Best CPU Cooler

Best CPU Cooler

Publushed by:

Martha Davis

Last updated:

Winner: Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler

Short summary

The Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler with 2x NF-A15 PWM 140 Fans is our winner pick due to many reasons. First, it comes with one of the best designs for performance-focused air cooling. Even if you are using an unlocked, overclocked system, you can use it to cool down your system.

Second, it uses the 4-pin power connector and might generate up to 24.6dB of noise when working in total capacity.

This comprehensive CPU cooler package consists of two 140mm fans. These fans fully support PWM and use custom-made algorithms to keep the noise as low as possible. In case you did not know, Noctua CPU coolers are pretty popular among PC builders. This variant is an improved version of the NH-D14 kit, which has bagged multiple awards for its efficient designs. You do not have to spend a lot to get this cooler, either.

We can easily recommend the Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler with 2x NF-A15 PWM 140 Fans if your PC uses an unlocked processor from Intel or AMD. The AMD Ryzen 5950X and Intel Core i9-11900K are some of those popular choices. Regardless of the CPU in use, you will find it easy to mount the CPU cooler, all thanks to the SecuFirm 2 mounting system.

In short, this CPU cooler brings the best of quiet performance and sustainable heat management.

This CPU cooler uses one of the most efficient designs you can expect in this price range. Comprising two fans and six heat pipes, the system can dissipate most of the heat from the CPU interface. This design is one of the reasons why experts consider this set-up on par with liquid-cooling models.

Thanks to the low-profile design, you can use the Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler with 2x NF-A15 PWM 140 Fans with a high amount of RAM. You can run the cooler kit in the single-fan mode for maximum space. Of course, you can expect standard experience from RAM modules with up to 32mm height.

You do not have to be a computer expert to install this CPU cooler on your system. Instead of a confusing set of screws, the cooler uses a custom-made mounting protocol named SecuFirm2. In addition, the package contains all sorts of accessories you need for a smooth installation.

As we mentioned, this air-based CPU cooler will work with a remarkable variety of CPU sockets. LGA1200, LGA115x, LGA1156, AM3, AM3+, FM1, and FM2 are some of the sockets where you can use the SecuFirm2 mounting accessories.

Quick Facts

Pros

Cons

Recommended product
4.8/5
Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler

Runner-up: Corsair iCUE H150i Liquid CPU Cooler

Short summary

If you think air cooling is not enough for your build, you should consider the Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix Liquid CPU Cooler. It is one of the best liquid-based CPU coolers you can get from the market today. One of the best parts is that it has a noise level of 36dB.

When working, though, it may be as quiet as 10dB, which is a significant figure, to begin with.

As you can guess, Corsair has optimized this product for top-notch performance. In addition to almost-quiet cooling, the system contains 33 RGB LEDs as well. Therefore, if you want to make your PC build aesthetically pleasing and power-efficient, you do not have to look further. Even though the package ships with a total of three fans, you would not have trouble adding more fans to the cooler.

As for the included fans, they are designed for maximum airflow and adaptive performance. For instance, it comes with a zero-RPM mode that gets activated during low-temperature scenarios. In this mode, the fans would stop working, bringing the overall noise to an all-time low. Did we say that the iCUE software from the manufacturer can make customization more effortless than ever?

Long story short, we can recommend this liquid cooler if performance is your priority.

You would not have to hire anyone else to install the Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix Liquid CPU Cooler. To begin with, the package contains everything you need for installation. But, more importantly, you can find many guides that assist you step by step.

This liquid cooler can easily beat even the most popular air coolers in the market. In addition, the system is capable of retaining the most suitable temperature in the CPU region. Remarkably, you can control almost everything using the iCUE software.

Corsair says that the Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix Liquid CPU Cooler can convert any case into a smart-control case. It is mostly true since the 33 LEDs add so much visual impact to your PC build. You can control these LEDs using the same iCUE tools.

Depending on the situation, you can run the fans at 400 RPM or 2400 RPM. If you want to maintain the best temperature and quiet performance, these controls add so much value. Furthermore, you can use all popular sockets for Intel and AMD processors thanks to the broad compatibility.

