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Battle of the Coolers
Noctua NH-D14 vs CoolerMaster Hyper 212+



Introduction

Well, I recently got the Noctua NH-D14 cooler from another dude for cheap. Decided this would be the best time to retire my awesome Hyper 212+.

Had a small scare at first, since the Noctua website listed the TA890FXE as "incompatible" with the cooler due to the nature of the chipset heatsink on the motherboard. However, my fears and doubts were unfounded as the cooler fit snugly on my motherboard. It didn't even interfere with my top 140mm fans, as well as my side panel on my Lexa S.

Of course, I was absolutely elated when I found out the cooler fit so well in my case and motherboard. Hence, I have decided to write a short comparison between the NH-D14 and the Hyper 212+.

The Coolers

CoolerMaster Hyper 212+
Among the tens and hundreds of coolers out in the market, the Hyper 212+ has to be one of the best bang for buck coolers ever released, among the Scythe Mugen 2, Xigmatek Dark Knight, Titan Fenrir etc. Considering it could be found for as low as $30, and comes with a great heatsink fan (CM Blademaster), it manages to be affordable for the cost conscious, yet offer temps which other $50~ heatsinks can't even achieve.





Noctua NH-D14
Probably the best cooler out of the box. Rather pricey, coming in at $80-90, and also one of the biggest heatsinks you will see. However, the value factor for this cooler is still very evident. Comes with two good, silent fans --- the NF-P14 and NF-P12, top grade TIM (NT-H1) among other accessories you'll find in the massive box.





The Test Bed

Here are the specs of the test bed which will be utilized in this review:

CPU: Phenom II X4 B55
Motherboard: Biostar TA890FXE
RAM: Kingston HyperX DDR3 1800 2GB (2 x 1GB)
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500GB
Graphics Card: Palit GTS 250 512MB
Power Supply: ThermalTake Toughpower 750W
Case: NZXT Lexa S
Sound Card: HT Omega Claro

The CPU which will be abused during this minor test will be the Phenom II X2 555 BE. I have unlocked it to a quad core and OC'd it to a modest 3.8GHz in order to make sure that there is enough heat supplemented during the test in order to allow both coolers to really stretch their legs. VCore has been set to a subtle 1.425V in the BIOS.





Testing Methodology and Measures

Stress test in order to obtain load temps was Intel Burn Test. Ran it for a total of 5 runs. Maximum temp is displayed on HWMonitor during the test.

Don't have the proper equipment with me in order to make sure that the ambient temp is kept constant during the course of both tests. However, I conducted both tests when the temperature during the day was 32C, and kept the Air Conditioner running at a constant 24C.

The TIM that was used during the course of the test was OCZ Freeze. Utilized the acclaimed "2 line" TIM application method on the Hyper 212+, and the "rice grain" TIM application method on the NH-D14.

2 Zalman F3 Blue LED 120mm fans were used on both coolers. The fan orientation was in a push pull format --- with the airflow moving towards the rear exhaust fan on my case.

Repeated the test on the CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ twice, as the temps on my first try seemed rather...off...



Shouldn't be getting 70C~ on my Hyper 212+...so had to remount the cooler in order to get more appropriate temperatures. Got a much more accurate representation of the cooler's performance after that. Knew this for a fact as I have owned this cooler for a rather long time, and have remounted it many times during this period. Realized I applied too much TIM during the last mounting, hence bringing up an adverse effect.

DO NOTE THAT ON AN UNLOCKED CPU, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO KNOW THE EXACT CORE TEMPS AS THE TEMP SENSOR IS DISABLED WHEN ACC IS ENABLED. WILL BE USING CPU TEMPS AS A FORM OF MEASUREMENT.

CORE TEMPS WERE ROUGHLY 11C~ LOWER THAN CPU IHS TEMPS WHEN ON A DUAL CORE, SO WE CAN USE THIS AS A REFERENCE.


The Test:

CoolerMaster Hyper 212+

Idle Temps: 38C
Load Temps: 61C

(Forgot to take the SS during this test. Thought I had taken it as I had saved a file known as "Hyper 212+ Results", only to realize that was the results of the botched test. My bad.)

Noctua NH-D14

Idle Temps: 35C
Load Temps: 53C



Conclusion:

Both heatsinks have amazed me one way or another. The Hyper 212+ for it's amazing performance given it's price; the NH-D14 given it's spectacular performance, as well as potential. I have not even played around with the 3 fan feature on the NH-D14 as I wanted to keep the test with the least amount of variables possible. Might even attain a temp improvement by adding a third fan or shroud in the middle of the heatsink.

