Best CPU Coolers: Get the Best Performance with the Right PC Cooling System

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best cpu cooler

One of the most important decisions to make when building your computer is choosing the right cooling system. If you want your PC to achieve full potential without overheating, you must install a proper cooler for your processor by choosing the best cpu cooler.

Having the right cooler can also affect your system’s noise output. If you value a quiet working environment but demand high performance from your PC rig, you need CPU coolers that can effectively lower the temperature while keeping the system quiet.

There are many models of PC coolers available on the market. In this guide, we bring you our selection of appropriate cooling systems to help you get maximum performance from your computer system. Read more to discover the best CPU coolers to buy in 2020.

What is CPU Cooler?

When your CPU is running, it gives off a significant amount of heat. If this heat energy is left to accumulate in the system, it will drastically affect the CPU’s performance. Therefore, for the processor to function properly, you must ensure that the heat produced by the CPU flows away from the whole system.

A CPU cooler is that vital PC component that is responsible for regulating your CPU’s temperature. It works by lowering the temperature on your computer through dissipation of the heat energy produced by the CPU. The right PC cooling system, therefore, will have your processor operating at appropriate temperatures, and help you to achieve your computer’s full potential.

Types of CPU Coolers

Different PC coolers apply different techniques to cool off hot components in your computer. Generally, there are two (2) types of CPU coolers: (I) air cooler and (II) water/liquid cooler.

(I) Air CPU cooler

Air cooling system consists of a fan, heatsink, and heat pipes. It uses air as the main cooling medium. How it works is simple: heat from the CPU is picked up by cooler air from the computer fan and carried away from the whole system by airflow.

Pros

Air-cooling solution is the most basic option available to general PC users. These models are cheap, and aftermarket options are readily available to be used as replacement for stock coolers.

Cons

Air CPU coolers are quite large and may not fit in every computer case. They also operate at high RPMs, which results in loud fan noise. Compared to other cooling solutions, air coolers are quite loud.

(II) Water/Liquid CPU cooler

Water/Liquid cooling system consists of a pump, heat block, radiator, and reservoir, and it uses distilled water as the main cooling medium. Heat from components is picked and transferred to a radiator to be cooled.

Pros

Water cooling systems are much quieter compared to air coolers, since they use liquid to dissipate heat from the system. They also have higher heat capacity, making them more effective than air coolers for the same workload. They also come in a variety of sizes and can easily be integrated into any system.

Cons

Liquid coolers are generally more expensive compared to air CPU coolers. Also, they are a potential hazard in case of leakage, although most models on the market are pre-sealed.

Top 8 CPU Coolers to Buy for Your Computer

In this guide, we bring you our top picks of the best CPU coolers to buy in 2020 in both the liquid and air CPU cooler categories. See which one is best for your ideal setup.

Best Liquid CPU Coolers 2020

Liquid CPU coolers, although a little more expensive than air coolers, give you extra cooling capacity and importantly less noise.

PRODUCT BRAND TYPE BEST FEATURE RATING PRICE
Corsair H100i PRO XT Corsair Liquid Zero RPM Mode 4.6/5 Check Price
MasterLiquid ML240L V2 Cooler Master Liquid Dual Chamber Pump 4.3/5 Check Price
Corsair H100i Platinum Corsair Liquid Intuitive Software Control 4.6/5 Check Price
NZXT Kraken X63 NZXT Liquid Full CAM integration 4.8/5 Check Price

Corsair H100i PRO XT

Corsair iCUE H100i PRO

Corsair is a leading manufacturer of computer cooling systems, and the H100i PRO XT is one of the best products on their catalogue.

This Corsair unit has the Zero RPM Mode profile in the Corsair iCUE software that eliminates fan noise entirely at low temperatures.  As such, the cooler will effectively lower the CPU temperature while keeping the system quiet.

The H100i Pro CPU cooler takes extreme cooling to the next level. Equipped with high-performance cold plate and pump, the cooler will give you maximum cooling performance under high CPU loads. Its 240mm radiator and two 120mm magnetic levitation fans with 400 to 2,400 RPM guarantee enhanced airflow, providing incredible cooling performance.

The unit is packed with 16 individually customizable RGB LEDs for stunning lighting effects to compliment your build. You will enjoy unlimited intelligent control possibilities with the Corsair iCUE software.

The H100i PRO XT is not only easy to install on major CPU sockets, but it also blends sleek design with sophisticated features to provide quality liquid cooling solution. It is built to work effectively for both low noise operation and extreme CPU cooling. It is a great investment if you fancy a silent rig without worrying about keeping the system components cool.

