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We get it, buying a CPU cooler is not the most exciting job when you're geeking out over your new gaming PC spec. But, if you're looking for an optimal overclock or simply, a computer that does not sound like a fighter jet when playing games, then we have you covered with our market overview of the best CPU cooler's for Air & the best AIO water cooling setups.
BUT... Water cooling and overclocking is fun, there is something magical about squeezing every last available bit of clock speed out of your processor.
Are these hard to setup? You don’t need to spend a large amount of cash on an expensive water cooling setup, in fact closed-loop or AIO water coolers (as they are often called) are extremely affordable and a doddle to install now. Gone are the days of messing around with water blocks and fitting! Take it out of the box bolt it on, and plug it in.
We reviewed our choices for the
TOP 10, (we narrowed it down to the TOP 3) best AIO water coolers for 2019 along with a couple of the top air coolers in case you waxed all your budget on Doritos or an epic screen.
10/27/2018 - Page created for Q4 2018 (November to December 2018)
The following benchmarks were used to heat up our testing rig... if you're interested in how we tested these coolers, jump to our testing process here, or scroll down to see our winners.
120 x 120 x 25 mm
600 ~ 2,000 RPM
Intel & AMD
800 ~ 2500 RPM
Intel & AMD
Intel & AMD
Intel & AMD
400 ~ 1000 RPM
Intel & AMD
PROS & CONS
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is the best air CPU cooler for those looking for serious fan cooling. It is a monster heat sink that combines outstanding performance with moderately noise levels, with fairly low noise levels when booting (no vacuum cleaner sound on POST!). With four direct contact copper heat pipes, dense aluminum heat sink, and a 120 mm fan, your CPU should be kept cool and stable.
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is a long ruling champion for budget air cooling. It integrates a fan with an aluminum / copper heat sink. The CPU cooler is compatible with Intel LGA 775, AMD, AM2 – AM3+, AM4, and FM1 – FM3+. The CPU cooler weighs 465g with dimensions of 120 X 80 X 159 mm, with a fan speed range of 600 and 2000 RPM with a noise volume between 9 and 36dBA.
Without a doubt, Our top pick for an air cooler, hands down... ICONTROLPAD
The 212 EVO is an excellent choice if you're looking for a tried and trusted air cooling heat sink and fan than supports Intel and AMD CPU's.
PROS & CONS
The Noctua NH-L9x65 focuses on compactness instead of overall performance. Due to it's small form factor the NH-L9X65 is perfectly suited to smaller cases and small form factor builds, which lack the case / motherboard space for a giant heat sink and fan. The cooler boasts small dense copper heat pipes with an aluminum heat sink, coupled with a high RPM fan to provide extra air flow due to the reduced heat sink size.
The Cooler is compatible with Intel LGA 1150 – 2066, and AMD: AM2 – AM4*. The NH-L9X65 measures in at 95 X 95 X 65 mm with a weight of 413g. The fan RPM range is between 600 and 2500 RPM, and the heat sink is constructed from aluminum and copper.
The Noctua cooler is the perfect upgrade over a stock Intel or AMD cooler for gamers who are limited on internal case size, due to it's extremely small form factor.
PROS & CONS
The Hydro Series H100i v2 is an upgrade of the original H100 unit (which was excellent). The changes Corsair made to this cooler are minor, it now gives extra fine-tuning as well as much lower noise levels. The current model is fantastic as it incorporates two fans and a large 240mm radiator. Just like the previous Hydro Series, the H100i v2 is the best aio water cooler. The setup comes with RGB lighting to give your gaming PC additional cosmetics if you're into that sort of thing, if you're not it's optional.
The cooler is compatible with Intel: LGA 2066, 2011, 1156, 1155, 1151, 1150 and AMD: AM4, AM3, and AM2. The cooler’s radiator size is 240mm with an RPM of up to 2435. Besides, the cooler is designed from copper and aluminum materials.
The H100i v2 is a perfect AIO liquid CPU cooler, which is done for you in a closed-loop. Installation is no more complex than installing a CPU and fan heat sink. The H100i v2 is more expensive than an air cooler. But, it's not possible to obtain this type of thermal performance on air. Additionally, with the water cooler loop your machine should run a lot quieter than a CPU fan setup, coupled with the lower CPU temps which should increase the longevity of the processor.
PROS & CONS
The Hydro Series H60 is a small and basic yet highly dependable CPU cooler designed by Corsair. The radiator of the cooler is made from aluminum while the cooler itself is furnished with a copper contact plate. The cooler does not require any refilling because it is a completely closed cooling system. In addition, the radiator utilizes a single 120mm fan as a way of heat dissipation.
The cooler is compatible with Intel’s LGA 2066, 2011, 1156, 1555, 1151 and 1150 as well as AMD’s AM4, AM3 and AM2. The RPM can go up to 2000 while the radiator size is 120mm. It has noise volumes of up to 28.3 dBA.
The Hydro Series H60 is undeniably the best liquid cooler in the market. It has proven itself to be a leading entry-level cooler when it comes to liquid CPU coolers. If you are migrating from an air cooler, you will notice temperatures lessening as much as ten degrees Celsius. Significantly low noise levels will also be realized. The cooler does not have wanting problems but is faced with stiff competition from other coolers in this price category. Nonetheless, you should fear nothing because the Corsair H60 has been tried and tested.