The Hyper 212+ manages to stay within 10C of the range of the NH-D14 on load temps whilst being only 1/3 the cost price. Really earns it's name as one of the best ever bang for buck coolers available in the market.

The NH-D14 offers incredible temps out of the box which only coolers such as the Cogage Arrow, Silver Arrow and Venomous X can keep up with. If performance fans such as a couple of San Aces' or Deltas' are used, the unfounded potential which has been unfounded in this review will definitely be shown (refer to ehume's NH-D14 fan orientations for reference), and only the Silver and Cogage Arrow would be able to match it.

All in all, I recommend both heatsinks, albeit for different purposes.

The Hyper 212+ for people who are tight on cash and have only around $40 to spend on a cooler AND a heatsink fan (the CM Blademaster actually beats out the Zalman F3 in terms of being a heatsink fan I believe, refer to ehume's "Well Dressed Megahalems" review). Very few coolers in this price range can match the Hyper 212+ in terms of cooling performance.

The NH-D14 for enthusiasts who want the best of the best cooling without wanting to spend hundreds of dollars on a custom water cooling set-up. It's an absolute behemoth, so you must make sure that your case supports this giant cooler. Otherwise, it's an awesome choice for a cooler, and you probably won't be able to find any added improvements by changing to any other cooling method on the market, besides water, phase or LN2.


That's all for now, hope you enjoyed my first ever review on OCN.
 

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short but good review
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Quote:

Originally Posted by SniperXX View Post
Nice post!

Quote:

Originally Posted by runeazn View Post
short but good review


Thanks guys! Really loving this cooler now. After 3 hours of nonstop folding and counting, I'm still loading at only 53C, which is pretty awesome considering my ambients.
 

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nice write up.

I would like to add that if you are lucky enough to have a Micro Center near you, the 212+ sometimes can be had there for $19.99, so for that price, i will say that it is definitely the best bang for the buck cooler. Lately, that's all i've been using in my builds.

Great cooler.

-D
 

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It would have been nice if the CM hyper 212+ was also fitted with a second fan to really see a good comparison. Trying to find a good replacement for my beloved 212+ but if the difference is small I'm sticking to this one!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Quote:

Originally Posted by bucd View Post
nice write up.

I would like to add that if you are lucky enough to have a Micro Center near you, the 212+ sometimes can be had there for $19.99, so for that price, i will say that it is definitely the best bang for the buck cooler. Lately, that's all i've been using in my builds.

Great cooler.

-D
Wow $20 at Microcenter? That's an absolute steal.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Icejon View Post
Nice write up! However, this is a totally unfair comparison. It's like Paris Hilton throwing down with Oprah in a apple pie eating contest.

What about comparing the NH-D14 vs the Cooler Master V6GT?
Of course we all knew who would win in this comparison. However, note that the CM Hyper 212+ is only a fraction of the NH-D14's price, yet can still perform decently.

I myself have never seen an extensive review done to show the difference between the lower tier and the higher tier air coolers, and wanted to find out for myself. I am sure there are also many other Hyper 212+, or Xiggy DK, SM2...owners who are also interested in this, and are wondering if spending more money to upgrade to a new cooler would be worth it.

Hence, I wrote this comparison. Not entirely accurate, but it should serve as a decent enough reference.


Quote:

Originally Posted by mark_thaddeus View Post
It would have been nice if the CM hyper 212+ was also fitted with a second fan to really see a good comparison. Trying to find a good replacement for my beloved 212+ but if the difference is small I'm sticking to this one!
The Hyper 212+ fan also had a Zalman F3 push/pull set-up on it. Both coolers were tested with a push/pull set-up.


8C is not exactly a "small" difference. When you are looking for the most radical OC on air, every degree counts.

Also, if you are using something like an i7, the difference might even be greater since the i7's output much more heat, hence the NH-D14 will really be able to show it's cooling prowess.


Quote:

Originally Posted by HobieCat View Post
I like your wallpaper (Hayley)...oh, and the review was good too lol


Thanks!
 

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Didn't read the test completely and missed the part where you mention push / pull setup!


Since it is, then definitely 8C is a big gap!
 

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The only thing that would probably stop me from getting this is its size, it's just so huge!

But I'm down to either this one or the TT Frio, it's a tad bit smaller and performs well:

http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Quote:

Originally Posted by mark_thaddeus View Post
The only thing that would probably stop me from getting this is its size, it's just so huge!

But I'm down to either this one or the TT Frio, it's a tad bit smaller and performs well:

http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm

The Frio is a decent cooler. However, it does not quite have the cooling capabilities of the NH-D14. It's better than the Hyper 212+ though, I believe.

Get something like the Megahalems, or the Venomous X instead. Both are great coolers.
 
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