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Secrets of the D14 - Ch 1: Introduction and Solo 140mm fan results (56K warning)

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
Secrets of the D14


You think you know your D14?
Well, you don’t: this heatsink is full of surprises.

Chapter 1 - 140mm fans in the center position (link)
Chapter 2 - Fan Positions (link)

Chapter 3 - In and Out Games (link)
Chapter 4 - Very Quiet and Ultra-Quiet Operation (link)
Chapter 5 - Quiet Operation (link)

Associated Links:

How to mount three fans on a D14 (link)
Adapting Gentle Typhoons and other fans for the D14 (link)
The Well Dressed Megahalems – comparing 65 fans (link)


0.A. Introduction

My original plan, when I bought first a Megahalems, was to run my computer at 4GHz, quietly. It has to be quiet because the computer sits a half meter (20 inches) from my left ear. I was able to cool the system adequately with a Megahalems, but not quietly. Would another heatsink do better? How about a Noctua NH-D14? It was and is famous for quiet cooling.

The D14 is a big beast, no doubt about it. It has a nickel-plated copper block that sits on the CPU. Through it run six heatpipes that end up in two stacks of heat exchanger fins. It looks like two towers. Throw in a couple of fans and the whole thing weighs more than a kilogram.

Various reviews put the D14 slightly ahead of such cooling stars as the Prolimatech Megahalems and the Thermalright Venomous X. And it’s an easy beast to use: just attach the sturdy back bracket to the motherboard, put on some of the excellent thermal paste that comes in the box, screw down the heatsink, clip on the two included fans, and you’re good to go, right?

Right. You’re good to go. You will have a heatsink that cools with the best air coolers out there. You will get less than 30 decibels of noise. It is without doubt one of the best single packages of heatsink and fans you can buy, a phenomenal balance of high cooling and low noise—and easy to install. And after you buy it, no more decisions are needed: just strap it on and you’re done.

D14_with_stock_fans_002.png

D14_with_P14_and_P12_-_underside_11.png

You’re done. Right. Unless . . .

Hmm. It seems that I have a lot of fans left over from my study, “The Well Dressed Megahalems.” (link) The original collection of 65 fans has grown, and most of them are just sitting in boxes. Then I’ve got this D14 that I bought when I thought the Megahalems wasn’t going to be able to cool my CPU enough, much less do so quietly. Hmm. What if I tested a few fans on the D14? Just one or two, right?

R-i-g-h-t. As if I could stop with one or two fans. I made hundreds of test runs with various fan combinations on my D14. I thought I’d share my results. But then I was unable to exactly reproduce said results on different days, or even on the same day. So I learned a lot, but I had nothing I could publish. Turns out that with complicated systems it can be very hard to produce absolutely consistent results. So now I have put together a testing system that does get me consistent results, which I will share with you as I get them.

Note that this is an exploration, not simply a comparison of fans (I do a lot of that too, of course). I will use big fans as well as little ones, often with no fan in the middle, sometimes with a shroud in the middle. I also will explore unusual configurations. We’ll see how they do.


First I’ll look at how single 140mm fans perform in the center position. Is the Noctua NF-P14 the best fan for that position?

Then I’ll look at fan position. What works best? Push, center or pull? When it comes to a two-fan situation, how does a push-center configuration compare to a center-pull, for example? Will using the latter reduce performance? If so, how much?

Next I’ll look at airflow balance. In the earlier round of testing I learned that you can improve airflow up to a certain point. Above that and a downstream fan starts being an impediment to cooling. Is there a way to predict this?

I’ll add a bunch of fans to try to get better cooling while keeping the system at or under 30 dB. What happens if you put the stock Noctua fans in the center and pull positions and add different push fans? What happens if you put the Noctua fans in the push and center positions and add a pull fan? Is it worth it? For that matter, are three fans better than two?

Then we’ll play and look at things like push-push and compare it to the standard push-pull arrangement. With that gap in the middle, all sorts of possibilities come to mind. Might be fun. Might learn something.

