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.
What do you pay attention to when buying a CPU cooler?
If you are assembling your own computer for certain tasks, then you will probably 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 quite a lot. 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 provide for heat-conducting 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, which 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.
Best Passive Model
1. Thermalright HR-22
This model looks quite attractive, the whole body of the device is covered with nickel plating. 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.
Processing 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 device is supplied with a pipe for connecting a 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
It 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 such a design on AMD release sockets.
The best mid-range tower coolers
5. Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
It has a not too large mass, 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;
- Quite acceptable cost;
- 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
This model is a tower cooler with a perforated rectangular heatsink, where excess heat is removed by a heatpipe heatsink, 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 here, each of them has 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 efficiency throughout the entire service life;
- Included with the device is a set of mounts for any processors that are relevant today.
- Quite expensive;
- On some motherboards, it may overlap the rear memory slots.
Thermalright Macho Rev.A
3.Deepcool Lucifer V2
The radiator of this device has a tower structure, in which there is only one section, and its dimensions are 163x140x110 mm, that is, the shape is quite massive. 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 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.
- Fairly simple installation on any relatively modern platform;
- It is possible to install an additional fan;
- Quite reasonable price.
- The fan hangs heavily over the nearby connectors for connecting RAM, which is why only low-profile modules can be placed;
- The heat pipes could have been better positioned.
Deepcool Lucifer V2
2. Deepcool Gammaxx 400
The overall dimensions of this cooler are 159x135x76 mm and weigh 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 matte plastic, accumulated dust will practically not be noticeable on it;
- Acceptable dimensions.
- The fan is quite noisy.
Deepcool Gammaxx 400
1. Scythe Kotetsu
This model is the recognized 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, then 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.
- Acceptable cost;
- High performance for its price;
- Can be installed on most systems;
- Works quite quietly;
- Can be installed on a backplate.
- There are none for this price.
The best coolers for gaming computers
3. Noctua NH-D15
This is a product of a well-known Austrian company, it is a rather 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 of which has 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 that have a fairly significant service life;
- Adjustment of speed of rotation automatic.
- If you place an external fan according to the instructions, it can block the slots for RAM sticks;
- If the motherboard has small overall dimensions, then the cooler on it can block the last PCI-Express slot;
- Quite expensive.
2. Thermalright Macho Rev.B
Quite a powerful and carefully 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 heatsink of the cooler itself is quite large, 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.
- Quite acceptable cost;
- Excellent heat dissipation performance;
- 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
It is truly the best CPU cooler that features high efficiency, long life, good compatibility and excellent 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 vibration isolation 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 — there are practically no compatibility problems;
- Significant resource of the fan;
- The cooler operates quite quietly, but at the same time it has high power ratings;
- Can be pinned to a variety of platforms.
- Not detected.
cpu cooler Noctua NH-U14S
In conclusion, a 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.