Just as car enthusiasts know how to tune up their vehicles, tech-savvy individuals often take pride in optimizing their computers. Overheating can be a major issue that affects your PC’s performance, especially for gamers and heavy users. Upgrading your CPU cooler is a go-to solution for this problem.
However, it’s important to note that you can’t easily swap out the CPU cooler in a pre-built computer. That’s why many tech enthusiasts prefer to build their own PCs, which not only saves money but also often results in better performance. Whether you’re a DIYer or just looking to enhance your system, our list of top CPU coolers will help you keep your computer running smoothly and efficiently.
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What is a CPU Cooler and Why Do I Need One?
A CPU cooler is a device designed to dissipate heat generated by the computer’s Central Processing Unit (CPU). When a CPU is in operation, it produces heat, which can be detrimental to its performance and longevity if not properly managed. A CPU cooler serves to maintain an optimal temperature, allowing the CPU to function efficiently.
The necessity for a CPU cooler arises when the CPU experiences elevated temperatures that could lead to reduced performance or system shutdowns. Overheating can interrupt important tasks or gaming activities. Therefore, a CPU cooler is essential for ensuring that the computer remains operational and performs tasks effectively without the risk of overheating.
How Do CPU Coolers Work?
CPU coolers function to regulate the temperature of the computer’s Central Processing Unit (CPU). They are generally categorized into two types: air coolers and liquid coolers.
Air coolers utilize a metal heatsink with fins to distribute heat. A fan is attached to this heatsink, and its function is to blow air across the fins, thereby dissipating the heat generated by the CPU. This is a straightforward and effective method for cooling.
Liquid coolers employ a more complex mechanism. They use a liquid coolant that circulates through a pump attached to the CPU. This coolant absorbs the heat from the CPU and then passes it through a radiator. Fans attached to the radiator then expel this heat away from the system.
Both air and liquid coolers serve the same primary function: to remove heat from the CPU and ensure the system maintains an optimal operating temperature. The choice between the two often depends on various factors such as specific cooling requirements, budget, and available space within the computer case.
Cool CPU Coolers to Buy
The Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 SE features Dual Balance Performance TL-C12C fans. These fans are designed for an optimal balance between performance and noise, making them suitable for both heatsinks and radiators. The cooler is equipped with six AGHP (Anti-Gravity Heat Pipe) technology heat pipes that don’t rely on gravity for performance. This ensures consistent cooling regardless of the cooler’s orientation in different computer case designs, making it a reliable choice for various setups. It offers smooth operation and a long lifespan.
The Noctua NH-U12S is specifically designed for AMD’s AM4 socket. It comes with a quiet, premium-grade NF-F12 120mm fan that uses PWM for automatic speed control. The package includes a Low-Noise Adaptor and the renowned NT-H1 thermal compound for optimal performance.
The DeepCool AK500 is a CPU air cooler designed for strong gaming performance and is capable of dissipating up to 240W TDP. It features five 6mm nickel-plated heatpipes and a raised copper coldplate. The cooler is designed to balance cooling capacity with RAM compatibility, featuring an angled offset heatpipe design that allows for 100% RAM clearance on the right side and 45mm clearance on the left.
The Asus ROG RYUJIN 240 comes with a 1.77″ OLED panel for real-time system stats and personalization. It features industrial-grade 2000 RPM PWM Noctua radiator fans and a patent-pending micro fan inside the pump housing to cool VRM and M.2 components. With Aura Sync RGB lighting, you can customize the cooler’s appearance to match your setup.
The Corsair iCUE H170i Elite is a premium All-in-One CPU cooler that combines powerful, low-noise cooling with a personalized 2.1″ IPS LCD display. The display can showcase real-time CPU temperature, custom images, or even memes, with an ultra-bright 600cd/mÃÂ² backlight and over 16.7 million colors.
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 is equipped with four heat pipes that make direct contact with the CPU for effective heat dissipation. It has a 42 CFM airflow and a noise level of just 26.0 dB. The cooler features a stacked fin array for minimal airflow resistance and a smart fan sensor to prevent cable snags. Installation is easy thanks to its intuitive fan bracket design.