Features:

  • Zero RPM Mode
  • Two 120mm magnetic levitation fans
  • 16 individually customizable RGB LEDs
  • Powerful iCUE software
  • Easy to install

MasterLiquid ML240L V2

MasterLiquid ML240L

If you are a high power PC user with an overclocked rig, you need an appropriate cooling system that can handle your CPU’s thermal output. The best choice for extreme cooling is the MasterLiquid ML240L V2, which is the latest release of the MasterLiquid Lite Series from Cooler Master.

What makes this water cooler effective for heavy PC users is the 3rd Generation Dual Chamber Pump that features greater water volume capacity, allowing for enhanced overall cooling efficiency. The large internal radiator fins allow for highly-efficient heat dissipation, making the MasterLiquid water CPU cooler an effective unit for any operational power level.

It also features two 120mm SickleFlow RGB fans with improved silencing structure for less noise. It will operate with much less noise level of 27 decibels.

The unit’s RGB features are also attractive. The cooler can be connected to RGB compatible motherboard systems, allowing you to control and enjoy more vivid RGB lighting effects.

If your rig is prone to overheating, the MasterLiquid ML240L V2 liquid cooler would be extremely effective at controlling the temperature of your CPU.

Features:

  • Dual chamber pump
  • Large internal radiator fins
  • Advanced SickleFlow 120 RGB fans
  • RGB motherboard sync

Corsair H100i Platinum

Corsair Hydro 100i RGB Platinum

What makes the Corsair H100i Platinum an attractive buy is the fact that it allows you to easily control all its features from a powerful single intuitive interface. The powerful Corsair iCUE software lets you easily monitor CPU and coolant temperature, control RGB lighting, adjust pump and fan speed, and much more. Talk about convenience!

The CPU cooler is packed with virtually all sophisticated features needed in an effective water cooler, with a little bonus. The thermally optimized cold plate and pump, alongside a 240mm radiator, work well to provide extreme CPU cooling performance at low noise output.

It also features two 120mm magnetic levitation PWM fans of 400 to 2,400 RPM that deliver extreme CPU cooling performance with vivid RGB lighting. It is also packed with 24 individual customizable RBG LEDs for unlimited RGB lighting options.

The Corsair H100i Platinum cooler is perfect for a high-end gaming pc on high performance. Its features provide for efficient cooling performance, preventing overheating without affecting the performance of your rig so you can enjoy extended gaming sessions.

Features:

  • Powerful intuitive software control
  • Dual PWM fans
  • Large internal radiator fins
  • Two 120mm magnetic levitation fans
  • 16 individually customizable RGB LEDs
  • Compatible with major CPU sockets

 

NZXT Kraken X63 RGB CPU Liquid Cooler

NZXT Kraken X63

The NZXT Kraken X63 not only provides effective high-performance cooling and stunning RGB lighting effects but also an intuitive, user-friendly interface to manage the cooler’s performance and appearance with precision. Full CAM integration provides effective control that ultimately leads to the better and more effective management of Kraken’s performance.  In fact, you can make adjustments accordingly with a click of a button.

Its features include bigger and brighter LED for more vivid RGB, plus the RGB channel readily integrates with any RGB accessory to provide stunning visual effects.

The cooler’s Aer P radiator fans have chamfered intake with fluid dynamic bearing, which ensures silent operations and desired cooling performance.

Furthermore, it has nylon mesh sleeves that greatly enhance the strength and durability of its rubber tubing.

Any high power user with high-end PC would find this liquid cooler effective for keeping their processor cool. The NZXT Kraken X63 delivers a powerful experience in RGB water cooling, and its full CAM integration lets you easily manage its performance at the touch of a button.

Features:

  • Full CAM integration
  • Big and bright LED
  • Aer P radiator fans
  • Nylon mesh for durability

Best Air CPU Coolers 2020

PRODUCT BRAND TYPE BEST FEATURE RATING PRICE
Noctua NH-D15 Chromax Noctua Air Dual Tower Design 4.9/5 Check Price
Hyper 212 RGB Cooler Master Air RGB Sync 4.7/5 Check Price
Dark Rock Pro 4 Be Quiet Air Silent Wings PWM Fans 4.7/5 Check Price
Hyper 212X Cooler Master Air Continuous Direct Cooling 4.7/5 Check Price

 

Noctua NH-D15 Chromax

Noctua NH-D15

If you have overclocked your rig and prefer a silent cooling system, the Noctua NH-D15 Chromax air CPU cooler would provide the service you need.

It features extra-wide 140mm dual tower design that is perfect for ultra cooling while keeping the system quiet. It consists of 6 heat pipes and dual fans, which work best to deliver maximum quiet cooling efficiency that any overclocker and silent enthusiast would appreciate.

