Believe me, when I say, without a CPU cooler, your system will be in ashes anytime soon. I’m not exaggerating or inducing a hyperbolic expression just for the sake of selling the products. I have gone through this ordeal, and it’s traumatic. My CPU died because I was so adamant about plugging in a decent CPU cooler. That’s the reason, today, I have brought you a simple-to-comprehend and dedicated guide to finding the best CPU coolers for gaming and extreme overclocking.
This guide will include what sort of CPU coolers to root for and how to fathom the concept of an ideal cooler in 2021. For more, do make sure to read the concluding paragraphs/headings of the article to know in-depth about the elements to consider before buying any CPU cooler. Without any further ado, let’s begin the guide to finding the best CPU coolers!
Prime 10 Best CPU Coolers 2021 (Overview)
NZXT Kraken X53 (Best versatile liquid CPU Cooler)
The first best versatile liquid CPU cooler award goes to NZXT Kraken X53 because of its extraordinary performance.
We are talking about a liquid cooler; expect it to resonate your casing with a potpourri of colors-Ultimately leading to mesmerizing visuals and a blissful sight. It’s not exclusive to NZXT liquid coolers but is also implemented in many liquid coolers because they are usually expensive and include ergonomics for users. Anyhow, the top logo performs the RGB dance, and it powers on automatically, so you don’t need to worry about setting an RGB profile or anything like that.
CAM is nothing but a dedicated software that you need in order to push the cooler’s boundary. Basically, you can set different fan profiles if you are an overclocking enthusiast. This profiling ensures that your cooler follows a prescribed strategy for lowering the soaring temperatures. Not to mention, the same application can be put to use for changing RGB colors and a lot more.
Design and layout
The liquid cooler is designed with a delicate and withstanding design, which ensures that your CPU remains intact and functional even on high overclocked frequencies. To top it off, the cooler makes use of dynamic bearing for silent operation, hence elevating the overall ergonomics and noiseless spinning sessions. Apart from this, the cooler also makes use of nylon mesh sleeves and rubber tubing for robustness. It’s to ensure that your cooler doesn’t melt while cooling your processor because the heat absorbed is directly pushed through the cooler itself.
As far as the features are concerned, the fan is 80 x 80 x 55mm, has a motor speed of 800-280 RPM, makes use of Aluminum for protection, and has a plastic and brass cap filter. Other than that, the speed of the fans can be tweaked from 500 to 2300 RPM, depending on the setup profile. Last but not least, the noise levels are in the range of 21-36dBA, which is significantly lowered for a liquid cooler.
Cooler Master Hyper 212 (Best Performative CPU Cooler)
The next candidate on the list is Cooler Master Hyper 212 RBG black edition. It’s a wonderful air cooler, perfect for extreme overclocking.
Design and Airflow
First things first, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB is equipped with an Anodized gun-metal with a polished aluminum surface as a shroud. Basically, it helps in eliminating any type of erosion or after-effects of gusts of winds. Buckle up, as the best part about the cooler is yet to come. Well, Cooler Master hyper 212 comes with a powerful design for airflow. In other words, the stacked fin array is a mesh-like filter providing a gateway for the air to the heatsink.
To top it off, the fin mesh is deliberately nickel plated to enhance the radiating performance. To be honest, it’s all related to metallic properties, which is beyond the scope of the article.
Direct Contact Technology
Surprisingly, the cooler makes use of direct contact technology for effective heat dissipation. For instance, the metallic bars absorb the heat, which is conducted through the bar to the air (convention) and is thrown out of the cooler. This whole process aids in temperature reduction. It’s fascinating, right?
Here we are talking about the cooler master, do expect them to pitch in highly sophisticated and mind-blowing products. RGB is just a small proportion of all the collective induced aesthetics. The black on-fleek design, the lavish silvery plate, and those jingling RGB lights. It’s a perfect sight for gaming enthusiasts.
Well, the cooler also offers a push-pull fan configuration, which is nothing but a dynamic scaling of the way the fan spins. You can also use an RGB controller (a given hub) to control profiles and modes in conjunction with the brightness of the fan itself. Apart from this, the fan speed stays between 650-2000RPM with an error rate of 10%.
It’s worth mentioning that the fan’s noise level is in the range of 8-30 dBA. It basically changes when you increase the fan’s speed. Moreover, the fan also comes with four heat pipes, which gives rise to the maximum possible airflow of 57.3 CFM. That’s huge, to be honest.
MSI MAG Coreliquid (Best MSI Liquid CPU Cooler)
If you are a fan of MSI coolers, then I’m pretty much sure that you’ll be going to fall in love with MSI MGA CORELIQUID 240R AIO RGB Cooler.
