How to Buy the Right CPU Cooler: A Guide for 2020 — Tom’s Hardware
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One of the most important decisions when building your PC, especially if you plan on overclocking, is choosing the best CPU cooler. The cooler is often a limiting factor to your overclocking potential, especially under sustained loads. Your cooler choice can also make a substantial difference in noise output. So buying a cooler that can handle your best CPU’s thermal output/heat, (be it at stock settings or when overclocked) is critical to avoiding throttling and achieving your system’s full potential, while keeping the whole system quiet.
If you already have an idea of what you’re looking for, check out our tested list of the Best CPU Coolers. If not, we’ll help you identify what type of cooler you need for your desktop PC, depending on your CPU and the things you do with it. Are you a heavy overclocker or do you prefer silent operation (or both)? Do you like a plain appearance or lots of RGB lights?
CPU Coolers come in dozens of shapes and sizes, but most fall into one of three primary categories: air, closed-loop or all-in one (AIO) coolers, or custom / open-loop cooling setups. Note that open-loop coolers are by far the most complex and expensive choice, though they can deliver unparalleled cooling results and unsurpassed looks. For a prime example of what can be achieved with a custom loop, see our Mirror Maze build, with its clear coolant and many mirrored surfaces.
Those looking to build an open-loop setup for the first time may want to check out Corsair’s HydroX lineup. It simplifies the process by walking you through selecting the right parts for your case, and provides video tutorials to ease installation. Don’t expect a HydroX setup to be anywhere near as affordable as a closed-loop or air cooler, however. Custom cooling setups are expensive, no matter whose parts you buy.
Air coolers, made of some combination of metal heatsinks and fans, come in all shapes and sizes and varying thermal dissipation capacities (sometimes listed as TDP). High-end air coolers these days rival many all-in-one (AIO) liquid coolers that have become popular in the market over the past several years.
AIO or closed-loop coolers can be (but aren’t always) quieter than air coolers, without requiring the complications of cutting and fitting custom tubes and maintaining coolant levels after setup. AIOs have also become increasingly resistant to leaks over the years, and are easier to install. But they require room for a radiator, so may require a larger case than some air coolers.
If a high-end air cooler or AIO isn’t sufficient for the clock speeds you’re trying to achieve, the next step would be to go for a fully custom cooling loop with larger radiators able to remove even more heat from the system. In general, the larger the radiator on the AIO or custom-loop cooler, the better it will perform (although things like flow rate and fin density also come into play). But if you aren’t aiming for the best possible overclocks with a powerful high-end desktop (HEDT) CPU, there’s no practical reason to opt for a cooler with a massive three-fan radiator. For most mainstream platforms, something more modest will suffice.
Performance isn’t the only reason people look into buying a new cooling device for their PC. Quiet operation is often also a key consideration, especially if you’re building or upgrading a media PC for the living room or an office PC in an environment where fan noise would be disruptive. Plenty of enthusiasts and gamers prefer a quiet system.
The included coolers bundled these days with most AMD and Intel CPUs (Intel’s unlocked “K” SKUs notably don’t come with coolers) will generally do an adequate job, but Intel stock coolers, in particular, may not be as quiet as you’d like, even at stock CPU settings.
Here’s a quick comparison of some of the pros and cons of air and liquid cooling, to help narrow down your considerations. If you know what basic type of cooler you’re after, be sure to check out our picks for the best coolers of 2020. There you’ll find all of our favorite options for air and liquid cooling, based on years of testing hundreds of models.
|Liquid Cooling Pros||Liquid Cooling Cons|
|+ Highest cooling potential||— Price is generally higher (and price to performance ratio is typically lower as well)|
|+ Fewer clearance issues around the socket||— (Slim) possibility of component-damaging leaks|
|Air Cooling Pros||Air Cooling Cons|
|+ Price is generally lower (better price to performance ratio)||— Limited cooling potential|
|+ No maintenance required||— Increased fitment issues around the socket with memory, fans, etc)|
|+ Zero chance for leaks||— Can be heavy/difficult to mount|
- Own a recent Ryzen CPU? You may not need to buy a cooler, even for overclocking. All Ryzen 300- and 2000-series processors and some older Ryzen models ship with coolers, and many of them can handle moderate overclocks. If you want the best CPU clock speed possible, you’ll still want to buy an aftermarket cooler, but for many Ryzen owners, that won’t be necessary.
- Check clearances before buying. Big air coolers and low-profile models can bump up against tall RAM and even VRM heat sinks sometimes. And tall coolers can butt up against your case door or window. Be sure to check the dimensions and advertised clearances of any cooler and your case before buying.
- More fans=better cooling, but more noise. The coolers that do the absolute best job of moving warm air away from your CPU and out of your case are also often the loudest. If fan noise is a problem for you, you’ll want a cooler that does a good job of balancing noise and cooling.
- Make sure you can turn off RGB. Many coolers these days include RGB fans and / or lighting. This can be a fun way to customize the look of your PC. But be sure there’s a way, either via a built-in controller or when plugging the cooler into a compatible RGB motherboard header, to turn the lights off without turning off the PC.
How much can you spend?
Budget is probably the first thing you should consider. In general, air coolers start out much cheaper than alternatives, at around $25 (£19) less than any AIO, and the most expensive air coolers (around $100 or £78) can still be cheaper than many comparable AIOs. In short, you’ll usually get more cooling performance per dollar with an air cooler.
AIO coolers start off a bit higher than air, around $60 (£45), and can run well over $150 (some models in the UK cost over £200) depending on the brand, size, and features. In general, the larger the radiator and more RGB LED fans and lights, the more it will cost. AIO coolers typically work well in RGB LED ecosystems, with their fans supporting not only their own brand’s ecosystem/software but compatible with software from board makers as well.
Finally, building a custom liquid loop will cost the most money by far. Between the radiator, pump, tubing, fittings, and the CPU block, the total cost is going to be significantly higher than a closed-loop kit. What does this increased cost get you? Depending on the configuration, you can can get better performance, as well as the ability to customize the setup completely, with different coolant or tube colors, and the possibility of adding cooling to other components, like the graphics card, as well.
But custom water loops aren’t for everyone, regardless of price. The chance of a leak in a custom system is a lot higher than in a closed system, especially if you don’t have experience building custom cooling loops. That said, when done right, the overall risk of a leak is low.
How do I know what will fit in my system?
Whether you’re opting for air, an AIO, or custom water loop, you need to make sure it’s not too big. Factors here include the CPU socket as well as any potential chassis limitations for things like cooler height or radiator size. Most air coolers and closed-loop coolers offer a wide range of support for both AMD and Intel processors/sockets.
Typically, these devices include mounting hardware for several sockets, increasing compatibility across a wide range of sockets. We usually see the most popular models support Intel 1200, 115x, 2066, and 2011-v3 sockets. On the AMD side, support often includes AM2/AM2+, AM3, AM3+, and AM4.
The notably larger Threadripper processors have their own mounting and larger cold plate areas to better cool the acreage on the integrated heat spreader, so support for those is limited mostly to coolers designed for them, which often have the socket (TR4) name in the product. See, for example, the Noctua NH-U12S TR4-SP3.
On the case side, it’s important to look at specifications for what size heatsink or radiator is supported. Chassis manufacturers usually list the maximum cooler height allowed, and heatsink makers will always list the dimensions of their coolers. Another consideration with air coolers is the amount of clearance under the cooler for the RAM slots. If you plan to use DIMMs with tall heat spreaders on them, you must make sure that your cooler allows enough clearance above the motherboard for your memory.
Below is an example of how dimensions are often listed, from a Noctua cooler manual.
(Image credit: Noctua)
Noctua NH-U12S TR4-SP3
For liquid cooling, either AIO or a custom loop, the number and size of radiators your case will support is key for deciding how many radiators you can install and how big they can be. Case manufacturers also typically list the radiator mounting locations and sizes.
Be careful with top-mounted radiators, because the total height of the radiator and your chosen fans can interfere with the top of the motherboard and its 8-pin power connector. Even if you have enough room, you’ll probably need to make sure that power connector is plugged in before installing your radiator and fans.
What Type of CPU Cooler is best for me, air or water?
If price and ease of install are your primary concerns, an air cooler is likely your best choice. Cooler Master’s under-$40 Hyper 212 RGB offers better performance than stock cooling solutions without adding much to your build budget. For a bit more, one of the best air coolers on the market is the be quiet! Dark Rock 4 ($75).
However, if you want a quieter PC with lower CPU temperatures, a water-based cooler is probably for you. Just plan to spend more money. A high-end AIO with a 280mm or 360mm radiator (like the CoolerMaster MasterLiquid ML360R RGB) will outperform—albeit sometimes not by much—most air coolers on the market. But unless your case is quite large, a three-fan radiator may not fit in your PC anyway.
(Image credit: Cooler Master)
Coolermaster MasterLiquid ML360R RGB
There are also expandable kits available on the market like the Swiftech Drive x3 AIO ($165) which lose the CLC (closed loop cooler) nomenclature, allowing you to expand the cooling loop to other components, much like a custom loop than a sealed kit.
If you’re paying mid-range prices (less than $125) and don’t plan to set any records, both aftermarket air coolers and mid-range AIOs are plenty capable of keeping most processors within safe temperature ranges, including when overclocking. Key differences mostly come down to aesthetics and pricing. Products like the Corsair h200i Pro ($115) fall into this mid-range category, as does the Cooler Master MasterAir MA410M ($63) on the air-cooled side.
Whatever cooler you’re considering, check the TDP rating. In a lot of cases, air and AIO cooler specifications will also list the TDP rating (how much heat the cooler can dissipate), which is a good way to determine the capacity of the chosen unit. If the TDP of your processor is higher than what your cooler lists, chances are your CPU will throttle or your fan will run loud all the time (or both). But if the cooler is rated higher than the TDP of your CPU, temperatures should be lower and so should noise.
Cooler Hyper 212 RGB Black
be quiet! Dark Rock 4
Whether you’re looking to overclock your PC to its highest potential or just prevent throttling at stock speeds, you need to pay close attention to your CPU cooler. If you don’t have huge ambitions and you’re using a Ryzen chip, you may be able to save money by sticking with the stock cooler that came in your box. But otherwise, you should make sure you check the space and TDP requirements before choosing the right solution for your system.
Finding Discounts on CPU Coolers
Whether you’re shopping for one of the products that made our best CPU coolers list or one that didn’t, you may find some savings by checking out our list of Newegg promo codes, Best Buy promo codes or Corsair coupon codes.
Joe Shields is a Freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He reviews motherboards.
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Noctua NH-P1 passive CPU cooler review
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Noctua has done a superb job with the NH-P1. It achieves performance I didn’t quite think possible sans fans, and do so while maintaining the high standard I’ve come to expect from the company.
- Admirable performance
- Requires careful planning
- Pricier than your regular air cooler
From a glance, you might see nothing more than a hulking CPU cooler, but the Noctua NH-P1 is far more exciting than that. As a passive design, it requires no fan to keep your CPU at a stable temperature. Yes, even while gaming. And if you hadn’t already guessed, that’s a pretty big deal for silent PC builds.
The NH-P1 is capable of cooling even high-end CPUs using only natural convection. That’s sort of what makes it a big deal in the cooling world. It does this through a design that’s vastly disparate from your usual chip chiller.
Compare the NH-P1 to the NH-D15 , Noctua’s high-end CPU cooler, and you’ll notice a fair few differences between the two. The most immediate is the density and thickness of the fins that make up most of the cooler’s large size. These fins act as the fundamental heat dissipation method for an air cooler, and strangely the NH-P1 comes with fewer than the tightly packed NH-D15.
That seems somewhat counterintuitive for the passive unit. We’re used to assuming a greater surface area will equate to better cooling potential. Yet as Noctua points out, it’s about reducing airflow resistance with a passive cooler since there’s no fan to help push air through a dense fin stack.
The NH-P1 also features a grid of cut-outs horizontally through the cooler design, which again should help airflow naturally flow across the cooler and importantly sap away the heat transferred into the fins from the heat pipes.
The heat pipes are undoubtedly of major importance here. Sit the NH-P1 side-by-side with the NH-D15, and you’ll notice they’re oriented differently. The heat pipes are actually longest along their horizontal axis, which will undoubtedly impact heat dispersion due to the reliance on gravity for a heat pipe to function.
(Image credit: Future)
Socket compatibility: Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3, LGA1200, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+, AM4
Material: copper base and heatpipes, aluminium fins
Dimensions: 158 x 154 x 152 mm
Weight: 1180 g
Price: $110 | £100
Noctua has also expanded the heat pipe layout to more evenly distribute the heat across the surface area, and each one is soldered to the fins to ensure a continuous connection over time between the two different metals forming the cooler: copper for the base and heat pipes and aluminum for the fins.
The NH-P1 is mechanically sound; there’s no doubt about that.
The key thing here is what all that optimizing nets this cooler under different conditions, especially gaming. To find that out, I’ve put it to the test.
I set up the NH-P1 on our test bench in our air-conditioned office (noteworthy: ambient air temperature will have a significant impact on performance) and ran a few benchmarks: Cinebench R20, x264 benchmark, Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition, and Horizon Zero Dawn.
That’s a mix of gaming benchmarks and, honestly, back-breakingly intensive CPU benchmarks.
The most important thing to note about our test bench is that it’s fitted with a Core i7 10700K. That’s a 125W chip at stock frequencies, which puts it ever-so-slightly above the cooler’s optimal spec. It’s rated under Noctua’s CPU compatibility chart as «compatible with certain restrictions.» Those being the «CPU might fall slightly below base-clock under continuous full-load.»
Not too bad for a CPU architecture famed for its high thermal and power demands.
But I want to see how far I can push the Noctua NH-P1. If you’re considering a system with this cooler, I’d recommend thinking about your overall thermal setup in far more depth.
(Image credit: Future)
CPU — Intel Core i7 10700K
Motherboard — MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi
RAM — Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro @ 3,200MHz
PSU — NZXT 850W
Chassis — DimasTech Mini V2
In operation, the idle performance is immediately a little higher than I might expect from a top liquid cooler today. That said, it’s still within a normal operating range that I would be comfortable with.
The gaming performance is pretty impressive, too. A high of 89°C in Horizon Zero Dawn across multiple runs bodes well for its thermal capability. Metro Exodus at 81°C even more so.
Of course, the admittedly aggressive CPU benchmarks don’t see this cooler fare nearly quite as well. A burst of Cinebench R20 isn’t enough to hit our CPU’s Temperature Junction Maximum (Tj Max), but an extended run is. Within only a few runs, the CPU began to throttle down as temperatures hit a constant 100°C. That’s a completely fine temperature to run at; that’s why Intel sets that as the Tj Max, but it will affect performance for extended workloads.
It’s also worth noting that the CPU never once boosted to its Turbo Boost Max 3.0 frequency of 5.1GHz during my testing. Turbo Boost 3.0 relies on thermal headroom to boost up to the max frequency the chip offers, so the system clearly felt it lacks the NH-P1.
(Image credit: Future)
Yet what this testing tells us is that even in an ill-optimized setup such as our open-bed test bench with minimal airflow, the Noctua NH-P1 provided ample cooling for our gaming benchmarks. I feel that’s pretty impressive, especially when you consider how you can optimize your system to better support the NH-P1.
Noctua goes into extensive detail as to how to do this . Still, the general idea is to get a naturally breathable case, buy a motherboard with ample VRM cooling, select a graphics card that won’t spit out excessive heat (or better yet, an APU), and don’t go overboard with your choice of CPU. Any zero-RPM and semi-passive modes are an advantage, too.
All as much common sense as anything else.
I also tested the NH-P1 with the optional NF-A12x25 LS-PWM fan. Now I feel this somewhat defeats the purpose of the cooler, if only because Noctua’s NH-D15 is cheaper and often very quiet, anyways. It’s at least an option for the niche of a high-performance PC that won’t be easily serviceable, and therefore some redundancy if a fan breaks might be required.
Here are the results with the optional fan:
(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Corsair, Noctua)
Best CPU cooler : keep your chip chilled in style
Best PC fans : super-silent and plastered in RGB
Best PC cases : big, little, and everything in-between.
Clearly, though, the NH-P1 is a niche product with particular use cases, and that comes with some drawbacks.
It’s unlikely to unlock your chip’s maximum potential, and it can’t be paired with a hulking triple-fan enthusiast graphics card for a good reason. All of which will rule it out for many.
And with a higher price tag than we’ve come to expect from your usual air cooler ($110/£100), its specialties also come at a considerable cost.
But I say so what if the NH-P1 is not a CPU cooler to fit all PCs. A silent, failproof, or dust-proof design with far more capability than underpowered passive designs of the past is a huge win for PC builders limited by circumstance. And all it takes is being a little smarter about how you piece your machine together to get it all working relatively harmoniously without even a whiff of active cooling.