The Enermax ETS-T50 Axe features addressable RGB lighting that can be synchronized with your motherboard or set to a constant color without needing software. It has a unique 5 asymmetrical heat pipe design for better RAM compatibility and patented air guide and vortex generation flow designs for optimized airflow.
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB features direct contact technology with four heat pipes for effective heat dissipation. It has a stacked fin array for minimal airflow resistance and a smart fan sensor for jam protection. The cooler also includes a wired RGB LED controller for customizable lighting effects.
The DeepCool LS520 is a 240mm CPU liquid cooler equipped with a 4th-generation pump for optimized coolant flow. It offers strong cooling performance with a total heat dissipation capacity of 280W TDP. The cooler comes with a pure copper plate and pre-applied thermal paste and is compatible with a wide range of Intel and AMD sockets.
The Dark Rock Pro 4 is a high-performance CPU cooler compatible with a wide range of AMD and Intel sockets. It features two ultra-quiet fans with a funnel-shaped frame for efficient airflow, achieving a maximum noise level of just 24.3 dB(A). With seven copper heat pipes, it ensures excellent heat dissipation for your computer.
The Zalman Reserator 3 MAX is a water-cooling system that offers up to 400 watts of cooling power, thanks to its dual radiators and advanced nanofluids. It features a high-performance water pump and a nickel-plated radiator for efficient cooling. With blue LED lighting on both the pump and fan, it adds a stylish touch to your setup. It is compatible with most desktop CPU sockets and fits easily into mid-tower cases.
Cooler Master Hyper T4
The Cooler Master Hyper T4 features four direct-contact heat pipes for efficient CPU cooling. It comes with a 120mm PWM fan that can be adjusted for either maximum airflow of 70 CFM or quiet operation at 31.6 dB. Snap-on fan brackets make installation and maintenance easy.
The NoFan CR-95C IcePipe is a fanless CPU cooler that uses innovative IcePipe technology for silent and dust-free operation. It can cool processors with a thermal design power (TDP) of up to 95 watts, making it compatible with all Ivy Bridge CPUs.
The Phanteks PH-TC14PE is a CPU cooler featuring a twin-tower design that utilizes aerospace technology for optimal cooling. It employs P.A.T.S and C.P.S.C technologies to enhance heat dissipation, making it ideal for overclocking. The package includes two premium 140mm fans, an easy-to-install mounting kit, and thermal compound, setting a new standard in cooling performance.
The GOLDEN FIELD F04 is equipped with four U-shaped copper heat pipes that closely cover the CPU for efficient heat dissipation. It features reverse dual 120mm PWM fans with turbocharged blades for high air pressure and a maximum air volume of 72 CFM. The cooler also offers SYNC ARGB lighting with a honeycomb structure on top for fuller lighting effects and is compatible with a wide range of Intel and AMD sockets.
The ASUS Arctic Square features a 92mm fan that spins at up to 2300 RPM, nestled within nickel-plated aluminum fins. Four sealed copper heat pipes efficiently draw heat away from the CPU. The cooler’s PWM functionality allows for quieter operation when less cooling is needed, and its internal blue LED lights add a stylish glow to your system.
The Zalman CNPS9900-MAX Blue Ultra Aero Flower can dissipate up to 300W of heat. It features optimally designed pure copper fins and a high-capacity 135mm fan for rapid cooling. The cooler uses composite heatpipes that are 50% more effective in transferring heat compared to standard heatpipes.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the different types of CPU coolers?
here are mainly two types: air coolers and liquid coolers. Air coolers use fans and heatsinks, while liquid coolers use a liquid coolant circulated through a radiator and pump.
Are liquid coolers better than air coolers?
It depends on your needs. Liquid coolers generally offer better cooling but are more expensive and complex to install. Air coolers are easier to set up and are usually more budget-friendly.
How do I clean and maintain my CPU cooler?
Regularly dust off the fans and heatsinks using compressed air. For liquid coolers, check for leaks and ensure the coolant is at the appropriate level.
What is the lifespan of a CPU cooler?
Air coolers can last for many years if well-maintained. Liquid coolers generally have a lifespan of 5-O7 years, depending on the quality and maintenance.
How loud are CPU coolers?
Noise levels vary. Air coolers can be quieter at low loads but may get loud under heavy usage. Liquid coolers are generally quieter but can also make noise if the pump or fans are of low quality.