heading

Product discontinued. Successor model: NH-D15

Having received more than 250 awards and recommendations from the international press, Noctua's NH-D14 has become a benchmark in premium quality quiet cooling. The SE2011 version is a special edition for Intel's Core i7-39xx/38xx (Sandy Bridge-E) high-end platform and comes equipped with the new SecuFirm2™ mounting system for LGA2011. Combined with the exquisite NF-P12/NF-P14 dual PWM fan configuration and topped off with Noctua's renowned NT-H1 thermal compound, the NH-D14 SE2011 is an elite choice for an elite platform.
Details
Award-winning NH-D14 cooler

Award-winning NH-D14 cooler

Tens of thousands of enthusiast users all over the world swear by the NH-D14's quality and performance. Recommended by more than 250 international hardware websites and magazines, it is renowned to be one of the best high end coolers on the market.
6 heatpipe dual radiator design

6 heatpipe dual radiator design

Providing more surface area, better heat-distribution and superior airflow efficiency than conventional tower style heatsinks, the NH-D14's six heatpipe dual radiator design was developed to provide ultimate quiet cooling performance in dual fan mode.
Dual NF-P14/NF-P12 PWM fan setup

Dual NF-P14/NF-P12 PWM fan setup

The NH-D14 sports a premium quality dual PWM fan setup consisting of Noctua's award-winning NF-P12 (120mm) and NF-P14 (140mm) fans, both of which feature Vortex-Control Notches, SCD technology and SSO-Bearings in order to achieve a perfect balance of performance and quietness.
Custom-designed PWM IC with SCD

Custom-designed PWM IC with SCD

Supporting fully automatic PWM speed control, the NH-D14 SE2011's NF-P12 and NF-P14 fans use Noctua's novel, custom-designed NE-FD1 PWM IC that integrates Smooth Commutation Drive (SCD) technology. By providing smoother torque impulses, SCD suppresses PWM switching noises and thus make the fans quieter at lower speeds.
Excellent component cooling

Excellent component cooling

Hanging out at the bottom of the fin-stacks, the NF-P14 fan doesn't only contribute to the NH-D14's superb CPU cooling capabilities but also provides massive airflow over surrounding motherboard components and heatsinks, thus ensuring excellent component cooling performance.
SecuFirm2™ mounting system for LGA2011

SecuFirm2™ mounting system for LGA2011

Noctua's enthusiast grade SecuFirm2™ systems meet the highest demands in safety, contact pressure and ease-of-use. Tailor-made for LGA2011, the new NM-I2011 mounting brings the trusted SecuFirm2™ quality to Intel's new Core i7-39xx/38xx platform.
NT-H1 thermal compound

NT-H1 thermal compound

Noctua's much-acclaimed NT-H1 is a pro-grade TIM solution that provides minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease-of-use and outstanding reliability.
NH-D14 SE2011
Cooler Specifications
Intel LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM)
Height (without fan)
160
Width (without fan)
140
Depth (without fan)
130
Height (with fan)
160
Width (with fan)
140
Depth (with fan)
158
Weight (without fan)
900
Weight (with fan/s)
1070/1240*
Material
Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminium (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
Max. TDP
see TDP guide
Fan compatibility
150x140x25 (with 120mm mounting holes), 140x140x25 (with 120mm mounting holes), 120x120x25
Scope of Delivery
  • 1x NF-P14 PWM premium fan
  • 1x NF-P12 PWM premium fan
  • 2x Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.)
  • Y-Split Cable
  • 4x Vibration-Compensators (for using NF-P12 as case fan)
  • 4x Fan screws (for using NF-P12 as case fan)
  • NT-H1 high-grade thermal compound
  • SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit for LGA2011
  • Noctua Metal Case-Badge
Warranty
6 Years
FAN Specification
Model
Noctua NF-P14 PWM & Noctua NF-P12 PWM
Bearing
Max. Rotational Speed (+/- 10%)
1200 / 1300
Max. Rotational Speed with L.N.A. (+/- 10%)
900 / 900
Min. Rotational Speed (PWM, +/-20%)
300 / 300
Max. Airflow
110,3 / 92,3
Max. Airflow with L.N.A.
83,7 / 63,4
Max. Acoustical Noise
19,6 / 19,8
Max. Acoustical Noise with L.N.A.
13,2 / 12,6
Input Power
0,96 / 0,6
Voltage Range
12
MTBF
> 150.000
NH-D14 SE2011
23.02.2012 // Tom's Hardware
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NH-D14 SE2011 Review

