Noctua NH-C12P SE14 Review

Posted Jan 7, 2010
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The choice between performance and aesthetics can at times can be really frustrating. When money is not the deal breaker, but space or décor constraints are the limiting factors, the situation can be very annoying. This is especially true when you are in the market for a processor cooler that must fit your computer case. If you are space constrained, or you just can not stand the sight of the Stackers and Cosmoses of this world and you want a top of the line cooler for your computer then Noctua has something special in store for you

The review is divided into 13 sections.

  1. Introduction
  2. Presentation
  3. The Noctua NH-C12P SE14 – SE for “Special Edition” 14 for “140mm fan”
  4. NH-C12P SE14 –A Closer Look
  5. The Fan
  6. Accessories bundle & On-line resources
  7. Official Specs
  8. Cooler Installation
  9. Testing
  10. Results
  11. Noise Levels
  12. Price/ Performance
  13. Conclusion

INTRODUCTION

Noctua is renowned for its line of processor coolers and high performance computer fans. Like Dior, Chanel, Ferrari of this world, top quality products carry a premium with them. This is well justified at times and in the case of Noctua that is certainly the case. The company’s products are relatively expensive as compared to many others. Notice I said “relatively”. If you look at the entire package, Noctua is usually at par or maybe even at a lower price point than its competitors. Goodies like extra fans, universal mount kits, and a complete installation kit are some of the extras that accompany Noctua’s processor coolers. Pair this up with top of the line quality of their products and the price does not seem high at all. In fact I’d consider them a good deal. The Noctua NH-C12P SE14 is a revised version of their NH-C12P.

PRESENTATION

The NH-C12P SE 14 comes in a slightly larger than average sized box for a processor cooler. The box follows the standard Noctua design. If you have ever bought a Noctua product in recent times, you will have no problems spotting the box in a busy store shelf. The front of the box has a small window that shows a part of the 140mm fan that is new to the second edition of the NH-C12P. It also highlights its salient features and that is about it. The single piece of information provided here which is most pertinent for prospective buyers is “high compatibility”.

More on this a little later in the article.

The back of the box describes the main features of the cooler in some detail. The information is accompanied by large icons, which are self explanatory. A picture is worth a thousand words, Noctua’s presentation is worth at least a couple of thousand words.

The top flap lists the cooler’s specifications. The heat-sink and fan specs are listed in two separate columns. The two sides of the box describe the cooler’s features in languages other than English and its dimensions respectively. Enough information is available on the box to adjudge if it will fit in a space conscious enclosure. This, I believe, is more important than fancy graphics or large windows, which might be eye catching but provide little or no useful information. I can’t really find anything to complain about the packing. It is sturdy and provides relevant information. And it is not drabby brown or overtly flashy

THE NOCTUA NH-C12P SE14. – SE for “Special Edition” 14 for “140mm fan”

The NH-C12P SE14 is a top down cooler. These are few and far in between in a world dominated by tower (i.e: front-back) coolers. The last great top down cooler was the Thermaltake Typhoon series, especially their “Big Typhoon”. Of course all Intel stock coolers are of the standard Top-down type. Ditto for AMD. But they are not exactly cutting edge. If they were there, both you and I won’t be here, but probably be tinkering and tweaking performance using stock coolers. The NH-C12P SE14 differs from its predecessor in two ways:

  1. The provision of Secufirm2 mounting system
  2. The 140mm NF-P14 fan which replaces the NF-P12 120mm fan

Like most top down coolers, the NH-C12P is a “C” type design in profile. There are however Noctua specific variations to the standard “C” design. There are airflow gaps in the heat sink which allows a large volume of air to flow over the motherboard components and lower their temperature. The heat-sink weighs about 550 grams. Add the 140mm fan and the weight increases to 730 grams. Not heaviest of the coolers around. As with every Noctua cooler, the accessories package is complete. You will not have to order extra bits to install the cooler in your computer, even if you have the latest Intel socket 1156 processors.

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