Many users have a problem selecting a third-party CPU cooler. Not everyone needs the best cooler money can buy. But no one wants to be stuck with a cooler that's really worse than the stock cooler that came with the processor.
So, how do you select the right cooler for yourself? Checking your wallet would be a good first step. It's pointless to think about changing your cooler if you are currently subsisting on sky juice and sunshine.
But assuming that you have no problem coughing out the moolah for the upgrade, what should be your other criteria for selecting a third-party cooler?
For sure, good performance is a must. After all, what's the point of changing to a cooler that performs poorer than your stock cooler? That's a downgrade, my friend. Although some manufacturers are selling nothing more than pimped-out coolers, we are looking for a real upgrade, aren't we?
Also important are factors like...
- packaging (will it survive an air drop?)
- included components (even the clips are optional???)
- ease of installation (does it require a MechE-qualified engineer to install?)
- noise (what did you say?)
- weight (mommy! my cooler fell off and now I can't find my CPU!)
- reliability (can I count on the fan not to fail?)
Okay, fine... for case modders, bling bling factors like flashy LED lights are also important. But really, is this supposed to be a CPU cooler or a neon sign?
Now, let's take a look at some of the most popular CPU coolers in the market, and see how they fare against each other. You may be very surprise at the performance results, although again, we would like to remind you that performance should only be part of your selection criteria, albeit a major part.
We will also be taking a look at case ducts. Are they effective? Or are they just a waste of our money? Let's find out.
|Thermaltake MiniTyphoon||Copper heatpipe cooler||
|Zalman CNPS9500 AT||Copper cooler|
|Zalman CNPS9500 LED||Copper cooler with LED lights|
|Zalman CNPS9700 LED||Copper cooler with LED lights|
|Thermalright XP-120||Aluminium cooler with copper base||
|Thermalright HR-01||Aluminium cooler with copper base|