Noctua and Zalman are in a dead heat at the top of our CPU temperature chart
Test verdict: "If we trust that Noctua’s competitors put forth their best efforts for this comparison, two years of performance leadership make the NH-D14 deserving of our highest honor. But how valuable is this award, really? The NH-D14 just earned this editor’s very first “Best of Tom's Hardware” in the award's four-year history!" (Thomas Soderstrom, Tom's Hardware)
14.02.2012 // HotHardware.com
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NH-D14 SE2011 Review

The DH-14 is the nicest high performance cooler we've ever tested, and it's the LGA 2011 cooler we'd choose for ourselves out of all the options offered here. [...] Noctua's website is stuffed with intricate product details, while the shipping documentation, how-tos, and included tools are first-rate. Unpacking the DH-14 gives one the impression that Noctua knows you just spent $89 on a cooler, and they've gone out of their way to recognize that fact. None of that would mean squat if the cooler's performance wasn't first rate—but it is.
Test verdict: "If you're looking for one of the best, and quietest air coolers money can buy, look no further." (Joel Hruska, HotHardware.com)
28.12.2011 // LegitReviews.com
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NH-D14 SE2011 Review

The best performing air cooler was the Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 with a temperature of 50.5*C at load. The best performing water cooler was the Corsair H100 with a temperature of 48.67*C, which was less than a half a degree cooler than the Corsair H80 and 2 degrees warmer than the Corsair H100. The Noctua NH-D14 is significantly quieter than the H80 or H100 at full speed and performs at roughly the same level, which is great to see for an air cooler.
Test verdict: "Based on temperature performance and the value analysis of the coolers the winner was the Noctua NH-D14 SE2011! [...] The Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 at $84.95 is the top air cooler when it comes to temperature performance and it should be as it's massive and built right. The NH-D14 SE2011 not only performed very well, but it was very quiet in the process." (Shane Higgins, LegitReviews.com)
14.03.2013 // Hardwareluxx.de
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NH-D14 SE2011 Review

Gemessen mit der Konkurrenz ist der Noctua NH-D14 SE 2011 sicherlich der kompletteste Kühler in diesem Round-up. Der positive Ersteindruck beginnt schon bei der Verpackung und dem umfangreichen Lieferumfang. Aber nicht nur der Kühler selbst, sondern auch das Montagekit und das sonstige Zubehör sind sehr wertig verarbeitet und der Konkurrenz qualitativ überlegen. [...] Die beiden Lüfter des NH-D14 SE 2011 sind auf dem von Noctua gewohnt sehr hohem Niveau und überzeugen mit guter Leistung und einem gleichzeitig angenehmen Geräuschcharakter. Störende Nebengeräusche sind hier komplett Fehlanzeige. Die Montage ist spielend leicht und hat uns von den drei getesteten Lösungen eindeutig am besten gefallen und war auch am schnellsten zu bewältigen. Darüber hinaus bietet Noctua mit sechs Jahren Garantie für den NH-D14 SE 2011 einen langen Garantiezeitraum. Innerhalb dieses Zeitraums werden Ersatzteile, falls nötig, wie bei Noctua üblich meist innerhalb weniger Tage geliefert.
Test verdict: " Aufgrund dieses absolut runden und in sich stimmigen Gesamtpakets, erhält der Noctua NH-D14 SE 2011 unseren Excellent Hardware Award." (Ralf Hähnlein, Hardwareluxx.de)
05.10.2012 // Vortez.net
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NH-D14 SE2011 Review