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Noctua has done a superb job with the NH-P1. It achieves performance I didn’t quite think possible sans fans, and do so while maintaining the high standard I’ve come to expect from the company.
Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he’s not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you’ll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.
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Best CPU Cooler 2022 — IGN
Air and liquid Coolers for your PC
By Kevin Lee
Updated: Aug 11, 2022 7:27 am
Posted: Jul 26, 2022 3:22 pm
Your CPU may be at the heart of your computer, but in order to let your gaming PC truly run at its maximum potential, you need need to keep it properly cooled.
As your processor works, it can start to get incredibly hot. Once it reaches a high enough temperature, it will dial back its performance levels to cool down. A good CPU cooler ensures your processor stays cooler for longer, so it can run at its fastest speeds as much as possible. That means programs and games that can benefit from your processor ramping up to its clock speeds for maximum performance. With a robust enough cooling solution, you can even keep running at those high speeds indefinitely or push your processor beyond its factory settings. Some can even keep your processor cool without making a ton of noise.
We’ve picked out a range of coolers from capable air coolers to liquid coolers, giving you options that will work in many different types of PC builds.
TL;DR – These are the Best CPU Coolers:
- Noctua NH-D15
- Cooler Master Hyper 212 V2
- Corsair iCue h200i RGB Pro XT
- Corsair Hydro Series H75
- Noctua NH-L9i
- Noctua NH-P1
- Cryorig H7
- be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
- Corsair A500
- ProSiphon Elite
Best CPU Cooler
- See it on Walmart
Compatibility: LGA1200. LGA1151, LGA2066, AM4 | Size (h x w x d): 165mm x 150mm x 161mm | Heatpipes: 6 | Materials: Copper baseplate and heat-pipes, aluminum fins | Fans: 2 x 140mm NF-A15 | Fan Airflow: 82.58 CFM | Fan Pressure: 1.51 mmh3O (each) | Fan Noise: 24.6 dBA
OK, so paying $100 for an air cooler may sound like a lot – you can get a budget processor for that price – but the Noctua NH-D15 does a lot to earn its keep. For one thing, you can use it on a broad range of processors new and old, so you can get extra value from it by keeping it over multiple PC upgrades. Secondly, it’s incredibly powerful, so you can relax about running into thermal throttling on your processor.
What’s the secret to the Noctua NH-D15’s power? Well, it’s not much of a secret, as it’s plain to see this cooler features two massive sets of aluminum radiator fins and six heat pipes to pull heat away from your CPU. Those aluminum fins would do a little passively, but Noctua has slapped two of its 140mm fans on (and they’re some of the best fans in the business). The push-pull setup of the fans keeps plenty of air flowing through the cooler for over 82 cubic feet-per-minute of airflow while keeping noise limited. And, if you don’t need all that cooling power, you can run the fans with a low-noise adapter.
2. Cooler Master Hyper 212 V2
Best Cheap CPU Cooler
Cooler Master Hyper 212 V2
Compatibility: LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA2066, AM4 | Size (h x w x d): 120mm x 80mm x 155mm | Heatpipes: 4 | Materials: Aluminum fins, copper heat pipes | Fans: 1 x Sickleflow 120 120mm | Fan Airflow: 62 CFM | Fan Pressure: 2.5 mmh3O | Fan Noise: 8-27 dBA
There’s a good reason the Cooler Master Hyper 212 cooler has such incredible staying power: its design is simple, its performance is solid, and its price is low. That’s no less true with the Cooler Master Hyper 212 V2 which has a few updates you should love all while keeping you on budget with your build thanks to the under $50 price tag. It features a new design with an asymmetrical tilt to provide better RAM clearance and revised brackets for easier installation. The new Sickleflow 120 fan should provide better airflow and air pressure, and if you detest the loud fan noise, it should be 10% quieter from the previous model.
The Cooler Master 212 Hyper V2 is ready to kit out both your AMD and Intel builds alike, though make note that an additional bracket will be required for the LGA1700 socket used by Intel’s latest CPUs. It features four heat pipes to draw heat away from your processor and send it out to a stack of aluminum fins. There are also x-shaped vents so hot air will head directly to the heat pipes. It really is an incredible value that should get you plenty of mileage and keep your temperatures in line.
3. Corsair iCue h200i RGB Pro XT
Corsair iCUE h200i RGB Pro XT
- See it on Corsair
Compatibility: LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA2066, AM4 | Size (h x w x d): 27mm x 120mm x 277mm radiator; 120mm x 25mm fan | Materials: Copper cold plate, Aluminum radiator | Fans: 2 x ML120 120mm | Fan Airflow: 75 CFM | Fan Pressure: 4. 2 mmh3O | Fan Noise: 37 dBA
If you’re sold on liquid cooling your processor, then your best option is the Corsair iCue h200i RGB Pro XT. This AIO liquid CPU cooler won’t just keep your CPU cool but will also make your PC cool. That’s thanks to the RGB lighting built into the pump, which provides 16 RGB LEDs that can be customized and synced with the rest of the system through Corsair’s iCue utility.
Let’s not forget a CPU coolers primary job, though: cooling. The iCue h200i RGB Pro XT gets high marks there as well. This is a 240mm radiator after all, so it has some solid cooling potential for even high-end components. You’ll get a copper cold plate on the pump housing to pull heat away from your CPU, and that’ll run into the aluminum radiator. From there, a pair of powerful Corsair ML120 fans will keep a steady stream of air blowing past the radiator fins to send the heat out of your system. All that and the whole setup only costs $120.
4. Corsair Hydro Series H75
Best Compact Liquid CPU Cooler
Corsair Hydro Series H75
- See it on Corsair
Compatibility: LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA2066, AM4 | Size (h x w x d): 120mm x 152mm x 25mm radiator; 120mm x 25mm fan | Materials: Copper cold plate, aluminum radiator | Fans: 2 x SP 120mm | Fan Airflow: 54 CFM | Fan Pressure: 2. 8 mmh3O | Fan Noise: 31.4 dBA
Interested in liquid cooling, but not ready to spend a ton of money, or deal with priming and filling? All-in one liquid coolers like the Corsair H75 are a great choice to make the leap to liquid cooling with minimum hassle. Liquid coolers put less weight on your CPU and motherboard, and utilize air from outside your case to cool rather than recycled air from the case.
The result is a frosty CPU, with less noise, and if space is really tight around your CPU, no air cooler will leave a smaller footprint. However, it is likely that you won’t much get lower temperatures than with a Cooler Master Hyper 212 or an H7, but you will usually get a bit less noise under load.
5. Noctua NH-L9i
Best Low-Profile Cooler
Compatibility: LGA1200, LGA1151 | Size (h x w x d): 95mm x 95mm x 37mm | Heatpipes: 6 | Materials: Copper baseplate and heat-pipes, aluminum fins | Fans: 1 x NF-A9x14 | Fan Airflow: 33. 8 CFM | Fan Noise: 23.6 dBA (14.8dBA with Low-Noise Adaptor)
While many tower cases have more than enough space for beefy coolers, many mATX and ITX cases have constraints to how much you can pack in. In those cases, you’ll need to think carefully about what kind of CPU cooler you can fit. Noctua’s NH-L9i cooler is an extra low-profile option that can let you build out that sleek, small form-factor PC of your dreams.
The Noctua NH-L9i may not be offering as serious of cooling as other contenders on this list, but that’s more or less a given for a compact PC. That said, it is still offering a sizable radiator and packs on a quality Noctua fan. The combination is enough to cool a wide variety of Intel chips, excluding many of Intel’s unlocked models and Extreme Editions. With a separate mounting adapter, it can even support AMD chips on an AM4 socket. And, where compactness is only one piece of the puzzle, an included adapter will let you run the fan in a low-noise mode that drops the fan speed to 1,800RPM to lower the max fan noise down to just 14. 8dBA.
6. Noctua NH-P1
Best Passive CPU Cooler
Compatibility: LGA1200. LGA1151, LGA2066, AM4 | Size (h x w x d): 158mm x 154mm x 152mm | Heatpipes: 6 | Materials: Copper baseplate and heat-pipes, aluminum fins, soldered joints, nickel plating
What kind of cooler doesn’t make any noise? The kind that doesn’t use any fans, doesn’t have a water pump, and has no moving parts to speak of. That’s what you get with the Noctua NH-P1. This doesn’t look like your normal cooler, as the heat sink and fins are designed very differently in order to let heat better escape the fin stack without the aid of a fan.
The Noctua NH-P1 can fit onto a ton of systems including those using the latest LGA1200 socket from Intel and the AM4 socket from AMD. But, passive cooling isn’t as aggressive as active cooling, so you’ll have to mind your component pairings. Impressively, Noctua boasts cooling performance that can keep up with a decent variety of strong-performing chips, including most AMD Ryzen 5 models (except overclocked X variants) and all 10th- and 11th-Gen Intel Core i5 models (except unlocked K variants). However, if you don’t need dead silence, you can slap on one of Noctua’s quietest fans and dramatically increase the cooling capabilities of the NH-P1.
7. Cryorig H7
Best Hyper 212 Alternative
- See it on Newegg
Compatibility: LGA1200, LGA1151, AM4 | Size (h x w x d): 145mm x 123mm x 98mm | Heatpipes: 3 | Materials: Copper heatpipes, copper baseplate | Fans: 1 x QF120 120mm | Cooling Capacity: 140W | Fan Airflow: 59 CFM | Fan Pressure: 1.65 mmh3O | Fan Noise: 10-25 dBA
Why would I even bother suggesting a cooler that costs $10 more than the 212 EVO when I already said the 212 EVO is all you need? The main reason is the H7 offers a bit more clearance which makes swapping RAM sticks easier, and it just takes up less room, so your build looks better. Plus, its smaller size doesn’t really come with any drawbacks; the H7 is slightly quieter and runs as cool (if not cooler) than the 212 EVO.
The H7 fits both AMD and Intel sockets, although again, you will likely need a bracket for AM4. There is a lot of debate as to whether the H7 is an “EVO killer,” and honestly a lot of people are just tired of the 212 EVO as it’s been around forever. So, if you’re willing to spend $10 more, and are tight on space, the H7 is the way to go.
8. be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
Best Silent Cooler
be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
Compatibility: LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA2066, AM4 | Size (h x w x d): 163mm x 136mm x 146mm | Heatpipes: 7 | Materials: Copper heatpipes, aluminum heatsink | Fans: 1 x Silent Wings 3 120mm, 1 x Silent Wings 135mm | Cooling Capacity: 250W | Fan Noise: 12.8-24.3 dBA
The be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is true to its name, and is one of the quietest CPU coolers money can buy. It can whisk away up to 250w of heat, which is an excessive amount (a core i9-9900K has a TDP of just 95W). It can do this thanks to its massive 6mm copper heat pipes.
More importantly, it’s designed to operate in near silence. Even with two or three fans strapped on and spinning as fast as possible, it’ll only achieve a maximum 24.3dBA. It’ll set you back a pretty penny at $90, making it one of the more expensive air coolers on the market, but if you demand silence, this is the cooler for you.
9. Corsair A500
Best Flexible CPU Cooler
- See it on Corsair
Compatibility: LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA2066, AM4 | Size (h x w x d): 144mm x 169mm x 171mm | Heatpipes: 4 | Materials: Copper heatpipes, aluminum heatsink | Fans: 2 x ML120 120mm | Cooling Capacity: 250W | Fan Airflow: 75 CFM | Fan Pressure: 4.2 mmh3O | Fan Noise: 36 dBA
If you want a cooler that’s easy to install, can work around the rest of your kit, and will look great in your case, then the Corsair A500 is our pick. It puts two 120mm fans onto a hefty aluminum heatsink with four heatpipes to handle cooling on CPUs with up to 250W TDP. It manages that by blowing a considerable 75 cubic feet of air across the heatsink every minute.
A solid perk of this heatsink is that it can flex to fit your rig if you’re using extra tall memory modules. The fans use a sliding and locking mechanism, so it’s easy to move them to exactly the right position. The cooler also supports a wide range of Intel and AMD sockets.
10. ProSiphon Elite
Best CPU-Mounted AIO Liquid-Cooler
Compatibility: LGA1200, LGA115x, LGA2011, LGA2066, AM4, TR4, sTRX4 | Size (h x w x d): 164mm x 251mm x 104mm | Materials: Aluminum | Fans: 4 x 120mm PWM | Fan Max Speed: 2,300 RPM | Fan Noise: 32.2 dBA
So, you want the cooling of a liquid cooler but don’t want to deal with finding somewhere on your case to attach a radiator or running hoses that could potentially leak on your expensive PC components? Well, the ProSiphon Elite from IceGiant Cooling solves that with an all-in-one cooler that attaches a large 240mm radiator directly to its base for liquid cooling that all happens right above your CPU. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got room for your RAM with this cooler, though, as it takes up a lot of space over the motherboard with 48mm of clearance for your memory modules.
This isn’t your typical liquid cooler with a beefy pump. Instead, this design is gravity-driven, using an evaporator to transfer heat away from the CPU into the radiator and using condensers and gravity to send the cooled fluid back toward the CPU. The kit includes all the mounting hardware you need for a variety of Intel and AMD platforms, including Threadripper. And, it comes with four 120mm fans to set up in a push-pull configuration. It’s recommended you also install exhaust fans on top of your case, as the common front-to-back case airflow won’t be as effective with this cooler.
Mark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark
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The Best CPU Coolers | TechSpot
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How should you keep your CPU cool? The market offers two main alternatives: air coolers using a heatsink and all-in-one liquid coolers with a pump and a radiator. Radiators take longer to heat up than heatsinks, thanks to the additional mass of the water flowing through them, but are also harder to cool once they get hot. For quick work or gaming sessions with long breaks in-between, water coolers are better, but for prolonged workloads air coolers offer a better value.
Generally speaking, the more powerful your CPU is, the bigger and better cooler you’ll need. This will vary across architectures depending on how efficient they are, how many cores, and at what frequencies your CPU runs. If your desktop PC needs a lot of power and you travel with it, you’re likely to feel safer with a radiator that’s attached to your case via 8 or 12 screws than with a huge chunk of metal hanging off your motherboard.
Another reason to use water cooling is if you have a slim case that doesn’t have the space for a larger air cooler, or even for a fan near the CPU. On the other hand, a pump is much harder to replace than a fan if it breaks, and while rare, the possibility of leaks within an electronic device can be scary. Regardless of which type of cooler you need, this guide will cover many great options at every size and price point.
- Best Air Coolers
- Best Low-Noise Cooler
Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 CPU Cooler
- Best Low-Profile Cooler
Scythe Big Shuriken 3
- Best All-In-One Liquid Cooler
Corsair Hydro Series h215i RGB Pro XT
- Best Compact All-In-One Cooler
Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120L V2 RGB
- Budget Coolers
Budget Coolers that are Better than Stock
- Socket TR4
Best Air Coolers
$99 on Amazon
Noctua has a stellar reputation among CPU cooler makers, and with good reason. Earning a repeated recommendation from TechSpot for many years, you’ll struggle to find an air cooler that performs as well as the Noctua NH-D15 at its max RPM of 1,500.
For about $100, the NH-D15 uses 6 copper heat pipes, two 140mm fans, and a split-tower design to make sure that less air is lost along the way, especially if you end up removing the external fan for RAM clearance. You can also buy the cooler with only one fan for $10 less.
Noctua’s SecuFirm 2 mounting system supports most modern sockets and makes installation a breeze, but one of the best features of this cooler is its 6-year manufacturer’s warranty.
There are some caveats, though: this is one massive, heavy unit. Measuring 160mm x 150mm x 135mm and weighing almost 3 pounds, you’ll need to be careful when moving a PC with this inside. If you are concerned about that, you should check out the company’s $110 NH-U12A, which uses two 120mm fans and a compact single-tower design, but makes up for that with 7 heat pipes and a max RPM of 2,000.
Historically, the most controversial (and defining) aspect about Noctua’s coolers has been their color scheme. These days, though, you can get the NH-D15’s Chromax.Black version for $10 more — or for the same price with one less fan.
More affordable alternatives
If you aren’t into heavy overclocking, you can save good money going with the $60 Scythe Fuma 2. At the same RPM it performs similarly to the NH-D15, but its 120mm fans can only reach 1,200 RPM. It’s also more compact and has better RAM clearance with 2 fans than the NH-D15 has with one thanks to its shape. The cooler comes with a more limited 2-year warranty, but even if you end up replacing the fans after a few years it won’t be more expensive than buying Noctua’s cooler.
