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High-end CPU Coolers Reviewed and Compared 133

Posted by Soulskill
from the absolute-zero-is-an-absolute-necessity dept.
jjslash writes "CPU cooling units are an often-overlooked but always important side of PC building, whether you're looking to overclock or you simply want a cool-running, silent system. It's also easy to get lost if you aren't an enthusiast who keeps tabs on the best options. TechSpot has rounded up 10 high-end CPU coolers (read: huge heatsinks) including top units from Noctua, Thermalright, Xigmatek, Silverstone and Thermaltake. If you're willing to spend the cash, they rate the Noctua NH-U14S as the best overall pick. For a tighter budget, the Thermalright offerings provide the best bang for your buck."
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High-end CPU Coolers Reviewed and Compared

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  • by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Friday September 06, 2013 @05:13PM (#44779159) Homepage

    If they are high-end, why are they silver and not black in colour?

    • If they were really high-end they would be Gold.

      But seriously, I use the stock fan/heatsink that comes with the CPU and even with video encoding pushing all 6 cores to almost 100% I have no problems. "High End CPU Cooler" is as much of a scam as "High End Bottled Water".

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If they were really high-end they would be Gold.

        Actually, silver has higher thermal conductivity than gold, so it would be better for a heat sink.

        • by Osgeld (1900440)

          its not about conductivity, its about emissivity, heat pipes take care of conductivity, now how fast can you dump heat into the air, flat black is much MUCH better at it than any type of reflective material

          • by OneAhead (1495535)
            That's assuming most heat is emitted in the form of radiation. This would be true in a vacuum, but we're talking about heatsinks designed for computers that are filled with a nifty substance called "air". Although air neither has the highest heat capacity nor is it the best thermal conductor, at the conditions found inside a typical desktop case, even a slow stream of air can beat radiative cooling to the point of irrelevance. And for the thermal coupling between the heatsink and air, the color matters litt
            • by OneAhead (1495535)
              Oh I just found this post [slashdot.org] which has a more quantitative analysis. So yeah, 1.6W of radiative cooling = irrelevance.
      • Re:Silver (Score:5, Informative)

        by Cinder6 (894572) on Friday September 06, 2013 @06:05PM (#44779519)

        "High End CPU Cooler" is as much of a scam as "High End Bottled Water".

        No, it really isn't. Besides having quantifiably better cooling capabilities, these high-end coolers are often much quieter. I have a Noctua NH-D14, and while it's not as pretty as, say, the Thermaltake FioOCK from TFA, I find it far superior to any stock solution I've ever used. I can't even hear the thing, despite it having two 120mm fans.

        • "High End CPU Cooler" is as much of a scam as "High End Bottled Water".

          No, it really isn't. Besides having quantifiably better cooling capabilities, these high-end coolers are often much quieter. I have a Noctua NH-D14, and while it's not as pretty as, say, the Thermaltake FioOCK from TFA, I find it far superior to any stock solution I've ever used. I can't even hear the thing, despite it having two 120mm fans.

          So you have 2.4 pounds, that extends 5" above the mother board, then more than likely it sits sideways.
          That's a lot of stress on anything over a period of time. Moving your system at all increase the chance of spider cracks.

          And my feelings over these type of coolers, I've always gone with an enclosed water cooling system
          http://www.newegg.com/Water-Liquid-Cooling/SubCategory/ID-575?Tpk=water%20coolers [newegg.com]

          They are small, light weight and can remove a lot of heat Using a CORSAIR H50 (no longer being sold),
          i7-950

          • by CBravo (35450)
            Water cooling is more noisy, by a little bit. The only thing I hear on my system is my harddisk (I run a stock i7-3820 with memory at 2400 for a memory intensive application). If you want to overclock by a large factor, water cooling can do that better.

            See here [hardware.info] for a comparison between two popular air and water cooling solutions.