Durability and performance
To be honest, this AIO cooler has everything packed inside, from RGB modules to escalated performance. The cooler brings in a highly performative stance with a 270-degrees rotating blockhead. This particular feature helps in reducing the soaring temperatures. Not to mention, you can tweak the RGB profiles with the given software. On top of that, the same blockheads help in eliciting the core aesthetics of the cooler.
The cooler comes with a dedicated pump design for sound dampening and noise reduction. Basically, when you have liquid coolers, they majorly tend to make noise because of the enhanced performance module, but surprisingly here, it’s different. You get to hear little to no noise, hence allowing enough room for ergonomics and a sustained user-friendly experience.
High thermal dissipation
It’s no doubt that the cooler is one of its kind. You get hold of something extraordinarily exceptional. For instance, MSI MAG CORELIQUID 240R has a split pathway that aids in heat dissipation. On top of that, you also get hold of three layers of netted plastic tubing and reinforced mesh exterior for durability and performance.
As for the other features, the cooler pitches 24dB of noise levels, which is a feature of an air cooler. Now imagine, a liquid cooler providing the low noise-level qualities in a liquid cooler. That’s intriguing, in my opinion. On top of that, you can easily use the same liquid cooler with AMD and Intel, basically indicating zero rivalries or exclusiveness for one CPU brand. It’s worth mentioning that it’s best if you slot the cooler with AMD threadrippers or Intel Core i9 or i7 with “K” variants.
Noctua NH D15 (Best Premium CPU Cooler)
It’s been a word of evil that Noctua fans do not provide aesthetics. In particular, I won’t take it as a word of evil or tone implementing an offensive gesture. Typically, Noctua focuses more on performance than on looks and aesthetics.
Simplicity at its finest
Noctua NH-D15 offers a resounding classical layout that, in its essence, looks refreshing and pure gem. I believe the minimalist style helps in catering to the required needs of some people. For instance, if you are into overclocking, but your system speaks of simplicity, then there’s no better choice than Noctua.
Dual Tower design
Do you know what’s insurmountable about Noctua NH-D15? It offers a dual tower design, which is nothing but the use of sophisticated dual fans for enhanced heat dissipation. This helps in implementing withstanding aerodynamics acceleration channels for heat elimination. On top of that, the efficiency of the fans always stays at 100%, which means the users never reported out-of-sync behavior of the fans. You get what’s stated in the manual and brand description.
There has been a long debate about whether the cooler can curb the space for RAM, and majorly, it has been proven true, whereas, at some instances, the claim falls short of evidence. Nonetheless, Noctua NH-D15 goes a notch further in assuring that all the required necessities have been fulfilled. For example, the single fan-mode offers enough space for your RAMS, basically blessing you with enhanced compatibility. The 64mm clearance is enough for using 64GB of RAM (if each one of them is 16gigs).
As far as the specifications of the fan are concerned, you get hold of 2x NF-A15 PWM premium fan (dual usage), 2x low noise-adapters, and a y-cable for powering on. On top of that, the fan also slips in the Noctua metal case-bridge and mounting holes for your CPU. In short, the package includes everything for installation. Apart from this, there’s a little trade-off. The noise levels may not be appealing, as Noctua focuses more on efficiency and performance than on layout, design, and sound levels.
Cooler Master MasterLiquid (Best RGB Liquid CPU Cooler
The best RGB liquid CPU cooler award goes to Cooler Master because of the shining lights the brand incorporates in its models.
For the design, the liquid CPU cooler uses 5 discrete components: Dual chamber, pump, stylish radiator, double tubing, and MF120R ARGB Fans. When these components combine together, you get hold of a mesmerizing and functional CPU cooler. The dual-chamber is that, simultaneously, the hot air can be thrown out of the chamber, and cold air can be taken inside—this combination of intake and outtake makes this cooler a perfect candidate for resolving soaring temperatures.
Well, the pump and stylish radiator help in giving the looks and the ability to channel the hot air out of the system. Without these properties, the cooler is nothing.
The liquid cooler extensively makes use of wash-over RGB lights, which help in giving your system a unique look. Not to mention, you can sync the lights if you have Cooler master’s components in your system by simply installing its proprietary software. Apart from this, the modes and RGB pattern can be channeled at your ease.
It’s worth mentioning that this liquid cooler makes use of variable CPU sockets, which means that you can connect it with AMD and Intel without any discriminating grounds. To top it off, the cooler makes use of aluminum radiator metal, which gives the cooler its robustness. It just doesn’t stop here. You also get hold of a withstanding airflow of 66.7 CFM, in conjunction with the fan speed in the range 650-2000RPM. It’s truly wonderful, in my opinion.
As far as the noise levels, they stay between 6-30 dBA, which is amazing because usually CPU liquid coolers run loud.
Thermaltake TH120 (Best Value-Added CPU Cooler)
To be honest, I’m excited about this entry because Thermaltake coolers are one of my favorites. The reason is quite simple. Thermaltake always ensures that the coolers they slip in the market stand tall in the pool.
