A standard cooler is supplied with nearly all retail boxed CPUs, which guarantees adequate cooling performance under normal operating conditions. Enthusiasts however are rarely satisfied with the performance of stock CPU coolers, seeking either better overall performance or lower noise levels. This is especially true for those who are planning to overclock their systems, as the supplied coolers usually don't have the extra performance required for handling overdriven processors.

However, the selection of a CPU cooler is a complicated matter. It depends on the available space, the user’s needs and wants, as well as on the available budget. For example, some users might require high performance but low profile coolers due to limited space, while others may have spacious cases and high enough budgets to afford a huge dual-tower cooler.

In today's review we will be having a look at some of the most popular single tower 140 mm CPU coolers currently available. Considering that height usually is the primary concern with CPU coolers, single tower 140 mm coolers virtually have the same space requirements as the dual tower 140 mm coolers do. Their distinct advantages however are much lower weight and significantly more competitive pricing. This makes them ideal for users that do have the available space, but do not require the performance of a dual-tower behemoth or move their system often, in which case the cooler’s weight becomes a major safety concern.

Thermalright True 140 Direct, Phanteks PH-TC14S, Be Quiet! Shadow Rock Slim, & Noctua NH-U14S

The four coolers that we are taking a look at in this roundup review are the: Noctua NH-U14S, Phanteks PH-TC14S, Thermalright True Spirit 140 Direct, and the Be Quiet! Shadow Rock Slim. All four of these coolers have similar space requirements and pricing, but they are certainly not created equal. We will have a closer look at their individual strengths and weaknesses in the following pages of this review.

140mm Tower CPU Coolers
Product Fan(s) Fan Speed (RPM) Height (mm/in) Current Retail Pricing
Noctua NH-U14S 1 × 140 mm 1500 RPM 165 mm / 6.5” $65
Phanteks PH-TC14S 1 × 140 mm 1300 RPM 160 mm / 6.3” $50
ThermalRight True Spirit 140 Direct 1 × 140 mm 1600 RPM 161 mm / 6.34” $47
Be Quiet! Shadow Rock Slim 1 × 140 mm 1400 RPM 161 mm / 6.34” $50
Noctua NH-U14S
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  • JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - link

    For online comments, there's shills, then there is everyone else. Shills which are just trying to spread around this meme that X company's products are the best thing sliced bread.

    Just buy whatever you want, regardless what anyone else thinks. Don't pay brands any particular attention, just buy the best product you can for the best price you can and pocket your savings.
  • mgilbert - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - link

    Nice, mature response, with the name calling and all. Grow up, then read the actual review. The reviewer said the same thing I did. Now, go read a few more reviews of coolers, and you'll find that virtually all of them agree with this review. Noctua is expensive, but worth it. Generally I agree with you - it doesn't pay to go by brand name - but there are exceptions, and Noctua is one of them.
  • close - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - link

    Noctua also costs a lot more than the competition. So when you're adding 35% to the price tag of any of the other products tested then you usually expect better performance (not mandatory though). So drawing the conclusion that Noctua is king of the hill in general isn't that useful.

    So... there are expensive products, then there are cheaper products :). For some people 35% markup might not be worth the extra performance.
  • WinterCharm - Thursday, May 25, 2017 - link

    So? If you want the best you often have to pay more for it.

    The "best" is the best.

    If you want the "best within a price bracket" THEN you can finagle and weigh things against each other.
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - link

    Does Noctua pay you in stock, dividends, or a salary to promote their products online? If not, why do you go out of your way to promote free advertising to another company who you owe nothing to? You made your trade; your money for their product, there's no stipulation that you have to continue to sing praises for their company for other people to be more negotiable to give that same company more money for more products.

    Likewise, if you're upset about being called out on literal shilling, then it's really you that needs to grow up.

    Additionally, the performance roundup review written by E. Fylladitakis doesn't have anything in common with your post, which you attribute as stating that "(t)he reviewer said the same thing I did". Fylladitakis makes no catch-all branding statement. They evaluate the four products, they make the measurements, they compare the measurements, then make a conclusion about the products based on the measurements.

    YOU, however, are making a blanket statement about all performance CPU cooling products developed by Noctua being "superior in virtually every respects, especially quality and support."

    Those statements can't be anymore unalike in any way. The former was a controlled experiment to evaluate product performance followed by an analysis of the products, the latter (your comment) is an opinion; void of any metric of data or analysis.

    If you look at the thermal performance in this roundup, it shows that the Thermalright cooler (at $47, the cheapest of the four measured in this roundup) to have the best thermal performance at low temperature loads (where most performance PCs, the target audience of these $50 tower cooling solutions, stay outside of gaming or benchmark loads), theorized by Fylladitakis to be due to the direct contact design of the heatpipes, and a close-second (literally 16.6 vs 16.8 degrees Celsius delta over ambient, figures well within a margin of error of measurement) at 150W loads (where most overclocked mainstream CPUs will sit at full load), and still competes closely at completely unrealistic synthetic 340W loads.

    So given a $47 price for the Thermalright vs $65 price for the Noctua, given similar performance figures, it's pretty apparent which has the better value for mainstream performance PCs.
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - link

    I love a vigorous discussion, but you guys need to cool it, please. There is no place for profanity here on AnandTech.
  • mgilbert - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - link

    Yet, my post gets deleted, but not his, despite its divisive, hateful, argumentative, obtuse, disrespectful, inappropriate nature. Sounds like four letter words aren't the only thing not allowed on Anandtech. Fairness has no place, either.
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - link

    I have made my ruling. I give you guys exceptional leeway as I believe you need to be free to discuss technical matters, but I draw the line at profanity and pointless ranting. You guys are done, please move on.

    If you wish to discuss it in private please email me.
  • fanofanand - Thursday, May 25, 2017 - link

    We love you Ryan! Even when we complain, whine and moan about x, y, or z not being tested the specific way WE would do it, we love you!

    Ruh-roh, now I"m shilling for Anandtech! Don't worry, my username checks out.
  • JackNSally - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - link

    I have to agree, Noctua is the best. I do recommend the Hyper 212 for budget builds though.

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