            I have the TPC-800 which is large and I make sure I always transport it very gently. But there are specifications for the weight it should be able to handle. Those specificatio
          • by Cinder6 (894572)

            It definitely is a lot of weight on the motherboard. Mine is one of Gigabyte's "ultra-durable", and it is noticeably thicker than other motherboards I have used. The bracket for the Noctua is large and does a good job of spreading the weight around. Still, I am careful, and if I were to move the system more than a few feet, I would put it on its side. If I were to move (as in houses), I would probably disconnect the HSF, just to be safe.

            I had the Corsair H50. Two of them, actually. Both pumps made alarming

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Once again proving the old adage "Better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."

        While it is true that for most people a high end aftermarket cooler is not needed for many others it is a necessity.
        The stock coolers that come with cpus nowadays are far better than those of 10 years ago but they still leave a LOT to be desired.

        A truly good cpu cooler will ALWAYS improve the cooling of a computer and this can gain you lower temperatures with less noise or can allow the user to work

      • They are almost exclusively for overclocking. Which, if you did that, you'd be able to do all of those things much faster. If you're going to be an idiot on Slashdot at least try to be a sensible idiot.
        • Re:Silver (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mcvos (645701) on Friday September 06, 2013 @07:46PM (#44780235)

          Not just overclocking, but noise. Many high end coolers are very quiet (some even passive), whereas stock coolers tend to be very noisy.

          • by Cimexus (1355033)

            Right. I have a Noctua NH-D14 on my perfectly stock i7 4770K. I might dabble in overclocking at some point but for the moment, the improved cooling simply allows me to run the fans at lower speeds and produce less noise. Combined with an SSD (and no HDD), quiet video card and a case choice generally geared towards noise reduction, it's a pretty quiet machine that you have to have your ear up against to really tell whether it's on or not.

        • by ganjadude (952775)
          Perfect time for a car analogy

          if you buy a PC in the stores, it will have fans and heatsinks. They will do the job MOST people want from it. but if one wants to take said car to the track, (push the CPU) they might make some upgrades. such as a cold air intake, picture an upgraded cooler on a PC as a cold air intake on a car, it doesnt add a whole lot to the deal ,but it does make a difference.
      • Re:Silver (Score:5, Informative)

        by compro01 (777531) on Friday September 06, 2013 @06:20PM (#44779623)

        But seriously, I use the stock fan/heatsink that comes with the CPU and even with video encoding pushing all 6 cores to almost 100% I have no problems. "High End CPU Cooler" is as much of a scam as "High End Bottled Water".

        Well yeah. The stock heatsink is intended to keep it within the manufacturer's thermal envelope under normal use conditions.

        If you go outside the "normal use conditions" (overclocking, high ambient temperature, etc.) or want to get under the normal envelope (for potentially increased component longevity, etc. or want a unit with a bigger, slower spinning fan so it's quieter), a better cooler may be necessary.

      • by BLKMGK (34057)

        You're obviously running it at stock clock speed - and losing a great deal of encoding speed as a result. This isn't for people running stock clock speeds...

      • by Dialecticus (1433989) on Friday September 06, 2013 @11:05PM (#44781289)

        If they were really high-end they would be Gold.

        It's a little known fact, but diamond has the highest thermal conductivity of any substance you're ever likely to encounter, beating silver by a whopping 350%. The only reason it's never used for thermal applications is that forming it into arbitrary shapes is almost beyond mankind's capability, and even if we did manage to do it, the cost would be astronomical. However, if it could somehow be done, and done cheaply, it would be the ultimate heat sink material.

        For comparison purposes, gold has about 33% higher thermal conductivity than aluminum, copper beats gold by about 26%, and silver in turn beats copper by about 7%, but not one of them is even in same league as diamond.

        This is most likely why diamonds earned the nickname "ice". You know how, at room temperature, metal feels colder than wood or plastic? This is because its higher thermal conductivity pulls the heat out of your hand more quickly. If you were to pick up a large enough diamond, it would feel extremely cold at first, just like a piece of ice.

        • If they were really high-end they would be Gold.

