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Upgrades Hardware

High-end CPU Coolers Reviewed and Compared 133

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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  • Re:Silver (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 06, 2013 @05:48PM (#44779387)

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

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