Since moving our CPU cooling test bench over to LGA2011 Noctua’s D14 was an obvious choice to include within our table of benchmark results. The D14 has been an overwhelming success for Noctua over the last few years and we were keen to investigate whether the SE2011 variant demonstrated the same prowess as it did in our previous review of the original cooler. NH-D14 SE2011 doesn’t disappoint. Noctua continue to give a strong bundle within the packaging; dual cooling fans, thermal paste, low noise adapters, secuFirm 2 and a helpful installation guide tout this as a packaging scheme for others to follow. We’ve been a fan of SecuFirm since the early days as it offers a simple, no-fuss method of installing the cooler to the motherboard. Further to this Noctua pre-attach the mounting screws to the cooler and fan clips to the cooling fans which results in a completely hassle-free installation. The results on the preceding pages demonstrate that the D14 SE2011 can handle Sandy Bridge-E with no questions asked. The thermal design of the heatsink on its own tackles the problem of heat clearly from the passive results. Let’s not forget Noctua were the first to bring to market the dual-radiator design and these guys know what they are doing.
Test verdict: "Priced at £65 the Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 is a quite a pricey product but it’s important to analysis the included items and consider what you get from the whole package; dual fans - 120 + 140mm (at least £10 each), thermal paste (£8) and not to mention a heatsink which offers some of the best heat efficiency available it’s no wonder the NH-D14 SE2011 is an attractive buy." (David Mitchelson, Vortez.net)
23.04.2012 // OverClock Intelligence Agency
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NH-D14 SE2011 Review

The design is unchanged from the original, which of course isn't a knock on this cooler. If you have a good thing going, why change it? Nocta simply adapted the mounting system to work with the high-output LGA2011 platform. It's really a testament to the original design that it can remain unchanged and still cool Intel's latest enthusiast system efficiently. As before, installation is a snap but with LGA2011, it's even easier as there is no backplate to install. The heatsink mounts directly to the CPU socket so you won't have to remove your motherboard to swap to the SE2011. I was able to get the sink mounted in under 10 minutes.
Test verdict: "Much like the original NH-D14, the SE2011 model left us thoroughly impressed at the end of the day. If a massive air cooler with silent fans if what you are after, look no further - Noctua has you covered." (Shawn Knight, OverClock Intelligence Agency)
06.01.2012 // FunkyKit.com
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NH-D14 SE2011 Review

- Very good performance
- Good machined base
- Quiet fans
- Well-built
- Packaged to survive a tornado
- Simple and easy to use mounting
- Included thermal paste is great
Test verdict: "If you are looking for the best performing air heatsink on the market, this is it. The Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 has great cooling performance and is built like a tank." (Dexter Kelble, FunkyKit.com)
15.12.2011 // LanOC.org
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NH-D14 SE2011 Review

We already know the NH-D14 is a great performing heatsink, my question is how well does it perform up against the Intel water cooling. Right from the beginning I knew that this solution would be quieter than Intel’s Water cooling but I wasn’t sure about the actual cooling performance. While using RealTemp to register temperatures on every core we let each sit for an hour to get our idle temperatures then ran prime95 for an hour for our load temps. We averaged each of the 6 cores temperatures together for our final scores. All of the testing was done at 69 degrees Fahrenheit ambient temperatures. Our results were surprising! The NH-D14 out performed in both idle and load testing by a considerable amount, all while running at a much lower noise level. The Intel Water Cooling does a good job considering the heat that the i7-3960X puts out, but the Noctua blew it out of the water, no pun intended.
Test verdict: "I know we have covered the NH-D14 before, but it still always amazes me both because of its size and its performance. Even when put up against the good performance of the Intel Water Cooling the NH-D14 still managed to look impressive. [...] This is a perfect heatsink for the enthusiast focused LGA2011 socket CPU’s." (Wes Compton, LanOC.org)
11.11.2014 // Hardaily.com
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NH-D14 SE2011 Review

Lo que más destaca de ambos modelos es su excelente relación entre el rendimiento, la sonoridad y el bajo consumo (elevada eficiencia energética, algo que carecía el veterano modelo NH-D14, por no incluir la tecnología PWM).
Test verdict: "Los disipadores Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 (más el kit de montaje Noctua NM-i115x) y Noctua NH-D15 están altamente recomendados por Hardaily para procesadores de alto rendimiento de Intel, preferentemente para torres grandes o semitorres anchas." (Raul Planelles, Hardaily.com)
29.11.2013 // Hardwaremax.net
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NH-D14 SE2011 Review

Mit der überarbeiteten Special Edition für den Sockel 2011 des NH-D14 zeigt Noctua wiedermal ein sehr gutes Produkt mit rundem Paket. Neben der erstklassigen Verarbeitungsqualität und Materialgüte, lassen die im Lieferumfang enthaltenen High-Quality Lüfter den derzeitigen Anschaffungspreis von ca. 69,-€ attraktiv wirken. Trotz seines voluminösen Erscheinungsbildes verfügt der Kühler über eine vorbildlich einfache Montage und zeigt sich im Gesamtpaket als Referenz. Darüber hinaus bietet Noctua wie gewohnt einen 6 Jahre langen Garantiezeitraum in dem Ersatzteile binnen kürzester Zeit geliefert werden.
Test verdict: "Wie zu erwarten stellt sich der NH-D14 SE2011 als Referenz auf." (Torsten Hasch, Hardwaremax.net)

Installation Manual (PDF)

Information Sheet (PDF)

FAQs

How can I check whether my case is wide/high enough for the cooler?

