The coolers that come with your CPU, otherwise known as stock coolers are very basic and should not be used if you plan to overclock or are doing some heavy stuff such as gaming or rendering. Otherwise your CPU will overheat which can put it at risk of damage or slow down performance to counter the overheating. A good cpu cooler is what you should invest in. They will help improve performance, reduce noise, and enable you overclock your CPU to the maximum you can.
There are two types of coolers available, air coolers and liquid coolers. The choice between these two mediums will depend on numerous factors including price, motherboard, processor, headroom, case among others. Liquid coolers will have a closed loop system with a pump circulating a fluid that draws up heat quickly and dissipates it in a radiator. These radiators will normally be at the back of the case. They are large and spin slower creating lesser noise. The air coolers will have a heat sink and fans that spin at a high speed to help cool the various components in the CPU. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. For starters, the air coolers will give you the peace of mind that no leakage that could damage your CPU can occur. With liquid coolers, the performance will be slightly better thus allowing for maximum overclocking. Air coolers are less expensive than liquid coolers. Liquid coolers are more complex in their installation whereas air coolers will generally require more space.
We shall look at the 5 best CPU Coolers and give recommendations on which one is best for you in certain circumstances.
The Noctua NH-D15 is the best cpu cooler for Air Cooling. Its performance is comparable to closed loop liquid coolers. This air cooler is not for the average computer user, it if for the enthusiasts. It delivers insane performance. Moreover this cpu cooler has high quality cooling components, excellent noise control and will not leave a huge dent in your pocket. It goes for $90 which is value for money compared to the performance it delivers. This air cooler is big with two big fans and an aluminum heat sink. You’ll need to have at least 165mm of clearance in your case. The cooler will have 6 heat pipes for uniform heat distribution. The fans will operate at 1500rpm and temperature will remain between 40-50 degrees. The cooler will come with a 6 year warranty. It is compatible with a wide range of motherboards and supports all Intel and AMD platforms. No wonder it makes the list as one of our best Coolers for a CPU.
This is an excellent closed loop liquid cooler that will perform at the highest levels. This all in one liquid cooler has become quite popular to the enthusiastic gamers due to the performance and reduced noise. Moreover this cooler is easy to install as it comes pre-assembled, you just mount it to your system. There are no leakage issues or hoses that you have to connect or reservoirs to fill. This cooler is priced competitively ($120) when compared to other closed loop liquid coolers yet performs at a high level. The easy installation and the top build quality as well as the reliability of the Corsair Hydro series coolers make it quite easy to put it in this list.
This cooler makes it to this list primarily due to the price ($34) and performance. This budget cooler outperforms more pricey coolers and is quite reliable. Cooler Master are known for their out of the box air cooling designs. Moreover it is a small cooler so fits perfectly in smaller spaces. For most people building a PC, and are looking for a cheaper cooler, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo is definitely what you should go for. That being said, it is compatible with all modern motherboards and will fit in most sockets. This air cooler will be particularly useful to people building a workstation which won’t be doing much overclocking. It is simple to and requires low maintenance. The fan is easily replaceable and the heat sink can be easily cleaned in case of dust build up. This is the best budget cooler ever produced. In fact it is the most bought CPU cooler ever.
This is a highly sought after cooler. Many tech experts have off late been recommending this cooler and with good reason. It provides superior performance and has less noise and is competitively priced. This cpu cooler has a simple installation process and has a nice look for those keen on aesthetics. It will fit in many mid tower cases since it is just 145mm tall but supports a 120mm fan. It is compatible with Intel and AMD sockets. Even though this brand is lesser known than others in this list, this air cooler gives you good value for your money without compromising on performance.
The Swiftech H220-X liquid cooling system makes our list. This is an all in one system with a 120mm copper radiator, water block and a water pump. This is an easy to install and easy to fill up system especially for those people who have handled a liquid system. The reason Swiftech H220-X makes our list is because it is very quiet besides keeping your processor very cool. If you want to overclock your processor but don’t want noise, this is the system you should go for. The water block and the fans are at the top of the case with only the closed loop making contact with the processor. Swiftech H220-X is easy to install, easy to use, affordable and above all whisper quiet.
If you are looking for a CPU cooler, you need to make a decision whether to go for a closed loop liquid cooler, an aftermarket air cooler or make your own cooling system. I hope this article has helped you make the decision easier for you.
My personal pick is the Noctua NH-D15. It’s a beast, and it’s kind of ugly, reminds me of myself. But boy can it sure get the job done. If your case moves enough care – this thing will do the job just fine for the amount of money you’re putting into it.