The best part about the Thermaltake TH120 ARGB is that it brings in dedicated addressable Aura headers for enhanced connectivity. All you have to do is connect the addressable header on the motherboard, and bingo, the RGB lights will turn on. On top of that, you get hold of the Digital pin header for RGB Fusion 2.0, RAINBOW header for mystic light sync, and LED header for polychrome RGB. To be honest, there’s a variety when you buy a Thermaltake cooler.
Smart Fan Controller
The cooler comes equipped with an ARGB controller, which helps in channeling the color modes. Basically, you would need a 5V addressable header to make the controller work. It’s a wonderful feature because now you have the ability to change between different RGB patterns: flow, ripple, pulse, blink, wave, full light, RGB spectrum, etc.
For the design and layout, the cooler makes use of a reliable pump and high-performance water block system. This water block system enhances the heat conductivity, reducing the overall soaring temperatures of the system. Apart from this, you also get to bask under the high efficient radiator, which aids in transporting the warm air outside. In short, it’s a wonderful cooler that won’t disappoint you.
Corsair Hydro X Series (Best Futuristic CPU Cooler)
Corsair Hydro X series is a magnificent entry, which caters to the needs of gaming enthusiasts.
CPU water block
This RGB CPU cooler makes use of a dedicated water block, which is nothing but a way to accumulate cold water. This, in turn, helps your CPU to remain cool and functional well above a given temperature threshold.
The best part about this cooler is that it extensively makes use of integrated RGB lighting, which is embedded in the water block. All you have to do is use the iCUE software available on the Corsair website to channel between different RGB patterns and modes. To top it off, you can sync all the Corsair components with the same RGB pattern. To be honest, it’s a click away.
It just doesn’t stop here. The cooler also comes with discrete cooling profiles, which you can make use of for variable overclocking. For instance, if you want to overclock the CPU to its maximum possible potential, set a more extreme or probably cooling profile. In short, the cooler is made for catering to a large cohort.
Well, the cooler is compatible with a surfeit of AMD and Intel chipsets, basically indicating its versatility. Simply put the cooler on the required chipset, and bingo, you are good to go.
Arctic Freezer 34 Esports (Best White CPU Cooler)
The next candidate on our list is Arctic Freezer 34 Esports. It’s an amazing entity if you know your way around it. Although it might not be aesthetically pleasing, its white tint makes it a perfect candidate for white motherboards and cases.
Price to performance ratio
The BioniX P-fan is a wonderful fan texture and an entity that enhances the overall airflow. When we talk about the Arctic Freezer’s performance, it’s beyond exceptionality. The use of thermal-coated heat sink aids in enhancing the required airflow. On top of that, the tests speak volumes about the cooler’s performance. For instance, even if the fan kicks in its aggressive mode, the noise level remains at 28dBA, which is insurmountable, in my opinion.
An insight to P-fans
This new technology makes use of high static pressure, extended RPM range, lowered power consumption, fewer vibration, extended life span, and high-quality bearings. When these features combine together, you get an unparalleled CPU cooler for extreme overclocking. The best part about the CPU cooler is that the PST for synchronous fan control lends you enough dominance to control fan profiling.
Improved heat dissipation
It’s not surprising to behold that the heat sinks incorporated thermal coating, which aids in increased heat dissipation. The micro turbulences created inside the heat sink pushes the hot air outside, reducing your CPU’s overall temperature. It’s worth mentioning that you can slot the same CPU on either AMD chipsets or Intel. It doesn’t matter because the cooler has an enhanced compatibility ratio.
As far as the installation is concerned, it’s not even daunting. All you have to do is slot-in the cooler over the chipset and fasten the screws. That’s all!
Arctic Liquid Freezer II (Best Three-Fan Liquid CPU Cooler)
The next cooler on our list Arctic liquid freezer II. This fan won the award for being the best three-fan liquid cooler. Let’s see why!
You might not believe it, but the fan won an all-time champion award. Basically, the fan has been tested numerous times, and the performance has remained at an all-time high. It’s worth mentioning that the cooler was also awarded “European hardware award 2020,” which is basically nothing but the best 240 variant cooler. It just doesn’t stop here; the cooler hence an escalated price to performance ratio.
The cooler is perfect for both AMD and Intel when it comes to cooling. You can see the compatibility on the manual or on the website. To be honest, it cools threadrippers and “K” versions equally. The best part about the cooler is that it effortlessly dissipates the heat of 200W, which is significantly higher than what its counterparts do. Anyhow, you also don’t need to change the coolant regularly since the liquid cooler is equipped with a self-regulatory module.
Other than that, the fan makes use of an in-house pumping method, which helps in radiating the heat outside efficiently. To top it off, the premium class radiator has perfect high fin density which again, aids in heat dissipation. For the VRM fan control, the fan does everything itself. Even the noise levels are kept at bay for the majority of the time. Conclusively, it’s a withstanding entry in the list.
