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What are the top CPU coolers?

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
What are some of the best coolers for HTPC's out there right now? Are the GeminII and Shuriken still the top two?
post #2 of 46
These are a few of my favorites for HTPC...

Silverstone with "Silent" mode switch (I have 2 of these. Great cooler for HTPC)

Scythe Shuriken

Another scythe
post #3 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTinkerer View Post

What are some of the best coolers for HTPC's out there right now? Are the GeminII and Shuriken still the top two?

What's wrong with the near silent and 0$ cost Intel stock cooler?

I would upgrade the stock for overclocking cooling performance, but personally would never bother for sound or size reasons.
post #4 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

What's wrong with the near silent and 0$ cost Intel stock cooler?

I would upgrade the stock for overclocking cooling performance, but personally would never bother for sound or size reasons.

+1

Agreed. The stock Intel cooler is very good.
post #5 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTinkerer View Post

What are some of the best coolers for HTPC's out there right now? Are the GeminII and Shuriken still the top two?

Noctua

Both best results, and best value when you actually look at what you get in their sink/fan packages.

I have the Noctua NH-U12P SE2, but that requires a case roughly 8" thick. If you have a thinner case, consider Noctua NH-C12P SE14 or Noctua NH-C14 140mm x 2 SSO

FWIW newegg carries 10 different Noctua models.

Be sure to check amazon coz you can almost always get a better price there; pricing jumps around on amazon due to their use of 3rd party suppliers, so be sure to look around.
post #6 of 46
The upside for additional cooling performance is easier to obtain cheaply in the aftermarket.

But the size and noise increase usually with greater cooling capabilities.

It's all based on more air flowing... meaning larger coolers... larger fans... faster fan speeds and such.

It certainly works. So a large aftermarket cooler cools better than a small quiet stock intel cooler.


But,

I just don't see the same upside if your looking to get quieter or smaller. The intel stock cooler is small and quiet to start.

I would at least try it and see if you can live with it before you go changing it out for those reasons.

I couldn't hear mine so it was a non issue.

I have a totally brand new stock cooler that came with my i7 cpu. It's unused. If you want to make me an offer I would probably accept it if you want to try it. Just cover my shipping costs +5$.

But- almost all CPU's come with this exact model so not sure anyone would need it. They rarely fail in a period of a few years or less.
post #7 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by OtherSongs View Post

Noctua

Both best results, and best value when you actually look at what you get in their sink/fan packages.

I have the Noctua NH-U12P SE2, but that requires a case roughly 8" thick. If you have a thinner case, consider Noctua NH-C12P SE14 or Noctua NH-C14 140mm x 2 SSO

FWIW newegg carries 10 different Noctua models.

Be sure to check amazon coz you can almost always get a better price there; pricing jumps around on amazon due to their use of 3rd party suppliers, so be sure to look around.

Since we are on a HTPC forum I just assumed that he was talking about CPU coolers relevant for HTPC.

This isn't going to be fitting in a whole lot of HTPC cases...

post #8 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by OtherSongs View Post

Noctua

Both best results, and best value when you actually look at what you get in their sink/fan packages.

I have the Noctua NH-U12P SE2, but that requires a case roughly 8" thick. If you have a thinner case, consider Noctua NH-C12P SE14 or Noctua NH-C14 140mm x 2 SSO

FWIW newegg carries 10 different Noctua models.

Be sure to check amazon coz you can almost always get a better price there; pricing jumps around on amazon due to their use of 3rd party suppliers, so be sure to look around.

It's not quieter than the stock intel.

And it cools insifnificantly better than a $29 212EVO from coolermaster for about 240% greater price.

You certainly can't get this cooler for $40 or less, and with the extra fan on the COOLERMASTER EVO it will outperform it in stress tests. The extra fan is 7$


That said,

Noctua is a very solid and respected cooling option. Totally high end... and delivers great performance.

It's like an italian sports car vs a Corvette Z06/ZR1. The italian car is presige and class... great looks and such- but in pure power/performance/HP it's actually no better for double the cost.
post #9 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Since we are on a HTPC forum I just assumed that he was talking about CPU coolers relevant for HTPC.

This isn't going to be fitting in a whole lot of HTPC cases...


What are you using that cooler for ?

I am interested. Looks nice!
post #10 of 46
Guys.