          It's a little known fact, but diamond has the highest thermal conductivity of any substance you're ever likely to encounter, beating silver by a whopping 350%. The only reason it's never used for thermal applications is that forming it into arbitrary shapes is almost beyond mankind's capability, and even if we did manage to do it, the cost would be astronomical. However, if it could somehow be done, and done cheaply, it would be the ultimate heat sink material.

          Thanks for that!

          Just recently saw a thermal compound with diamonds http://www.amazon.com/Innovation-Cooling-Diamond-Thermal-Compound/dp/B0042IEVD8 [amazon.com] I didn't give it a second thought as someones always pushing a newer better compound. Guess I'll pick some up and give it a try.

          • IC diamond is pretty good goop, I was one of the original test subjects back when it was first piloted on OCF. It's definitely thicker than most people are used to though.

          • What do you think I'm using?

            Of course, because it's made of many small, rigid granules, some of the thermal conductivity is lost, but diamond can afford to lose a lot because it starts out so very far ahead of other materials. The main advantage of it, and the reason I chose it, is stability over the long term, which is due to the fact that it's almost entirely made up of solids. I didn't want to have to periodically reapply. I wanted something that would stay put and just work.
        • It seems that Graphene has even better thermal conductivity than diamond and there is a more realistic chance of getting that into the right shape for a heatsink.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphene#Thermal [wikipedia.org]

        • What would happen if you put a bunch of diamonds inside a silver heatsink (i.e. put the diamonds in the mold and pour the silver on top)? Would the "pockets" of increased thermal conductivity help much?

      • If they were really high-end they would be Gold.

        But seriously, I use the stock fan/heatsink that comes with the CPU and even with video encoding pushing all 6 cores to almost 100% I have no problems. "High End CPU Cooler" is as much of a scam as "High End Bottled Water".

        Ever read the booklet (Installation instructions) that comes with the Intel CPUs? I did cause I wanted to know just what temperature the chip should run at? For my i7-950 the "internal ambient temperature should be at or below 38 C, this is maintained with the integration of of a Thermally Advantaged Chassis". :}

        (The ambient temperature is measured at the inlet to the processor thermal solution)
        -From my booklet, it's been changed and that entry removed so I can't link to it..

        The stock Intel CPU cooler can't

        • The stock Intel CPU cooler can't come close to maintaining that limit.

          I think you misintepreted it it "processor thermal soloution" is a fancy term for heatsink/fan combination (you see this with the xeons where the heatsink/fan units are sold seperately).

          So what that is saying is that the temperature of the air the heatsink/fan takes from the case should be at or below 38C for the stock cooler to keep the processor within it's thermal specs (which according to intel for the i7-950 are a max Tcase of 67.9C.

      • Let me guess: You're using AMD CPUs without proper (or rather not fully functional) thermal sensing and therefore don't see a difference between coolers... if the CPU doesn't actually display the current core temperatures, but rather calculates a theoretical temperature based on the current power usage and a generic heatsink model, you're obviously not going to see a difference unless you install a thermal probe yourself. See here: http://forums.redflagdeals.com/amd-overdrive-cpu-temperature-vs-core-tempera [redflagdeals.com]

      • by ultranova (717540)

        But seriously, I use the stock fan/heatsink that comes with the CPU and even with video encoding pushing all 6 cores to almost 100% I have no problems. "High End CPU Cooler" is as much of a scam as "High End Bottled Water".

        A high-end CPU cooler gets the same cooling with less noise than the stock one. Not everything is about raw power.

      • Basically there are three main reasons to use a high end CPU cooler.

        1: You will be operating the machine where ambient temperatures are high so you have less thermal margin for the cooler to work in
        2: You want to make the machine quieter under load. A larger radiator area means that the fans can achieve acceptable cooling at much lower speeds
        3: You want to seriously overclock. Serious overclocking can easilly double the power consumption of a CPU and that heat has to go somewhere.