Iceberg Thermal IceSLEET X6 (Best Aesthetic CPU Cooler)
Iceberg thermal IceSLEET X6 Intel & AMD is the last entry in the list and brings in absolute aesthetics into role play.
You mustn’t have seen anything like this, because the product is unique. For layout and design, it makes use of Iceberg shelling, which gives the cooler its unique and unparalleled look. To be honest, this cooler is targeted at those who are looking forward to slotting in exclusive products: expensive or cheap; it doesn’t matter.
The cooler has an inbuilt AI installed, which monitors the ambiance and the chipset’s temperature. Basically, it regulates the fan curve by measuring the required threshold. For instance, if your CPU stays within 30 Degrees, the cooler won’t kick in an aggressive profile and will utilize less amount of energy, making it one of the best efficient and electricity-friendly coolers.
It’s of no surprise to behold that the Iceberg Thermal IceSLEET makes use of bond soldering for enhanced protection against gusts of winds. Basically, the stacked fin is more reserved and sturdy, giving rise to strength and the ability to withstand increasing temperatures.
To top it off, the cooler also extensively makes use of RGB profiling for aesthetics. The ARGB synching can be turned on from the addressable header or by tweaking the software settings. Not to mention, you can channel between different RGB patterns and modes.
Copper heat pipes
The cooler also makes use of enhanced copper heat pipes for the best heat radiation, making it the best choice for enthusiasts. As for the airflow, the figure stands at 76 CFM, which is absolutely stunning, in my opinion. Other than that, the noise levels also stay between 0.36dBA altogether. That’s appreciable, I guess.
What factors to keep in mind before purchasing the best CPU cooler?
Here the complexity kicks in. Why though? The concept of TDP might not be as comprehensible as it seems because the thermal design point is a way of calculating the average dissipation of heat from a component. Here’s the scenario: Imagine that you have got a CPU with a 300 TDP (average heat dissipation rate), and unfortunately, you have a CPU cooler with 320 TDP. What do you think will happen? Paradoxically, the CPU cooler will not be decreasing the temperature, but in short, it will be increasing the overall temperature of your CPU.
Because the TDP of the CPU cooler is higher than the TDP of the CPU, which means your cooler is acting as a heater. That’s why you need to select those CPU coolers with lowered TDP values than the current processor you have.
It’s the most important factor because you always need a CPU cooler that will fit on your processor accurately. To cut the chase, sellers usually send away stock coolers, so the user does not have to face the problem of compatibility. But what if you are slotting in a new CPU cooler? Then you have to be careful where the socket is for AMD or Intel. Ask yourself questions, and explore the possibility of what CPU Cooler will befit the best.
It’s the most ignored factor because people are adamant when it comes to research. Let’s assume that a $200 CPU cooler performs just exactly the same as that of a $100 cooler at the expanse of RGB. What should you do? The acclaimed data says that the probability of people chasing after an expensive cooler is an all-time high. It’s all because of marketing gimmicks, and you need to be aware of that.
It’s always required to set a margin before purchasing any cooler. It’s no doubt that liquid coolers are relatively expensive, and the performance ratio is what makes them stand higher in the pooler. Comparing an air cooler to a liquid cooler is just erroneous. Anyhow, make sure that you have a clear mindset about the budget before purchasing any type of cooler.
Air coolers Vs. Liquid coolers
It’s a hot debate for years, and to be honest, nothing has been put into perspective. Some of the enthusiasts prefer air coolers because of the reduced power requirement, whereas the other half always root for liquid coolers for Number one, liquid coolers are a way to go if you are into extreme clocking, and Number two, they offer aesthetics.
Basically, if you are looking forward to the exalted performance and up for spending a hundred bucks or more, then the liquid cooler is the way to go.
Believe me, when I say sound levels should be ignored. No one loves hearing jets running in their PC cases, especially if it’s an air cooler. Proportionally, liquid coolers can be as loud as air coolers because the main idea of liquid coolers is to suppress the maximum dissipated heat.
Usually, 140mm fans, or as you increment in height, are louder. To go for something in between, you need to ensure that number one fits on your cooler; number two, it’s decent enough for temperature reduction. In short, the selection of CPU coolers is a trial and error method because what may be loud for me may not be for you. So, keep trying!
I hope you liked the article, as I tried my level best to pitch in the required information in the most detailed way. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the list is not finite and can go to lengths depending on the recent technological advancement. So yeah, you can still find hundreds of worth buying CPU coolers. What makes the entries here different is that they were rigorously stressed and put to tests before being prescribed to the readers.
If you ask for my recommendation, I would say to have a look at Corsair liquid coolers as they are amazing and versatile in every way.
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