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High-end CPU Coolers Reviewed and Compared

Soulskill posted 1 year,10 days | from the absolute-zero-is-an-absolute-necessity dept.

Upgrades 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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Silver (2)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | 1 year,10 days | (#44779159)

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

Re:Silver (0)

rudy_wayne (414635) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779349)

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:Silver (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44779429)

silver oxides do not.

Re:Silver (2)

toddestan (632714) | 1 year,9 days | (#44780135)

That's why you make it out of silver and then plate it with gold - at least the part that would touch the CPU.

Re:Silver (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782303)

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

Re:Silver (5, Informative)

Cinder6 (894572) | 1 year,9 days | (#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 (0)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | 1 year,9 days | (#44781521)

"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 chip at 4.4Ghz running OCCT for a hour and never got above 65 C

I now use a Thermaltake CLW0217 It keeps my system very cool. But I wouldn't recommend it to anybody, as it takes up
an entire USB header and requires Windows software to operate it (fan control). I just want it full on, so soon to be rewiring it that way.

Re:Silver (1)

CBravo (35450) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782025)

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 specifications are for shipping conditions. Most motherboards have a special metal plate on the back side of the cpu mount (and it comes with the cooler too).

Re:Silver (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44779543)

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 the hell out of their cpu with high loads, heavy overclocking and higher than specified voltages (which help overclocking.)

I have yet to see a computer that before (stock cooler) and after (high end or or water) temps were not improved by at least 7 or 8 degrees c.
Anyone who thinks high performance cooling products are a "scam" is speaking without having any relevant knowledge on the subject.
Period.

There ARE a lot of aftermarket cooling solutions that are scams- performance is no better or quieter than stock and sometimes worse. These products are usually in the $15 to $45 price range. And yet there are also perfectly decent (though not great) solutions within that price range as well. Mostly $25 and up during sales and closeouts.

Stock heatsinks are for light computer users, corporate machines and those who just post on facebook and twitter.

Re:Silver (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44781161)

I have yet to see a computer that before (stock cooler) and after (high end or or water) temps were not improved by at least 7 or 8 degrees c.
Anyone who thinks high performance cooling products are a "scam" is speaking without having any relevant knowledge on the subject.

That's wonderful. What does that 7 or 8 degrees get you? A few more days MTBF? None of your apps are going to run any faster.

Re: Silver (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44781531)

You must live in a very cool climate. Try living in a hundred degree weather and tell me those "few" degrees don't make a world of difference.

Re:Silver (3, Insightful)

CBravo (35450) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782039)

slower turning fans: quietness.

Re:Silver (1)

Michael Monaghan (2932285) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779547)

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 (3, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | 1 year,9 days | (#44780235)

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

Re:Silver (1)

ganjadude (952775) | 1 year,9 days | (#44781339)

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 (4, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | 1 year,9 days | (#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.

Re:Silver (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | 1 year,9 days | (#44780341)

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...

Re:Silver (2)

fast turtle (1118037) | 1 year,9 days | (#44780943)

A far better list of test results can be found at http://www.silentpcreview.com/ [silentpcreview.com] where they test the hell out of coolers and fans and other components. This POS "I No Nutink" Review is just slightly better then useless for those who actually "No Nutink".

Re:Silver (1)

CBravo (35450) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782043)

and some more (e.g. a comparison [hardware.info] ).

Diamond Beats Everything (4, Informative)

Dialecticus (1433989) | 1 year,9 days | (#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.

Re:Diamond Beats Everything (2)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | 1 year,9 days | (#44781597)

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.

Re:Diamond Beats Everything (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782157)

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.

Re:Diamond Beats Everything (1)

Dialecticus (1433989) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782257)

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.

Graphene (2)

Ottibus (753944) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782247)

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]

Re:Diamond Beats Everything (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782425)

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?

Re:Silver (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | 1 year,9 days | (#44781537)

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 come close to maintaining that limit.

Re:Silver (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782419)

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-temperatures-1066954/#post13247506 [redflagdeals.com]

If you're running stock speeds and don't mind your CPU hitting temperatures that may or may not significantly reduce its lifespan, you're completely right - a high-end CPU cooler will be useless for you.

For the rest of us, reducing load temperatures by 20-30% is always a great option... and overclocking the right chip (I'm still on Sandy Bridge for this reason) provides a fantastic performance boost. 60-70C at nearly 5GHz across all cores on air cooling is pretty impressive, IMO. The stock cooler (I'm using the old "Alpenföhn Brocken") would probably be around 80-90C, which is far too high if you're looking to keep the CPU for more than two or three years.

Re:Silver (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44779391)

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 oxygen-free monster cables...

Re:Silver (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44780025)

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 50-100 W. Black finish can actually make damage if it jeopardizes conventional heat transfer (heat conduction) by adding to heat resistance which is much more important in this case.

Re:Silver (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44780131)

Ops ... wanted to say "far infra-red" (not "long microwave")

Re:Silver (1)

greenreaper (205818) | 1 year,9 days | (#44780249)

One of them is black. RTFA!