You have to shell out a considerable amount of money to get the Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix Liquid CPU Cooler. The problem is that you might be paying for features that you do not need. For instance, many people can live without RGB lighting, but this product is a packaged deal.

Unlike our first pick, the product uses Micro-USB as the main connector. Unfortunately, while we can ignore the part about the connector, it is difficult to ignore the mess it creates. As a result, you will need to put some extra effort into efficient cable management.

Quick Facts

Pros

Cons

Recommended product
4.8/5
Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler

Alternative: Cooler Master Hyper CPU Air Cooler

Short summary

Are you looking for an air-based CPU cooler with room for customization? In that case, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition CPU Air Cooler is a great choice. It combines the standard performance of an air cooler with a customizable LED.

You can control the RGB LED according to the ambiance you want inside the PC case.

The noise level from the cooling system is capped at 26dB. While it is not the quietest level, you can live with it. However, you should expect a considerable amount of noise if you plan to overclock your processor. On the bright side, the high-quality construction from Cooler Master ensures maximum airflow within the case. The intelligent temperature and fan sensors offer jam protection as well.

Even though the Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition CPU Air Cooler offers incredible performance, it does not cost much. In fact, you have to spend less than half of what you would have paid for our winner pick.

This CPU cooler offers competitive power and stable performance thanks to the precise flow control and direct contact technology. If you do not want to use the RGB light control, you can skip it because it uses a custom-made remote.

Installing the Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition CPU Air Cooler can be a complex affair if you are not an expert. Even though the maker includes everything to keep the system working, you may face issues with other components like the RAM modules.

Quick Facts

Pros

Cons

Recommended product
4.8/5
Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler

Alternative: Corsair H115i Liquid CPU Cooler

Short summary

If you think our runner-up pick was too huge for your build, you may find Corsair H115i RGB Platinum AIO Liquid CPU Cooler as a better choice. This liquid CPU cooler is powered by two 280mm fans that provide top-notch performance all day.

In addition, the noise level of the product has been set at 32dB, which is quite impressive to power most PC builds.

As you can guess, the LED lights on the CPU cooler are easy to set up and control. Even more impressive is that you can adjust the LED lights according to the RPM of the fan. Once again, iCUE software from Corsair will be there for your rescue. The low-noise pumping will ensure that the fans are running when they are required.

Compared to our runner-up pick from the same manufacturer, this product is more compact. So, setting up the system along with RAM modules and other PC accessories will be a no-brainer. The device works with a superb variety of CPU sockets as well.

The dual-radiator design equipped with two 280mm fans is a life-save for every performance-enthusiast PC gamer. We are talking about maximum heat management without too much noise. It is, of course, due to the high thermal compounds inside the heat pipes.

The Corsair H115i RGB Platinum AIO Liquid CPU Cooler can be a cable management nightmare for many PC builders. It happens because the liquid CPU cooler uses unconventional power sources but fails to arrange them correctly.

Quick Facts

Pros

Cons

Recommended product
4.8/5
Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler

Alternative: NZXT Kraken Z73 AIO Liquid Cooler

Short summary

If you are searching for one of the most premium liquid coolers for CPU, you should look at the NZXT Kraken Z73 AIO Liquid Cooler. The extra amount you pay results in a few factors. For instance, it features an ultimate low noise level of 21dB.

You cannot expect such quiet performance with the affordable models. On top of this, the liquid cooler features one of the most modern designs.

We are not kidding when we say that the NZXT Kraken Z73 AIO Liquid Cooler makes your computer look so bright. Thanks to the built-in screen, you always know the temperature inside the case. It is in addition to all the control you have using the provided software. Furthermore, the liquid cooler uses a custom-made technology for the chambered intake of the fluid, keeping the processor at a healthy temperature.

Keeping your CPU at the best temperature is an easy thing with the NZXT Kraken Z73 AIO Liquid Cooler. Even when you do that, the product does not generate more than 21dB of noise. Even better, the unit can keep up the performance for long-term tasks.

You can enjoy maximum control of your CPU using the screen. The LCD screen can display so much info that it helps you keep things in check. You can feel the premium quality of the product at every part. It feels incredible to use the same.

You cannot afford the NZXT Kraken Z73 AIO Liquid Cooler with standard budgets. You should have a custom budget for LED-based liquid coolers for this product. On the bright side, it offers unparalleled performance in all situations.