Then – ah, to heck with trying to stay quiet. Let’s see what this baby can really do. How about a 38mm fan on a D14? How about . . . well, let’s just see.
Edited by ehume - 11/5/11 at 6:46pm
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post #2 of 81
Thread Starter 
0.B. The Setup

CPU - Intel i7 860
Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD3P
Memory - 4x2GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 2000
Storage - Kingston SSD V+ 64GB
OS - Windows 7 64-bit
Video Card - Powercolor Radeon HD 3450 256MB (low profile, fanless)
Power Supply - Antec TruePower New TP-750 Blue 750W (semi-modular)
Case - Homemade test bench
SPL meter - Tenma 72-942
Stress Test - OCCT 3.1.0 running Linpack, default settings. This gives the highest temps my system has ever produced.

3.5GHz mild overclock (3486 GHz)
BCLK = 166MHz x 21
hyperthreading (HT) and load line calibration (LLC) enabled
memory multiplier: 8x (1328MHz)
Vtt = 1.15v, Vcore (CPU voltage) set to 1.250v
PCH = 1.12v, PLL = 1.8v, Vdram -> 1.62v, runs at 1.616v

4GHz hot overclock (4004 MHz)
BCLK = 182MHz x 22, HT and LLC enabled
mem 8x (1456MHz)
Vtt = 1.19v, Vcore set to 1.31250v (runs at 1.312 – 1.328v)
PCH = 1.12v, PLL = 1.8v, Vdram -> 1.62v, runs at 1.616v


The D14 is oriented east-west on the motherboard. OCCT is set to run test + 5m because each run includes 1 minute idle before the test, and 4 minutes idle after.

The mean temp for cpu1 (the hottest running core) is calculated from the comma-separated-values (csv) list produced by OCCT at the end of each run. The mean temp is not an average of all the temps recorded during each run. There is a range of temps when the cpu is running at or near 100%. Between those bouts the temps will drop precipitously. For overclockers the hottest temps are the important ones. We want to know what the hottest temps are, not the overall average. So a graphic image of the temperature trace is examined for each run to see where CPU core 1 was running at its hottest. Then the csv list is examined. A mean is taken of the collected readings of those hot temps — 99-100% cpu usage — and rounded to the nearest 0.1c.

The Sound Pressure Level is noted as dBA (A-weighted decibels) 10cm from the center slot, and recorded to the closest 0.5 dB. Recording sound levels from the side levels the playing field between one, two and three fans: measuring from the face would disadvance setups with push fans.

The SPL measures are converted to a theoretical 1 meter equivalent by subtracting 20 decibels. When quiet, the basement has an ambient SPL of less than 10 dBA. In multiple measurements the SPL usually has varied no more than 0.5 dBA. Remember, though, that all of these measurements are relative to each other. These are not absolute readings. You can only get an approximate notion of how loud these fans are in an absolute sense.
Edited by ehume - 3/6/11 at 3:02pm
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post #3 of 81
Thread Starter 
0.C. Mounting Fans on the D14

The most convenient way to mount push and pull fans on the D14 is to use Prolimatech Meghalems clips for either 25mm or 38mm fans. Providentially, they fit perfectly. (link)

You can use Noctua clips. Noctua will even send you a set of clips, pegs and pads for a third fan if you ask them to do so. But these work best with Noctua fans. For other brands you must adapt the fans to fit the pegs and clips.

For center fans and shrouds you can either use the Noctua system or ziptie screws (link). There isn’t room for the Megahalems around-the-back clips. An additional wrinkle: Noctua fan flanges are thinner than those of other brands. When you try to use the pegs, they don’t stick through far enough to be useful. So the non-Noctua fan must be adapted.

The brute force method is to cut out any closed corners, then file down the flanges so they are as thin as Noctua fan flanges. This works, but it is time consuming and you must take care not to put your palm down on the fan as you file: you can bend an axle.

The advanced method is to use a 9/32-inch or 8mm drill to enlarge the screw hole part-way through. The wide part of a Noctua peg will fit inside the widened part of the screw hole. If you do it right the peg will protrude through the flange far enough to work just fine. I strongly recommend just holding the drill in your hand. The plastic is soft, so you don’t want to drill too far too fast. This way works fine, takes far less time than the file method and you run less risk of ruining your fan. I put together a how-to tutorial (link).

The above works for fans that have 120mm screw holes.