If you aren’t running any of the most power-hungry mainstream CPUs, you can also go with a more compact and lightweight cooler. In this case you have several good options, including the Be Quiet! Pure Rock 2 Black ($45), Arctic’s Freezer 34 eSports Duo ($45) and Noctua’s NH-U12S Redux ($50).
Budget coolers that are much better than stock
AMD’s Wraith Spire is surprisingly good for a stock cooler, nearly matching Cooler Master’s venerable Hyper 212 Evo, now selling at $40. On the other hand, Intel’s stock coolers and AMD’s Wraith Stealth are meant to be replaced by those who want to get the most out of their CPU.
If you’re not after heavy overclocking, but still want to improve upon what your stock CPU cooler offers for as little money as possible, here are three proven choices:
- Vetroo’s V5 offers 5 heat pipes and a 120mm ARGB fan for just $30.
- Aresgame’s River 5 has similar features and often sells for $20.
- The DeepCool Gammaxx 400, usually selling for about $25, offers 4 copper heat pipes and a 120mm fan with «traditional» blue LED.
You may think that AMD’s Threadripper CPUs are harder to cool than the strongest mainstream CPUs, because of their extra cores, but in fact their larger surface area makes up for those as long as the cooler is good enough to utilize it. That’s why Noctua is able to get away with a single 140mm fan and a compact design in its $90 NH-U14S TR4-SP3, possibly the most acoustically efficient cooler for AMD Threadrippers.
If you still prefer a split-tower design, the Dark Rock Pro 4’s TR4 edition from is almost identical to the one recommended below, and costs the same as its competitor ($90).
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Best Low Noise Cooler
$84 on Amazon
If you value acoustic efficiency over top cooling performance, then you can’t beat the Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4. The cooler comes with two fans: one 135mm in the middle, and one 120mm on the outside for improved RAM clearance. When all fans spin at the same speed, the Dark Rock Pro 4 cools slightly better than the NH-D15 thanks to its 7 copper heat pipes, but only the 120mm fan is capable of spinning at 1,500 RPM — the 135mm one is limited to 1,200 RPM.
The Dark Rock Pro still gives the NH-D15 a run for its money in terms of pure performance. Not surprisingly, it’s also about the same weight as Noctua’s most popular cooler and is similarly chunky. The Dark Rock Pro 3 was criticized for its installation mechanism, but Be Quiet! has greatly improved in that area. Buyers also get a 3-year warranty.
At $85, it’s arguably a better value than the NH-D15 for all but the most enthusiastic overclockers, especially if you’re set on an all-black cooler.
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Best Low-Profile Cooler
$45 on Amazon
The market is filled with low-profile CPU coolers, because they are cheap to produce and fit into every case. The problem is, most of them aren’t much better than stock coolers, if at all. If you want top gaming performance in a small package, your best bet is the $45 Scythe Big Shuriken 3, released in 2019. At only 69mm of height, it has 5 heat pipes and a slim 120mm fan. It also offers complete RAM clearance and a neutral color scheme.
If you have a bit more vertical space and reasonably short RAM modules, you may be better off with another entry from Noctua — the NH-L12S ($55). The successor to the popular NH-L12 has been out for a few years. Its slim, 120mm fan offers better cooling performance compared to the previous version’s 92mm model. The fan can be installed on top of the fins to give extended clearance for RAM modules up to 48mm tall and improve cooling performance, or underneath the fins, so the overall height is only 70mm.
If you need an even shorter cooler and your CPU is efficient enough, Noctua offers the 37mm-tall NH-L9a (for AMD systems) and NH-L9i (for Intel ones) for $45. Both Intel and AMD versions are available in black for an extra $10.
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Best All-In-One Liquid Cooler
$118 on Amazon
Radiators marketed as «360mm» may sound better than those called «280mm,» but this naming scheme only takes into account the combined length of the fans, and ignores their width. Spinning at the same speed, two 140mm fans will cool almost as well as three 120mm ones, while making less noise, being easier to maintain, and fitting into cases with 5.25″ bays.
At $124, we can’t ignore Corsair’s iCue h215i RGB Pro XT. Its two semi-passive 140mm fans are capable of spinning at speeds between 400 and 2,000 RPM. They can be controlled via software alongside the pump. The cooler will work well with any modern CPU, including Threadrippers. With 5 years of warranty, this is a great value.
Alternatives at different price points
If you have a mainstream CPU or a relatively small case, but still want a liquid cooler, EVGA currently sells its CLC 240mm for $70. Its two 120mm fans are capable of speeds between 500 and 2,400 RPM, which compensates for their size, and you’ll also get 5 years of warranty.
If you want something a bit flashier and money isn’t a problem, look no further than NZXT’s $245 Kraken Z63. Its LCD display on the pump is more than a gimmick, as it can make it easier for you to know if the pump fails. A 6-year warranty makes this cooler seem like a safer purchase. Shame about the lack of a Threadripper bracket.
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Best Compact All-In-One Cooler
$69 on Amazon
If you have a Mini-ITX case such as the Cooler Master Elite 130, where space and airflow around the CPU are severely limited, a 120mm radiator may be your only sensible choice. Such a radiator isn’t going to cool as well as ones that are twice or thrice its size, but it can still be a worthy improvement upon a stock cooler.
Out of the single-fan radiators on the market, Cooler Master’s MK120L V2 RGB seems to offer the best value. With a dual-chamber pump, it makes sure that the hot water that’s pushed toward the radiator doesn’t get mixed with the cooler water pulled out of it. Unlike most of the radiators its size, the fan has a variable RPM of between 650 and 1,800. Too bad that the warranty period is just 2 years.
Two more compact AIOs to look at
If you have an Intel CPU and don’t plan to switch to AMD any time soon, EVGA’s CLC 120mm (fixed 1,800 RPM) will be your best bet with 5 years of warranty for just $60.
If you have an AMD processor but still want a 5-year warranty, Corsair’s H60 (2018 edition) is available for $86. Its fan also offers a variable RPM, between 600 and 1,700.
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Best CPU coolers of 2022
Updated Sep 2, 2022 1:57 PM
A CPU cooler can stop heat, the age-old nemesis of CPUs, in its tracks. If you don’t keep your computer cool, the heat it generates can put your hardware in an early grave. And your processor, the heart of your PC, is more susceptible to the lasting impact of overheating than any other component. High temperatures can shorten its lifespan and reduce its performance, even in day-to-day tasks. Whether you’re a hardcore gamer, building your own home theater PC, or just want to protect the system you’re working on every day, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of adding one of the best CPU coolers to your system.
If you’re building or upgrading your PC, then you should consider buying a great CPU cooler to keep your system alive and running well. The best CPU coolers span a wide range of cooling systems and price ranges, so any builder can find something that fits their system and their budget.
- Best overall: Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black
- Best for gaming: Be Quiet! BW006 Pure Loop 240mm AiO Cooler
- Best high-end: Corsair iCUE h250i Elite LCD Liquid CPU Cooler
- Best low-profile: Noctua NH-L12S
- Best passive: NoFan CR-80EH
- Best budget: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo V2 Black Edition
How we chose the best CPU coolers
I’ve been building PCs since the early 2000s and have been professionally reviewing computer tech since 2015. During that time, I’ve researched and installed everything from affordable, single-fan heatsinks and cheap gaming PCs to showpiece liquid coolers with RGB lighting and LCD displays. As technology and hardware editor at MMORPG.com, I’ve professionally tested and retested coolers to see exactly how they stack up. I understand what it takes for a cooler to work well with different types of processors and just how much cooling you need for different computing tasks.
To pick the best CPU coolers, I sorted through dozens of potential coolers, picking parts that offered the best balance of cooling performance, price, and reliability. I created a long list of potential options across six categories, listing those that I was personally familiar with along with those that featured great on-paper specs and stellar reputations. I then compared that list with hard data from professional reviews and the impressions from real users, finding the best balance of price, performance, and reliability for each.
What to consider when buying a CPU cooler
Every computer upgrade or modification requires some planning. When it comes to cooling your CPU, you’ll need to find the right style of cooler, the right size for your system, and make sure that your choice will be compatible with the rest of your PC. Here are the most important things to consider when shopping for the best CPU cooler:
Do you actually need to upgrade your CPU cooler?
If you’re thinking of upgrading an existing PC, you should actually make sure you need a new cooling system before investing in one. If you notice your computer slowing down midway through a processing-intensive task, or even shutting down, there’s a good chance you could use a more powerful CPU cooler. (If you are building a new PC from scratch, you can skip this part as you will definitely need a cooling solution.)
That said, you can (and should) use temperature monitoring software to see whether your PC is running hot. We recommend MSI Afterburner, which is free and graphs your temperatures over several minutes. To get the best results, open the program and use your computer as you normally would for roughly an hour so it has time to heat up. Focus on the most intensive tasks your PC handles regularly—play a game, edit some video, etc. Switch to Afterburner mid-task and make note of your current CPU temperature. The graph you’ll get represents how hot your CPU runs at peak output and when using the computer normally.
Next, you should check your peak CPU temperature to see how hot it can get using your current cooler. Download Cinebench, one of our top CPU recommendations for the best benchmarking software. Allow this program to run completely, then check in with Afterburner again. This represents your peak CPU temperature.
With those figures in hand, it’s time to see how those compare with the temperature guidelines for the processor you’re using. If you have an Intel CPU, locate your chip on this list of Intel desktop processors. For AMD, find it on this collection of personal desktop CPUs. Both companies list their maximum temperatures as T-Junction (TJMax) or Maximum Operating Temperature. If your CPU is approaching or reaching this figure, you may be in need of an upgrade.
Air or water?
One of the first questions many new upgraders ask is whether they should buy an air cooler or a liquid cooler. Both styles of cooler have their benefits, as well as a few drawbacks. Here’s what you need to know about each kind:
Air coolers: Air coolers are the most common type of cooler for desktop PCs, offering tried and true cooling since we people started building computers at home. An air cooler features two components: A large metal heatsink that draws heat away from your processor, and a fan that disperses that heat out into the air so your case fans can blow it out. They are the simplest solution, the most reliable. They’re usually more affordable than a liquid cooling system and, at their biggest and best, offer similar cooling potential.
The downside to air coolers is that they can be bulky, especially if you have a high-performance CPU. Their size can be an issue if you’re building in a smaller case, and may even block memory slots on your motherboard. If you care about aesthetics, an air cooler may not be the best choice either as their bulk can often become the center of attention in an otherwise great-looking PC. They also tend to run a bit louder than liquid coolers during normal use.
Liquid coolers: Liquid coolers have become a popular choice for gaming PCs and systems with high-performance processors. These coolers, sometimes called all-in-one coolers (AiO) or closed-loop coolers (CLCs), combine a water pump, radiator, and fans to absorb heat and quickly whisk it away from the CPU for efficient cooling. They come in more sizes than air coolers, allowing them to better adapt to the size constraints of various PC builds. They also better balance cooling with fan noise, and usually result in lower temperatures (with rare exceptions like the top-of-the-line Noctua NH-D15). Because of their efficiency, liquid coolers often run quietly on standard settings. The RGB-laden tubing that weaves through your system looks very sharp in a showpiece gaming PC with glass or mesh side panels.
Liquid cooling is definitely the fancier choice and offers some nice perks, but a liquid cooler is much harder to install than an air cooler. You’ll need to ensure your computer case supports the radiator in the cooler you’re interested in installing. They’re also often more expensive, and more likely to fail over time as the water pump ages and deteriorates. (That said, the best of them come with 3-5 year warranties.)
The biggest risk, of course, is the liquid itself: It’s possible for a liquid cooler to leak and damage your system. Of course, this rarely happens—people would not buy liquid coolers if it were a major concern—but it’s worth keeping in mind, especially if you aren’t updating your PC regularly.
How much cooling do you actually need?
It can be tempting to buy the biggest, highest-performance cooler you can find, but that’s usually not necessary. The easiest way to determine how much cooling power you need is to look at how much heat your processor will give off and find a cooler with a similar rating. All Intel and AMD processors feature a spec called Thermal Design Power (TDP), which indicates how much heat it will give at maximum output. Ideally, you want a cooler rated to handle slightly more than the heat your CPU gives off. (You can find the product specifications for your processor using Intel or AMD’s database and note the wattage listed.)
Sadly, it isn’t always so simple. Not all manufacturer’s actually list the TDP for their coolers. If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll have to estimate based on your processor’s performance. Higher performance parts usually generate more heat, which means a larger cooler is often necessary.
With air coolers, you simply scale the size of the cooler with the power of your processor. From Intel Core i3 and Ryzen 3, the lowest performing processors, through Core i9 and Ryzen 9, the highest performing ones. If you plan to overclock your system, pushing your CPU harder for better graphics in games or other performance boosts, consider buying a more powerful cooler than you technically need.
Liquid coolers also scale by size but it pays to be a little more precise. We recommend opting for at least a 120mm radiator for Core-i3 and Ryzen 3 CPUs; a 240mm radiator for Core-i5, Core-i7, Ryzen 5, and Ryzen 7 processors; or a 360mm radiator for Core-i9 and Ryzen 9 CPUs. That said, there is more wiggle room with liquid coolers and a 240mm radiator should cover most bases. Opting for a larger cooler doesn’t hurt anything more than your wallet, so if you’re on the fence, go one size up.
Will it fit or block your other components?
The final thing to consider is whether your new cooler will physically fit in your system. There are three things to consider here: Your CPU socket, case compatibility, and, for the largest air coolers, memory clearance.
CPU socket: Your processor plugs into your PC’s motherboard via a specific, square-shaped socket. Your CPU cooler must also be compatible with your motherboard’s CPU socket to attach to the processor.
The current CPU sockets are the Intel LGA1700 and the AMD AM4. These sockets change regularly. (Case in point, Ryzen 7000 processors will use a new AM5 socket later this year.) Most liquid and air coolers include compatibility brackets to match a wide array of sockets, but some require you to request a compatibility kit from the manufacturer. Be sure to make sure your new cooler matches your current CPU.
Case compatibility: Case compatibility is an important factor for both air and liquid coolers. Larger air coolers can be quite large. If it’s too big, you may not be able to close the side panel of your case. Likewise, you’ll need to be sure that your case supports mounting the liquid cooling radiator size you’re currently considering. Be sure to check the specifications for your computer case, as well as any potential cooler, before making a purchase.
Memory clearance: With large air coolers, you may also find that the heatsink prevents you from installing RAM in some of your motherboard’s memory slots. If you’re considering a towering cooler like the Noctua DH-15S, look carefully at its dimensions and measure the height of the memory sticks installed in your system. If the slot directly under the heatsink is being used by a stick that’s too tall for its clearance, you’ll need to remove it in order to install the cooler, which can slow down your PC’s performance.
You have the basics of selecting and installing both air and liquid coolers, but now you need to apply that knowledge and check out some spec sheets for CPUs, coolers, and other components to figure out what to install in your system. If that sounds like a lot of work, we’re here to help you with a head start: These CPU coolers give you a good range of options that deliver strong performance and great value.
Best overall: Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: The Noctua NH-D15S is a powerful air cooler that’s capable of taming even the most demanding CPUs.
- Cooler type: Air cooler
- Performance class: High performance
- Size: Large
- Additional features: Dual-tower design, two fans for efficient cooling, black instead of Noctua brown
- High-performance cooling
- Quiet operation
- Two fans for impressive cooling potential
- Competes with liquid coolers
- Potential memory interference
- Very bulky
The Noctua NH-D15 may just be the best air cooler you can buy for your CPU. Its massive design allows it to shed an impressive amount of heat, making it competitive with many liquid coolers, while offering exceptional reliability and Noctua’s six-year warranty guarantee. It comes with everything you’ll need, including thermal paste, and uses a novel mounting system that’s both easy to install and works with just about any CPU released in the last decades. That includes Intel’s latest 12th-generation CPUs and even AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 7000 series.
Unlike older Noctua coolers, the NH-D15 is designed to fade into the background of your PC—as much as it can at its size. The all-black colorway looks much sleeker than the company’s usual beige and brown look, and it uses a dual-fan design so each can run quietly and not be a distraction while gaming or working from home.
The biggest challenge facing this outstanding air cooler is its size. Measuring 150mm x 135mm x 160mm (WDH), it’s almost certainly big enough to block the nearest memory slot in most builds. If your memory is taller than 32mm, you can remove the outside fan to give yourself some more room. Without the second fan, you’ll still get incredible cooling, but your PC will be a bit louder.
Best for gaming: Be Quiet! BW006 Pure Loop 240mm All-in-One Liquid Cooler
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: The Be Quiet! Pure Loop 240mm is a quiet cooler that’s made to last and won’t distract you from your game.
