of how all the coolers compare to each other:

    [​IMG]
     
    #11 996GT2, Jul 29, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  12. Patrick Wolf

    Patrick Wolf Platinum Member

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    Slap an HR-02 on it. It's not just quiet, but dead silent. If it holds back your OCing just put a quiet 120/140mm fan on it. :thumbsup:
     
  13. MentalIlness

    MentalIlness Platinum Member

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    Does the Corsair H100 work with AM3+ motherboards ? 990FX ?
     
  14. Idontcare

    Idontcare Elite Member

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  15. Spikesoldier

    Spikesoldier Diamond Member

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  16. RussianSensation

    RussianSensation Elite Member

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    I spent some time reading reviews and realized that most reviews tend to compare the coolers at Low, Medium or High fan speeds. The reviewers then proceed to simply list out the dB and temperatures in a chart. However, that tells us little about how comfortable those fan settings are (unless you can easily tell the difference between 40 vs. 42 vs. 48 dB, etc.).

    Finally, I found this video review which limited the top air coolers to only 40 dB using a fan controller: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLJxEWPrEDs

    Fast forward to 9min:30sec to see that 40 dB at 15 cms is pretty quiet. This drops to only 31.5 dB 1 meter away.

    The testing involved a Core i7 920 @ 4.3ghz with 1.42V:

    All of the coolers were equipped with 2x140mm fans, limited to 40 dB using a fan controller, MX-3 thermal paste was used for consistency:

    Thermalright Silver Arrow = 84*C
    Noctua NH-D14 = 92*C
    Prolimatech Megahalems Super Mega = 95*C
    Thermolab BARAM 2010 = 97*C

    Another great cooler they didn't test though was the Thermalright Archon with 2 x TY-140mm fans.

    As you can see, the Noctua NH-D14 which performed extremely well in most reviews such as Vortez is actually louder than the Silver Arrow. So once its fan speeds are dropped to about 950-1000 rpms (40 dB), it is no longer able to maintain its leadership positioning.

    I myself just grabbed the Silver Arrow at Mwave.com for $70. Just call them and ask for free shipping (since they were offering it last week and say that you missed it by a couple of days). I don't doubt that the H100 is the more powerful cooler (esp. in a push/pull config). However, at $120, it's $50 more expensive, and it appears that it achieves the best performance at much higher noise levels based on that HardOCP review.

    As an added bonus, SA ships with Thermalright Chill Factor III, which is one of the better thermal pastes.

    If you are ok with the added noise levels, a 3x120mm radiator water cooling system will be about 10*C better than the top air coolers. However, things change completely once you start comparing them at similar noise levels:

    "If we compare our today’s hero, Swiftech H2O-X20 Edge, against the today’s best air cooler [Thermalright Archon], we have to keep in mind the acoustic performance of both these systems and we are going to get to it in the next chapter of our article. However, even now it already becomes obvious that in its quietest mode with all fans at 950 RPM and the pump at 2150 RPM Swiftech H2O-X20 Edge is only 2°C better than Thermalright Archon with its default fan TY-140 at 1260 RPM." - Xbitlabs

    The H2O-X20 costs $320! You can add another fan to the Archon and you'll have a very quiet air cooler within a hair of that water cooling system for 3x less cost.
     
    #16 RussianSensation, Aug 3, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  17. Idontcare

    Idontcare Elite Member

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    Wow, very nice! I'm going to pick up a SA to cool my planned HTPC build.
     
  18. RussianSensation

    RussianSensation Elite Member

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    The H70 isn't very good. If you actually run it with fans at reasonable noise levels, then it's not even better than Corsair's A70. The A70 is often on sale for $30 on Amazon with rebates. Compared to the top air coolers, the H70 is simply behind.

    The H80 on High also can't seem to outperform the Noctua NH-D14.

    Perhaps, we'll have an even better air cooler shortly in the form of the Deepcool Assassin. With so much competition from top air coolers, I am not really understanding how the all-in-one water cooling systems became so popular. Perhaps, a lot of it has to do with the cool factor and aesthetics of water cooling.
     