        If none of those apply to y

        • by hazeii (5702)

          4: You want slow turning (or no) fans for reliability - especially now that PC hardware doesn't become obsolete so quickly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because the difference of the temperatures between the surrounding environment and the cooler is very small (a few ten degrees) so that radiated energy is nearly the same as absorbed (T1^4/ T2^4 is close to1). Also radiation surface is small (internal surfaces do not count - what is radiated by one is absorbed another surface) so in general only conventional heat exchange and airflow plays significant role.
      For that temperature differences having black anodizing is more-less just a fashion like having oxyg

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Also: for this temperatures the maximum radiation is in relatively long microwave region and you do not really know what ts the "colour" (absorbance) in that region because you to not see it.

        Further estimative calculation:
        heatsink size 5 cm, effective radiation surface: A = 4 pi r^2 = 0.078 m^2
        Ambient temperature 295 K, heatsink temperature 325 K (difference 30 K)
        Total radiative power of black body = sigma * A * (T2^4 - T1^4) = 1.6 W
        One and half Watt of maximum radiation is much smaller than required 50-

    • One of them is black. RTFA!
  • Um, is this news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WilliamGeorge (816305) on Friday September 06, 2013 @05:19PM (#44779193)

    These sorts of reviews are done regularly, by dozens of websites. I like computer hardware news (its the industry I work in, after all) but please don't let every review or roundup out there make it to Slashdot.

    • Welcome to 10 years ago when this type of thing was posted weekly. I used to write reviews for Blarg, OCAU, [H], we loved getting on slashdot as we had 200,000+ referrals in 6 hours. Wonder how many hits from slashdot techspot will get?

    • by Arkh89 (2870391) on Friday September 06, 2013 @05:24PM (#44779229)

      Don't worry, Slashdot already hit rock-bottom with this article [slashdot.org]...
      Or did they?

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday September 06, 2013 @05:37PM (#44779309)
      I might forgive it were it not doing that fucking "put content across 10 pages!!!" thing.

      Techspot: fuck you and fuck your attempts to make your articles worth ten times as much without actually doing ten times more work.
      • Old school trick that can still be done on some sites. Hit print article. Low and behold you have it on one page.

        • by T-Bone-T (1048702)

          Many websites have wised up to that. They'll often just print the page and not the whole article.

      • by doom (14564)
        I'm inclined to agree, but then at least these are fairly heavy-weight pages with a lot of images, and the "article index" at the bottom that let's you jump to the part you're interested in is a very nice touch. A "print" or "single page" link would be appreciated, though.
    • Slow day. My biggest disappointment was the lack of closed water cooling in the review.
  • Afaik, cooler master are the best from a price/performance ratio, where you get like 90% of the performance of a Noctua for half the price. It's like they never include this brand because it would be boring having it win the quality prize every time.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      IME that's true, but they're not particularly quiet. I have a $20 cooler master triple heat pipe with a case-sized fan on it, and it did a great job of cooling my overclocked Phenom II X3 720 (3.2 GHz) and does a great job of cooling my standard-clocked Phenom II X6 1045T (2.7-3.2 GHz, IIRC?) for twenty bucks. The stock cooler didn't really hack it for the 720 even at standard clocks and voltage.

      Cooler master will win the price-performance comparison every time, if you're not trying to be quiet. So yeah, th

      • by Whorhay (1319089)

        I can't remember model numbers but my Cooler Master is the giant one that sticks out like 9 inches from the CPU and takes a 120mm fan on each side. It's pretty damn quiet so far as I can tell. It is way quieter than the stock intel heatsink it replaced, and my 550 gtx card is the real noise maker in my case. I guess I should do some kind of CPU load testing and see if I can hear the fans spin up.

  • Loudness rating? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by omnichad (1198475) on Friday September 06, 2013 @05:28PM (#44779255) Homepage

    How about cooling capability per dB for those of us who want to cool quietly and relatively cheaply? I don't care what cools the most. I'm not overclocking. What I care about is cooling enough without having to hear it.