- Cooler type: All-in-one
- Performance class: Mid-to-high performance
- Size: 240mm
- Additional features: Quiet, minimalist design
- Efficient cooling
- Minimalist design
- Replaceable coolant
- Great cost-to-performance
- Not large enough for Core-i9 and Ryzen 9 processors
The Be Quiet! BW006 Pure Loop 240mm is the best cooler for gamers that want to focus on their game and not their PC. At 240mm, it’s big enough to chill up to Intel Core-i7 and Ryzen 7 CPUs with ease and won’t distract you while it does its thing. Its understated design is all black and uses a subtle white LED around the processor to let you know it has power. More importantly, it’s just as quiet as its name would imply. As a company, Be Quiet! focuses on building cases and components that fade into the background, and that’s certainly true of the Pure Loop 240mm. You’ll need to step up to a larger size for 9-series processors, but this will keep your CPU running at peak performance with any mid-high-tier processor.
The Pure Loop stands apart from other elite liquid cooling systems because it’s very easy to maintain. Most liquid coolers are completely closed systems, which means they can’t be maintained and will eventually fail. One of the biggest reasons this happens is by air making its way into the pump. The BW006 is one of the few all-in-one coolers that allows you to add coolant over time, increasing its lifespan. All you have to do is unscrew a fill port on the radiator and add coolant to ensure your system is always full and running its best. Do this once every two years, and your cooler should last as long as the CPU it cools.
Best high-end: Corsair iCUE h250i Elite LCD Liquid CPU Cooler
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: The Corsair iCUE h250i Elite LCD is a high-performance cooler than brings the bling and is perfect for a showpiece PC build.
- Cooler type: All-in-One
- Performance class: High performance
- Size: 360mm
- Additional features: High-pressure RGB fans, built-in LCD screen, Commander Core lighting controller
- Excellent cooling performance
- Customizable LCD screen
- Stellar, high-pressure RGB fans
- Included fan and RGB controller
- Outstanding software customization
- Very expensive
- Difficult installation
The Corsair iCUE h250i Elite LCD is the liquid cooler you turn to when only the best will do. Its stunning looks are rivaled only by its incredible performance. At 360mm, it has enough cooling ability to handle even the most demanding Intel Core-i9 and Ryzen 9 processors, even if you overclock them and turn up the heat. (Depending on what you need, Corsair also makes a less powerful version with a 240mm radiator and an ultra-powerful 420mm model.)
The iCUE h250i Elite features a gorgeous 2.1-inch LCD screen that you can customize to show everything from your current temperatures to custom animations. That colorful display is flanked by three high-performance fans with their own set of 48 customizable LEDs. You can set both performance and aesthetic settings via Corsair’s iCue configuration software. Customizing the system is for new builders, thanks to easy-to-select presets, but also offers deep customization for steady hands with particular tastes.
The h250i comes from a long line of highly regarded Corsair coolers but may just be its hardest to set up. The RGB lighting and LCD screen require extra wiring for power: They hook into the included Commander Core control box, which makes it easier, but it’s still a complicated process. We’d suggest watching and re-watching Corsair’s in-depth installation video before attempting it for yourself. The box includes extra ports for adding additional RGB fans and light strips, however, so you get the benefit of easier upgradability in the future.
Best low profile: Noctua NH-L12S
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: With enough cooling potential for Intel Core i7 and Ryzen 7 CPUs, the Noctua NH-L12S proves that big things come in small packages.
- Cooler type: Air cooler
- Performance class: Low
- Size: Small
- Additional features: Low noise adapter for automatic speed control, wide compatibility
- Great for small form factor PCs
- Low noise
- Effectively cools a wide range of CPUs
- Not great for intensive tasks
- Limited cooling potential with newer, higher-performance CPUs
If you’re building a small form factor PC, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better option than the Noctua NH-L12S. A perfect fit for home theater PCs, this tiny cooler has a surprising amount of cooling potential. Noctua said the NH-L12S is compatible and effective with many of Intel’s 12th-gen and Ryzen 5000 series CPUs. It also includes everything you’ll need for installation right in the box and even allows you to change which side the fan is mounted on for wider memory compatibility.
The NH-L12S leads the pack in performance among low-profile coolers, but it still suffers from the design’s inherent limitations. Though it works with many powerful processors, it isn’t the best choice for hardcore gaming or intense processing tasks. This is particularly true with the latest generation of processors from both Intel and AMD, as they use more electricity and generate more heat with these tasks. For light gaming, entertainment, and productivity, however, it is an outstanding option that is both reliable and quiet.
Best passive: NoFan CR-80EH
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: When silence is an absolute must, the NoFan CR-80EH can keep your processor cool without any noise.
- Cooler type: Passive
- Performance class: Low
- Size: Medium
- Additional features: Copper heatpipes
- Patented, effective thermal design
- Supports AMD and Intel CPUs
- Completely silent
- Designed to not interfere with memory or expansion slots
- Potential case and motherboard compatibility issues
- Limited heat dissipation (80 watts)
The NoFan CR80-EH is the go-to choice for completely silent PC builds. A fanless “passive” cooler, it uses a system of dozens of heat-absorbing pipes to pull warmth up and away from your CPU where it can dissipate into the air. NoFan’s proprietary copper “IcePipes” have liquid sealed within each arm to draw heat away from your processor and into its copper arms.
Without any fan at all, the NoFan CR80-EH is able to dissipate up to 80 watts of heat. NoFan hasn’t updated its official compatibility chart in some time, so its recommendations (“Ryzen” and Intel “7th, 6th, 5th” generation) are a bit out of date. Lower spec CPUs, like Intel’s 11th generation or earlier Core-i3 and Core-i5 processors and AMD Ryzen 3 or Ryzen 5s, should be safe, but be sure to check that their required power won’t exceed the 80-watt limit before pairing them with this cooler.
You should keep a few things in mind if you decide to go with a passive cooler. The NoFan CR80-EH is necessarily large, and its circular design won’t play nice with some small form factor PC cases. You’ll need to compare the dimensions of the cooler to your motherboard to ensure it will fit, and also be sure there’s enough ventilation for warm air to escape. An 80W will work well with lower spec processors, like an 11th-gen Core-i5, or Ryzen 3 to Ryzen 5 series CPUs. If you need more cooling, the company also makes a 95-watt version, though it can be hard to find in stores.
Best budget: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo V2 Black Edition
Buy it used or refurbished: eBay
Why it made the cut: The Cooler Master Hyper 212 has been a staple of budget PC building for years. Its balance of price to performance cements its place as a solid budget CPU cooler.
- Cooler type: Air cooler
- Performance class: Low-to-medium
- Size: Medium
- Additional features: None
- Affordable price
- Effective cooling
- Easily fits in most PCs
- Easy installation
- Not flashy
- Not great for high-performance CPUs
- Requires a special at-cost bracket for Intel 12th-gen processors
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo is a classic recommendation for PC builders on a budget, and an easy upgrade if you need more cooling for your processor. It’s a medium-sized cooler and won’t win any awards for flashy aesthetics, but it gets the job done and easily cools everything from current-generation Intel Core-i7s to AMD’s Ryzen 7 5000 series. It’s best reserved for low- or mid-range PC processors though, as it doesn’t quite mitigate enough heat to keep a high-performance CPU cool. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can upgrade to the Black Edition RGB, which adds an RGB fan for significantly more flair, or you can save a dollar and go with the basic silver version.
No matter which option you choose, installation isn’t difficult following the included instructions. The cooler has been around for a long time, so there are also numerous free videos to guide you through every step of the process. Things get a little complicated with Intel’s 12th-gen processors, however, as you’ll need a special bracket that only comes with the Black Edition. (It’s only $5 to purchase separately, though.) With a little care, this is an excellent, budget-friendly air cooler.
Q: Is CPU cooling necessary?
Yes. All processors require cooling to run. A system without a cooler may boot but will quickly overheat and shut down, potentially damaging itself in the process. Likewise, a CPU without an effective cooler will often hit its thermal limits and slow itself down to prevent damage. This makes your computer run slower and potentially shortens the lifespan of your CPU.
Q: What is an AiO?
“AiO” is short for All-in-One liquid cooler. Also known as “closed loop coolers or “CLCs,” these cooling systems don’t require maintenance or upkeep the same way custom liquid coolers do, and often offer superior performance to air CPU coolers.
Q: What are the disadvantages of a liquid cooling system?
Liquid cooling can be a great choice for taming a high-performance CPU, but there are definite disadvantages you should know about. They are more expensive, harder to install or replace, and more likely to fail over time. Liquid cooling may provide superior performance, especially for high-end PCs, but an air cooler is easy and reliable.
Final thoughts on the best CPU coolers
PCs don’t come cheap, so maintaining them is an important step to ensuring they live a long, useful life. If your CPU’s getting too hot, it will perform poorly and you will need to buy a new computer. Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy air cooler to hide inside your case or a high-performance AiO with RGB to spare, adding or upgrading your CPU cooler is usually a wise investment.
Best CPU cooler in 2022
It’s easy to forget about the humble CPU cooler, especially when you choose to use the one that came with your Intel or AMD processor. While stock coolers can help keep temperatures at bay under normal conditions, you’ll want to invest in the best CPU cooler available if you want to boost fps and maximise gaming PC performance.
When it comes to choosing the best CPU cooler, there’s a diverse range of options that cater to both casual users and PC gaming enthusiasts. Looking to keep things cool while playing the latest Steam games? A well-designed air cooler should yield pleasing results. However, if you’re planning on overclocking, you’ll want to dip your toes into the realm of water cooling and opt for an AIO cooler.
The world of gaming PC CPU coolers may seem daunting, but fear not! We’ve assembled a list of the best CPU coolers from reliable brands like Noctua, Cooler Master, Be quiet!, MSI, and NZXT. We’ve even crafted a dedicated guide just for the best AIO cooler options, and if you’re pondering how to actually overclock your CPU, we can lend a helping hand with that too.
Here are the best CPU coolers for Intel and AMD processors:
- Noctua NH-D15
- Deep Cool Gammaxx GTE V2
- Be quiet! Dark Rock 4
- Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition
- Noctua NH-L9 series
- MSI MEG CoreLiquid S360
- NZXT Kraken X63
- Cooler Master MasterLiquid ARGB
- NZXT Kraken M22
- Corsair iCUE h250i Elite LCD
The best air cooler is the Noctua NH-D15.
This Noctua CPU cooler is a hefty thing, consisting of two 140mm fans and two heatsinks with compatibility for both AMD and Intel sockets. Despite its drab brown and beige colour scheme, it’s the best air cooler in the business, with temperatures almost identical to some water cooling solutions under full loads – it’s still pretty quiet under all situations. It’s a genuinely top match CPU cooler at a reasonable price, and if you’ve got one of the best gaming CPUs then its high TDP (thermal design power) rating means it’ll be more than capable of the job.
The pre-applied and highly praised Noctua NT-h2 thermal paste has a life of five years. In smaller PC chassis, you might have space issues due to the size so double-check the dimensions before you buy.
What we like…
- Rivals water cooling
- Two 140mm fans
Deep Cool Gammaxx GTE V2
The best budget CPU cooler is the Deep Cool Gammaxx GTE V2.
Deep Cool Gammaxx GTE V2 is proof that good budget CPU coolers exist. Not only will this stylish cooler feel at home within your shiny new PC case, but it’ll keep temperatures super low without breaking the bank. It’s even clad with white LEDs, so it should look pretty impressive whirling away inside your rig.
If you’re planning on sticking the Deep Cool Gammaxx GTE V2 onto an Intel Alder Lake CPU, the cooler’s included brackets should help simplify the process. Sure, if you’re aiming to overclock the blue team’s best CPU, you’re going to need to splash out a little more cash. Nevertheless, if you’re simply looking to prevent your processor from thermal throttling, this budget CPU is more than up to the task.
What we like…
- Great performance for the price
- Stays relatively quiet
- Big improvement over stock coolers
Be quiet! Dark Rock 4
The best quiet CPU cooler is the Be quiet! Dark Rock 4.
Want a virtually silent air cooler? The Dark Rock 4 from be quiet! – there’s a hint in the name – fits the bill perfectly with a sound level of just 21.4dB under full load, the equivalent of a whisper. Despite this it still gives pretty respectable temperatures compared to its stock counterparts. With its stealthy black design, this cooler can neither be seen nor heard.
What we like…
- One of the quietest coolers you can get
- Sleek black design
- Ability to add second fan
Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition
The best RGB CPU cooler is the Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition.
You’ve likely already got RGB on your best gaming mouse, so why not go all out and put it on your CPU cooler too? This is based on the same cooler we picked as our top budget option, but as the name suggests, the fan has been swapped out for an addressable RGB fan and black aluminium cover for extra pizazz, with a small price increase for the privilege.
What we like…
- RGB lighting
- Low price tag
- Subtle design
Noctua NH-L9i / Noctua NH-L9a
The best low profile CPU cooler is the Noctua NH-L9 series.
Breaking down the confusing model names first, the NH-L9i will fit Intel sockets and the NH-L9a will fit AMD sockets, but both are the same heatsink and fan design. We believe this to be the best low profile CPU cooler you can purchase.
You won’t have to worry about any size issues, with Noctua claiming 100% compatibility with all RAM sticks and the best graphics cards on Mini-ITX boards, and a total height of just 37mm. The built-in 92mm PWM-controlled Noctua fan stays nice and quiet, too.
What we like…
- Perfect for the best mini gaming PC
- Quiet operation
- An improvement over stock coolers
MSI MEG CoreLiquid S360
The best AIO cooler is the MSI MEG CoreLiquid S360.
Water cooling your processor is great for overclocking and getting uncompromised performance without the added noise tax, and what better way than to avoid the hassle of a custom loop and go for a plug-and-play AIO cooler instead? None are better than the MSI MEG CoreLiquid S360, which packs three Silent Gale P12 fans onto one of the coolest and quietest solutions available, and even goes a step further with a 60mm fan on the pump to keep your motherboard’s VRMs from overheating.
While there’s no RGB in the mix here, there is a fancy 2.4-inch IPS screen that manages to top other display-infused AIO solutions. Simply dive into the MSI Center, and you can showcase your system temperature, personalise your gaming PC with your favourite GIF, and you won’t be able to hear them but you can even play . mp4 videos. And better yet, you won’t struggle with Intel’s latest 12th generation CPUs as all modern CPUs are seamlessly supported straight out of the box.
If money’s no object, no other AIO cooler hits all the same heights as the MSI MEG CoreLiquid S360.
What we like…
- The best IPS screen
- Supports the latest sockets
- As quiet as a mouse
NZXT Kraken x63
The best AIO cooler is the NZXT Kraken X63.
If you’re taking a serious look at overclocking your CPU then an AIO water cooler is the one of the best options. This 280mm liquid cooler from NZXT is our pick. The virtually silent fans on the radiator have fluid-dynamic bearings, giving them a longer lifespan and quieter operation than any other fan technology. Naturally, there’s RGB lighting on the pump cover so people know you’re not running any old stock solution.
With the X63 you’ll see idle and load temps in another league to air coolers. If you are overclocking, make sure you’re picking up one of the best gaming motherboards to match, and make sure you pick up the best PC case that has space for that 280mm radiator.
What we like…
- Great thermal performance
- Near silent fans
Cooler Master MasterLiquid ARGB
The best RGB AIO cooler is the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ARGB.
There’s no reason you can’t be serious about your cooling and want to add a splash of colour to your gaming PC in the process – after all, the best gaming keyboards and best gaming headsets all have RGB nowadays, so why shouldn’t your CPU cooler match?
Cooler Master’s MasterLiquid series does this beautifully with its bright CPU block, and it comes in a handful of different sizes to make your next CPU upgrade a bit easier. The MasterLiquid ML360R has plenty of surface area and three 120mm fans to dissipate heat across its large radiator, but if you don’t have space for that in your case, then the MasterLiquid ML240R with dual 120mm fans might be more your pace.
What we like…
- Colourful RGB
- Choice of size
NZXT Kraken M22
The best 120mm AIO cooler is the NZXT Kraken M22.
It’s true that the bigger the radiator, the better the job an AIO cooler can do, but sometimes you just don’t have the space for one. This doesn’t mean you should sacrifice the chilling effects a liquid cooler offers, however, as there are smaller options to choose from that might be easier to shimmy into your case.
The NZXT Kraken M22 is the little brother to our favourite AIO cooler and comes with many of the same perks. It keeps things quiet, goes easy on your wallet, and keeps your CPU at the right temperature for gaming, but best of all, it could be considered the most compatible AIO cooler you’ll find with its small form factor and support for all modern Intel and AMD CPUs.
What we like…
- Wide range of compatibility
- Quiet fans
Corsair iCUE h250i Elite
The best LCD AIO cooler is the Corsair iCUE h250i Elite.
What’s cooler than being cool? Well, we think the Corsair iCUE h250i Elite’s built-in LCD screen is ice cold. This frosty AIO cooler’s dinky display will transform the inside of your PC case into more than just a light show, enabling you to show off anything from animated gifs to vital CPU stats.
