13 best CPU coolers

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

The processor heats up intensively during operation. This is due to the laws of physics and there is no way to get around them. Coolers, in turn, are designed to cool the processor to a temperature at which it will function normally. We have compiled a rating of the best coolers that are suitable for use with almost any processor – from a simple Celeron for an office 'typewriter' to a high-performance Intel Core i7-7700K, which remains one of the best gaming chips to this day.

How to choose a CPU cooler

A processor cooler must be chosen carefully. Otherwise, he will not cope with his 'duties'. Overheating of the processor, in turn, leads to a drop in performance, shutdown of the computer or damage to the chip itself.

Active, passive and liquid cooling

Cooling can be organized in one of three types – active, passive and liquid.

An active cooling system involves the use of a radiator and fan. The first is installed on the processor. The plumage of the radiator is heated by the 'chip', after which it is cooled by air currents. The efficiency of the active cooling system depends on the materials from which the heat pipes are made, as well as on the fan performance.

So, the most effective copper heat-water tubes with copper or aluminum plumage. But exclusively aluminum heatsinks are suitable for cooling only old or budget processors like Celeron or Pentium lines.

The disadvantage of an active cooling system is that it needs a constant flow of 'cool' air inside the case. Otherwise, other components on the motherboard may overheat. Therefore, the system unit must be installed so that air circulates freely around it.

In addition, the efficiency of active cooling decreases when the radiator becomes clogged with dust.

The liquid cooling system is structurally similar to the active one. Only instead of a radiator, a contact plate and special tubes with a heat-transfer fluid (often ordinary water) are used. The fans are placed in a separate unit, which is exposed outside the system unit. Thanks to this, there are no special requirements for the installation of the system unit, and the performance of the cooling system does not decrease over time.

The disadvantage of a liquid cooling system is that it is expensive.

Passive cooling consists only of a heatsink. The heat from the processor is dissipated naturally through convection inside the system unit. The performance of such a cooling system leaves much to be desired, so it is used exclusively with slightly heated chips – old or mobile, including laptop or ultrabook.

When choosing the type of cooling system, you should be guided by the purpose of the computer:

  1. An office 'typewriter' with an old or low-power processor – a passive heatsink will do;

  2. 'Normal' or 'gaming' computer – active cooling;

  3. Gaming computer with top-end components – liquid cooling.

What to look for when choosing a cooler

The main criteria when choosing a cooler are the compatible socket and power dissipation.

  1. Since processors differ not only in performance but also in size, it is important to consider socket and cooler compatibility. Socket – the size and form factor of the chip itself, as well as the placement of the cooling system mounts on the motherboard. If it is not compatible with the cooler, you will not be able to install the latter. You can find out which socket is in use from the specifications of the processor and motherboard, as well as through the AIDA64 program or similar.

  2. Power Dissipation – Cooling system performance. It shows how much heat can be removed by the cooler. The power dissipation must be greater than the heat dissipation (TDP) of the processor. Both of these parameters are measured in watts, so it is not difficult to compare them.

The rest of the parameters are optional and do not really matter when choosing a cooler.

Manufacturer

The quality of the materials used, the durability of the cooler and additional functions of the cooling system depend on the manufacturer. Therefore, it is advisable to choose devices from trusted companies.

We have included cooling systems from renowned manufacturers such as Noctua, Zalman, Thermalright, Deepcool, Prolimatech and Arctic Cooling in our rating.

Rating of the best CPU coolers

Nomination a place Name of product price
The best tower coolers for gaming systems and overclocking 1 Noctua NH-U14S RUB 5,500
2 Zalman CNPS9900DF 4 190 RUB
3 Noctua NH-D15 RUB 7,660
4 Thermalright Macho Rev.B RUB 5,090
The best mid-range coolers under 3000 rubles 1 Zalman CNPS10X Performa 2 111 rub.
2 Deepcool assassin ii RUB 3,970
3 Deepcool Gammaxx 300 RUB 1,150
4 Thermalright Macho Rev. A RUB 3 350
5 Noctua NH-L9i RUB 2,756
Best passive cooling systems 1 Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. C RUB 3,920
Best CPU Water Cooling Systems 1 Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate RUB 9,273
2 Deepcool Captain 360 EX RUB 6,290
3 Arctic Cooling Liquid Freezer 120 RUB 5,990

The best tower coolers for gaming systems and overclocking

A tower cooler is a type of active cooling systems. Its design involves placing the fan on the side of the radiator, thereby dissipating heat more efficiently. The main thing is to choose the right direction for blowing out hot air.