    • Noctua NH-D14 is an absolute monster. It silently cools my i5-2400 even while doing video encoding. It's why I bought the damn thing, so that I can enjoy the silence.
      (well, my GPU disagrees while I game but when that happens my ears are covered by headphones so I couldn't care less).

      If you want numbers, 4-core video encoding at 100% raises my CPU temperature to 55 degrees (Celsius) but I set the NH-D14 fans to start spinning when temperature goes over 60 degrees (Celsius).

      • by Sperbels (1008585)
        Yeah... the legendary NH-D14 was conspicuously missing from this review. Not even using any case fans right now. Just using this monstrosity.
        • Yeah, forgot to mention that I only have one case fan, which I left there because it was harder to take out (it's next to the secondary HDD cage at the bottom in my Antec P182). It's a Scythe Gentle Typhoon running at 500 rpm, so inaudible.

      • by Cinder6 (894572)

        Another NH-D14 fan (heh) here. It's humongous, but so quiet I sometimes forget my system is on if I'm not using it. I had originally tried a Corsair H50, but had problems with the pump making grinding noises after a week (something you don't want when using liquid cooling...). Switched to the Noctua, and it's almost as quiet as the H50 when it was working, and cools just as well or better--this despite it having two 120mm fans.

    • Noctuas make Yate Loons sound like Delta Screamers.

  • For my next desktop unit I'll be going for one of the lower end water coolers.

    They're perhaps not the most economical, but at least you don't have kilos of metal hanging off your motherboard.

    In the reviews I've seen the Zalman range give slightly better performance than the more common Corsairs, at the lower end.

    • by Cinder6 (894572)

      I had a Corsair H50 at one point. It did a good job cooling, and it was silent--until the pump started making grinding sounds. I replaced it with another that sounded even worse. Then I just bit the bullet and went with the Noctua NH-D14, which actually does a better job of cooling, at barely any more noise.

      • I've got two H50s, one on Sandy i7 (3.whatever stock freq.), the other on a Ivy i5 (4ghz). Former for 3 years now, latter for 1. No problems at all, and temps are waaaay cooler than those dumb, big, noisy are cooled things.
        • by CBravo (35450)
          And for some comparison of things, I found this site to most informative (posting this link [hardware.info] for the third time)
  • Obviously I'm not running the same hardware, but I've never pushed my proc over 54C. That's with a stock cooler, lots of RAM, a very mild OC, OCd GPU, and poor cable management. I am, however, always surprised with how quiet my apartment gets on the rare occasion that I turn off my PC.
    • by jandrese (485)
      You have spinning HDDs in there don't you? A lot of this effort into getting the quietest fan is lost when the HDD is noisy.
    • by Whorhay (1319089)

      Are you using AMD or Intel CPU's? I had always used AMD's which came with pretty beefy heatsinks, until my latest PC. I went with an Intel i5 of some flavor or another and it came with the most pathetic little heatsink I've ever seen for a CPU. And of course when I installed some temperature monitoring software for fun I discovered that it wasn't all that unusual for it to get into the 70's when gaming. So I bought a $20 aftermarket heatsink and now it rarely gets up into the 60's. It's normally in the 40's

      • by WillgasM (1646719)
        i5 700 series, though I don't remember which one off hand. And yeah, the heatsink and fan is pretty much a joke. The first couple times I mounted it, the proc seemed to run hot. I just kept scraping and reapplying thermal paste til I got it seated well enough. Usually while gaming it'll climb to 50-52C. I keep an alarm set at 55C and I've never set it off. I keep my apt at around 22-23C. I do have 3 case fans that move a good bit of air and a fan behind my PC to keep air circulating around the room. Most of
  • Am I the only system builder who is a bit nervous about having a metal tower weighing 2 pounds or more hanging off the motherboard? I know it's bolted in with a backplane, but still, I'm always worried an unexpected jolt to the case could crack the board. Some of SilverStone's cases (such as the TJ-08E and FT-04) have little supporting stands to hold up the heatsink; I'd like to see this more widely adopted.