KM2-1200_on_D14_001.png


This includes 120x25mm fans, and such 140mm fans as the Noctua NF-D14, the Thermalright TY-140, and the 140mm Kaze Maru and Kaze Maru 2 (Slip Stream 140) fans from Scythe. Apparently there are some others for sale, but I have not used them.

As for standard 140mm fans, they can be tested in the D14, but other than with zipties I am not sure how to mount them. In the case of my motherboard there is a MOSFET-cooling heatsink that interferes with a standard 140mm fan. If such a fan is to be mounted on a D14 on my motherboard, one corner would have to be cut away; and the fan would still need to be mounted.



Aero_Cool_Shark_14cm_on_D14_2_.png
Edited by ehume - 3/11/11 at 6:30pm
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post #4 of 81
Thread Starter 
1. 140mm fans in the center position

The D14 comes with two fans – a 120mm NF-P12 and a 140mm NF-P14, both 25mm thick. They are designed to operate as push (the P12) and pull/push (the P14), with the P14 sitting in the center slot between the two towers. But how about a single fan sitting in the center? How would it do?

I made two sets of fan runs, one set at 4GHz with a Vcore of 1.312v, and another at 3.5GHz and Vcore = 1.25v. I did the lower OC runs were because some fans, or some fans on resistor wires, simply cannot cool a D14 enough for the temps to stay within safe limits.

Tests were run 90 minutes for the 4GHz runs, 30-45 minutes for the 3.5GHz runs.


The contenders:

AeroCool Shark 140mm, without and with a resistor wire (link)
Enermax T.B. Silence 140mm (link)
Evercool RSF-14 (link)
Masscool SLC-FD14025 (link)
Noctua NF-P14 (the stock 140mm fan), without and with the U.L.N.A. resistor wire (link)
Noctua NF-P12 + Noctua NF-P14, without and with the U.L.N.A. resistor wire — the stock fan set, for reference (link)
Prolimatech Blue Vortex 14 (link)
Scythe Kaze Maru 1200rpm and 1900rpm (link)
Scythe Slip Stream 140 (a.k.a. Kaze Maru 2, KM2) 800rpm, 1200rpm and 1700 rpm (link)
Thermalright TY-140 (link)
Thermalright X-Silent 140 (link)
Yate Loon D14SL-12, D14SM and D14SH (link)

140mm fans at full 4GHz overclock:

Solo_140mm_fans_4GHz.png


Solo_140mm_fans_4GHz_by_TOA.png


Solo_140mm_fans_4GHz_by_SPL.png




As you can see, the stock combo is hard to beat for a single fan. The TY-140 is quieter but does not cool as well as the stock pair. It does cool substantially better than the stock NF-P14 as a solo fan. Significantly quieter as well. Call the TY-140 the quiet winner of this round, and the Yate Loon D14SH-124B (140mm with blue LED’s) and D14SH-12 (no LED’s) the loud winners. Of the 140mm fans with 120mm screw holes, the Scythe Slip Stream 140 (KM2) 1700 is the best cooling fan.

The most surprising result I saw was that the pair of Noctuas was sometimes quieter than a P14 alone. They were never louder. This was a consistent finding between several runs both with these fans and another P12/P14 set I have. I can guess why this might be so, but there it is.

The AeroCool Shark 140mm resistor wire was a failure. I didn’t bother testing the KM2-800 or the Enermax T.B. Silence. Next: 140mm fans at a mild 3.5GHz overclock, hardly more than a normal Turbo Boost for a single core.

140mm fans at 3.5GHz overclock:

Solo_140mm_fans_3_5GHz.png


Solo_140mm_fans_3_5GHz_by_TOA.png


Solo_140mm_fans_3_5GHz_by_SPL.png



The big winner at this cooler OC is the Thermalright TY-140. But from the looks of it, we seem to have some surprise candidates for 4GHz overclocking when we look at two- and three-fan setups.

