The Best CPU Coolers – Air & Liquid

Summer is approaching, it’s time to talk about cooling the CPU with a powerful aftermarket cooler for current CPUs. I will give some aftermarket cooler tips for the CPU below in the article.                              

The justifications for buying a cooler for the aftermarket CPU come not only from those who overclock or for silent systems but also for the design of the housing inside.

If you are a gamer then there is no justification for buying an aftermarket CPU cooler, the stock fan is enough for gaming. And it would be a justification related to the design, if you already have a gaming PC and you put a high price on what the inside of the PC looks like, then yes, you can also buy a cooler with liquid cooling on water that will look good in the case .

I will cover 2 categories of cooling in this article:

Air cooling

Water cooling (liquid)

At a Glance:

Which air-cooled CPU cooler to choose?

The basic principle is to dissipate the heat produced by the CPU through the pipes that pass through the sole of the radiator.

These pipes take the heat and naturally this heat rises up on the pipes where the radiator grilles are there being cooled by a fan, two or even 3 fans. The pipes can be made of copper, there is not much difference when it comes to a dissipation distance of only a few centimeters but a few percent help to dissipate heat. Copper is known to be a good conductor of thermal energy.

The more pipes we have on the bottom of the radiator, the better, and the price of the cooler increases proportionally.

But what are the main advantages when it comes to an air-cooled cooler?

Benefits:

  • Quietness
  • Temperature stabilization
  • Reliability
  • Ease of changing the fan

Disadvantages of the air-cooled cooler:

  • High price sometimes
  • The size, which in some cases does not allow us to put high-profile ram memories and in the case of cases that do not allow very large radiators
  • Blocks some airflow from the housing to reach certain components

Which CPU cooler should I buy?

The principle of the liquid water cooler is similar to what we see in cars.

We have a sole that sits on the CPU from which come out 2 hoses (input and output) that lead to a radiator on which the fan will be mounted or as the case may be a radiator can be mounted up to 6 fans. The radiator and the 2 hoses will circulate the water which is usually ready to be introduced into the installation (by the manufacturers) and is circulated constantly with the help of a water pump of the CPU cooler fed separately. I must mention that it is a water mixture with a treated finish agent that has a lower corrosion of the metal parts (radiator, backplate, etc.).

I recommend it to be a fan push-pull system to make the most of the liquid cooling on the water. Push-pull means 2 fans placed on both sides of the radiator, one fan to push the air and the other to draw warm air out of the housing.

The radiators are always mounted on the walls of the housings where there are perforations to dissipate heat outside the housing.

Advantages of the water-cooled cooler:

  • Much lower temperatures than air cooling
  • More efficient temperature stabilization
  • Much more beautiful appearance of the inside of the case
  • Ensures a much better airflow in the housing

Disadvantages of the water-cooled cooler:

  • High price
  • Installation difficulty
  • Lower reliability than air (due to water corrosion in the radiator it leaves sediment after a while and there is a risk of clogging the pipes or even worse)
  • Noise, because in addition to the fans, the water circulation pump also makes noise
  • Hard to clean the radiator dust.

Okay, now that we know the differences between them, are you still wondering if you need them?

If you do video / photo editing or a small OC and you value silence and temperature stabilization then yes, an air-cooled cooler would work.

If you are overclocking extremely then I recommend a water cooler.

I use a deepcool mx400 aftermarket cooler, because I want silence on the desktop computer. But at the same time I have stabilization of the CPU temperature because it works in semi-server mode.

I intentionally skipped another cooling method because I want to dedicate an entire article to it. Passive cooling, in the near future I want to turn my desktop PC into a completely fanless system and maybe I’ll do a complete review with temperature proof. To conclude the article I will leave 2 examples of aftermarket coolers from each model:

TOP3 – The Best CPU Cooler on Air

Here is a top of every category of aftermarket coolers for new CPUs that can be cooled with passive air radiators.

AwardDesignRetailer
The Cheapest CPU Cooler
Budget PickCooler CPU Deepcool GAMMAXX 300
Check Price
Tower CPU Cooler
ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports
Check Price
Premium CPU Cooler
Noctua NH-D14
Check Price
The Best Liquid Cooler
Best PickARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 RGB
Check Price
A cooler but good Corsair model
Staff PickCorsair iCUE H100i RGB Pro XT
Check Price

Cooler CPU Deepcool GAMMAXX 300

Budget Pick
Cooler CPU Deepcool GAMMAXX 300
Source: Amazon

Specifications:

55 cfm

21db maximum noise

It is one of the best quality-price-performance coolers.

Very quiet, very good cooling efficiency.


I recommend it to those who do photo / video editing and do not want to hear the noise of the fans, but not for OC, it is for gamers who want to have somewhat silent housings.

Supported CPU types (sockets).