PROS & CONS
The Water 3.0 liquid cooler from Thermaltake boasts the Riing RGB fans and the current version uses a 240mm radiator alongside two fans. Just like the H100i V2, this beast from Thermaltake utilizes an aluminum radiator and copper contact plate. The good thing about this cooler is that it integrates a unique controller that manages the lighting as well as the fans.
Just like the above coolers, this too is compatible with Intel’s LGA 2066, 2011 – 3, 2011, 1366, 1156, 1155, 1151, and 1150 as well AMD’s FM2, FM1, AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, and AM2. The radiator size ranges from 240 and 360 mm. The coolers fan RPM range is from 800 to 1500.
Concerning efficiency and performance, the water 3.0is similar to the H100i v2, but it is slightly better. If you're looking for a quieter cooling option than the H100i then this unit from Themaltake is a great choice. Some users also find that the Riing fans’ RGB lighting considerably better than what is provided by the Corsair products.
Choosing the right CPU cooler is a challenging task considering the various types of coolers in the market. In this guide you will learn about the tips to consider when shopping for a new CPU cooler, it's the same set of questions we asked and researched, and can now answer for you below.
As previously outlined in this article, there are crucial differences between liquid and air processor cooling systems. Liquid CPU coolers are much more efficient while the air coolers are significantly cheaper. A liquid cooler is best-suited for the heavy overclocking, intensive applications and demanding games. Air cooling for CPU's is a much better option for most gamers due to the simplicity, reduced purchased costs.
Take away: If you're not going to overclock, then stick with an air cooler for your CPU. Weight up the performance increase from overclocking vs spending your cash on a better chip (it's less fun than overclocking, booo!).
Various sockets from AMD and Intel affect both the socket and the mechanism utilized in securing the cooler in place. It is common for most coolers to be compatible with the standard socket, but AM4 socket support is to some extent limited. Ultimately, Ryzen CPUs were invented a year ago, so the different aftermarket cooler developers should have had significant time to adjust to the new socket type. The most important thing to check is the version of the cooler you are purchasing is compatible with the CPU that you have, especially if you are using the Ryzen CPUs.
RPM denotes Revolutions Per Minute, and in simple terms, it outlines the speed at which the fan is spinning. Most users think that a higher RPM translates to much better cooling, but this is not always true because a faster spinning means more airflow on the basis of the fan size and heat sink size. For instance, a larger fan translates to a much better airflow even when using a lower RPM. It is essential to note that a large heat sink plays a significant role in heat dissipation. Above all, a lower RPM means that there will be less noise from the fan.
If you plan on overclocking your processor and push it to higher than standard voltages to increase performance, then you should grab one of the water coolers mentioned above to disperse the additional heat. If you are planning to have a budget-oriented gaming PC and have no plans of overclocking it, you could focus on a silent CPU cooler or stick with the stock cooler that comes with the processor.
Numerous manufacturers are tirelessly working to develop silent CPU coolers and PC's. Typically the loudest component in a computer are the case, graphics card and processor cooling fans. Coolers with smaller fans are often louder than coolers with larger fans. The main reason for this case is that large fans will not spin as fast as the small fans to give the same cooling ouput, which makes them quieter. In this case, coolers with 120mm fans will generally perform louder than coolers with 140mm fans. CPU coolers with several fans can also spin at much lower speeds because there are much more fans functioning to keep the chip cool.
From the coolers we reviewed the Master Hyper 212 EVO was the best air CPU cooler. There is a reason why the company that develops this monster is called ‘cooler’ and the Water 3.0 Dual Riing from Thermaltake is the best liquid CPU cooler. The fact that it integrates quiet fans and superb performance makes it the leading liquid processor cooler.
We would love to boast about our elite testing process here, but... It's as scientific as... We just played games 🙂
Oh, and ran a few benchmarks to heat things up a little in our test rig. But, here is our testing process below.
How Tested the Top CPU Coolers
We Ran Some Benchmarks...
How We Ranked the Top CPU Coolers
Ease of Installation
Why are these the best CPU coolers? (I hear you ask...)
We didn't just randomly select a bunch of CPU coolers we liked the look of and start writing... We closely monitor the market and perform stacks of research, read multiple other review sites that we trust (sources below). We also do what you would do, check reddit, PC Master race and the forums we have hung out in for years. We also read countless consumer reviews before doing any of our own testing and provide quotes from those sources in our article above.
Who are We?
We are gamers like you, we know how it feels to spend hours performing online research when ultimately all you want to know is what the best product is for your price range. We created this site to give back to the gaming community and help gamers like you make informed purchase decisions and enjoy the best gaming experience possible. But, everybody gotta eat, right - within our content there are links to amazon and when you click through to their site we get a small cut of the sale which helps keep the lights on around here... Those links don't affect our choices, we only ever recommend the hardware that we think is the best.
Where did you get the Data from?
We either collect our data during the testing process (outlined above) or we use sites we trust and cite them as a source below, we always make the effort to cite our sources and give credit where credit is due.