An important advantage of a tower cooler is the preservation of the radiator's performance over time. The plumage is not covered with dust, so that the blowing efficiency does not decrease.

Noctua NH-U14S

Rating: 4.8

Noctua NH-U14S

Why # 1: High performance, broad socket compatibility, virtually silent operation.

Description: The Noctua NH-U14S tower cooler opens the rating – one of the best active cooling systems on the market. At a relatively low price, it offers a maximum power dissipation of 220W, making it compatible with high-performance and overclocked processors. The mounting pad can be installed on the most popular LG A, AM and FM sockets including LG A1151 (which is used in the Intel Atom Coffee Lake line).

The design of the radiator includes six copper pipes, heat conductors of direct contact and aluminum fins. Moreover, the plates are not welded to the tubes, but pressed with them, which ensures efficient heat transfer.

The fan is based on a magnetic centering bearing. The maximum speed is 1500 rpm, and the regulator of this number is internal. The fan provides 82.52 CFM airflow, but the volume is no higher than 24.6 dB.

Advantages

  • High performance and at the same time practically silent;

  • The kit includes fasteners, bolts, thermal paste and everything you need for installation;

  • The service life is 150 thousand hours, the manufacturer's warranty is 6 years.

disadvantages

  • Heavy;

  • Oversized – can block PCI slot or RAM slots;

  • When used with overclocked or 'hot' chips, it is better to replace the bundled thermal grease with another one.

Zalman CNPS9900DF

Rating: 4.7

Zalman CNPS9900DF

Why second place: High performance and compact design, but relatively high noise levels.

Description: In the Zalman CNP9900DF model, the manufacturing company used a radiator of a non-standard design for tower coolers. The plumage is located radially, and the fans (there are two of them here) are somewhat 'recessed' into the plates. According to the manufacturer, this design provides better heat dissipation and less dissipation while maintaining efficiency.

The nominal maximum power dissipation is 300 W. But such a value is provided only for open installation; in a system unit with a side wall installed, this parameter drops by about 25-30%. Nevertheless, even this is enough for most modern processors, including gaming ones.

The radiator is completely copper – and three heat pipes of direct contact, and fins. The fans are equipped with straight-slide bearings providing rotation speeds up to 1400 rpm at a nominal volume of up to 27 dB.

Advantages

  • Compact, does not cover anything during installation;

  • Cool processors of stock configuration well;

  • The richest package in the rating, including thermal grease, fasteners, bolts and a screwdriver.

disadvantages

  • Not suitable for overclocked processors as it lacks performance;

  • Loud noise under high load;

  • Difficult to install, it is better to mount on a removed motherboard.

Noctua NH-D15

Rating: 4.6

Noctua NH-D15

Why third place: Powerful, quiet, with 6 direct contact heat pipes, but relatively expensive.

Description: The Noctua NH-D15 cooler is a good solution for computers equipped with the latest generation of multi-core processors (for example, Intel Core i9 or overclocked Intel Core i7). The unit provides efficient cooling with 82.52 CFM airflow, 6 direct contact copper heat pipes in the heatsink and two fans up to 1500 RPM. At the same time, the cooler is compatible with most processors – it can be installed on almost all sockets of the LG A, AM and FM series.

Like the leader of the rating, this cooler is equipped with a proprietary radiator – copper heat pipes are connected to the aluminum fins by pressing. The sole is also copper, polished to a mirror finish. The heat pipes are nickel plated for better corrosion protection.

The fans are based on magnetically centered bearings for quiet operation.