How much clearance for RAM or chipset coolers does the NH-D14 provide?

Can I use Corair Dominator RAM with the NH-D14?

Can I install 3 fans?

Can I install 38mm depth fans?

The supplied y-cable is missing a wire at one of the two connectors, is it faulty?

I get a CPU fan error despite the fan is running!

I get a CPU fan error using my Noctua PWM fan, is it faulty?

Does the mounting-system support LGA2011 based Xeon CPUs?

Can I get a free LGA115x or AMD mounting kit for the NH-D14 SE2011?

How should I clean my Noctua cooler?

Can use the NF-A15 fan on my Noctua CPU cooler?

Which Noctua coolers are compatible with LGA1150?

I’ve used all the NT-H1 thermal compound that came with the cooler, can you send me more?

Which sockets are supported or can be supported using upgrade kits?

Is the cooler compatible with the LGA2011-3 socket?

Is it a problem that the CPU heatspreader is not covered completely by the heatsink base on LGA2011-3?

My Noctua PWM fan starts to spin when the PC boots but then stops, what is wrong?

My Noctua PWM fan runs at a much higher minimum speed than advertised, what is wrong?

What Thermal Design Power (TDP) is this cooler recommended for and how much Watt (W) of heat can it dissipate?

Can I install a Noctua cooler in my system from Dell, HP or Lenovo?

I'm experiencing fan speed issues with my motherboard from Supermicro, what can I do?

Why doesn't the base of Noctua coolers have a polished, mirror like finish?

How to remove the base protection cover?

Should I take the cooler off before transporting my system?

Can I install a 140mm fan with a square frame (e.g. NF-A14)?

How can I check whether my case is wide/high enough for the cooler?

In order to check whether the cooler isn’t too high for your case, please measure the distance from the motherboard tray to the side panel (tower cases) or top panel (desktop cases). If this distance is bigger than the height of the cooler + 15mm (mainboard spacers + mainboard + CPU), the height/width of your case should be sufficient.

How much clearance for RAM or chipset coolers does the NH-D14 provide?

The NH-D14 provides 44mm clearance for near-socket components:

Vibration Compensators Installation

Can I use Corair Dominator RAM with the NH-D14?

The NH-D14 is a large cooler that extends over the RAM slots on most mainboards. While DDR2 Corsair Dominator don't fit underneath the cooler, DDR3 Corsair Dominator do fit when the removable top heatsink is taken off as shown below. Please also note that the NF-P12 fan can be moved upwards or taken off in order to improve RAM compatibility as shown here.

DDR3

Can I install 3 fans?

The cooler doesn’t include mounting hardware for a third fan as most setups will have a chassis fan right behind the cooler. In this case, adding a third fan to the heatsink doesn’t offer a measurable performance benefit and can lead to acoustic disadvantages.

Can I install 38mm depth fans?

As the distance between the two radiators is only about 28mm, you can’t install fans with more than 25mm depth. It’s possible to install such fans on the front side of the cooler though.

The supplied y-cable is missing a wire at one of the two connectors, is it faulty?

No. As mainboards can process only one rpm-signal per fan header, it would cause problems if the cable transmitted rpm-signals of both fans. For this reason, one of the two connectors does not have an rpm wire and only the fan on the other connector will transmit an rpm signal. Automatic speed control of both fans will work independent from the second fan’s rpm signal.

I get a CPU fan error despite the fan is running!

Some mainboards display a CPU fan error when the fan speed falls below a certain threshold, e.g. 900rpm. If you want to run the fan below this speed (e.g. using the supplied U.L.N.A.), please adjust the threshold in the BIOS or disable CPU fan error warning.

I get a CPU fan error using my Noctua PWM fan, is it faulty?