Quick Facts

Pros

Cons

CPU Cooler FAQ

Which type of CPU cooler is best?

Each type of CPU cooler comes with its share of advantages and disadvantages.

You should know the basics of these pros and cons before you pick something for your PC. The primary comparison is between liquid cooling and air cooling. You can find liquid and air-cooling solutions for most CPU models in the market right now. Of course, you may have to pay different prices for these CPU coolers.

Air cooling is what most people refer to when they use the term CPU cooler. It works pretty simply: the heat generated from the CPU is transferred to the CPU cooler baseplate and then to the heat pipes.

The heat is dissipated using cooling fans, which may vary in terms of speed and noise. In general, air cooling generates a considerable amount of noise, but you can choose quieter fans. While air cooling is cost-effective and easy to set up, it cannot help you attain the best performance. These systems may consume a lot of space as well.

Liquid cooling, on the other hand, has been used by advanced PC builders. You can compare these coolers to the radiators you are familiar with on cars. The system would use water blocks, which are placed on top of the CPU. The generated heat will convert the water into vapor, which is moved to the radiators.

The fans will get rid of this hot air. This cycle repeats to keep the CPU under the recommended temperature. While these are expensive and complicated, you can expect best-in-class performance and quiet operation.

An air-based CPU cooler is the best if you want a simple and inexpensive way to cool your standard PC. But if you are looking for enhanced performance, you would be happy with a liquid CPU cooler.

How do I choose a CPU cooler?

As we mentioned in the previous answer, you can choose between air, liquid, and all-in-one coolers. But you have to consider the following aspects while picking one of these options.

  • The amount of heat regulation you require matters the most. It is based on how much you want to push your PC components. If you want maximum performance from your CPU, you need the most efficient cooling system.
  • You should consider how much money you can spend on cooling. As we said, liquid cooling can be an expensive affair. If you ask us, though, you must be ready to spend a reasonable fraction of how much you have spent on the CPU and GPU.
  • The noise generated from the cooling system can be a deciding factor too. Some people are okay with the occasional noise, while others badly need a super-quiet environment. If you are a stickler about the noise, you should stick to liquid cooling.
  • Installation and set-up also affect how you should choose the CPU cooler. For example, you do not need tech expertise to install an air cooler. On the other hand, liquid and AIO coolers can be quite complex. Therefore, your level of PC-building knowledge matters a lot.
  • You should also consider factors like the size of the PC case. We are talking about not only space constraints but also your requirements for customization. Liquid coolers are the best option for customization/styling enthusiasts.

Once you have made up your mind on these things, picking the best CPU cooler for your PC will be a piece of cake.

Can I use any CPU cooler?

Technically, you can use any compatible CPU cooler on your PC. However, we do not recommend using a random CPU cooler. As we mentioned previously, you have to consider the size and capacity of the cooler before making a choice. We can consider a few examples:

Suppose you built a standard-use PC using the available components and an entry-level CPU. In this case, it would not generate a lot of heat. Therefore, you can use one of the many air-based CPU coolers and remain safe. However, if you swap the CPU for one of the unlocked/overclocked CPUs, the story changes. If you still stick to a random air cooler, you will damage the processor in no time.

Therefore, we recommend analyzing your performance requirements before choosing a CPU cooler.

How many CPU fans do I need?

The precise number of CPU fans you need depends on a few factors, including the type of cooling you have used. In general, though, you should have no less than two fans in a gaming PC. You can increase the number of fans depending on the heat dissipation you expect. However, there is always the aspect of noise that you must consider.

You may also face limitations based on the overall size of your PC. By the way, you can adjust the number of CPU fans if you have set up some other computer case fans.

Conclusion

So, which CPU cooler are you going to use for your computer?

Here is a tip: do not try to save money while getting a CPU cooler. We can understand that you always want to get a better CPU or GPU. Or, you may want to add a few more RAM modules. But you should not do these things at the cost of inefficient cooling. There is no point in having the best hardware if your PC keeps shutting down due to high temperature, right?

So, it pays to be a bit more flexible while choosing a CPU cooler.

4.8/5

Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler

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