Sub-$20 CPU Coolers: A Reader's Roundup

Cooling
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Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro Rev. 2

The Alpine 11 Pro Rev. 2 is pretty much the same cooler as the GT. There's just more of it.

The heatsink is larger, there are more fins, the fan is larger and -- crucially -- Arctic's signature rubber fan mounts return for the Alpine 11 Pro.



The Alpine 11 Pro uses a mounting bracket instead of pushpins, and won't be the last cooler in this roundup to do so. In this case, mounting is easy enough (though it took some small pliers for me to exert enough force on the bracket pegs to secure them) and when the cooler itself is finally screwed down to the bracket, the whole assembly is very secure.

Sound Characteristics

The Alpine 11 Pro lived up to the reputation of Arctic's previous coolers, delivering a pleasant midrange hum and accompanying "whoosh" from the considerable amount of air the frameless fan managed to move. It mercifully lacked the annoying harmonic of the GT, and was able to get impressively quiet at moderate speeds, allowing it to still move a decent amount of air while remaining masked by the hard drive's muffled hum.

Performance

Now this is an Arctic cooler. Performance was excellent, ahead of every other conventional cooler on this list at both quiet and fast fan speeds. Performance approaches the two heatpipe tower coolers at both fan speeds.

Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro Rev. 2
Quiet
Max
RPM
Idle
Load
Rise
RPM
Idle
Load
Rise
1188
27°C
54°C
27°C
2109
24°C
48°C
21°C


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