Noctua PWM fans feature a minimum speed of 300rpm to allow for ultra quiet operation when your CPU is at idle state and doesn’t require higher cooling performance. Some mainboards display error messages such as “CPU fan error” during the booting process when the fan speed is below a certain level. If you get such error messages using your Noctua PWM fan and if such options are available in your BIOS, please either adjust the minimum fan speed monitoring limit to 200rpm or increase the minimum PWM duty cycle. If your BIOS doesn’t offer these options, please disable CPU fan errors. For detailed information on BIOS fan settings, please consult your mainoard’s manual or contact your mainboard manufacturer.

Does the mounting-system support LGA2011 based Xeon CPUs?

There are two different types of ILM (Independent Loading Mechanism) for Intel’s LGA2011 based Xeon CPUs: Square ILM with 80x80mm hole spacing and Narrow ILM with 56x94mm hole spacing. The Square ILM socket is mechanically identical to the LGA2011 socket for Core i7, so the mounting-system is fully compatible, but it is not compatible with Xeon mainboards that use the Narrow ILM:

Xeon Compatibility

Can I get a free LGA115x or AMD mounting kit for the NH-D14 SE2011?

Please note that the NH-D14 SE2011 is a special edition cooler for LGA2011, so we can not offer mounting kits for other sockets free of charge. If you want to use this cooler on LGA115x, please consider buying an NM-I3 or NM-i115x kit from a local reseller. There is no AMD mounting kit for the NH-D14 SE2011.

How should I clean my Noctua cooler?

Dust: Fans and heatsinks inside computer cases tend to accumulate dust over longer periods of usage. In order to maintain maximum performance, please clean your fan and heatsink regularly. For cleaning, please first remove the fan from the heatsink and clean it using a duster, slightly moist tissue or canned air. Please be careful not to use too much force in order to prevent any damage to the fan. Please do not use a vacuum cleaner as this may apply excessive force to the fan and do not put the fan under running water as water residues inside the motor may lead to short circuits. Please also note that the fan is not designed to be taken apart by the user. Removing the impeller from the frame will break the sealing of the bearing and results in a loss of warranty. Before reinstalling the fan, clean the heatsink itself with a duster or vacuum cleaner. Finally put the fan back on and connect it to your motherboard fan header or fan controller.
Thermal paste residues: Whenever you take off the heatsink from the CPU, we recommend to clean the CPU as well as the base of the cooler before re-applying thermal paste and re-installing the cooler. You can either just wipe the base and the CPU clean with a dry, lint-free tissue or, for more thorough cleaning, use a lint-free tissue moistened with either a mild solution of washing-up liquid or isopropyl alcohol. Do not put the cooler or CPU under running water. Note that both the base of the heatsink and the CPU should be dry, free from residues of thermal compound and free from grease before re-applying thermal paste and re-installing the cooler.

Can use the NF-A15 fan on my Noctua CPU cooler?

The NF-A15 is fully compatible with the NH-U12P, NH-C12P and NH-C12P SE14. On the NH-D14 and NH-C14, the NF-A15 fan can only be installed using optional fan clips. For this, please contact our customer service.

Which Noctua coolers are compatible with LGA1150?

The mounting is identical on all LGA115x sockets (LGA1150, LGA1155, LGA1156). The following coolers are thus compatible with LGA1150 out of the box and don’t require any upgrades in order to be used on this platform: NH-C12P SE14, NH-C14, NH-D15, NH-D14, NH-L12, NH-L9i, NH-U14S, NH-U12S, NH-U12P SE2, NH-U9B SE2. In addition, all older models which have been upgraded with the NM-I3 kit can also be used on LGA1150 without any further upgrades.

The following coolers can be made compatible to LGA1150 using the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit and are eligible for Noctua’s free mounting kit offer: NH-C12P, NH-U12, NH-U12F, NH-U12P, NH-U12P SE1366, NH-U9, NH-U9F, NH-U9B.

The following coolers can be made compatible to LGA1150 using the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit but are not eligible for Noctua’s free mounting kit offer: DX-Series Xeon coolers, NH-D14 SE2011.

The following coolers are mechanically incompatible with the NM-i115x Upgrade-Kit and can not be made compatible with LGA1150: DO-Series AMD Opteron coolers, NH-L9a.

I’ve used all the NT-H1 thermal compound that came with the cooler, can you send me more?

Please kindly note that the NT-H1 thermal compound supplied with our coolers is a consumable item so our manufacturer’s warranty does not include providing additional thermal compound. You can purchase NT-H1 from our resellers.

Which sockets are supported or can be supported using upgrade kits?