Novelties aside, the iCUE h250i Elite is also one of the best AIO coolers on the market, complete with a low-noise pump that should keep your CPU in check. Naturally, it’s also clad in Corsair’s impressive RGB lighting, and it even comes with an iCUE Commander Core controller that can help you wield control over all your PC’s lights and fans.
What we like…
- LCD display
- Impressive RGB lighting
- Quiet pump
Do I need a CPU cooler?
Most Intel and AMD CPUs come with stock coolers, and they’re not necessarily that bad. If you’re planning on using your gaming PC for no thrills gaming or non-intensive tasks, you can probably just go ahead and use the fan that came with your processor. Of course, if you want to squeeze every drop of performance from your gaming PC, whether through overclocking or just playing games at 4K, you’ll want to opt for a cooler than can bring temperatures down as low as they go.
Do I need a liquid cooler?
AIO coolers, on the other hand, do wonders for those that plan to overclock their chip. Even if you don’t want to tinker with your gaming PC but can afford the price hike, they offer much more headroom, chipping degrees from your peak temperatures.
The main question on everyone’s mind is whether it’s worth the risk of putting liquid in the innards of your system, but leaks the size of which could damage your components are much rarer than you’d think. Besides, you’ll always be backed with great aftercare and warranties if you encounter any hiccups along the way.
Do CPU coolers come with mounting brackets?
Your CPU cooler should come with a selection of mounting brackets, but processor designs and shapes are continually evolving. If your cooler of choice was released before the new Intel Alder Lake series, you might find it doesn’t come with a suitable LGA 1700 bracket. Thankfully, you can pick up a new bracket fairly easily, and newer cooling options should be an issue.
Are stock CPU coolers good enough?
Long gone are the days of the included coolers sounding like a jet taking off once you boot up a game. The latest stock coolers from Intel and AMD are more than adequate if you’re not looking to overclock, or you’re trying to build the best cheap gaming PC.
Best CPU cooler deals
Our top picks will serve you better than most, but if you’re looking to save some money then there are plenty of CPU cooler deals to feast your eyes on:
TOP 5 Best CPU Coolers of 2022
In this ranking, we take a look at the best liquid and air CPU coolers for overclocked large systems, small form factor builds and everything in between.
Whether you’re aiming for record-breaking overclocking or just building a gaming PC that doesn’t make noise under load, you should choose your CPU cooler carefully. Choosing the best cooler for your best processor is a key decision when you upgrade or build a new PC. The best CPU cooler will make a big difference in temperature, noise, and even performance, especially if you’re into overclocking.
If your CPU cooler can’t handle the heat that the CPU generates, it can lead to slower performance or possibly even a shorter CPU life — which no one wants.
Also, don’t forget thermal paste or other thermal interface material (TIM). Most coolers come with some kind of paste, either in a small syringe or pre-applied to the cooling plate.
Best CPU Coolers
If you’re not sure if you want to go the air-cooled path (large metal heatsink with fans) or opt for a liquid-cooled AIO (a pump attached to a heatsink and fans), there are a few things to consider. Larger air coolers tend to take up more internal space in a PC case, or at the very least require more vertical clearance from your best motherboard, which can limit your case choices.
Air coolers can also be louder and less efficient than liquid coolers in removing heat from the CPU and chassis. However, this is not always the case these days. If you can go the extreme route, there are fanless air-cooling options like Noctua’s Colossal NH-P1 as well for silent cooling.
Air coolers typically cost less than AIOs, although that line is also blurring as AIO coolers become more affordable while high-end air coolers reach a high price range.
If money is not a major concern and quiet operation and low temperatures are a priority, you may want to consider an individual cooling circuit. Just be aware that custom cooling loops are always a lot more expensive than most other cooling alternatives, and they can make future component upgrades much more difficult.
Cooler Master MasterAir MA624 Stealth
Best Big Air CPU Cooler
Dimensions: 165.1 x 149.4 x 127.0 mm
Base height: 31. 8 mm
Weight: 1312 g
Fans: (2) 90 x 027 socket support 115x, 1366, 1200, 2011x, 2066; FM2(+), FM1, AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4
Warranty: 5 years
- Excellent cooling performance
- Built-in central fan makes installation easy
fan for tall DIMMs
- Premium price
Cooler Master has gone out of its way to release a great option in the arena of large heatpipe CPU coolers. MasterAir MA624 Stealth is one of the best CPU coolers available today. It even comes with a third 120mm fan which can be used when tall DIMMs create clearance issues. The
MasterAir MA624 Stealth doesn’t have any RGB lighting, which many will find refreshing. But it really shines as an efficient near-silent thermal solution for some of the most powerful desktop processors from both Intel and AMD, Threadripper aside.
Deepcool Assassin III
The best alternative to the processor cooler BIG AIR
Dimensions: 171. 5 x 139.7 x 133.4 mm
Basic height: 38.1 mm
Fans: (2) 140 x 25 mm
Socket support: 115x, 1366, 2011x, 2066; FM2(+), FM1, AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4
Warranty: 5 years
- silent work
- Excellent thermal characteristics
- Lack of RGB-backlight options
- AMD and Intel
with two l. III by Deep Cool provides the lowest temperature among large air-cooled coolers.
The combination of this thermal performance with low noise makes it our choice for large air-cooled processors, and the great looks and ease of installation are considered bonuses.
Cooler Master MasterAir MA410M
The best air cooler of medium size
Dimensions: 158.8 x 132.4 x 58.2 mm
Basic height: 37.88 mm
Weight: : : 1247g
Fans: (2) 120 x 25mm RGB
Socket support: AMD FM2(+), FM1, AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4, Intel 7115x, 1366, 2011x, 2066
Warranty: 5 years
- Excellent cooling performance
- Medium-sized cooler takes up less space
- Thermal sensor provides an indication of thermal load with RGB lighting
- Slightly more noise than other fans
- Excessive performance
- Very low noise level
- High cooler height creates compatibility issues in small cases
7 — — our choice for a medium-sized unit cooler with excellent performance, especially given the aggressive outer shell design and addressable RGB lighting inside the cooling tower itself.
Being in the upper range of the affordable price range, its cost may turn off budget system builders, but given the features and performance, it is definitely worth the extra cost.
The best air processor cooler AMD Threadripper
Dimensions: 171.45 x 151.4 x 52.3 mm
Basic height: 25.1 mm
VES 1035 g
Fans: (1) 140 x 25 mm
Support for sockets: AMD TR4, SP3
Warranty: 6 years old
9000 9000 9000 2 minuses minus
The Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 provides silent cooling with superior thermal performance — Threadripper overclocked performance that creeps in to the 360 AIO’s quality cooling.
With six nickel-plated copper heatpipes and a 140mm PWM fan, the NF-A15 is the AMD-friendly NH-U14S TR4-SP3, a silent thermal killer. For Threadripper air cooling, this cooler meets all the requirements of enthusiasts and overclockers alike.
Zalman CNPS10x Performa Black
Best Budget CPU Air Cooler
0029 Weight: 842 g Bessions Zalman CNPS10X PERFORMA BLACK-this style and equipped with one silent 135mm fan that reduces the thermal load of the desktop processor. Its price and cooling potential that keeps pace with the leaders make the Zalman CNPS10x Performa Black a strong position to become a system builder’s favorite when it comes to spending extra money on other components. Zalman has provided the system design community with a great no-frills cooling option that looks great and puts their money where it’s needed. When choosing the best CPU cooler for your needs, consider the following: Do you have a new Ryzen processor? You may not need to buy a cooler, but it depends on the model. Most Ryzen 2000 and 3000 series processors, as well as some older Ryzen models, come with coolers, and many can handle moderate overclocking. But the latest Ryzen 5000 processors don’t ship with Ryzen 7/9 line coolers. If you want the highest possible CPU clock speed, you’ll probably want to buy an aftermarket cooler anyway. But for the many Ryzen owners who don’t plan on pushing their chip to the limit, the best CPU cooler might be in the box. If you choose a large air cooler, be sure to check the clearances before purchasing. Large coolers and low profile models can sometimes run into high RAM and even VRM heatsinks. And tall coolers can cause gap issues between the door or case window. Be sure to check the dimensions and clearances of any cooler you are considering and your case before purchasing. Remember that other things being equal, the more fans, the better the cooling, but the more noise. The coolers that do the best job of getting warm air out of your CPU and out of your case are also often the loudest. If you’re worried about fan noise, you’ll want a cooler that does a good job of balancing noise and cooling. If you can set your cooler’s fan speed based on temperature in your motherboard’s BIOS, that should help as well. Subscribe to our VK community! The cooler is a special device responsible for cooling the processor, preventing overheating of this equipment. In order to correctly select such products, you should know exactly the overall dimensions and performance parameters of the socket, processor and motherboard. If these points are not taken into account, the cooling system will not work correctly. This will eventually lead to an increase in the temperature of the CPU, which will greatly shorten its life. As you have already understood, we decided to dedicate our today’s review to coolers. Unfortunately, not all people are well versed in computer hardware, so they often have to follow the lead of consultants, whose main task is to sell the most expensive or stale goods. In our article, we have given a number of key points that you should pay attention to when choosing a cooler — this will allow you to better navigate the variety available on the shelves. For each model included in our rating of the best coolers of this year, we tried to collect as much information as possible so that you can decide whether this model is suitable for you or if you should look for something else. Rating summary: (hide/show) If you assemble your own computer for certain tasks, then you will surely face a problem: to purchase a separate cooler or a boxed processor that already has a built-in cooling system. The latter option will cost less, but its efficiency often leaves much to be desired, besides, it is very noisy. If necessary, a failed separate cooler can be replaced, while the boxed processor will have to be purchased as a whole.
Fans: (1) 135 x 25 mm
Support for sockets: AMD, Intel 115x, 1200, 2011, 2066
How to choose the best CPU cooler
Best CPU coolers 10 rating of good coolers
What do you pay attention to when buying a CPU cooler?
Zalman CNPS10X PERFORMA BLACK-this style and equipped with one silent 135mm fan that reduces the thermal load of the desktop processor.
Its price and cooling potential that keeps pace with the leaders make the Zalman CNPS10x Performa Black a strong position to become a system builder’s favorite when it comes to spending extra money on other components. Zalman has provided the system design community with a great no-frills cooling option that looks great and puts their money where it’s needed.
When choosing the best CPU cooler for your needs, consider the following:
Do you have a new Ryzen processor? You may not need to buy a cooler, but it depends on the model. Most Ryzen 2000 and 3000 series processors, as well as some older Ryzen models, come with coolers, and many can handle moderate overclocking. But the latest Ryzen 5000 processors don’t ship with Ryzen 7/9 line coolers.
If you want the highest possible CPU clock speed, you’ll probably want to buy an aftermarket cooler anyway. But for the many Ryzen owners who don’t plan on pushing their chip to the limit, the best CPU cooler might be in the box.
If you choose a large air cooler, be sure to check the clearances before purchasing. Large coolers and low profile models can sometimes run into high RAM and even VRM heatsinks. And tall coolers can cause gap issues between the door or case window. Be sure to check the dimensions and clearances of any cooler you are considering and your case before purchasing.
Remember that other things being equal, the more fans, the better the cooling, but the more noise. The coolers that do the best job of getting warm air out of your CPU and out of your case are also often the loudest. If you’re worried about fan noise, you’ll want a cooler that does a good job of balancing noise and cooling.
If you can set your cooler’s fan speed based on temperature in your motherboard’s BIOS, that should help as well.
Subscribe to our VK community!
The cooler is a special device responsible for cooling the processor, preventing overheating of this equipment. In order to correctly select such products, you should know exactly the overall dimensions and performance parameters of the socket, processor and motherboard. If these points are not taken into account, the cooling system will not work correctly. This will eventually lead to an increase in the temperature of the CPU, which will greatly shorten its life.
As you have already understood, we decided to dedicate our today’s review to coolers. Unfortunately, not all people are well versed in computer hardware, so they often have to follow the lead of consultants, whose main task is to sell the most expensive or stale goods. In our article, we have given a number of key points that you should pay attention to when choosing a cooler — this will allow you to better navigate the variety available on the shelves. For each model included in our rating of the best coolers of this year, we tried to collect as much information as possible so that you can decide whether this model is suitable for you or if you should look for something else.
Rating summary: (hide/show)
If you assemble your own computer for certain tasks, then you will surely face a problem: to purchase a separate cooler or a boxed processor that already has a built-in cooling system. The latter option will cost less, but its efficiency often leaves much to be desired, besides, it is very noisy. If necessary, a failed separate cooler can be replaced, while the boxed processor will have to be purchased as a whole.
In order to purchase a suitable device, you should know two key parameters of both the processor itself and the motherboard — the socket and the amount of heat generated. The socket is a special connector on the board, where both the processor itself and the cooler are connected. When choosing a separate cooler, you will have to take into account which socket it fits — manufacturers usually indicate socket options on the packaging themselves. Heat dissipation is measured in Watts — it is specified by the processor manufacturer, and cooler manufacturers indicate the maximum load.
Depending on the type of radiator and the presence or absence of heat pipes, the design of coolers can vary greatly. You should also look at what materials the fan blades and radiator are made of. In most cases, these parts are made from high-quality plastic, but in the past few years, models equipped with metal or aluminum blades have begun to appear.
The most economical option would be a cooling system equipped with an aluminum radiator, the cooler design does not include heat pipes, which are usually made of copper. Such models are inexpensive, have small overall dimensions. It should be borne in mind that they are not very suitable for processors that are planned to be overclocked in the future, in addition, it is undesirable to install them on powerful processors.
The most popular today are coolers that include a metal radiator and a system of copper pipes used to remove heat. However, the overall dimensions of such devices are quite large, so they cannot be installed in a compact system unit. It is very important to watch where the heat is removed — it should go away from the motherboard. Otherwise, the efficiency of the entire cooling system is reduced to zero.
When compiling this rating, we took into account all the above parameters, based mainly on user reviews. In addition, we paid attention to the ratio of price and quality of models, so very expensive products simply did not get into our rating. So, now is the time to move on to the analysis of specific models.
The best model of the passive type
1. Thermalright HR-22
This model looks quite attractive, the whole body of the device is covered with nickel coating. However, this cooler has a decent weight — more than 1 kg with overall dimensions of 150x120x159 mm. Here, 8 U-shaped tubes serve as the basis of the radiator at once, and each of them has a diameter of 6 mm — quite a lot for such a compact device as a cooler. The sole is slightly offset to one of the edges, which does not affect the stability of the structure very well. The tubes are located in special grooves.
Finishing of the device at height — all surfaces of the product are carefully polished. The heat generated by the processor will be transferred directly to 35 aluminum fins, each 0.5 mm thick and spaced 2.8 mm apart. This allows the device to use even small air currents. The three lower ribs have a shortened width. In total, the approximate scattering area is about 1200 square centimeters. The plates are provided with special cutouts, which allow to significantly increase the aerodynamic performance of the cooler itself. There is a through hole in the center of the product. It is designed not so much for efficient operation as for ease of installation.
- Very efficient passive cooling system;
- The unit comes with a pipe for connecting the case fan.
- The motherboard will have a very significant physical load due to the mass of such a device.
Best Horizontal Design
1. Deepcool Gabriel
This is a fairly efficient design that easily removes all excess heat, allowing the processor to maintain a comfortable working temperature. The product is a small horizontal device, made on the basis of 4 tubes with a diameter of 6 mm, they are made in the form of the letter C. All these tubes pass through vertical ribs. Such a system is quite interesting and effective, as it allows you to provide direct airflow to all key components of the motherboard. In turn, this is very useful for small system units in a limited workspace. Such a cooling radiator is equipped with 47 ribs of various shapes and sizes. Thanks to them, a heat dissipation area of 2800 sq.cm is obtained. No aerodynamics are provided here, these models are only slightly curved in the places where heat pipes pass through them. A small gap is maintained between these plates — 1.6 mm.
The fan used in this product is thinner than standard similar devices — 20 mm instead of the usual 25 mm. The impeller is painted gray, has 11 blades at once, 6 V of voltage is sufficient for its operation, and its operating speed is 800 rpm. If necessary, it can be accelerated to 1900 rpm. If the fan rotates at a frequency of up to 1000 revolutions, then it works absolutely silently. The installation process of such a device is quite simple, largely due to the fact that it can work with most socket connectors. Mounting tabs are included with the device, they are installed using special screws. This cooler is perfect for small system units.
- Perfectly blows all heated elements near the motherboard;
- Small overall dimensions (especially the height of the product).
- It is not always very convenient to install this design on AMD release sockets.
