Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Best CPU Coolers: Noctua NH-D15

Noctua has a stellar reputation when it comes to CPU coolers, and with good reason. Even though it’s been around a while (earning a repeated recommendation from TechSpot), you’ll struggle to find an air cooler that performs as well as the Noctua NH-D15.

Thanks to its six aluminium heat pipes and two 140mm fans (with PWM support), not only do you get exceptional cooling from this component, offering performance comparable to many liquid coolers, but it also has the advantage of being exceptionally quiet, with a noise volume between around 34 dBA and 43 dBA depending on the load.

Noctua's easy-to-use SecuFirm 2 mounting system makes installation a breeze, but one of the best features of this cooler is that it comes with a six-year manufacturer’s warranty.

There are some caveats, though: this is one massive, heavy unit. Measuring 160 x 150 x 135mm and weighing almost 3 pounds, it takes up plenty of space—you’ll need to be careful when moving a PC with this inside. And despite its performance, some people might not be willing to spend so much on an air cooler, even though there are pricier options.

The Noctua supports most modern Intel and AMD sockets and is currently priced at ~$90 on Amazon.
Good Alternatives

With a similar size, weight and price as Noctua’s offering—if a bit noisier—is the CryoRig R1 Ultimate, which lets users add an optional third fan. And if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of cooling performance for a lower price, check out the Scythe Mugen 5 Rev. B, which is $48.
Budget Coolers That Are Much Better Than Stock

If you're not after top cooling performance (i.e. no heavy overclocking), but still want to improve upon what your stock CPU cooler offers for as little money as possible, here are three proven choices for about $30.

But first, you should know, AMD's Wraith Spire is surprisingly good for a stock cooler (nearly matching the venerable Hyper 212 Evo), on the other hand Intel's stock coolers are meant to be replaced by enthusiasts.

With that said, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo is perhaps the most popular budget CPU cooler you will find, rocking it as far back as 2011! It's a solid choice for about $30.

Two similarly priced options are nearly as popular and arguably a little better: the Cryorig H7 offers superior cooling performance and generates less noise than the CM 212, and it's just $35. Finally, the DeepCool Gammaxx 400 is a well liked option, if perhaps more obscure and underground than the other two, usually selling for around $25.

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