Advantages

  • Excellent cooling performance for both overclocked and multi-core processors;

  • Easy installation. Everything you need for installation is included;

  • Quiet fans even under high load.

disadvantages

  • Huge! It cannot be used with standard height RAM or with cooling. Install in a narrow case – too;

  • Boring, unattractive design;

  • Flimsy fins of the radiator, so the cooler requires careful installation.

Thermalright Macho Rev.B

Rating: 4.5

Thermalright Macho Rev.B

Why the fourth place: A good cooler for stock, including multi-core, processors, but it may not cope with overclocked cooling.

Description: Closing the rating is one of the most classic tower coolers designed for gaming and multi-core (6, 8 cores) processors – Thermalright Macho Rev.B. The device dissipates up to 280 watts of heating power, is equipped with six direct-contact heat pipes, an aluminum heatsink fin and one fan that runs almost silently even at maximum speed.

The fan speed ranges from 300 to 1300 rpm and the air flow rate is 16.9-73.6 CFM, respectively. The speed controller is external, so that a specific performance can be adjusted independently for the used processor or tasks. The cooler is compatible with almost all existing chips and can be installed on sockets LG A, AM (including the latest AM4) and FM.

Advantages

  • High performance and quiet operation;

  • Relatively low price (lower than that of its predecessors from the list);

  • Compact, however, the fan can cover the first RAM slot.

disadvantages

  • Less productivity than 'colleagues';

  • Assembly and installation can be difficult, but instructions are included;

  • High, 165 mm, it is worth considering when choosing.

The best mid-range coolers under 3000 rubles

Zalman CNPS10X Performa

Rating: 4.9

Zalman CNPS10X Performa

Why first place: Tower cooler, direct contact of heat pipes and processor, rotation speed up to 2000 rpm.

Description: The top-rated Zalman CNPS10X Performa cooler has a tower design, so it can cool even high-performance processors. In particular, it is equipped with five copper heatpipes of direct contact with the base plate, an aluminum heatsink and a 120 mm fan with a rotation speed of 900 to 2000 rpm.

The fan is equipped with a classic sleeve bearing, however, thanks to the optimization, the noise level even under maximum load is up to 36 dB. In this case, the speed controller is internal, so that the speed of rotation is set by the cooler automatically.

The cooler is compatible with both modern and classic sockets. So, it can be installed on almost all models LG A (including LG A1151 and even LG A775), AM, FM and S. For other sockets you can purchase additional mountings.

Advantages

  • The heatsink design allows for good cooling of processors even at low speeds;

  • Quiet work;

  • Durability.

disadvantages

  • Difficult, inconvenient mount. It is advisable to place the cooler on a removed motherboard with already installed RAM;

  • It is advisable to replace the complete thermal paste;

  • Bulky and heavy.

Deepcool assassin ii

Rating: 4.8

Deepcool assassin ii

Why the second place: Powerful, efficient cooling system, but more expensive than other models in the ranking.

Description: Deepcool Assassin II is a tower cooler with two fans and eight copper heat pipes. Thanks to this, the device provides good cooling even for gaming and overclocked processors, and is also compatible with almost all used sockets.

The cooler radiator, consisting of two modules, is made of aluminum plates. Copper pipes-heat pipes are connected to them by pressing. This ensures good transmission and heat dissipation from the processor.

The two 140mm fans can rotate at 300-1400 rpm and are based on fluid dynamic bearings to ensure low volume even under heavy load. The maximum is 27.3 dB.

The cooler, despite its low price, has a high performance. So, for example, the processor Intel Core i7-7800X under peak load in stress tests heats up to 54 degrees.

Advantages

  • High performance;

  • Silence of work;

  • A rich set with a large number of platforms, mounts, and thermal paste.

disadvantages

  • Comparatively complex assembly;

  • Oversized, can cover power connectors or various functional elements of the motherboard;

  • Inconvenient power hub for coolers, dangles, you need to glue it to the case yourself.

Deepcool Gammaxx 300

Rating: 4.8

Deepcool Gammaxx 300

Why third place: Ultra-budget tower cooler, good value for money.

