Gamers, multimedia focused artists, and a number of other groups continually push their computer’s limits. They’re constantly installing more powerful processors, graphics cards and other components. But the more powerful the computer the more heat it generates.
That’s why the search for the best CPU cooler should always be part of upgrade cycles. In the following list we’ll find out what the best choices are. We’ll rank items by price, effectiveness and overall applicability for the average user.
8. Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO might seem a little bare bones at first. It looks exactly like what it is. The unit is a simple air cooling fan which hooks into one’s motherboard. A 212 meets the absolute minimum options for a PC cooling system.
But it ranks among the best CPU cooler options because of how well it performs. It might not seem to do very much at first. But what it does, it does perfectly.
The 212’s simplicity belies an amazing amount of power. It’s often enough to stabilize even heavily overclocked systems. The 212 is a great choice for people who need a basic but reliable cooler.
7. Corsair Hydro Series H60
People often assume that liquid coolers are inherently expensive. The Corsair Hydro Series H60 earns a ranking among best CPU cooler options by disproving that claim. This 120mm AIO cooler isn’t just powerful. It’s also quite user friendly.
The cooler doesn’t even require additional thermal paste. Instead, the compound is pre-applied to the H60’s base. Installing it on the CPU won’t even require additional tools. The H60 ships with a user friendly magnetic mounting kit.
The H60 proves that liquid coolers don’t have to be complex and expensive. In fact, it’s easier to use than many air cooling units.
6. Noctua NH-D15
The Noctua NH-D15 shows just how much innovation can still go into a standardized design. It works with many of the standard air cooling conventions. One can instantly recognize it as a cooler on first glance.
But the cooler also offers six heat pipes spread over an asymmetrical form factor. It continues to show itself as one of the best CPU cooler options with the additional fans. These two high quality fans complement the rest of the system’s performance. The end result is a little pricey. But it provides results comparable to liquid cooling systems.
5. Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED Turbo
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED Turbo has some interesting takes on air cooling. Sometimes the best CPU cooler options combine innovation with standardization. The Turbo begins with fairly standard air cooling methods. But it uses higher quality mixes of copper and aluminum to push results the next level.
The Turbo’s design also gives it closer access to sources of heat. One can see an almost seamless connection between Turbo and CPU. It highlights the fact that a great cooler isn’t just about innovation. Good design is also about ensuring those innovations have access to the correct areas.
4. MSI Core Frozr L
A MSI Core Frozr L provides impressive build quality for a fairly low price point. The first thing users will note is the sturdy construction. Solid copper components speak to how well this fan will stand up to time and temperatures.
A Frozr’s build quality is especially apparent when looking at heatsinks. The copper components create a firm connection to a CPU which isn’t usually seen in lower cost coolers. Of course the cooler isn’t entirely made up of copper. But one can rest assured that real metal is always used when it can offer real benefits.
3. NZXT Kraken X62
A NZXT Kraken X62 refines many of NZXT’s previous ideas. The prior generation of coolers brought some great ideas to the table. But it’s only with the X62 that they receive some extra polish.
Aesthetics should be at the lower end of anyone’s criteria for coolers. But even so, one has to admire the care put into it. The X62 looks so stylish that it’d be a shame to lock it up in an opaque case.
Concern for aesthetics extends to noise as well. The multiple fans might seem noisy at first. But with real world use it’s usually far quieter than expected. The form factor also provides slightly different methods for liquid transport than the competition. This innovative methodology might be worth a try if other coolers haven’t proven up to the task.
2. DeepCool Assassin II
The DeepCool Assassin II’s power almost speaks for itself. An Assassin isn’t just the largest cooler. The unit is so large that it usually dwarfs the computer it’s running within. It’s easily the best CPU cooler if one is only looking at raw performance. However, sometimes one should take more than pure numbers into account.
The vast majority of users don’t need even a fraction of this cooler’s power. They don’t even need half or a quarter of it. Basically, if someone has to ask whether they need it or not than they probably don’t.
But those users with exceptional needs won’t find anything better than the Assassin. The cooler ranks a little lower due to niche interest. But it’s the absolute best option for people who have massively overclocked computers.
1. Corsair Hydro Series H100i v2
The Corsair Hydro Series H100i v2 is nothing short of a masterpiece. To begin with, the price is quite reasonable. A low price tends to mean compromise in various areas. But that’s not the case with the H100i. It comes out as the best CPU cooler in almost every respect.
The liquid cooling system offers longevity and durability that’s seldom seen elsewhere. And the static pressure fans perfectly compliment the main cooling system. Its overall efficiency is a leap forward from the already impressive V1. The only minor downside is that there’s been a slight increase of noise level with this iteration.
In conclusion, one can see that all the choices have a few things in common. They’re generally far easier to use than one might expect. But working on a computer always comes with some surprises.
Readers should share their own experiences with these coolers. This can often help people realize that their designs call for something different. The best way to build a great system is by building on community experience.