Best mid-range tower coolers
5. Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
It has a not too large weight, which is 569 grams, due to which the load on the motherboard will be less. The cooler’s heat sink includes 57 aluminum plates, each of which is 0.5 mm thick. All of them are pressed onto heat pipes made of copper, the diameter of which is 6 mm with a distance between the fins of 2 mm. The estimated area of this product is about 6400 square meters. see Heat pipes are arranged in a checkerboard pattern, so that the distribution of heated air flows is as even as possible. The efficiency of the radiator is at its best at both low and high speeds. This mount is universal. If necessary, it is possible to connect another fan, which will increase the power of the cooler and allow it to be used on overclocked or gaming processors.
There are no aluminum inserts between the heat pipes, thanks to this design feature of the product, excess heat is removed from the processor as evenly as possible, which also increases the efficiency of the device. The cooler is perfectly compatible with all the most common platforms — AMD, Interl, and so on. It is possible to install on the LGA2011 connector, but for this you will have to purchase a special mount. In the system unit itself, this cooler will not take up too much free space, so it can also be installed in compact products.
- Quiet fan operation;
- Reasonably priced;
- Does not cover slots for connecting RAM.
- If you install an additional fan, the device becomes quite high — it does not fit into every system unit.
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
4. Thermalright Macho Rev.A
additionally equipped with a fan. The base and the heat pipes themselves are covered with a thin layer of nickel, the plates are made of aluminum. As the main feature of this device, users note not too large overall dimensions, as well as anodized top plastic, which makes the cooler more attractive in appearance. There are 30 aluminum plates here, the thickness of which is 0.4 mm, a distance of 3.1 mm is observed between them. It is worth noting that each of them has 56 rectangular slots in its structure, and their edges are bent upwards. Together with a rather large central hole and open sidewalls, this allows you to maintain the high efficiency of this cooling system even at low fan speeds.
There are 5 heat pipes, each with a diameter of 6 mm. They alternate with each other in such a way that the heat is distributed as evenly as possible over the aluminum plates, and the contact of these elements is ensured by ordinary pressing. Above the radiator is a fan with seven blades, the overall dimensions of which are 120x120x25 mm. The edging is black, and the fan itself is painted white. The rotation speed is automatically regulated in the range from 600 to 1300 rpm. Power consumption is low — even at maximum loads, it actually does not exceed 1.6 watts. In order to fix the fan on the radiator, classic wire brackets are used, which are distinguished by excellent reliability.
- Excellent performance over the entire lifetime;
- Included with the device is a set of mounts for any current processors.
- Fairly expensive;
- May cover rear memory slots on some motherboards.
thermalright Macho Rev.A
The total heat dissipation area of this product is about 6800 square meters. cm — this value is slightly above average compared to other similar products. The radiator immediately includes 6 nickel-plated heat pipes of a standard diameter — 6 mm, on which 36 plates made of high-quality technical aluminum are pressed on top. Each of them has a thickness of 0.5 m, a stable distance of 2.7 mm is maintained between them. This factor allows you to install these products in system units where there is a low level of ventilation.
If necessary, you can install an additional fan, but only one is included in the kit, the second one will have to be purchased separately. The mass of the device is 745 grams — not very much. The two heatpipes exit the cooling fins at a slight angle, allowing heat to be more evenly distributed throughout the heatsink, increasing its efficiency. The contact pad of the device is carefully polished, which ensures the tightest possible contact between the cooler and the processor.
- Relatively easy installation on any relatively modern platform;
- It is possible to install an additional fan;
- Very reasonable price.
- The fan hangs heavily over the nearby RAM connectors, because of which only low-profile modules can be placed;
- Heatpipes could be better positioned.
Deepcool Lucifer V2
2. Deepcool Gammaxx 400
The overall dimensions of this cooler are 159x135x76 mm and weighs 638 grams. It includes 51 plates, the thickness of which is 0.4 mm, a distance of 1.8 mm is maintained between them. In addition to them, the design provides 4 heat pipes, each with a diameter of 6 mm. They pass through the radiator with a slight offset relative to each other. Between them there are aluminum inserts that provide the closest contact with air heat flows and, as a result, more efficient cooling of the processor. The fan has a diameter of 120 mm and is equipped with nine blades. It itself is mounted on a hydrodynamic bearing, its rotation speed is from 900 to 1500 rpm. The maximum fan consumes 3 watts of power. Mounted on the radiator with two wire brackets. An additional pair of brackets is provided — they are designed to install an additional fan.
The appearance of the cooler is very original and attractive. The fan is made of black matte plastic, on which dust is practically invisible, the blades themselves are made of transparent, slightly darkened plastic. There is a LED backlight, which gives the product an additional originality. Turnovers are regulated by the motherboard in automatic mode. The design is carefully thought out, so it will not interfere with the installation of a video card, and does not block the slots for RAM cards.
- Can be installed on the motherboard without removing it from the system unit;
- For its price, it provides a very effective removal of excess heat even at low speeds;
- There is a beautiful LED backlight;
- The fan is made of opaque plastic, and accumulated dust will hardly be noticeable on it;
- Acceptable dimensions.
- The fan is rather noisy.
Deepcool Gammaxx 400
1. Scythe Kotetsu
This model is recognized as the leader among the best CPU coolers in its price category. Outwardly, it is a classic design without any original solutions and design frills. The height of the device is 163 mm, the width and thickness of the model is 130 and 82 mm, the product weighs 604 grams, and the lion’s share — about 480 g — falls on the radiator. This cooler is arranged quite simply: it consists of aluminum plates 130×58 mm in size, there are 56 of them in total. These plates are strung on heat copper pipes of standard diameter. The fan diameter is also ordinary — 120 mm. On the upper part of the structure on special rivets there is a special steel plate with the logo of the manufacturer.
If we talk about the distinctive characteristics of the device, we can note the alternating height of the ends of the fins, due to which heat flows are distributed more evenly. The thickness of the aluminum ribs is 0.35 mm, and the distance between them is 1.7 mm. Plates and heat pipes are in direct contact due to ordinary crimping, these tubes are soldered to the base. The tubes themselves are very well distributed over the plates, due to which the heat distribution area becomes much larger. The base is not polished, but this practically does not affect the efficiency of the product. The fan speed is in the range from 400 to 1400 rpm, and it operates quite quietly.
- Affordable price;
- High performance for the price;
- Can be installed on most systems;
- Quiet operation;
- Can be installed on a backplate.
- None for this price.
Best gaming coolers
3. Noctua NH-D15
This is a product of a well-known Austrian company, it is a fairly large two-section product, the mass of which is 1 kg, if you do not take into account the fans (they will add about 320 grams more). The propeller frame is quite large, with cut ribs in front, which creates a false visual impression that the cooler has insignificant overall dimensions. The size of the fan itself was chosen quite well, since almost all radiator fins and heat pipes are within the airflow radius. In the lower part, you can see an open area through which air will pass, cooling the radiators of the main power circuits located on the motherboard. The height of the product is 160 mm, thanks to this parameter, this device can be comfortably placed even in a small system unit.
The device comes with two fans, each with a standard diameter of 120 mm, they can rotate at a frequency of 400 to 1500 rpm. At the same time, at a speed of up to 900 revolutions per minute, the operation of the product remains absolutely silent. The impeller is spinning based on a hydrodynamic bearing with magnetic stabilization. It should be noted that the fan frame has special pads that reduce vibration. The build and build quality is top notch.
- Universal mounting system — can be installed on any model of processors and motherboards;
- The product is supplied with fans with a fairly long service life;
- Speed control automatic.
- If you place an external fan according to the instructions, it can block the slots for RAM slots;
- If the motherboard has small overall dimensions, then the cooler on it can cover the last PCI-Express slot;
- Quite expensive.
2. Thermalright Macho Rev.B
A rather powerful and well-thought-out model, which, moreover, is not too expensive. This design has a fan with a redesigned shape, the base is enlarged compared to other models developed by this brand. The cooler has a very interesting appearance. The dimensions of the plates are quite large, they are pressed with six thermal copper pipes, which ensures a good potential for this cooling system. The fastening of this product is traditional, instead of a regular backplate, a complete one is used. Pretty decent dimensions can cause certain compatibility problems — the plates, depending on the design of the motherboard, can hang over the VRM. This, ultimately, can lead to a deterioration in the performance of the mosfet cooling system, even resting against their radiator.
The cooler itself has a fairly large heatsink, all copper parts are covered with a layer of nickel. The quality of production and assembly does not raise any questions. The design provides for 31 aluminum plates, and between them there is a fairly decent distance — 3 mm. This allows the fan to be used with a low air pressure rating. With this approach, the fan will most optimally cool the processor. Three of the six tubes are directed vertically upwards, the remaining three have a bend. The product is slightly offset from the base, but this is done so that the cooler does not interfere with the RAM slots. The base, which is directly adjacent to the surface of the processor, is also covered with a layer of nickel, thanks to which it has a mirror-like surface.
- Reasonably priced;
- Excellent heat dissipation;
- Pretty easy to install (a screwdriver is included with the cooler).
- Under certain operating conditions and overall dimensions of the motherboard, there are some restrictions regarding compatibility with RAM and other modules of the product.
Thermalright Macho Rev. B
1. Noctua NH-U14S
This is truly the best CPU cooler, featuring high efficiency, long life, good compatibility and superior build quality. First of all, it is worth noting that the device has a fairly powerful fan model Noctua NF-A15 PWM. It has non-standard dimensions, but a traditional mount. The thickness of the device is 25 mm with a height of 140 and a width of 150 m. The color scheme of the product is classic for the products of this company. The angle at which the blades are located is chosen so that the balance between static pressure and the volume of air carried out is optimal. The fan speed range is from 300 to 1500 rpm. It is equipped with a special frame in which rubberized pads are provided, the action of which is aimed at reducing vibration. It is connected to the power supply using four contacts at once. The length of the supply cables is 200 mm — average value.
The product comes with an additional set of anti-vibration pads, which are 4 mm thicker than the standard ones. They are designed to be installed in an additional fan. The heat pipes are configured in the form of a hexagon. The main radiator array includes 51 aluminum fins spaced 1.7mm apart. The ends of the plates are bent at a right angle, which allows the exhaust air not to diverge in different directions, but to pass directly through the fan. The clamping bracket includes a special bar and two spring-loaded screws.
- Not very large overall dimensions — almost no compatibility problems;
- Long fan life;
- The cooler operates quite quietly, but at the same time it has high power ratings;
- Can be mounted on a wide variety of platforms.
- Not found.
CPU cooler Noctua NH-U14S
In conclusion useful video
Our review of this year’s best CPU coolers has come to an end. We hope that the information will be enough for you to purchase the most suitable model. If you still have any questions, you can ask us in the comments to this article — we will try to answer them as soon as possible.
Watch this video on YouTube
Watch this video on YouTube
Watch this video on YouTube
Best CPU Coolers for 2021 — Accessories
Best CPU Coolers for Windows Central 2021
It’s incredibly important to keep your CPU cool while it’s busy processing whatever you throw at it. We’ve rounded up the best CPU coolers for your desktop PC. If we were to pick the single best solution, it would be the Cooler Master 212 EVO for the price it offered.
Corsair Hydro h200i
Stock coolers just don’t cut it when it comes to style, performance and overclocking capabilities. If you have an unlocked processor and want to go further, the h200i will be able to handle the increased heat buildup, especially if the airflow inside your case isn’t optimal. The water cooling also makes it easier to get inside the case and fiddle around with components and cable routing, leaving enough room for people to look into the side panel.
As an added bonus, LEDs can be installed on the pump unit, which is a handy addition for those who want to add colorful lighting to their computer. But the main reason to use water instead of air is performance. Although some air coolers (namely the CoolerMaster 212 EVO) are excellent at keeping temperatures low and dissipating heat, water cooling is best when overclocking the system as a whole.
Universal coolers such as the Corsair h200i are a great solution for those who want the benefits of water cooling but don’t want to build their own circuit. All that is required is to install the pump on the CPU and attach the heatsink to a compatible fan mounting point inside the case. Plug in the necessary cables and you’re done.
The only drawback we found with Corsair’s sealed all-in-one systems was the noise of the included fans. The h200i is unfortunately no exception and can make some serious noise (and air). However, you can replace the included fans with alternatives you like. In general, the cooler is excellent, especially for overclocking.
- 240 mm radiator
- Reliable and quiet pump
- Associated software
- Universal fitting
- Fans can loudly
The best in general
Corsair Hydro H200i
when you take risks with non -standard cycles of
9000 Cursair monoblocks with locking curtains with locking curtains. who are moving from air to liquid cooling. The h210i delivers excellent performance and allows for some degree of overclocking, although you’ll certainly need to make sure your case and other cooling components are up to the task. The massive 280mm radiator is more than enough to keep the processor cool and leave some room for overclocking (depending on other components, of course).
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- $110 off Amazon
Cooler Master 212 EVO
Air cooling is a traditional method of cooling internal PC components, but that doesn’t mean it’s an outdated practice. Of course, there are many benefits to water cooling, including increased thermal capacity, but you pay more and there can be other minor downsides, such as loud fan noise and the risk of leakage.
Cooler Master 212 EVO is an amazing kit. For a very low price, you get a CPU cooler that can even perform some form of overclocking on more powerful CPUs. This cooler allows you to enjoy all your favorite PC games, video editing and more without spending more on water cooling.
The cooler only comes with one fan, but this means you can install a second fan for extra performance.
- Large value
- amazing performance
- easily installed
- options for AMD
- You can install the second fan
- not as good as the liquid
- $35 off Amazon
- is ideal for compact buildings
- is ideal for low and medium -sized processors
- Quiet fans
- Direct contact
- Smaller thermal margin
not for expansion
- $41 from Amazon
- Impressive performance
- Great for overclocking
- Quiet operation
- Bulky cooler 9007
- $90 off Amazon
- $150 from Amazon
- Impressive performance
- Great for overclocking
- Sleek look
- Quiet operation
- Bulky cooler
- $89 off Amazon
Master 212 EVO
Among the best air-cooled solutions available
If you’re not a fan of liquid cooling (pun intended), fans and heatsinks are your next choice. The 212 EVO from Cooler Master is one of the best, especially for its asking price. Seriously, don’t let the low price fool you into thinking it’s a cheap solution.
Best Low Profile:
Cooler Master GeminII M4
The disadvantage of smaller cases is that there is not enough room for a large CPU cooler with lots of fans. This is where versatile water cooling kits or low profile air coolers like the Cooler Master GemenII M4 come into play. This compact cooler is great for keeping your server or mini PC cool if you don’t plan on overclocking.
Direct contact heatpipes can draw heat directly from the CPU and transfer it directly to the fan for heat dissipation, making the most of the compact environment where case airflow is most often restricted. An added benefit of Cooler Master CPU coolers is their incredibly quiet fans. You might think it sounds like a jet under load, but it’s not.
However, such compact coolers also have disadvantages, namely, thermal reserves. You won’t be able to cool an AMD Threadripper or Intel Core i9 processorand also won’t be able to perform any form of overclocking, but you shouldn’t expect that in a small PC case.
Best Low Profile
Cooler Master GeminII M4
Great for compact PC builds
Ideal for mini PCs and small configurations, coolers like Cooler Master’s GeminII M4 allow builders to move heat away from the CPU without taking up too much space. The GeminII M4 fan directs the fan straight down towards the motherboard and CPU socket, which also helps with chipset cooling by directing air towards the motherboard heatsinks.
Best air cooler:
Noctua is best known for producing high quality cooling solutions for PC builds. The Noctua NH-D15 is an incredible air cooler and the asking price reflects that. Six heatpipe and dual tower design maximizes cooling space. Simply put; With this cooler you can overclock powerful processors.
And not only the dimensions of the whole device, but also two pre-installed fans for maximum heat dissipation and airflow efficiency. You can think of the NH-D15 as two CPU coolers in one package, and you can’t go wrong.
Best of all, since you’re running two fans, you won’t notice much noise unless they’re running at maximum speed, and you won’t need to use them often. Overall, this is one of the best air coolers.
One of the best CPU air coolers you can buy
Many system builders have praised Noctua for producing some of the best fans available. Pair the company’s excellent blades with a large heatsink and you have the NH-D15 to help keep your CPU cool.
Master MasterLiquid ML360R Cooler
Cooler Master has not only created an AIO that looks sleek and ready for fine assembly, but also has some serious headroom. If you want to create an interesting PC build with RGB lighting and overclocked internals, you should consider Cooler Master’s excellent MasterLiquid ML360R.
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Dual chamber pump operates quietly and efficiently, pumping enough coolant around the circuit to keep the processor cool. With a 360mm radiator, you can even use this cooler to increase the airflow inside your PC case, which is just as important.
be calm! Dark Rock Pro 4
This is one for serious PC builders, with a whopping 250W TDP support, dual tower design, seven heatpipes, and two 120mm fans. With all that cooling power, it’s still silent. How? We don’t know, but your computer will love it. And your ears too, though you will pay for the privilege.