The bottom line results tell us that most of these fans can cool the D14 all by themselves. Yes, there is some temperature variance, but most of the difference is in noise. Ten deciBels (10 dBA) represents a doubling of noise. It looks like you can get some pretty decent cooling very quietly. As a comparison, it took fans making 40dBA SPL (noise) on the Megahalems to get a TOA of 50c. Even with stock fans you can get that at less than half that noise on the D14. And there are fan setups that are quieter still. Stay tuned.
Edited by ehume - 5/13/11 at 7:34pm
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post #5 of 81
Thread Starter 
Post 5.
Next:
Chapter 2. - Fan Positions (link)
Chapter 3. - In-and-Out Games (link)

Chapters yet to come:



4. Two and Three Quiet Fans, plusAirflow Balance
5. High Performance Fans
Edited by ehume - 7/3/11 at 8:22pm
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post #6 of 81
Nice write up, ehume. Can't wait for the rest of the them. I'm sure this will be very useful for all NH-D14 owners out there, myself included.
Edited by reaper~ - 3/5/11 at 7:44pm
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post #7 of 81
The dolled up D14? tongue.gif

Can't wait for the rest of the write up. If it's at least 50% as in depth as your Megahalems write up, we're all up for a treat. smile.gif
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|Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD| |CM Hyper 212 EVO| |Dell E2414Hx| |Rosewill Capstone 650W 80PLUS Gold| 
Case
|Fractal Design Core 3500| 
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Baldy's Slave
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
|Intel Core i5 4690K| |ASUS Z97-A| |Zotac GTX 660 2GB| |G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3 1... 
Hard DriveCoolingMonitorPower
|Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD| |CM Hyper 212 EVO| |Dell E2414Hx| |Rosewill Capstone 650W 80PLUS Gold| 
Case
|Fractal Design Core 3500| 
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post #8 of 81
Word, loving read detailed reviews.

Also like a synopsis though for things I do not like reading alot on like heatsink reviews smile.gif
24/7
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 d0 Rampage III Formula ASUS EAH4890 OCZ Reapers 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Corsair SSD SATA cheapie 7 x64 28" 22" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
see mouse Corsair 750W Rosewill midtower MS Enteratinment desktop 8000 
Mouse Pad
Taped gel pad thing 
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24/7
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 d0 Rampage III Formula ASUS EAH4890 OCZ Reapers 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Corsair SSD SATA cheapie 7 x64 28" 22" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
see mouse Corsair 750W Rosewill midtower MS Enteratinment desktop 8000 
Mouse Pad
Taped gel pad thing 
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post #9 of 81
Rep for ehume! smile.gif
Fearless~
(20 items)
 
The Intel Side
(18 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T @ 3.8 Asus Sabertooth 990FX EVGA GrillForce GTX 465 SLI Mushkin Blackline 2x4gb 1600mhz [1.5v] 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB WD Caviar Black (1002FAEX)1TB Synology DS210J (4tb) Lite-on DVD Rewriter 16x IDE External 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Noctua NH-D14 Windows 7 Home Premium x64 Samsung Syncmaster E2320 Metadot Das Professional S Silent 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair TX 850 V1 [Original PSH] NZXT Gamma Classic Series Mid-Tower Logitech VX Revolution Razer Sphex 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Asus Xonar DX Klipsch Promedia 2.1 Bose Triport/Klipsch S3 Blue Snowball 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i3 2100 Gigabyte H61M-S2PV Asus GT430 Corsair XMS3 2x2gb 1333mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Intel X-25V 40GB Synology DS210j (4tb) Seagate Barracuda 120gb LG CH12LS28 Blu Ray  
CoolingOSOSMonitor
Thermalright X-Silent 120 Mac OS X 10.8.2 Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Toshiba 46VX700VU 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop 700 XFX 450w Core Edition Silverstone ML03B Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop 700 
AudioAudio
Realtek Onboard Klipsch Promedia 2.1 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core 2 Duo P8700 2.53ghz Apple Logic Board Nvidia Geforce 9400m 4gb @1066 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
Western Digital Scorpio Black 320gb Synology DS210j (4tb) Apple SuperDrive Mac OS X 10.8.4/Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
13" 1280x800 Glossy Backlit Apple Keyboard/OCN Ducky Tenkeyless [MX... 65w Magsafe Aluminium Unibody 
MouseAudioAudio
Apple Trackpad/Logitech MX310 Fiio A1 + Sony Bookshelf Blue Snowball 
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Fearless~
(20 items)
 