Please refer to our socket compatibility chart.

Is the cooler compatible with the LGA2011-3 socket?

Yes. Due to the heatsink mounting mechanism being identical on LGA2011-0 and 2011-3, the cooler supports both types of LGA2011-3.

Is it a problem that the CPU heatspreader is not covered completely by the heatsink base on LGA2011-3?

No. Depending on the orientation of the cooler, 1-2mm at the outer edge of the heatspreader may not be covered by the heatsink base. As the heat is concentrated at the center of the CPU and the outermost parts are irrelevant for heat-transfer, this is no problem at all.

My Noctua PWM fan starts to spin when the PC boots but then stops, what is wrong?

Some mainboards feature 4-pin fan headers that actually don‘t use a PWM signal on Pin 4 to control the fan speed but rather reduce the voltage on Pin 2 (like a standard 3-pin fan header). In this case, it may occur that the mainboard reduces the voltage so much that the fan stops. Please refer to your mainboard manual to check whether or not your mainboard has 4-pin fan headers that control the fan speed by reducing voltage on Pin 2 rather than by changing the PWM duty cycle on Pin 4:

4 pin fan header types

Note that mainboard manufacturers use different terms to indicate that Pin 4 is not being used for PWM control (e.g. “+5V”, “VCC” or “NC”), but if one of these terms is used, you can be sure that the fan header does not support PWM. If Pin 4 is described as “Speed Control” or “PWM” or the like, you can be sure that the fan header supports PWM.

Unfortunately, the description of Pin 2 is not always a clear indication as some manufacturers use terms such as “Fan PWR” or “Power” for both types of fan headers. However, if Pin 2 is described as “Speed Control”, you can also be sure that the fan header does not support PWM based speed control. If Pin 2 is described as “+12V”, this is a clear indication that the fan header supports PWM.

Please also note that in some cases, the descriptions of the pin layouts in the mainboard manuals may not be correct and some models actually allow you to switch the fan headers from voltage control mode to PWM control mode in the BIOS even though the pin descriptions do not indicate PWM support. We thus recommend to look for these options in the BIOS before taking other measures. In case of doubt, please contact your mainboard manufacturer.



To resolve the issue, you can:

  1. Choose a higher fan speed profile in the BIOS (e.g. „normal“ instead of „silent“, etc.) or deactivate automatic fan speed control and use a Low-Noise Adaptor instead.

  2. Use the mainboard‘s fan speed control software or 3rd party tools like Speedfan to regulate the fan speed. Unlike BIOS based fan speed control, the supplied software usually checks whether the fan has stopped and increases voltage accordingly or at least offer more options to set up the fan properly.

  3. If your mainboard features other 4-pin fan headers that use PWM for speed control, you can run multiple fans from these headers using Y-split cables. Make sure not to exceed the specified maximum power draw of the fan headers (usually 10-12W) though.

My Noctua PWM fan runs at a much higher minimum speed than advertised, what is wrong?

The specified minimum speed refers to the speed at 20% PWM duty cycle. There can be several reasons why the fan doesn‘t go as low as indicated:

  1. Many mainboards do not go below 40%, 50% or even 60% PWM duty cycle on case fan headers. Please refer to your mainboard manual to verify whether the fan header actually goes down to 20% duty cycle. If that's not the case, in some cases you can use the fan speed control software supplied with your mainboard to overcome these limitations and reduce the fan speed even further. However, 3rd party tools like SpeedFan offer greater flexibility and better options to work around the limitations imposed by the mainboard vendors.

  2. Some mainboards feature 4-pin fan headers that actually don‘t use a PWM signal on Pin 4 to control the fan speed but rather reduce the voltage on Pin 2 (like a standard 3-pin fan header). As the fan speed at minimum voltage is usually higher than the speed at 20% PWM duty cycle, the fan can not reach as low minimum speeds under voltage control as under PWM control. Please refer to your mainboard manual to check whether or not your mainboard has 4-pin fan headers that control the fan speed by reducing voltage on Pin 2 rather than by changing the PWM duty cycle on Pin 4:

    4 pin fan header types

    Note that mainboard manufacturers use different terms to indicate that Pin 4 is not being used for PWM control (e.g. “+5V”, “VCC” or “NC”), but if one of these terms is used, you can be sure that the fan header does not support PWM. If Pin 4 is described as “Speed Control” or “PWM” or the like, you can be sure that the fan header supports PWM.