This Noctua air cooler features premium heatsink that has earned more than 300 awards, which is a testament of its quality. Furthermore, the dual-fan design featuring two NF-A15 fans with low-noise adaptors guarantee full cooling performance under load. And you won’t have to worry about noise level, as these two fans with PWM for automatic speed are extremely quiet when idle.

Other sophisticated features of the Noctua NH-D15 air CPU cooler include premium NT-H1 thermal paste with a mounting system. As such, you will have an easy time with installation. It is compatible with both Intel and AMD sockets.

The Noctua NH-D15 Chromax is a good choice for an overclocked CPU that is prone to overheating. It will deliver powerful cooling performance without any significant noise. It also comes with a 6-year manufacturer warranty.

Features:

  • Dual tower design
  • Premium heatsink
  • Dual 140mm fans with low-noise adaptors
  • 6-year manufacturer warranty
  • Easy installation

Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB

Cooler Master Hyper 212

If you want to experience the combined power of outstanding aesthetics and effective cooling performance in your PC build, then the Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB is what you need to get. This unit combines integrated RGB lighting effects with improved heat-sink upgrades to deliver absolutely amazing power performance, any user with an overclocked rig would appreciate.

Its SF 120 R RGB fan easily connects with existing motherboard architecture for easy configuration and control, and it has a 6-mode wired RGB controller that is effective for quick customization in the absence of an RGB capable motherboard.

Stunning lighting effects aren’t the only thing this powerful air cooler has to offer. There is much more to enjoy from this stylish, colourful and precise cooling system, such as the direct contact cooling with grooved fins. It features 4 embedded copper heat pipes with aluminium grooved fins for optimum thermal conductivity. This design is further strengthened by the nickel-plated black heat sink to offer superior heat radiation with minimal air resistance.

The Hyper 212 RGB air CPU cooler is a great option to buy, especially if you have an overclocked high-end rig. It can easily handle the computer’s thermal output while delivering stunning colourful aesthetics with its RGB features. It also comes with universal mounting that supports both AMD and Intel sockets.

Features:

  • RGB Sync
  • 6-mode wired RGB controller
  • Direct contact cooling
  • Nickel-plated heat sink
  • AMD and Intel compatible

3.      Best Air CPU Cooler with Silent Wings PWM Fans: Dark Rock Pro 4

The main advantage of silent wings PWM fans is that, they deliver immense cooling power with virtually in audible operation. The Dark Rock Pro 4 air CPU cooler features dual silent wings PWM fans with advanced-dynamic bearings. These features combined with smooth 6-pole motors and fan blades with minimal air resistance and vibration-isolating elements, you can be sure to enjoy quality cooling performance without any noise.

With this option, there is no compromise in silence and cooling performance, even for high-end overclocked systems. It effectively delivers an impressive 250W TDP rating and efficiently cools PC components even during peak CPU performance. It easily achieves this immense cooling power because of its highly advanced design features, including 7 copper heat pipes, wave-contoured cooling fins, dual-tower aluminum heat sinks, and a special black coating for perfect heat dissipation.

If you have a PC that is prone to overheating and want to install a cooling system on it that will guarantee you inaudible operation, the Dark Rock Pro 4 air cooler from Be Quiet is exactly what you need to buy. It comes with a special screwdriver so you can easily install it on the motherboard from above.

Features:

  • Silent wings PWM fans for virtually inaudible operation
  • Immense cooling power
  • Highly advanced design
  • Double-tower layout
  • User-friendly design
  • Easy installation

4.      Best Air CPU Cooler with Continuous Direct Cooling: Hyper 212X

If you need a powerful cooling system that provides direct continuous cooling to efficiently regulate temperature on your overclocked computer, this Hyper 212X is a good option. It has a large contact surface area that provides 5% greater cooling efficiency.

The design of this air CPU cooler makes it perfect for extreme cooling, especially for premium overclocked PC. It features micro-turbulence X-vents that provide for maximum air-flow efficiency. Furthermore, the perforated dimples in v-formation provide for superior heat distribution. Also, its 120mm POM bearing fan is designed to endure, meaning it will operate for long to deliver the desired cooling effect on your system.

The Hyper 212X is compatible with both AMD and Intel sockets, and it comes with universal mounting that supports multiple sockets. It would be a great buy, especially for those who own a high-end overclocked system that require immense cooling.

Features:

  • Continuous direct contact for continuous cooling
  • Micro-turbulence X-vents for maximum air-flow efficiency
  • Perforated dimples in V-formation for superior heat distribution
  • 120mm POM bearing fans for firm air pressure and endurance
  • Compatible with both AMD and Intel.