    While I'm at it, why does seemingly every tower manufactrer use paperclips to hold on the fan(s)? Wha

    • by Sperbels (1008585)
      I didn't like doing this either and usually kept my tower on it's side. I actually found it cools much better in this orientation...but I think that's just because I did a terrible job of tightening down my cooler. Anyway, in my new build I bought a HAF XB case, so the motherboard lies flat and I don't have to worry about it anymore.
    • It's all just in your mind, I tell ya. The mobos *are* tough. I once dropped a mobo on a corner from my hand, I was SURE I totally broke it... I was wrong.
      You can try this: stack 5 sheets of regular size printer paper, drill 4 holes in it, roughly 2 inches apart, in form of a square, bolt a 2-pound cooler on them and hold the paper vertically, so that the cooler hangs just like from a motherboard. They will hold.

    • This is the reason my next build is going to be an ITX design. Board sits on the bottom of the case with nothing hanging from it. Problem solved unless it gets knocked off the desk though that shouldn't happen due to building a custom desk for it - it'll be built in.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        Anyone have any good recommendations for an ITX case? I'd love to switch to an ITX case for my next system, so I can have something much smaller than my current tower, but I just haven't seen anything I'm terribly wild about. I want something with room for 2 hard drives (for a RAID0 mirror), and 2 5.25" external bays (for an optical drive and a HD dock), and then I'd like the capability of driving dual monitors, preferably with video on the motherboard. Surely I'm not the only one who'd like something li

  • Gotta jump in here to say I standardized on this Zalmon radial design several years ago for all my boxes and haven't looked back. The thing for me is dust, which would easily clog all the other coolers reviewed in TFA. Like it or not my PC real estate is dusty! Over the years I've aquired two types of tools to deal with the (serious) problem (very well).

    Zalmon coolers of this design
    http://www.zalman.co.kr/global/product/Product_Read.php?Idx=416 [zalman.co.kr]

    cans of compressed air to blast the cooling fins and:

    a Dyson han

    • by jandrese (485)
      Why not get one of those cases that integrates an air filter on the front? Cleaning the filter seems easier than cleaning all of the heatsinks and fans.
      • by SpzToid (869795)

        I am using Altec Sonata cases which do have a filter on the front, and which I do clean regularly, however this isn't nearly enough for my dusty environment, which is near a major urban intersection of traffic.

        The difference between these Zalmon's versus all the other cooler designs is there are no nooks and crannies for the dust to collect into, so a good blast of compressed air will clear the cooler fins and passages.

        And yes, those Zalmon blades *are* sharp like knives, so be warned handling them!

    • The Zalman deals with dust, yep that's a good point. Shame they don't dissipate much heat... Sort of the whole point of a CPU cooler. I run Noctua NH-D14's and yes you are right I have to strip clean them a couple of times a year. On a plus point they do keep the CPU cool.
    • by mcvos (645701)

      A good anti-dust trick I recently learned from SPCR [silentpcreview.com], is to put two case fans in the front, and none or one in the back. Create some over-pressure in the case, which keeps a lot of dust out.

    • by BLKMGK (34057)

      When I was air cooled I used the Zalman coolers and like them except for one thing - they're razor sharp! Cut myself on them a few times and bled like a stuck pig. that's the only issue I ever had with them and mine held up to some pretty good overclocking. Water is way better though and can be near silent if you want...

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      they just created a dust bowl for me, and hard to clean, but whatever floats your boat

      • by SpzToid (869795)

        I've been using that Zalman design for several years already, which was an improvement over the previous Zalman design I was using for the same dusty situation. That is what has worked best for me over time.

        However I appreciate the suggestions for water cooling from this thread. I haven't been considering it, and when I did long ago, it was too exotic and pricey, and I was concerned about water-related risks as well.

        I was doing some Saturday morning window shopping, and I suppose if I was to buy a new case

  • Meh, what really counts is the relative size of the fan+radiator compared to the computer. It's hard to beat mine [odroid.com] (+ its fan [odroid.com]). Now go find the computer in the first image... (specs [hardkernel.com]).