    Unfortunately, the description of Pin 2 is not always a clear indication as some manufacturers use terms such as “Fan PWR” or “Power” for both types of fan headers. However, if Pin 2 is described as “Speed Control”, you can also be sure that the fan header does not support PWM based speed control. If Pin 2 is described as “+12V”, this is a clear indication that the fan header supports PWM.

    Please also note that in some cases, the descriptions of the pin layouts in the mainboard manuals may not be correct and some models actually allow you to switch the fan headers from voltage control mode to PWM control mode in the BIOS even though the pin descriptions do not indicate PWM support. We thus recommend to look for these options in the BIOS before taking other measures. In case of doubt, please contact your mainboard manufacturer.


    If your mainboard features other 4-pin fan headers that use PWM for speed control, you can run multiple fans from these headers using Y-split cables. Make sure not to exceed the specified maximum power draw of the fan headers (usually 10-12W) though.

What Thermal Design Power (TDP) is this cooler recommended for and how much Watt (W) of heat can it dissipate?

Please refer to our TDP guide for information on maximum recommended TDP and heat dissipation.

Can I install a Noctua cooler in my system from Dell, HP or Lenovo?

Systems from Dell, HP or Lenovo often use motherboards which differ slightly from the specifications issued by Intel and AMD. While those changes are usually subtle, they can led to compatibility issues with coolers that where built to comply with these specifications.

Even in case the cooler is mechanically compatible and can be instaled, other issues can occur, e.g. proprietary fan connectors, BIOS errors due to a low fan speed, shutdowns, etc. Some of these problems can be avoided with some technical knowledge, but especially BIOS related can often not be resolved.

Due to the large number of possible issues with systems from Dell, HP and Lenovo, which can't be resolved with different mounting parts alone, Noctua does not officially support such machines.

I'm experiencing fan speed issues with my motherboard from Supermicro, what can I do?

The BIOS of many motherboard models from Supermicro expects a certain minimum fan speed (usually 700rpm), which is higher than the minimum fan speed that can be achieved with Noctua's PWM fan models. The BIOS may interpret the low minimum RPM of Noctua fans as a fan error and thus try to run the fan at 100% for a short period before going back to automatic control.. This can result in oscillating fan speeds and fan speed warnings in the BIOS or the fan management console.

Unfortunately there is usually no option to set a lower minimum value that would suit the low minimum speed of Noctua PWM fans.The issue can thus only be resolved by either disabling automatic fan speed control in BIOS, which will cause the fans to run at a constant speed, or by requesting a modified BIOS file from Supermicro, which takes the minimum fan speed of Noctua fans into account (charges might apply).

Why doesn't the base of Noctua coolers have a polished, mirror like finish?

As most of today's PC enthusiasts use high-viscosity thermal compounds, the contact surface of Noctua coolers is optimised for use with this type of pastes. The micro-grooves at the contact surface ensure that high-viscosity thermal compounds are dispersed to a uniform thin layer across the whole contact area and that no air pockets remain between the cooler and the CPU. With a polished, mirror like surface, the risk of uneven dispersion is much higher. As too thick layers of thermal paste and air pockets drastically deteriorate heat transmission, the micro-grooves are is of vital importance to the overall cooling performance of Noctua coolers when used with today's high-viscosity thermal pastes.

How to remove the base protection cover?

Noctua CPU coolers are shipped with a plastic protection cover at the bottom side of the cooler, which protects the contact surface against scratches and other damage.

The base of Noctua CPU coolers is made from hard-wearing nickel plated copper, so there's nothing to worry about if you buy a Noctua cooler from second hand or if your cooler didn't come with a protection cover. Please proceed with the installation as explained in the manual.

You can simply remove the cover as shown below:

Base Protection Cover

Should I take the cooler off before transporting my system?

As it is not possible to reliably calculate or control the forces that act upon a system during transport (e.g. in shipping), we generally recommend, due to safety reasons, to take off the cooler. Noctua cannot be held responsible for any damage that may arise due to excessive stress during transport if you keep the heatsink installed.

Can I install a 140mm fan with a square frame (e.g. NF-A14)?

No. Square 140mm fans like the NF-A14 would cause compatibility issues in many configurations and use a hole spacing of 124.5mm. The cooler's fan clips are designed for 105mm hole spacing as used by round 140/150mm and square 120mm fans.

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