This is a HTPC forum.

Go to overclockers, anandtech, etc if you want to talk about the best CPU coolers in general.

I just don't want us to incorrectly tell someone that they need a Noctua or Hyper 212 to cool their HTPC CPU that is drawing less than 40 watts of power.
post #11 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

What are you using that cooler for ?

I am interested. Looks nice!

Its not one of mine. Just used it as a reference for the Noctua coolers out there.

Not relevant for HTPC in general.
post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Its not one of mine. Just used it as a reference for the Noctua coolers out there.

Not relevant for HTPC in general.

oh

I was getting excited.

I thought you were working on some crazy HTPC build based on Sandy Bridge-E and 64GB DDR3.

That cooler wouldn't even fit in most cases. It barely would fit into mine.. and I am pretty sure I have the biggest case on this forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Guys.

This is a HTPC forum.

Go to overclockers, anandtech, etc if you want to talk about the best CPU coolers in general.

I just don't want us to incorrectly tell someone that they need a Noctua or Hyper 212 to cool their HTPC CPU that is drawing less than 40 watts of power.

Oh yes. +1. I agree.

I totally started this thread with the idea that it was not needed at all.

Like I said twice above- if your looking for HTPC reasons to switch out the stock intel cooler- I see a very limited upside.

The Stock cooler is perfectly acceptable in almost any situation where it will install cleanly. It's cheap or free- and basically silent- and perfectly capable of cooling a stock CPU at stock settings adequately.

It's not until an enthusiast begins overclocking and really stressing a CPU that a cooler upgrade should be needed.

If your talking upgrade for that reason- then your not talking about HTPC's anymore. Your talking about higher end enthusiast PC in big cases- that need big aftermarket coolers. Your right. Not the subject of this forum.


CLIFF NOTES:
Intel stock coolers work fine for almost any HTCP build and cost 0$. You don't need an aftermarket cooler option for HTPC, and HTPC level CPU's at stock set ups.



it's not hard at all to cool a 40 watt HTPC. I bet you could even turn off the fan and it would live a long time.
post #13 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTinkerer View Post

What are some of the best coolers for HTPC's out there right now? Are the GeminII and Shuriken still the top two?

http://www.frostytech.com/

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/chart...ler.php?tid=42

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5B...212_evo_review

Three decent resources for answering your question.


Honestly-

It comes down to more specifics.

-What case
-What board and CPU?
-What level of Overclock
-What budget you have.

Blending all the above factors will help you determine the best results.

Most like the Noctua, The Coolermaster and the FRIOS generally good all around.

Hope that helps answer your question- But not sure it's HTPC related.
post #14 of 46
The link below is really helpful and gives the top 5 coolers by temperature, noise for various different maximum heights:

http://www.frostytech.com/top5_lowprofile_heatsinks.cfm

The only problem is a lot of the coolers on the list have been superseded and reviews of their replacements indicate they are not as good as the originals. It is a good place to start though.
post #15 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by kesawi View Post

The link below is really helpful and gives the top 5 coolers by temperature, noise for various different maximum heights:

http://www.frostytech.com/top5_lowprofile_heatsinks.cfm

The only problem is a lot of the coolers on the list have been superseded and reviews of their replacements indicate they are not as good as the originals. It is a good place to start though.

That chart is mega outdated.

Most of the models are not valid or have been updated.

Also- it's testing on a 775 socket board and Core2 duo CPU.

I doubt anyone is still building these.
post #16 of 46
I recently installed the Prolimatech Samuel 17 cooler in my htpc. It's probably a little overkill for an i3-2100, but I like that any 120mm fan works on it. Not only can you install your favorite quiet fan, but if the fan ever goes bad you don't need to replace the whole hsf.

I was surprised how well it fits on an Intel H67GD mobo. It's only 45mm high so a 120x25mm fan should work in most HTPC cases.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...nc.-_-35242009
post #17 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by tawd1992 View Post

I recently installed the Prolimatech Samuel 17 cooler in my htpc. It's probably a little overkill for an i3-2100, but I like that any 120mm fan works on it. Not only can you install your favorite quiet fan, but if the fan ever goes bad you don't need to replace the whole hsf.