  • Chip clock speeds have sort of hit a ceiling, so beyond-factory overclocking doesn't do as much good anymore. What are you going to do with 10% more clock speed nowadays? If playing games, you'd just upgrade your video card. If you were really serious about overclocking, you'd water cool. There's just not much reason to eek out a tiny bit of cpu performance with slightly better air cooling. The stock Intel heatsink and fan is quiet and performs well, and there's not much reason to spend more money.
    • Can I lol?
      i7 3770K with 3.9 GHz stock speed can easily reach 5 GHz aircooled with an NH-D14 with stock fans. That's almost 30% more clock speed.
      My older 2.66 GHz E6750 reached 3.46 GHz cooled by a Scythe Ninja 1 and would overheat with the stock Intel cooler at 3 GHz.

      • by BLKMGK (34057)

        Sadly my CPU won't go past 4.5GHZ even on water but it's rock solid and hells yes I use that added clock when crunching video! No way in hell would the stock Intel cooler come close to this - it barely keeps the stock clock from overheating half the time. This guy simply isn't pushing his CPU at all!

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      the cooler master heatsink with the AMD sticker placed on it that came with my FX cpu would hit speeds of slightly over 6000 RPM, with a ~60 mm fan

      FUCKING LOUD, though it worked fine as a cooler

      so that is the only selling point I had to buy a aftermarket cooler

    • by Whorhay (1319089)

      Maybe the newer Intel chips are coming with better heatsinks but my experience with my i5 doesn't match at all. The heatsink was tiny with very little surface area and some kind of rinky dink fan. Whenever I did anything more demanding than open a web browser you could hear the fan spool up and despite all the racket it was doing a poor job of cooling, temps in the 70's weren't unusual and I saw it get up to 84 at least once. I switched to a coolermaster that uses a couple 120mm fans which is comparatively

  • The easiest solution to noise is put the computer in a different room. If you're cheap you can just run the cables through the wall. If you want to spend a few extra dollars everything can be wireless even the monitor and speakers now-a-days. My HTPC is in my basement, the HDMI is wireless to my TV, the only wire coming up to my living room is a powered USB cable/repeater that hooks up the infrared receiver for the remote.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Personally, I'd consider the easiest solution just making sure the power saving functionality is working. That way when its idle which is usually most of the time, the fans can run quietly.

      • by BLKMGK (34057)

        And on the 3rd hour of a 5hour video encode when it locks up and you have to start over again you begin to realize that yes cooling and airflow are important. My CPU runs 100% on all 8 cores for hour upon hour, it needs to be cooled properly...

    • u r smarts. thanks for the info. next time i need to do my thingies with my audios i will put put htpc computors in the other rooms.
  • The CM 212+ is the baseline to compare any high end cooler against. 8000 reviews on newegg, 2000 reviews on amazon.
    If your fancy cooler cant beat a 212+ its junk.

    • by Whorhay (1319089)

      I recently installed a 212 and the only negatives I can think of were that it only just barely fit inside my case because it is so tall. And also because of my case design I had to completely remove the mother board in order to install the backplate.

      So yeah no real complaints about the cooler its self, just my stupid case.

  • I ran a bitcoin mining rig with 4 cards, and cpu cooler (also doing some heavy calculations)... the whole box was about to blow up at any time...

    Then added a mid-range (alphacool kit with 4 fan rad) and EK blocks for the video cards. Temperatures dropped from 85-90 (with shop fans and crazy out of case mounts) to 55-60 gpu .. cpu 75 to 45-50.. all on one circuit..

    My other water cooled box has 1 GPU 1 CPU, even cheaper system (XSPC with EK vga block) and GPU is 52c cpu 45c. No airconditioning and I live at t

  • seriously, 99% of the time the boxed cooler cuts it just fine (also regarding noise level), and you dont have to fiddle around so much.

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