Although it may seem like shelling out for a cooler, especially an air cooler, may seem like a lot of money, but it’s worth it. Looking at the cooler from the side, you can even notice how the fans are shaped differently by comparing the front spinner with the one in the middle. The best part is that this cooler will work with the latest Intel and AMD processors.
be calm! Dark Rock Pro 4
Great low noise performance
rest easy! has built its brand on offering high performance components for PC enthusiasts who crave quieter operation. This sleek, all-black piece of metal with a fan looks great on the front.
The best value for money solution is the Cooler Master 212 EVO, which offers incredible value for money when you consider the performance available and the ability to handle some degree of overclocking. When you’re not stressing the system, you barely hear the fan spin.
But if you really want to take your cooling to the next level, you need to try the Corsair Hydro 100i all-in-one water cooler. This is for more demanding PCs and allows you to get more out of the processor, but be wary of noise when the fans are running at high speeds.
Credits — the team that worked on this guide
Best LGA 1700 CPU cooler for Intel 12
Since Intel and Z690 enabled motherboards are now moving to a new socket, you will need an LGA 1700 support bracket for your cooler, let’s review the best compatible options.
Intel changed the socket size of the LGA 1200 to the rectangular LGA 1700. Compared to its predecessor, the LGA 1700 has 500 more pins, so 12th gen processors should be 7.5mm longer. This is Intel’s first major socket size change for LGA processors in over a decade (since LGA 775) for the consumer-grade market.
You will be pleased to know that all the major manufacturers involved in the cooling system have already released compatible LGA 1700 brackets for most of their models, we are going to showcase these new brackets by listing all compatible AIOs and air coolers for the new socket while we also found the best LGA 1700 compatible cooler for 12th gen Intel processors.
- Best LGA 1700 CPU coolers at a glance
- Best AIO LGA 1700 CPU Cooler — Asus ROG RYUJIN II 360 CPU Cooler
- Best Air LGA 1700 CPU Cooler — Noctua NH-D15
- Best I9-12900K Cooler — Corsair iCUE0 h250 Liquidi4 Best cooler for I7-12700K — be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
- Best Budget LGA 1700 CPU Cooler — Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition
- What is LGA 1700?
- LGA 1700 vs. LGA 1200
- LGA 1700 compatible cooler list
- Corsair LGA 1700 compatible coolers
- Noctua LGA 1700 compatible coolers
- be quiet! Coilers compatible with LGA 1700
- coolers compatible with Lian LI LGA 1700
- coolers compatible with Thermaltake LGA 1700
- coolers compatible with ASUS LGA 1700
- Instrument sets LGA 1700 BRADEMENTS for LGARER for LGARO1 Intel
- Best AIO LGA 1700 CPU Cooler — Asus ROG RYUJIN II 360 9 CPU Cooler0050
- Best Air LGA 1700 CPU Cooler — Noctua NH-D15
- Best I9-12900K Cooler — Corsair iCUE h250i Elite Capellix Liquid CPU Cooler
- Best I7-12700K Cooler — be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
- Best Budget LGA 1700 CPU Cooler — Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition
Best LGA 1700 CPU Coolers First Look
Best AIO LGA 1700 CPU Cooler — Asus RJIN II CPU Cooler — CPU Cooler 360
Editor’s rating — 5/ 5
The ASUS ROG Ryujin II CPU cooler is one of the best in its class and follows its predecessor with an all-new pump design that now features an LCD screen.
Best Air LGA 1700 CPU Cooler — Noctua NH-D15
Editor’s Rating — 5/ 5 the best CPU coolers on the market.
Best Cooler for I9-12900K — Corsair iCUE h250i Elite Capellix Liquid CPU Cooler
Editor Rating — 4.5/ 5
Corsair iCUE h250i Elite Capellix is really great for CPU cooling, and it does it without noise! Corsair continues to shine in this area, making our gaming PCs look sleeker than ever.
Best cooler for I7-12700K — be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
Editor Rating — 4.5/ 5
While any cooler on this list will work with the Core i7-12700K, a reasonably priced bequiet option is offered! Dark Rock Pro. Efficient cooling and near-silent operation.
Best Budget LGA 1700 CPU Cooler — Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition
Editor’s Rating — 4/5
Finally, our budget pick from Cooler Master. The Hyper 212 Black Edition is still considered one of the best CPU cooling options. He will cope on his own in hot conditions and deserves your attention.
What is LGA 1700?
The LGA 1700 connector was announced back at CES 2021 and is specifically designed for Intel’s latest hybrid architecture. The LGA 1700 connector has an extra 500 pins over its predecessor (name hints), increasing the height of the connector by 7.5mm. This forced cooler manufacturers to produce and ship the appropriate brackets so that their customers do not have to buy a whole new model.
While some manufacturers like Lian Li, bequiet!, and Noctua are essentially giving away brackets for free (small shipping cost), other brands charge between $2 and $5 (especially if you don’t have proof of purchase) . This may annoy some consumers, but this is just one of the generational costs that we will have to bear.
The z690 Motherboard is the first motherboard of its kind to feature an LGA 1700 socket and many other great features that truly usher us into the next generation.
LGA 1700 vs. LGA 1200
LGA 1200 was a replacement for LGA 1151, supporting 10th and 11th generation Intel processors. The name comes from the number of protruding pins that come into contact with pads on the processor. As the name suggests, the LGA 1700 socket has an additional 500 pins, resulting in a size change from a 37.5×37.5mm square (LGA 1200) to 45×37.5mm.
This change coincides with Intel’s introduction of its hybrid architecture to the x86 desktop market. Intel is moving away from the usual sets of identical CPU cores, dividing them into Performance and Efficiency Cores (Big.Little).
LGA 1700 Cooler Compatibility List
Most if not all popular air coolers and AIO coolers will be compatible with the LGA 1700 thanks to the new mounting bracket. Most likely, manufacturers will start including this bracket in their products in the future to save customers from buying them separately.
NH-UH12S Chromax.Blacks NHROMAX.BLACK
Some of the above coolers will require a mounting kit, which is available free of charge from Noctua.
be quiet! coolers compatible with LGA 1700
- Dark Rock Pro 4
- Dark Rock 4
- Dark Rock Slim
- Dark Rock TF 2
- Shadow Rock 3
- Shadow Rock Slim 2
- Shadow Rock LP
- Pure Rock 2
- Pure Rock
- Silent Loop 2
- Pure Loop
Coilers compatible with Lian LI LGA 1700
You can buy LGA 1700 installations for the following Lian LIs:
- Galahad AIO FAN SL EDITION0050
- Th 120/240/360 Argb Sync
- Th 240/360 Argb Sync Snow Edition
- FLOE DX RGB 240/280/360
- FLOE RIING RGB 240/280/360
- WATERN Sync
- Water 3. 0 Ultimate
- Water 3.0 Performer C
- Water 3.0 Extreme S
- Pacific MX1 Plus
- Pacific W7 Plus
- Pacific W5
- Pacific W1
- Pacific TOUGH C240/C360 DDC Hard Tube LCS Kit
- Pacific CL360 Max LCS Kit
Best processor cooler for LGA1700 Intel
The best cooler for the AIO LGA 1700 processor is ASUS ROG Rog Rog Ryujin II 360
- High performance
- C of the most beautiful monoblocks on the market.
- More affordable options with similar specs
Aesthetically, the ASUS ROG Ryujin II is one of the most aesthetic AIO coolers on the market, mainly due to its huge LCD screen.
This model is available in both 240mm and 360mm, allowing assemblers with different body sizes to incorporate it into their systems.
Ryuijin then uses a 380mm long tube composed of thick rubber and sleeve to make it more durable and attractive. The main point of discussion of this AIO is the addition of an LCD screen that allows any image or GIF you want to appear front and center. The LCD screen also supports AIDA64, which means you can display system information on the 3.5-inch full color screen if it is tilted.
All in all, we have a powerful and efficient heatsink that will give your new 12th Gen Intel processor all the cooling you need, and the inclusion of that massive pump and screen makes it even better.
Best CPU Cooler for Air LGA 1700 — Noctua NH-D15
- Type — Air
- Max RPM — 1500 RPM
- Max Noise — 24.65 dB 9004 165 x (W) 150 x (D) 150 mm
- Quiet noise
- Highly efficient
- is suitable for top processors
- Large size, make sure that you have a place
NOCTUA NH-D15 With this air cooler, even the liquid options are busted for their money.
The design may seem a little good to some, but we are brown fans and the most important thing is the cooling potential. Size can be quite tricky for many builders, with little extra clearance needed for two giant heatsinks and accompanying 140mm fans. Noctua offers an «S» variant for those who really need this model but don’t have enough space.
All in all, if you put this on your computer, it’s a monster. The maximum noise level is around 24.6 dB, and at a maximum speed of 1500 rpm, you have a powerful cooling solution.
Best Cooler for I9-12900K — Corsair iCUE h250i Elite Capellix Liquid CPU Cooler
Product Dimensions LxWxH — 15.63 x 4.71 x 4.71 inches
Brand — Corsair
Noise level — 36 dB
- Excellent cooling
- Visually excellent
When Corsair H250I ICUE ELITE Capellix first appeared on the market. Corsair has managed to maintain the same efficient cooling as before, while still doing a great job of updating the aesthetics.
The cooling potential of the h250i matches the competition, and there are other similar options available to suit different case sizes. This 360mm variant is perfect for the new i9-12900K and RGB lighting makes any system look great.
Speaking of aesthetics, there are few coolers that do it as well as Capellix. From the pump to the fans, it looks great, and the fact that it can provide all the cooling a high TDP processor needs is a welcome bonus.
Best cooler for I7-12700K — be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
- Socket — Multisocket Intel: LGA 1150/1151/1155/1156/1366/2011 (-3) square ILM / 2066. AMD: AM2 (+) / AM3 (+) / AM4 / FM1 /FM2(+)
- Fan Compatibility — 120mm
- Unmounted Dimensions (L x W x H) — 5.7 x 5.35 x 6.40 inches
- Fans — 2 24.3 dB max
- Easy to install
- Efficient cooler
- Pretty big, make sure you have room
by Darkbe Pro 4! — A popular option in the PC field due to its highly efficient cooling and near-silent operation. you can choose any cooler from this list to take care of the i7-12700K, but we’ve always been fans of Dark Rock Pro 4 due to its efficiency, noise reduction, and ease of installation.
Aesthetically, this is a rival to the Noctua described above, offering a powerful air cooler in all black. The size is quite large thanks to the giant heatsinks and fans, but the low noise level (max 24.3 dB) is just great.
Finally, Dark Rock is very easy to install and can withstand any stress that a large cooler might have, with a well thought out design, it’s great.
Best Budget LGA 1700 CPU Cooler — Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition
- Type — Air
- Max RPM — 2000 RPM
- Max Noise — 26dBA
- Dimensions — (H) 120 x (W) 77 x (D) 905 905
- Great price for execution
- relatively quiet
- is not very suitable for i9/ i7 SKUS, but great for the i5-12600
despite the other that the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition is a budget cooler, it is still a fan favorite. The cooling performance is exceptional for this price and you still get relatively quiet operation.
With four aluminum tubes and aluminum fins, it is very effective. Considering how affordable it is, the 26dB low noise floor isn’t worth sniffing either, but you should avoid it by buying one of the top two 12th gen Intel SKUs.
The performance of this cooler may not be on par with the rest of this review, but it’s a good option for those looking to buy an i5-12600K or 12400 and deserves its place among these LGA 1700 coolers.
Since every manufacturer in the cooling game now offers LGA 1700 brackets, no one needs to buy a new cooler while investing in the next generation of hardware software. For anyone looking to upgrade, the all-in-ones and air coolers on this list are best in class and will efficiently cool your new Alder Lake processor with ease.
Don’t forget that if you have one of the compatible coolers listed above, you can contact the manufacturer and possibly get an LGA 1700 bracket for free, otherwise they are relatively cheap.
Best Budget CPU Coolers — Geek
Choosing the best budget CPU cooler from the many options available can be a daunting task. Budget CPU cooling is always an interesting step in the process of building a gaming PC. This is one of those areas where you need to be very smart be careful to choose because the product can affect both the performance and longevity of your machine. CPU cooling can also hit your wallet as there are several expensive liquid and large air coolers on the market today. Under-purchasing a cooling solution is another an issue that should be avoided as it can lead to serious performance and durability issues.
If you are buying a mid-range processor like Ryzen 5 or Core i5 then there is no point in buying a really expensive air cooler like Noctua NH D15 or a high performance AiO liquid cooler like EK-AiO Elite 360mm heatsink as heat dissipation of these CPUs is usually low. Small air coolers are best for processors in this price range as they are easy on the wallet, have a larger compatibility window, and offer decent thermal and acoustic performance, which is no small feat.
Best Budget CPU Cooler — Our Pick
Last Updated 2022-02-11 at 02:52 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Budget CPU Coolers are the best way to keep your CPU temperature under control without breaking the bank bank. Over the past few years, this market has really blossomed with competition, and now there are many great options that can be purchased within $30-60. While you won’t be able to buy fancy AiO water coolers in this budget, you can certainly get a decent one. an air cooler that will work well and let you try your hand at CPU overclocking. For more guides and information on CPU coolers, you can visit our cooler reviews section. Here are our picks for best budget cpu cooler options you should consider.
One of the best budget CPU heatsinks currently on the market is the legendary Cooler Master Hyper 212. This CPU is not only thermally and acoustically efficient, but also one of the cheapest air coolers on the market. Hyper 212 Black Edition is an update of the standard Hyper 212 model, now it is equipped with a new black fan with a black heatsink, which looks very beautiful. It is a very good air cooler, which can be considered is the best budget CPU cooler on our list.
Helpful Reading: Air Cooling vs. Water Cooling
The Hyper 212’s main selling point has always been value for money. The Hyper 212 Black Edition is no exception as it provides excellent cooling performance for most modern processors. with the latest Core i5 or i7 chips from Intel or equivalent Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 processors from AMD. The Hyper 212 also offers decent overclocking space when paired with these processors, but this will be dictated by the power consumption of the processor itself. The cooler height is 159mm, which should be considered when buying.
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition
Another great thing about the Hyper 212 series was their acoustic performance and the same goes for the Hyper 212 Black Edition. This is a quiet and tolerable noise level, especially in a closed case, and is another positive for this cooler. Many other heatsinks in this price range have loud, whining fans that can be annoying when the CPU is stressed, but this is not the case with the Hyper 212 Black Edition.
Also Read: Best Passive Air Coolers
Aesthetically, the Black Edition of the Hyper 212 model looks much better than the standard Hyper 212 model. Not only does the fan look beautiful when painted this matte black, but the actual heatsink fins do too look very good in black. What’s more, the top of the cooler looks nice and discreet with the heatpipe tops and the Cooler Master logo embossed on the black top plate. It doesn’t have RGB lighting, of course, but at this budget, we can’t complain .
Overall, the Hyper 212 Black Edition is one of the best budget air coolers on the market right now. Combining excellent thermal and acoustic performance with great aesthetics, you can’t go wrong with this cooler from Cooler Master.
Cryorig H7 is another great budget cooler that can be considered for mid-range CPUs. It is a pretty decent alternative to the Hyper 212 Black Edition and provides many similar features. The Cryorig H7 is also in the same price range as the Hyper 212, so it also does not hit the wallet much. You can also check out our review of the Cryorig R5 CPU cooler. 9The 0003
H7 from Cryorig is a decent performer in terms of thermal performance. The cooler has 3 copper heatpipes that make direct contact with the CPU and conduct heat to the heatsink for dissipation.Although it has one less heatpipe than the Hyper 212 Black Edition, the thermal performance of both of these coolers is very similar. Cryorig H7 is also great for Core i5 and i7, as well as modern Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7. Minor overclocking can also be done with this cooler, although you should not expect really high overclocks of all cores with parts of Core i7 and Ryzen 7.
One of the best features of the Cryorig H7 is its acoustic performance. Although it is similar in thermal performance to the Hyper 212, its noise level is even lower than that of the Hyper 212. The Cryorig H7 shows 14 dB under load, which is quite impressive for a budget air cooler. This noise level is one of the lowest we’ve seen for an air cooler in this price range.
Full Review: Cryorig R1 Ultimate Dual Tower 9 CPU Cooler Review0003
In terms of the aesthetics of the Cryorig H7, there isn’t much that sets this cooler apart from the competition. The heatsink is silver, as we’ve come to expect from most air coolers, and the fan isn’t particularly impressive either. suitable for a white-themed budget build. Overall, the Cryorig H7 doesn’t have a particularly outstanding appearance, but it’s one of those areas where personal preference takes over, so that’s good enough for us.