I was surprised how well it fits on an Intel H67GD mobo. It's only 45mm high so a 120x25mm fan should work in most HTPC cases.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...nc.-_-35242009

I have used the Samuel 17. Very nice cooler. A little pricey since you still have to add a fan --- but nice and well manufactured.
post #18 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Since we are on a HTPC forum I just assumed that he was talking about CPU coolers relevant for HTPC.

This isn't going to be fitting in a whole lot of HTPC cases...


Wow, talk about overkill.
post #19 of 46
Anyone have the HTPC specific silverstone. I've been thinking about getting it but its not cheap, $50 plus probably $10-15 for silent fans.

I'm going to try the asrock tuning software or possibly try an underclock first and try to drop the noise without spending the money. The frustrating part is my cpu doesn't get hot the fan is just poorly controlled by the mobo.
LL
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

Anyone have the HTPC specific silverstone. I've been thinking about getting it but its not cheap, $50 plus probably $10-15 for silent fans.

Stay away.

I have used it and its horrible. Its copper "colored". I don't even know what metal its made out of but its not copper. I returned it to newegg.

Very flimsy as well.

They were made for the GD04/05 cases but honestly it isn't a well built product.
post #21 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by OtherSongs View Post

Noctua

Both best results, and best value when you actually look at what you get in their sink/fan packages.

I have the Noctua NH-U12P SE2, but that requires a case roughly 8" thick. If you have a thinner case, consider Noctua NH-C12P SE14 or Noctua NH-C14 140mm x 2 SSO

You're calling a $70 cooler a "best value"? Is this a joke?

I love Noctua fans but paying $70 for a cpu cooler is absurd unless you're going all out with a water cooled overclocked "just because I can" setup.

If you want the absolute best value and height isn't a concern it has to be, without question, the nice plain, and highly effective, Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus for $25. It works, and the fan is easily replaceable.

I also happen to be a fan of the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 which is dead silent, cools well, is really easy to install (no backplate), and is also only $25.

But for an i3 in an HTPC case, the stock cooler is great.
post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Stay away.

I have used it and its horrible. Its copper "colored". I don't even know what metal its made out of but its not copper. I returned it to newegg.

Very flimsy as well.

They were made for the GD04/05 cases but honestly it isn't a well built product.

cool, thanks for the heads up
post #23 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

What's wrong with the near silent and 0$ cost Intel stock cooler?

I would upgrade the stock for overclocking cooling performance, but personally would never bother for sound or size reasons.

I've come across two scenarios so far where I've replaced the stock cooler.

1. I needed something with a lower profile (went with the aforementioned SilverStone NT07-1156).

2. The Intel stock cooler had an issue that made is noisy (replaced with this surprisingly good Rosewill cooler: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835200063) that was cheaper at the time than a new stock cooler.

I also had an AMD cooler that was too noisy for my liking in my first HTPC which I replaced with a Scythe Shiruken.
post #24 of 46
You can overclock 2-3% with most stock coolers, but when you start upping the cpu VOLTAGE, then the super coolers are needed. But coolers cost bucks, its cheaper to buy a faster cpu and not worry about freeze ups and other bad effects of over clocking. Overclocking good for bench marks only, it won't do much for gaming, just more problems, and fan noise.A much better case fan can work just as good, and get the job none..
post #25 of 46
I would say less than 5% of people on AVS overclock their HTPC.

If that.
post #26 of 46
I'm using the Noctua NH-C12P cooler in my HTPC. It was highly rated at SilentPCReview and was one of the only low profile coolers that was both quiet and efficient. Granted, it was quite expensive compared to other coolers, but it was one of the few high quality silent coolers that would fit my HTPC case at the time.

The really great thing about it is Noctua provides free adapter upgrades as long as you can provide original proof of purchase. I've upgraded my motherboard and CPU twice since I first got it and they sent me new kits within a couple of days after I requested them. I will never have to replace the CPU cooler in my HTPC, which makes it a real bargain in the long run.

Consider how many times you'd need to replace your CPU cooler simply because it no longer fits your new CPU and you'll easily surpass what I spent on the Noctua.

Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I would say less than 5% of people on AVS overclock their HTPC.

If that.

I can't imagine why anyone would need to overclock their CPU for HTPC use, unless the HTPC is also used as a gaming rig. I'd have to agree that the gamers in this forum probably account for less than 5% of the members as most of us are more interested in media playback of some kind.
post #27 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by OtherSongs View Post

Noctua

Both best results, and best value when you actually look at what you get in their sink/fan packages.