The Intel Side
(18 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T @ 3.8 Asus Sabertooth 990FX EVGA GrillForce GTX 465 SLI Mushkin Blackline 2x4gb 1600mhz [1.5v] 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB WD Caviar Black (1002FAEX)1TB Synology DS210J (4tb) Lite-on DVD Rewriter 16x IDE External 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Noctua NH-D14 Windows 7 Home Premium x64 Samsung Syncmaster E2320 Metadot Das Professional S Silent 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair TX 850 V1 [Original PSH] NZXT Gamma Classic Series Mid-Tower Logitech VX Revolution Razer Sphex 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Asus Xonar DX Klipsch Promedia 2.1 Bose Triport/Klipsch S3 Blue Snowball 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i3 2100 Gigabyte H61M-S2PV Asus GT430 Corsair XMS3 2x2gb 1333mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Intel X-25V 40GB Synology DS210j (4tb) Seagate Barracuda 120gb LG CH12LS28 Blu Ray  
CoolingOSOSMonitor
Thermalright X-Silent 120 Mac OS X 10.8.2 Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Toshiba 46VX700VU 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop 700 XFX 450w Core Edition Silverstone ML03B Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop 700 
AudioAudio
Realtek Onboard Klipsch Promedia 2.1 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core 2 Duo P8700 2.53ghz Apple Logic Board Nvidia Geforce 9400m 4gb @1066 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
Western Digital Scorpio Black 320gb Synology DS210j (4tb) Apple SuperDrive Mac OS X 10.8.4/Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
13" 1280x800 Glossy Backlit Apple Keyboard/OCN Ducky Tenkeyless [MX... 65w Magsafe Aluminium Unibody 
MouseAudioAudio
Apple Trackpad/Logitech MX310 Fiio A1 + Sony Bookshelf Blue Snowball 
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post #10 of 81
+1
Tiny Dancer
(20 items)
 
Son's Build
(16 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 6800k Asrock X99e-itx RX Vega 56 Corsair Vengence LPX 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingCooling
Western Digital Black SAMSUNG 960 EVO M.2 500GB NVMe Corsair H75  NF-F12 industrialPPC-2000 PWM  
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
NF-F12 industrialPPC-2000 PWM  Windows 10 BenQ 32" IPS 4K (BL3201PH) Vortex Poker 3 (White with White LED) 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair SF600w Ncase M1 V5 (Silver) Logitech G102 Prodigy (Matte White) Glorious PC Gaming Race XXL Extended 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Soundblaster Omni 5.1 Sennheiser HD 598 kanto Yu2 Desktop Speakers (Gloss White) Kanto Sub 6 (Gloss White) 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Phenom II X6 1055T Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H Asus GTX 660 Ti Corsair Vengeance Pro 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
PNY SSD CS1311  Samsung SSD 830  Samsung Spinpoit F3 Corsair H50 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit Samsung SyncMaster 220wm Coolermaster Quickfire Rapid Antec Neo Eco 520C 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Silverstone FT03B Zowie Mico Steelseries QcK Logitech LS21 2.1 Stereo Speakers 
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Tiny Dancer
(20 items)
 
Son's Build
(16 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 6800k Asrock X99e-itx RX Vega 56 Corsair Vengence LPX 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingCooling
Western Digital Black SAMSUNG 960 EVO M.2 500GB NVMe Corsair H75  NF-F12 industrialPPC-2000 PWM  
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
NF-F12 industrialPPC-2000 PWM  Windows 10 BenQ 32" IPS 4K (BL3201PH) Vortex Poker 3 (White with White LED) 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair SF600w Ncase M1 V5 (Silver) Logitech G102 Prodigy (Matte White) Glorious PC Gaming Race XXL Extended 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Soundblaster Omni 5.1 Sennheiser HD 598 kanto Yu2 Desktop Speakers (Gloss White) Kanto Sub 6 (Gloss White) 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Phenom II X6 1055T Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H Asus GTX 660 Ti Corsair Vengeance Pro 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
PNY SSD CS1311  Samsung SSD 830  Samsung Spinpoit F3 Corsair H50 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit Samsung SyncMaster 220wm Coolermaster Quickfire Rapid Antec Neo Eco 520C 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Silverstone FT03B Zowie Mico Steelseries QcK Logitech LS21 2.1 Stereo Speakers 
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Overclock.net › Forums › Cooling › Air Cooling › Secrets of the D14 - Ch 1: Introduction and Solo 140mm fan results (56K warning)