1155

1156

1366

754

775

939

940

I HAVE 2

AM2 +

I HAVE 3

AM3 +

FM1

1150

FM2

Pros

  • Low price
  • Silent at low speeds
  • Good cooling efficiency
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Temperatures only 3-4 degrees from the cooling stock

ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports

ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports - Tower CPU Cooler
Source: Amazon

Specifications:

Brand    ARCTIC

Voltage                12 Volts

Wattage               200 watts

Cooling Method               Fan

Compatible Devices        Intel Socket: 2066, 2011(-3), 1155, 1151, 1150, 1200, 1700 (Kit available), AMD Socket: AM4

Material               Aluminum


One of the most versatile air-cooled CPU coolers with a very good quality-pre-appearance-efficiency ratio. Being cheap enough, with LEDs, it seems that there is no need to have a liquid cooling for those LEDs that “steal” the eyes.

Although it has a cage that not only looks massive, it is really a big cooler, it still has enough space on the sides to make room for ram memory modules, even if they have radiators, but with radiators it should not exceed 37.5mm. Measure the ram memory modules before you buy this cooler.

It is quiet enough at low speeds, even at medium speeds it is quite quiet, barely turned at full speed, the fans make their presence felt. As for compatibility, although the retailer, Vexio in this case, does not specify too many details about the cooler and they do harm, because they lose customers in this way. This cooler supports the latest CPU platforms of 2022.

Pros

  • Silent
  • Cheap
  • Efficient cooling

Cons

  • It greatly blocks the airflow in the housing

Noctua NH-D14

Noctua NH-D14, Premium CPU Cooler
Source: Amazon

Specifications:

SecuFirm2

Dual FAN

6 heatpipes

NT-H1  thermal conductive paste


A great cooler, both literally and figuratively, and weighs just over 1kg.

Surprisingly, although it has 2 fans, it is very quiet. Temperatures are extremely stable no matter how much the CPU is required. It also surpasses certain models of liquid-cooled coolers.

I recommend it to those who do advanced OC with the mention that you have to make sure that it fits in the case and pay attention to the profile of the ram memories so that you do not have to change the fan on the opposite side.

What CPU sockets does it support?

Intel LGA 1150

Intel LGA 1151

Intel LGA 1155

Intel LGA 1156

Intel LGA 1200

Intel LGA 2011

Intel LGA 2011-3

Intel LGA 2066

AMD AM2

AMD AM2 +

AMD AM3

AMD AM3 +

AMD AM4

AMD FM1

AMD FM2

AMD FM2 +

Pros

  • Very efficient cooling
  • Recommended for advanced OC
  • Solid fastening system

Cons

  • Not cheap

Best CPU Liquid Cooler

Here are 2 recommendations for liquid-cooled CPUs.


ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 RGB

Best Pick
Liquid Freezer II - 280
Source: Amazon

Specifications:

MX-4 thermal paste

PWM pump

Fan for CPU socket VRMs


I used to recommend Corsair liquid-cooled CPU coolers, which have become more and more expensive lately. Now, in 2021, we have found a cheaper and much better alternative than the Corsair coolers. I’m not saying the Corsair ones aren’t good, but in terms of price / quality / performance, this Arctic cooler is clearly superior.

It has 2 fans + 280 radiator, ie 2 fans of 140mm each. The cooling system has a very well masked water pump and the supply wires are sleeved and very well routed so that they cannot be seen.

The CPU cooler is also equipped with a 40mm fan that directs air to the VRMs of the CPU socket on the motherboard. It is well known that those VRMs are usually the first components to give way to motherboards. Cooling them will certainly extend the life of the motherboard.

I can say that this cooler is one of the best water-cooled CPU coolers on the market today.

The good thing about liquid cooling is that the look of the system is lighter and ensures better airflow of the other components in the system, unlike air-cooled coolers that block the airflow in the housing to the other components.

Pros

  • Very good for OC
  • VRM ventilation
  • Quite quiet

Cons

  • Nothing

Corsair iCUE H100i RGB Pro XT

Staff Pick
Corsair iCUE H100i RGB Pro XT
Source: Amazon

Specifications:

RGB

Preset modes

A top cooler, the back of the circulating pump looks great being illuminated with the corsair logo.

Extremely powerful fans with a huge air flow.

I only recommend it to those who do extreme overclocking.


There is also its quieter brother Corsair H110 Radiator + CPU fan but which is more expensive and is below the model and cooling capacity but is a little quieter. It is a bit noisy when put to work. But I guess for those who are passionate about extreme OC and enthusiastic gamers, this aspect of noise does not interest them.

Pros

  • For Extreme Overclock
  • Very powerful pump
  • Superior material quality
  • Efficient fastening system

Cons

  • Low price / performance ratio
  • The pump has strong coil noise at some units

MENTIONED:

Be very careful with the profile of the ram memories of the system, if they are high profile memories (high passive radiator), there is a possibility that some air coolers cannot be mounted. Ask for advice in this article in the comment section, but specify the motherboard and rams you have.

If you liked the article or have any questions then leave a comment or share on Facebook.


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Md Shah
By Md Shah

Md Shah is a technology buff since an early age, where he specialized and graduated in Information Technology from FATEC and now helps people on the internet with several tips and product reviews. He has published articles on different Tech Blogs and Websites.


Perfect Tech News is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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