    #18 RussianSensation, Aug 3, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  19. RussianSensation

    RussianSensation Elite Member

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    IDC, if you don't mind, take some pics of the H100 once you have it installed. I have read that in some cases there isn't enough clearance between the top of the case and the bottom of the motherboard --> specifically with clearance in the Push/Pull configuration interfering with the the 8-pin CPU mobo adapter often located in the very top of modern motherboard.

    Can't wait to see your temps at overclocked speeds :)
     
  20. Idontcare

    Idontcare Elite Member

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    Will do! I intend to have it in a push-pull config too.
     
  21. 996GT2

    996GT2 Diamond Member

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    There was actually another review from a big review site that showed the SA greatly lagging behind the D14 when both were pushed to their limits...to the point were the SA was no longer safe for the CPU. The author stated that he repeated the tests several times and got the same results each time.

    Edit: here you go:

    http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/cases_cooling/thermalright_silver_arrow_vs_noctua_nh-d14/1

    At 4.2 GHz, the Silver Arrow is slightly edging out the NH-D14. However, at 4.4 GHz, the Silver Arrow seems to hit a performance wall where the NH-D14 does not. The test was repeated on an open bench and inside a case, with the results being the same.


    [​IMG]
     
    #21 996GT2, Aug 5, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2011
  22. Seferio

    Seferio Member

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    I think the H100 and the D-14 will perform very similarly depending on your fan configuration. If you do a 4x push/pull setup with your H100 I can imagine it performing quite well even if you use decently quiet fans.

    For the price it probably wasn't worth it, but hey it's a new machine might as well get some new stuff to play with lol.
     
  23. Idontcare

    Idontcare Elite Member

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    Yeah I'm getting ready to install the H100 and I'm wondering if I should go with the pre-applied TIM paste that is already on the water block or if I should clean it off and use a brand-name TIM like AS5 or TX-2.
     
  24. 996GT2

    996GT2 Diamond Member

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    Heatsinks usually come with way too much TIM applied by default, so it's probably a good idea to clean it off and apply yourself.

    AS5 is no longer the standard for a high performance TIM, so if you want to gain an extra few C you should look at a newer/better TIM. AC MX-2, MX-3, and MX-4, Noctua NT-H1, and TR Chill Factor are all better choices. If budget is no concern, there's also Indigo Xtreme.
     
  25. RussianSensation

    RussianSensation Elite Member

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    The review you linked has been questioned all over the Internet. It's one of the few reviews out of 15 or so where the SA lost. Otherwise, the SA beats the NH-D14 by 1-2*C, while also being significantly quieter.

    It's hard to believe he had problems with the 950 i7 (4C) @ 4.4ghz @ 1.45V when the SA holds the world record for air cooling by getting a Core i7 970 (6C) to 5.0ghz at 1.52V.

    The NH-D14 sells with a 140/120 fan combo (not 140x2) and tends to be $5 more expensive in the US. I mean you really can't go wrong with either cooler as far as performance goes (or say if you can buy one significantly cheaper).

    The Thermalright TY-140 fan also proved to be one of the best, unlike the NF-P14; and you get 2 of them.

    So overall, you get 2 acoustically superior 140mm fans, while achieving similar or better performance for $70. This makes the SA an excellent alternative to the NH-D14 at the same price in the US market imo. Of course the Noctua has a 6-year warranty and they'll send you free mounting brackets for new sockets.

    hehe, can you do both for us? Use the standard paste first and do some testing, then redo it with TX-2. I tested TX-2 on E6400 @ 3.4ghz, Q6600 @ 3.4ghz, Core i7 860 @ 3.9ghz. In my experience it outperformed the AS5 by 2-3*C in each of those systems. Other reviews show a mixed bag: AS5 one of the worst and again here vs. AS5 one of the best.
     
    #25 RussianSensation, Aug 6, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011