The long-awaited introduction of AMD Ryzen processors not only breathed new life into the company, allowing it to significantly improve its position in the market, but also spurred Intel to develop competitive solutions with a corresponding cost. The biggest beneficiaries of this were buyers who finally had a choice and hope for further price cuts. And to further consolidate their success in the upper segment, AMD followed up with the birth of multi-core Threadripper, which is distinguished not only by high computing power, but also by a huge corresponding heat dissipation and a specific TR4 socket. A natural question arose, but how to cool these “furnaces”? After all, okay mount, it can be easily done. But the heat-distributing cover of the processor also has a non-standard rectangular shape, which is hardly suitable for traditional cooler bases. Asetek was the first to orientate itself, which suggested that AMD add a special mounting frame to the kit with all Threadripper processors, suitable for all its CBOs, including those licensed by other brands. Following them, other CBO manufacturers began to produce mounting kits and water blocks for their systems. But this fundamentally did not solve the problem with the insufficient size of the base. And as far as air coolers are concerned, so far, only Noctua has bothered to completely redesign the sole of its cooling systems to fit the mechanical dimensions of the TR4 connector. Therefore, in this review we will focus on them.
Night NH-U14S TR4-SP3
By the standards of the computer industry, this cooler is no longer a novelty. We did a review of its universal prototype, designed for various sockets from Intel and AMD, back in the middle of the distant 2013, and you can familiarize yourself with it at this link. The cooler hasn’t changed much since then, so we won’t delve into its design features in detail.
Packing and scope of delivery
The packaging has become more compact. More than enough information about the technical characteristics and advantages of this cooling system is given here. Internal protection against damage is implemented using massive cardboard inserts.
The fan cooler is packed in an inner box, and the necessary accessories are packed in a separate box, which lists their names and shows the appearance. As a result, complete with a cooler is:
- installation instructions;
- adhesive metal Noctua logo;
- thermal grease syringe Noctua NT-H1
- four rubber dampers for additional fan Noctua NF-A15;
- Decreasing maximum speed adapter LNA NA-RC7 (75 mm long);
- two mounting brackets for the second fan;
- hex screwdriver with ballpoint.
The Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 is a fairly massive heatsink with a classic U-shaped heatpipe design. The only Noctua NF-A15 PWM fan remained in the kit, although among the accessories there are brackets for mounting a second such propeller on the back.
On other sockets, this cooler had almost no problem regarding the conflict between the fan and RAM. And TR4, as we will see later, does not have such a problem.
The mounting holes of the Noctua NF-A15 PWM are the same as the regular 120mm models, but the dimensions of the frame outline are not symmetrical. We have 25 mm in thickness, 140 mm in height, and 150 mm in width. The colors of the impeller and frame are traditional for an Austrian company. The angle of attack of the blades is balanced to achieve a balance between static pressure and air volume. The fan frame is equipped with removable vibration-isolating pads. The impeller speed range is from 300 to 1500 rpm and is controlled by PWM. We remind you that retail models with the same markings have a limit of 1200 rpm. The maximum noise level on the radiator does not exceed 52 dB (A), without any special parasitic overtones. Four-pin power cord, 200 mm long.
The shape and dimensions of the radiator remained unchanged: 165 mm in height, 150 in width and 52 mm in thickness. The only thing that has disappeared is the metal rod, which was previously inserted in the center in both clusters of heat pipes and played the role of an additional rigidity frame.
Six 6-mm heat pipes in the body of the radiator are separated in the form of a hexagon (when viewed from above), and two in a row in the front projection. This ensures optimum heat distribution.
The cooler has 51 large and six small radiator fins, located with a gap of 2 mm relative to each other. Approximate total heat dissipation area is 8200 cm². Heat pipes are not in contact with the base along the entire length. Closer to its edges, they are raised above the grooves.
Heatpipes are soldered to the heatsink fins at all points of contact, in the best traditions of Noctua. But from aerodynamic optimizations, there are only teeth located closer to the edges of the plates.
Mounting strips are placed directly on the base and are screwed with two hexagonal screws each. They provide for the possibility of shifting the cooler at a distance of 3 or 6 mm from the PCI slot. If necessary, remove the fixing screws and move them to the appropriate position engraved on the slats. The fastening screws on the slats are also designed for a hex screwdriver and are spring loaded.
The base of the cooler is solid, copper and nickel-plated on top to prevent corrosion. Its size is 70×56 mm. The sole is very even, from a certain angle, small radial grooves left by the cutter are clearly visible on it.
Mounting Noctua coolers on the TR4 socket is as simple as possible and does not require any preliminary preparation. The main subtlety is only in the method of applying thermal paste. Since the size of the processor cover is very large, the instruction recommends putting nine small drops of thermal interface (3–4 mm in diameter) on it first, and then four large drops (5–6 mm) according to the scheme, as shown in the figure below. Then crush them with a cooler. This process is best shown in the official video.
Due to the size of the cooler, you have to tighten the four fixing screws at an angle, having previously dismantled the fan. Luckily, the included screwdriver makes it easy to do this. Naturally, the screws should be tightened evenly and alternately.
Upon completion of the process, we put the fan back on and connect it to the power supply.
With RAM, the fan does not conflict with either side, which is good.
But there is a conflict with expansion slots. The first PCI-E slot will be covered completely. And in order not to interfere with the second slot, the cooler will probably have to be moved away from it by 3 or 6 mm, changing the standard position of the mounting brackets.
The print turned out to be very good, which indicates the even sole of the cooler and the relatively flat lid of our bench processor. As you can see, the processor is completely covered by the base of the cooler, and even with a small margin at the edges.