I have the Noctua NH-U12P SE2, but that requires a case roughly 8" thick. If you have a thinner case, consider Noctua NH-C12P SE14 or Noctua NH-C14 140mm x 2 SSO

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

You're calling a $70 cooler a "best value"? Is this a joke?

No joke.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

I love Noctua fans but paying $70 for a cpu cooler is absurd unless you're going all out with a water cooled overclocked "just because I can" setup.

If you want the absolute best value and height isn't a concern it has to be, without question, the nice plain, and highly effective, Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus for $25. It works, and the fan is easily replaceable.

The OP used the word "best" and ref'ed two lower height heat-sink/fans in the $35-$40 price range, one w/fan 120mm, the other w/fan 100mm. So he is clearly more focused on "best" as opposed to your "best value"

But since I also used the term, I'll present the case for Noctua being "best value"

The Cooler Master unit the OP mentioned in post#1 above, has a sleeve fan (120mm) and therefore is not the best, and the Scythe unit has a smaller 100mm fan, likely also a sleeve fan. The CM 212+ that you mentioned also has a sleeve fan.

AFAIK sleeve fans are best used vertically, so one is better off with a non-sleeve fan, like a Noctua SSO fan, both for versatility of fan positioning (horizontal or vertical), and longer life. Also SSO fans tend to be quieter even new, whereas sleeve fans get nosier fairly quickly with use; so the Noctua SSO fans start quiet(er) and stay quieter with use.

So with a Noctua SSO Noctua NF-P12-1300 fan, that Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus totals at $50 for me, since I don't find much use for sleeve fans.

With the Noctua NH-U12P SE2 that I got, I got two of those fans but only use one fan, and the heat sink itself is better than that of the CM 212+ heat sink (which I also own), so even at $70 the Noctua sink/fans, that I made mention of owning, is a better value than the CM Hyper 212+ that you mentioned as a "best value"

Noctua is about as good as it gets for an air cooling solution. And it's also a better value.
post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post


I can't imagine why anyone would need to overclock their CPU for HTPC use, unless the HTPC is also used as a gaming rig. I'd have to agree that the gamers in this forum probably account for less than 5% of the members as most of us are more interested in media playback of some kind.

These days, I don't even know why anyone would overclock for a gaming rig, given how cpus have gotten far more powerful and far cheaper than a few years ago.

I view overclocking these days as nothing more than a hobbyist thing to do just for the fun of it. Which is perfectly fine. But it's not a necessity.

Oh, and considering that Intel gives you a perfectly suitable new CPU cooler with each new CPU, that's a pretty cheap way to deal with upgrades too.
post #29 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by OtherSongs View Post

The Cooler Master unit the OP mentioned in post#1 above, has a sleeve fan (120mm) and therefore is not the best, and the Scythe unit has a smaller 100mm fan, likely also a sleeve fan. The CM 212+ that you mentioned also has a sleeve fan.


With the Noctua NH-U12P SE2 that I got, I got two of those fans but only use one fan, and the heat sink itself is better than that of the CM 212+ heat sink (which I also own), so even at $70 the Noctua sink/fans, that I made mention of owning, is a better value than the CM Hyper 212+ that you mentioned as a "best value"

Noctua is about as good as it gets for an air cooling solution. And it's also a better value.

The coolermaster EVO is a resdesigned plate and has more surface area to the CPU, and slightly better heat dissapation too.

It's an update for the 212+ and only costs $5 more.

With the extra 7$ fan and push/ull it will outperform and out cool the $80 Noctua in cooling tests at half the price.

I am not understanding what your saying.
post #30 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

These days, I don't even know why anyone would overclock for a gaming rig, given how cpus have gotten far more powerful and far cheaper than a few years ago.

I view overclocking these days as nothing more than a hobbyist thing to do just for the fun of it. Which is perfectly fine. But it's not a necessity.

Oh, and considering that Intel gives you a perfectly suitable new CPU cooler with each new CPU, that's a pretty cheap way to deal with upgrades too.

Your right it is totally not needed.

I have a 2600k i7 and although my Asus board overclocks it to 4.5 quite easily... I have yet to really find a serious need to do this.

Stock it owns everything already.
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