All in all, the Cryorig H7 is a great alternative to the legendary Hyper 212 Black Edition and can be considered as the best budget CPU cooler. Not only does it perform similarly in terms of temperature, but it also outperforms the Hyper 212 in terms of acoustic performance. The aesthetics of this cooler are nothing to complain about, but it does a great job on a budget.
If you’re looking for beautiful RGB lighting in a budget air cooler, check out the DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX GT A-RGB. It’s a really good cooler that pairs perfectly with mid-range CPUs and has the RGB your build craves. GT A- The RGB is slightly more expensive than the Hyper 212 Black Edition or Cryorig H7, but it might be worth it if you’re looking for upgrades in terms of cooler aesthetics.
More Deepcool Coolers: DeepCool Castle 360RGB V2 Review
The 155mm tall GT A-RGB is a tower cooler that can pose some problems for budget cases in terms of free space. In terms of performance, GT A-RGB is another A great budget air cooler that can be used to cool mid-range CPUs while still providing little room for overclocking. This cooler performs the same as the Hyper 212 Black Edition thanks to 4 copper heatpipes that are in direct contact with the CPU heat spreader. Cooler Acoustic Temperature is 26 dB, which is a reasonably quiet operating temperature for a heatsink like the GT A-RGB.
DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX GT A-RGB
The main feature of this cooler is definitely its A-RGB fan. The 120mm cooler fan uses a newer 5V 3-pin standard which is known as «aRGB» rather than the older standard 12V 4-pin, called «RGB». This newer standard allows GT A-RGB to display an even wider range of colors. ARGB also means that the fan can display many different lighting patterns and animations that are not possible with conventional 12V RGB -signals.
In terms of aesthetics, GT A-RGB certainly fulfills many requirements. Its 120mm RGB fan is a huge bonus, especially since modern PCs are more focused on personalization and aesthetics than ever. This fan allows the user to get a little lighting inside their build, which can be customized to their liking and even coordinated with their build’s color scheme. Other than the fan, there is nothing special about the cooler’s fin array as DEEPCOOL has opted for a standard silver stack of fins. However, the top of the CPU cooler done in black, which is a nice touch.
Read also: Best airflow cases in 2021
GAMMAXX GT A-RGB is one of the best budget air coolers due to its RGB implementation and good cooling performance, however its price is also slightly higher. It is up to the buyer to decide if the extra premium is justified for RGB lighting. It bills itself as as the best budget RGB CPU cooler on our list.
The original Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is still a great option if you’re looking for decent performance on a very limited budget. Of course, it doesn’t have the sleek look of the Black Edition, but its specs are very similar, and that more importantly, it’s cheaper. Savings like this become really important if you’re planning to build an entry-level or mid-range PC on a very tight budget, and in those situations, the Hyper 212 EVO might just be the cooler you need. EVO is is the best inexpensive CPU cooler on our list.
Read Also: Best Budget AM4 Motherboards
The Hyper 212 EVO performs almost exactly the same as the Hyper 212 Black Edition and that’s simply because the basic design of the fans and heatsink is pretty much the same. The EVO also has 4 copper heatpipes that directly contact with the CPU heat spreader for efficient heat dissipation. The height of the cooler is 159mm, the same as the Hyper 212 Black Edition. The fan is slightly louder under load and has a rated power of 36 dB, which is audible but not too annoying when the cooler is installed in a PC case.
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
The main downside of the Hyper 212 EVO is the looks of the cooler. The fan feels flimsy with cheap looking blades and a huge black bezel, and the heatsink is the standard silver you see on all other air coolers. The top of the Hyper 212 EVO doesn’t look great, and overall the cooler feels a bit less premium than the other coolers on this list. And for good reason, the Hyper 212 EVO can be bought for a lot less.
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Overall, the Hyper 212 EVO is still a great option for budget builds if you want decent performance on the cheap and you can put up with its below average looks. It’s still far superior its competitors in terms of thermal and acoustic performance, and while it falls short of the aesthetics category, you can’t go wrong with the Hyper 212 EVO at this price point. The
DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX400 rounds out our list as the cheapest, bareest option in our line, and we recommend this cooler if you’re looking for the simplest heatsink on the market for an entry-level chip or one of the best APU options. This cooler is great for Core i3 and i5 processors if you don’t want to overclock them. Likewise, Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 processors will stay within operating temperatures at stock settings with this cooler.
The height of the GAMMAXX400 is 154.5mm, which is quite reasonable for a cooler like this, and it should fit in a lot more cases than the other options we mentioned earlier. In terms of thermal performance, this cooler is slightly better than stock coolers , which you can find on AMD’s new Ryzen processors. It has 4 copper heatpipes and can be used to cool mid-range processors at stock settings quite well, however, we do not recommend overclocking the processor with this cooler. The fan acoustics are also average at 30 dB under load.
Speaking of the fan, the 120mm fan on the DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX400 has blue LED lighting which is more of a negative than a positive.
See also: How to lower CPU temperature
This cooler’s biggest selling point is its really cheap price. Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean low quality, as proven by the GAMMAXX400. or mid-range and looking to get the most bang for your buck. The GAMMAXX400 may not be the most aesthetically pleasing model, but it gets the job done, and that’s all there is to it at this price point. Simply is the best entry-level CPU cooler on our list.
How to Buy the Best Budget CPU Cooler
Budget CPU coolers are often the way to go when you want to keep your CPU cool without breaking the bank. On a reasonable budget under $50, you won’t find any trendy AiO water cooler like beQuiet! Pure Loop 240mm AiO, but that’s okay as there are plenty of good air coolers to be found in this space. For this reason, you should pay attention to some factors that you should consider in order to purchase is the best budget CPU cooler for your build.
The first is pretty obvious. You have to evaluate the thermal characteristics and capabilities of the cooler in question. This can be done in a number of ways. Reading professional reviews online is a fairly reliable way to gauge the performance of a CPU cooler, and it can also give you a lot of benchmark data. Also, you can research user reviews of the specific cooler you are considering. Be sure to test the performance of this cooler with the CPU you plan to use with it, as each CPU generates a different amount of heat under real-world conditions.
Value for money
Of course, when it comes to budget CPU coolers, you need to evaluate the value proposition. Before you make a purchase, be sure to check out other CPU cooler options that cost a little more or a little cheaper than your chosen one. .It often happens that you can find a better CPU cooler for not much more money, and then it makes sense to get it in order to maximize the value for money.In this segment, it is better to refrain from such frills as RGB lighting, since these functions are often accompanied by caveats.
This concludes our guide to best budget CPU cooler options you should consider. The budget CPU cooler market has come a long way over the past few years and you will surely find a good one for your particular build if you do a little research and look for the right price.
Best Low Profile CPU Cooler — Geek
Choice Best Low Profile CPU Cooler for your compact SFF build is a bit of a challenge. It’s no surprise that the popularity of compact small form factor PCs in mini-ITX cases has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks to an unprecedented increase in the efficiency of affordable components. Nowadays, components such as budget gaming CPUs and Mid-range GPUs have become very efficient in terms of power consumption and heat dissipation, making them easier to work with. Processors have certainly improved a lot in this regard with cross-generational improvements such as changes in manufacturing nodes. Therefore, even small, compact, low-profile CPU coolers can work with processors with multiple cores, making them a great choice for SFF builds.
Also Read: Best Low Profile Graphics Card
When deciding to buy a low profile CPU cooler for your SFF build, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, the TDP of the CPU that needs to be cooled is an important factor in the decision process. — not the most accurate representation of power consumption, it gives a vague idea of how much cooling power you might need. Other factors to consider are the dimensions of the cooler itself, the quality of the fan, and RAM compatibility. Aesthetics and appearance are subjective, but also may be added to this list.
Best Low Profile CPU Coolers to Buy in 2021
Last Updated 2022-02-11 at 02:12 AM / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Even if you are looking for a low profile CPU cooler in 2021 When CPU and GPU shortages are ubiquitous, you still need to keep a few things in mind during the buying process. factor. Mini-ITX cases often don’t have enough room for fans and huge coolers, so a compact CPU cooler is the best solution. This approach can also work if you need a relatively clean micro-ATX computer. With that in mind, here are best low profile CPU cooler options you should consider in 2021 for compact PC build.
The Cryorig C7 is a solid all-around choice for a low profile CPU cooler as it delivers superior cooling performance in a compact and value oriented package. Not only is it compatible with almost all mini-ITX boards and most RAM configurations, it is also cool and quiet work, making it a bargain in 2021.
Handy review: The best passive air coolers
The cooler itself is very small compared to regular air coolers like the Cryorig R5, which is to be expected. Exact dimensions are 97mm x 97mm x 47mm (length x width x height) , making it compatible with most motherboard and RAM configurations. In terms of design, the C7 uses a copper base and is equipped with 4 heat pipes, which is enough for decent thermal performance even on modern processors. There is 9 on top2mm white fan with 600-2500 rpm range, which also provides excellent acoustic performance. The fan speed is configured as usual from the motherboard BIOS.
C7 supports most of the new Intel and AMD sockets, although it should be noted that the AMD AM4 bracket is not currently included in the package. You will have to contact Cryorig to get the bracket, which is a bit of a hassle. that in the box you get a decent sized tube of thermal paste, which is quite enough for this application. Performance is pretty good overall, especially given the compact size and affordable price. Ideally, it should be paired with processors with a TDP of less than 100W, such as Ryzen 5 or Core i5 at stock settings.
Overall, the Cryorig C7 is a great all-rounder when it comes to low profile CPU coolers as it delivers above average cooling performance given its size. In addition, Cryorig has an excellent pedigree when it comes to CPU coolers, as seen in our review of the Cryorig R1 tower cooler. Not only does it work well, it also looks really good, especially when installed in a PC case. It might be a bit pricey, but it’s still a is the best low profile CPU cooler on our list.
BeQuiet is known for its focus on performance and acoustics, and the Shadow Rock LP certainly continues that tradition. The majority of BeQuiet products exhibit exceptionally good acoustic performance as seen in our in-depth BeQuiet Dark Rock Pro 4 review, and the same trend can be seen in the Shadow Rock LP, albeit in a smaller form factor. can be considered the best low profile CPU cooler for the in our list.
Although the Shadow Rock LP is a low profile, performance oriented CPU cooler. The TDP rating is 130W, which makes it powerful enough to drive most processors on the market today. Ideally, the Shadow Rock LP should run paired with a modern Core i5 or i7 at stock settings or their Ryzen counterparts. The cooler uses 4 copper heatpipes for efficient heat distribution, and this overall cooling solution is also suitable for easy overclocking of the processor.
Rest easy! Shadow Rock LP
A notable issue with the Shadow Rock LP is RAM compatibility. Due to the focus on performance, the design of the cooler itself is a bit bulky compared to other coolers on this list. Potential buyers should definitely double-check the dimensions of the cooler and their specific RAM sticks to make sure it’s compatible beforehand. Other than that, as you’d expect, the cooler handles most tasks. mentions.
Read also: Best Budget CPU Heatsinks BeQuiet’s
Shadow Rock LP is a more performance oriented low profile CPU cooler and is a little more expensive in comparison. the cooler is definitely worth considering.
It’s hard to talk about air coolers without mentioning Noctua. Noctua is primarily known for its high-performance case fans, but it also makes CPU coolers that are considered the benchmark for air cooling in the industry. In fact, as our detailed review of the Noctua NH-D15 showed , sometimes they are the best in their category.Noctua NH-L9i certainly isn’t a product that tops any charts in terms of raw performance, but it fills its role in Noctua’s lineup brilliantly.
NH-L9i is a small and slender cooler with a height of only 37mm. It boasts 100% compatibility with any RAM module, so you don’t have to worry about RAM compatibility issues. A 90mm high-performance Noctua fan is used to ensure airflow, which, unsurprisingly, comes in the classic beige and brown aesthetic that has become synonymous with Noctua. The aesthetics of this cooler should be kept in mind before making a final decision, as the L9 color schemei still unmistakably resembles Noctua.
Read also: Best AiO water coolers
Moving on to performance, the Noctua L9i is definitely a worthy proposition in terms of thermal performance. It may not be able to handle high overclocking, but it’s more than adequate for a mid-range Core i5 or Ryzen 5 processor at stock settings. Paired with a 90mm fan with a range of 600-2500 rpm, the L9i is also a decent performer in terms of acoustics, but it tends to get a little loud under The addition of excellent NT-h2 thermal paste to the box is also a great touch from Noctua.
While not the best in terms of thermal performance, the L9i is still a cooler that will pair well with mid-range processors in some small form factor builds. Its compatibility is also excellent, making it more desirable for those who are facing gap issues due to RAM. The Noctua L9i is it for sure. is the best low profile Noctua CPU cooler out there.
Traditional tower air coolers are mostly big, bulky and unimpressive in terms of aesthetics. «RGB Ring» and it definitely lives up to its looks. It certainly does, though. is the best low profile RGB CPU cooler out there, unfortunately this can be a classic «form over function» situation.
Although the GM100 looks rather small in product photos and renders, it is actually quite a large cooler and has some RAM compatibility issues due to its circular design. The installation process is also a little tricky, but certainly not impossible for a cooler of this size. There is a 92mm fan at the top that runs between 600 and 2400 RPM, which is quite a healthy range for a 92mm fan in the low profile CPU cooler. CoolerMaster also included an RGB controller to control the lighting of the cooler itself.
CoolerMaster MasterAir GM100
In terms of cooler performance, it falls a bit short here. the coolers mentioned in this list would be the best choice in terms of thermal and acoustic performance. It’s safe to say that you shouldn’t buy this cooler for overclocking as it simply can’t handle those temperatures.
Related Reviews: Best CPU Coolers for 10th Gen Intel CPUs
Overall, the CoolerMaster GM100 is an interesting kit. On the one hand, it offers average performance when it comes to thermostats and acoustics, but on the other hand, it offers a completely unique aesthetic that cannot be found on other coolers. This is mostly a subjective choice that depends on the aesthetic taste of the buyer.
And finally, our pick is the Phanteks PH-TC12LS. Despite the unfortunate name, this cooler delivers excellent value for money thanks to its affordable price and decent thermal performance. It also provides excellent RAM compatibility due to its boxy design.
The actual performance isn’t amazing, but it’s decent enough to be in the same league as the others on this list. Again, this cooler is definitely not recommended for overclocking, but it will work well with most low to mid-range processors at stock settings. .However, the fan tends to get a bit noisy and can run between 500 — 1800 rpm.
Useful Review: Best CPU Coolers for i7 8700K
«>Phanteks PH-TC12LS — Image: Phanteks
Aesthetically, the cooler looks really impressive with the black design language that rampages through all the metal parts. The black painted aluminum fins and black plated nickel heatpipes are used to complement the white fan on top for a clean look. The look is probably is an underestimated strength of this cooler, along with its reasonable price.
Phanteks PHTC12LS is the best budget low profile cpu cooler which should complement most mid-range small form factor cases well. While Phanteks is better known for their full-sized PC cases and PCIe Riser Cables, they also make great CPU coolers, so you should be happy with that as well. Not only does it provide satisfying thermal performance, but also looks very good, especially when installed in a black-themed build. The affordable price makes it even more attractive in terms of value proposition.
How to choose the best low profile CPU cooler
The market for low profile coolers and compact cases is still a niche segment, and there are not many well-known names that can be considered leaders in the production of certain products. go to the trouble of researching. There are a number of factors to consider before purchasing a low profile CPU cooler, and some of them are so important that your computer may not even work if you skip these steps. Here are some of the factors that you should definitely consider if you want to choose a low profile CPU cooler for your build.
Most people looking for a compact or low profile CPU cooler do so because they want to build a compact or small form factor PC. more room to breathe. Whatever the case, you should definitely check the dimensions of the CPU cooler you choose beforehand and determine whether it will fit comfortably in your case. It is also recommended to purchase a low-profile video card for compact cases. You should also pay attention to the height of the cooler relative to the height of your RAM, as high memory modules often cause problems with heatsinks. This ensures that your cooler does not interfere with other components such as memory, video card, etc., and also allows you to properly close the side panel of the case.
Low profile coolers understandably lack thermal performance a bit. Because they are physically smaller and have smaller heatsinks, the total surface area for heat dissipation is less than traditional heatsinks. Some companies try to combat this by installing a fan , running at high speeds, but this approach is also not perfect, since it only increases the level of noise emitted by the computer. This situation isn’t ideal if your SFF PC is designed to be hidden on a desk or cabinet. So it’s best to choose CPUs that don’t generate a lot of heat and try lowering the CPU voltage to help keep temperatures and noise levels down.