Um, is this news? (4, Insightful)

WilliamGeorge (816305) | 1 year,10 days | (#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.

Re:Um, is this news? (2)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | 1 year,10 days | (#44779225)

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?

how do I install this in my iWatch?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44779317)

what the hell is this shit, a brown fan?!!! and not a bloo led in sight! these heatsinks r teh crap!

Re:how do I install this in my iWatch?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44779447)

Blue LEDs are soooooo 2000s. The twentyteens are all about the white LEDs.

Re:how do I install this in my iWatch?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44780401)

nah bro it's all about clear LEDs these days.

I like my LEDs like I like my pepsi.

Crystal.

Re:Um, is this news? (4, Funny)

Arkh89 (2870391) | 1 year,10 days | (#44779229)

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

Re:Um, is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44780577)

Or did they?

^R.

Re:Um, is this news? (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | 1 year,9 days | (#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.

Re:Um, is this news? (1)

basecastula (2556196) | 1 year,9 days | (#44780733)

Slow day. My biggest disappointment was the lack of closed water cooling in the review.

No Cooler Master? (2)

Neuroelectronic (643221) | 1 year,10 days | (#44779239)

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.

Re:No Cooler Master? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44779567)

Cooler Master makes adequate coolers at best. Some are ok, others are not as good as the stock units.
Fortunately they do tend to be cheap, but even so I would rather spend $60 and reduce my cpu temperature by 10 degrees c with a 1Ghz overclock than spend $15 on Cooler Master and have the same temps as stock with a 250mhz overclock.

Re:No Cooler Master? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | 1 year,9 days | (#44781215)

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, that would be boring. Plus, who needs another cooler master cooler? They can afford them for themselves, and don't need a review unit sent to them.

Loudness rating? (3, Insightful)

omnichad (1198475) | 1 year,10 days | (#44779255)

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.

Re:Loudness rating? (2)

war4peace (1628283) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779295)

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).

Re:Loudness rating? (2)

Sperbels (1008585) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779441)

Yeah... the legendary NH-D14 was conspicuously missing from this review. Not even using any case fans right now. Just using this monstrosity.

Re:Loudness rating? (1)

war4peace (1628283) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779855)

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.

Re:Loudness rating? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779459)

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.

Re:Loudness rating? (1)

war4peace (1628283) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779835)

Actually, the stock NH-D14 has one 140mm and one 120mm fan.

Re: Loudness rating? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779921)

I stand corrected!

Re:Loudness rating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44779397)

I prefer http://www.silentpcreview.com/ [silentpcreview.com] when looking for quiet.

Re:Loudness rating? (1)

mcvos (645701) | 1 year,9 days | (#44780277)

Silent PC Review helped me assemble my (now over 5 year old) PC. Still an excellent machine, and while it's not quite as quiet as it was (the fan accumulates some dust and grease, and I added a fan to the CPU heatsink which used to be passively cooled), it's still reasonably quiet, and still very cool.

Re:Loudness rating? (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | 1 year,9 days | (#44780953)

Beat me to it AC. I've followed them for several years and have to agree they're the best in reviews for both quiet and effective components.

Re:Loudness rating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44779433)

Even smallest passive cooler would go to infinity if you do not count thermal noise.

Re:Loudness rating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44781225)

What I care about is cooling enough without having to hear it.

I know what you mean. I don't like a computer that burns out too soon from overheating, but I don't want to hear a small vacuum cleaner going 24/7. I tried bigger fans, heat pipes, and water cooling over the past fifteen years. And after every possible solution was tried, I finally found the perfect one: walls. I put the computer on the other side of a wall and ran all the cords through. It was very easy, the computer's kept cool, and there's no perceptible noise. YMMV.

Re:Loudness rating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44781259)

Oops, I forgot to mention how I hooked up a pushbutton in parallel to the power button (using speaker wire) and ran that throught the wall. I can turn the computer on at my desk, without having to set foot in the other room.

Re:Loudness rating? (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782171)

Noctuas make Yate Loons sound like Delta Screamers.

What, no water coolers? (1)

godel_56 (1287256) | 1 year,10 days | (#44779277)

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.

Re:What, no water coolers? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779533)

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.

Re:What, no water coolers? (1)

krovisser (1056294) | 1 year,9 days | (#44781233)

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.

Re:What, no water coolers? (1)

CBravo (35450) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782069)

And for some comparison of things, I found this site to most informative (posting this link [hardware.info] for the third time)

High end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44779285)

Uuuh, these "winning" "high-end" coolers look like they are missing their second half. Where is Noctua NH-D14?

How many of them were 3D printed? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44779341)

None? You Luddites. It's the future.

Those numbers all seem high (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779513)

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.

Re:Those numbers all seem high (1)

jandrese (485) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779555)

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.

Re: Those numbers all seem high (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44781877)

No, most of us don't have spinning HDD's anymore, and when we do they're just for mass data storage.