Description: The Deepcool Gammaxx 300 cooler, which occupies the 'middle' of the rating, has an excellent combination of price and quality. Of course, it is not very suitable for overclocked or gaming processors, but at the same time it copes well with the heating of mid-range chips or with average heat dissipation. In particular, the device has a maximum power dissipation of 125 W.

The cooler is compatible with almost all processor models. Necessary soles and bindings included. The radiator is made of aluminum plates, which are complemented by three copper heat pipes.

The cooler fan is equipped with a proprietary hydrodynamic bearing, which ensures the minimum operating volume. In particular, even under load, it produces 21 dB of noise. The rotation speed is 900-1600 rpm (while the regulator is external, i.e. it can be adjusted), and the air flow is 40 CFM.

Advantages

  • Simple, fast installation;

  • Minimum volume of work;

  • Rich equipment.

disadvantages

  • Relatively large;

  • The contact pad is made of aluminum, into which the direct contacts of the heat pipes are built;

  • Inconvenient clips with plastic 'ears' that can break.

Thermalright Macho Rev. A

Rating: 4.7

Thermalright Macho Rev. A

Why fourth place: Quiet, productive and comfortable. But the improved version (Rev.B) costs only a few hundred rubles more, so it's better to take it.

Description: Tower cooler with the highest performance in this segment of the rating. In particular, the maximum power dissipation of the device is as much as 280 W, which makes it compatible even with gaming and overclocked processors. Includes mounts and pads for sockets LG A (including LG A775 and LG A1151), AM and FM.

The radiator configuration includes 6 copper heat pipes with direct contact. The plumage is made of aluminum sheets. Plates are connected to tubes by pressing, not welding.

The cooler is equipped with one 140 mm fan. Rotation speed – 900-1300 rpm. The proprietary bearing makes the fan quiet – even at maximum load, it makes a noise of 21 dB. In this case, the air flow is up to 73.6 CFM.

The speed controller is external, so you can configure it yourself for the installed processor and the scenario of use.

Advantages

  • Quiet;

  • Rich equipment with a proprietary screwdriver and the necessary fasteners;

  • High performance.

disadvantages

  • Many revisions, and there are even those with an aluminum sole without direct contact of heat pipes;

  • Oversized, may not fit into some cases;

  • The assembly is not easy for beginners and there is no instruction in Russian.

Noctua NH-L9i

Rating: 4.6

Noctua NH-L9i

Why the fifth place: The only ordinary ('horizontal') cooler in the rating, but with a very high power. Compatibility is limited.

Description: The Noctua NH-L9i cooler is designed for Intel Core i3-i7 series processors installed in LSI sockets. It is carried out in a traditional design, which implies placing the fan above the radiator. As a result, the power dissipation of the cooler is relatively low and amounts to 65 watts.

The cooler's radiator is made of aluminum plates, by pressing, placed on a copper heat pipe with direct contact. The fan is equipped with a proprietary low-noise magnetic centering bearing, so the cooler's volume does not exceed 23.6 dB even at 2500 rpm. The speed itself is adjustable from 300 to 2500 rpm. The airflow generated by the fan is 33.84 CFM. The speed controller is built into the cooler and works automatically.

The cooler is highly reliable – the uptime is 150 thousand hours, and the manufacturer's warranty is 6 years.

Advantages

  • Low profile design, can be installed in narrow system blocks;

  • Low volume and good performance (even Intel Xeon E3-1225 v5 can cool down);

  • The simplest installation.

disadvantages

  • The mounting bolts are secured with the motherboard removed;

  • Relatively high price;

  • Not suitable for overclocked and unlocked CPUs.

Best passive cooling systems

Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. C

Rating: 4.9

Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. C

Why it is it: Copper-aluminum heatsink designed specifically for passive cooling systems.

Description: The Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. C cooler has been designed specifically for use as a sole cooling device. It is distinguished by a massive base with a polished copper base, to which six copper heat pipes are attached by pressing, and an aluminum radiator with a wide distance between the plates, which ensures free air circulation.

The cooler is compatible with the vast majority of sockets Intel LSA, including the newest ones, as well as AMD AM and FM.

Even without a fan, it provides the same cooling as some of the other devices in the rating, providing passive dissipation of up to 40-50 watts. However, if you wish, you can attach a fan to it – models for 120 and 140 mm are suitable. Brackets for fixing it are included with the radiator.

Advantages

  • Efficient heat dissipation thanks to solid base and 6 copper pipes;

  • Wide space between the fins for better air circulation;

  • Massive base.

disadvantages

  • High radiator, may not fit into a thin case;

  • Dense placement of heat pipes;

  • The 'two towers' design has less rigidity than a monolithic one.

Best CPU Water Cooling Systems

Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate

Rating: 4.9

Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate

Why first place: A cooling system that can cool the processor even without fans. There are, of course, three of them.

Description: One of the most productive water cooling systems – Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate opens the rating. The device is equipped with three fans that rotate at speeds up to 2000 rpm. This ensures effective cooling even for overclocked processors. In addition, up to 6 additional fans can be installed.

The contact pad is made of aluminum and copper. The mount is compatible with the most common sockets including LG A, AM and FM. Adapters for other types of processors are commercially available.

The installed fans are quite quiet – even at a maximum rotation speed of 2000 rpm, they generate 20 dB of noise. The air flow through the cooling system is 99 CFM. The minimum rotation speed of coolers is 1000 rpm.

The system can work in passive mode – with the coolers turned off.

Advantages

  • Quiet but powerful cooling system;

  • Quiet pump;

  • Compact and easy to install.

disadvantages

  • Over time, the noise level increases, it is recommended to replace the fans or install a reobass;

  • It may not be possible to cope with cooling processors with a heat dissipation of more than 250-300 W (overclocked);

  • Expensive.

Deepcool Captain 360 EX

Rating: 4.8

Deepcool Captain 360 EX

Why second place: Gaming water cooling system, the main disadvantage of which is the price.

Description: Deepcool Captain 360 EX could have topped the rating if it had not been relatively expensive (even for water cooling systems). It is very efficient – power dissipation is 220 watts. At the same time, thanks to the use of proprietary hydrodynamic bearings in the fans, the system is distinguished by quiet operation – the noise level is up to 31.3 dB at a rotation speed of 1800 rpm and an air flow of 76.52 CFM.

The waterblock contact plate is made of polished copper. The pump is equipped with a ceramic bearing, which provides a service life of 120 thousand hours. It works silently.

The cooler also boasts a unique water block design. The cooling system is compatible with the vast majority of sockets LG A, AM and FM. All necessary mounts are included.

Advantages

  • High performance and durability;

  • Quiet operation under daily load;

  • Attractive design;

  • CPU temperature fixing mode.

disadvantages

  • Non-switchable bright red illumination of the cooling system;

  • Oversized radiator;

  • Rigid hoses;

  • Expensive.

Arctic Cooling Liquid Freezer 120

Rating: 4.7

Arctic Cooling Liquid Freezer 120

Why third place: Dual fan cooling system with fast pump and high efficiency.

Description: The rating closes with a rather unusual liquid cooling system – Arctic Cooling Liquid Freezer 120. It differs from other devices in a compact unit with a radiator and fans, which is much smaller than traditional 'panels'. Nevertheless, it copes with the task of cooling the processor 'perfectly' – the nominal power dissipation is 300 W.

The fans can rotate at speeds from 500 to 1350 rpm, provide an air flow of 74 CFM, are equipped with long-life fluid dynamic bearings and are relatively quiet – at maximum load, the noise level is 30-35 dB.

The waterblock is equipped with a copper contact plate and a built-in pump that rotates at 5400 rpm. Thanks to this, the cooler can be used even in passive mode. However, the pump can still be heard from the case.

Advantages

  • Rich bundle with quality additional items;

  • Quiet, efficient work;

  • Suitable for overclocked processors.

disadvantages

  • Pump rpm too high, which can reduce reliability and cause noise;

  • Heavy and oversized;

  • Comparatively expensive.


Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Rate article
An online magazine about style, fashion, etiquette, lifestyle, and about choosing the best products and services.
Add a comment