Nervous (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779515)

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)? What's wrong with screws? I don't really trust these flimsy things to hold up.

Re:Nervous (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779561)

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.

Re:Nervous (0)

war4peace (1628283) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779903)

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.

Re:Nervous (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | 1 year,9 days | (#44780969)

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.

Re:Nervous (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | 1 year,9 days | (#44781067)

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 like this. All these tower cases are far too large, and are designed for the bad old days when everyone had multiple expansion cards in their PC. No one does that any more (except gamers, and even then they only ever have 1, maybe 2 video cards), so all these ATX cases are totally wrong for today's needs.

Zalmon coolrs, because of dust (1)

SpzToid (869795) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779525)

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 hand-held vacuum!
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Dyson%20DC34%20Hand-held%20Vacuum [amazon.com]

These Zalmon coolers make it realistic to remove the dust. With x-acto knives if necessary, without rebuilding the entire PC. I just open the case regularly to deal with the issue and life is good.

Re:Zalmon coolrs, because of dust (1)

jandrese (485) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779563)

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.

Re:Zalmon coolrs, because of dust (1)

SpzToid (869795) | 1 year,9 days | (#44781705)

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!

Re:Zalmon coolrs, because of dust (2)

PendragonUK (1032174) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779637)

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.

Re:Zalmon coolrs, because of dust (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44780329)

Fortunately we have sites that review the two against each other. The Zalman is one degree off from the Noctua, and the Noctua needs two fans to keep up. (The Zalman also has more blinky lights, which are extremely important.)

http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/zalman_cnps9900/4.htm

Re:Zalmon coolrs, because of dust (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44780449)

Why on earth would you turn his interest in one particular design into a brand pissing match...? Do you seriously have nothing better to do? Do you realize that most modern processors have an operating temperature range so vast, that I could fit you, your choice of heatsink, and your entire ego, all inside it? Are aware that not everybody uses their computers as an overclocked 3D rendering/media encoding/gaming leviathan and don't need such overpriced cooling harware? Are you also aware that I could buy a Zalman CNPS12X for the same price, with almost identical performance characteristics to the Noctua NH-D14 (with regard to heat dissipation) and it would weigh 240 grams less and be measurably quieter? Heck, I would actually probably buy the Zalman just so I wouldn't have to be part of the smug, elitist, self-entitled, brat pack that crowds around Noctua like a bloody ice cream truck in summer. Seriously, sir. With regard to the attitude: Stuff it.

Re:Zalmon coolrs, because of dust (1)

mcvos (645701) | 1 year,9 days | (#44780317)

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.

Re:Zalmon coolrs, because of dust (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | 1 year,9 days | (#44780575)

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...

Re:Zalmon coolrs, because of dust (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782311)

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

Re:Zalmon coolrs, because of dust (1)

SpzToid (869795) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782377)

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 + cooling comb right this moment, I'd focus on a 140mm exhaust area & water cooling.

http://www.maximumpc.com/nzxt_kraken_x40_review [maximumpc.com]

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352029 [newegg.com]

size matters (1)

KiloByte (825081) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779581)

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] ).

not really worth it anymore (2)

Jumunquo (2988827) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779671)

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.

Re:not really worth it anymore (1)

war4peace (1628283) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779939)

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.

Re:not really worth it anymore (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | 1 year,9 days | (#44780595)

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!

Re:not really worth it anymore (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782323)

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

Easiest solution to noise... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | 1 year,9 days | (#44779803)

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.

Re:Easiest solution to noise... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44780035)

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.

Re:Easiest solution to noise... (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | 1 year,9 days | (#44780617)

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...

Re:Easiest solution to noise... (1)

Insomnium (1415023) | 1 year,9 days | (#44780609)

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.

mod doLwn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44780813)

won't be standing leavi8g core. I

How can you evaluate coolers without coolermaster? (1)

voss (52565) | 1 year,9 days | (#44781099)

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.

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Really, no liquid cooling? (1)

dindi (78034) | 1 year,9 days | (#44781401)

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 the tropics...

When I hear "high end" and "CPU cooling" somehow I am surprised to see freaking FANS .... maybe I am missing something.. and yes, my rads have fans on them, but I can mount them on a 2m tube outside my work area... ....

I consider ANY liquid cooling higher end than any fan with a meter high grills attached to it...

What a beautiful summary! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44782083)

Thank you. If only all stories were so well recapitulated.

Any are better than the stock coolers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44782105)

When I built my current system (an ancient corei7-920), I stuck on a thermalright TRUE 120 (TRUE is ThermalRight Ultra Extreme). Its what I saw Intel using in their '920 testing labs. ..even Intel didn't use their stock coolers. Apart from having to vacuum it out every 6 months or so, it keeps things nice and cool.

Re:Any are better than the stock coolers (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782513)

jeah, well, having to vacuum things out every few months is non-optional with any cooling solution (except maybe for passive water cooling - passive referring to the radiator, not using no pump)

Boxed forever! (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | 1 year,9 days | (#44782507)

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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