Recommended Heatsinks

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OTHER HEATSINKS

Make / Model
Q
For
Comments
$
S
Arctic Cooling Accelero S1
8.0
VGA
Simple brute-force design with huge cooling fin surface area outperforms just about everything else available — even run passively! With active cooling, it's good enough for any GPU today. Low cost makes it a real winner, espcially with new Rev.2 that increases compatibility to much wider range of video cards. Jan/08.
~25
Scythe Musashi
8.0
VGA
Equals the performance of the Accelero S1 with Scythe 100mm fans with low airflow, and pulling ahead slightly with high airflow, all while taking up less physical space. May 2010.
~40
Arctic Cooling Accelero S2
7.0
VGA
Performance very close to the S1, with slightly smaller size and just two heatpipes. The main downsides is that it doesn't fit all the hottest VGA cards. Reviewed along with very quiet and effective dual-fan Turbo Module, which fits both S1 and S2. Jan/08.
~22
Xigmatek Battle-Axe
6.5
VGA
Four heatpipes in direct contact with the GPU, a large array of fins and two 92mm fans can't help but give excellent cooling. The fans are rather noisy, though, and the mounting hardware is terribly flimsy. Too pricey. Jan/08.
45~50
Zalman VF-1000CU
6.5
VGA
Natural upgrade from VF-900CU sees a near-doubling of fin area and much improved cooling performance with the same acoustics; the same fan is used. Excellent mounting system. Jan/08.
~40
Zalman VF-900CU
5.5
VGA
Deceptively small yet effective and quiet (when undervolted) video card cooling with this heatpipe-enhanced HSF from Zalman. Much more effective than the pipe-less VF-700CU. Aug/06
32~44
Zalman ZM17CU
3.5

VGA

Passive all-copper HS for video card. Elminates noisy fan on many video cards. Suitable for hottest high power models only with cooling fan. 6/02
20
F
Zalman ZM80-HP
4.5
VGA
Passive all-copper heatpipe sandwich HS for "virtually all kinds of video cards" according to Zalman. An optional fan kit helps with really hot cards. There are 3 variants, A, C and D -- details of which are best discovered on Zalman's web site. (D model has 2 heatpipes). They work fairly well, but correct installation can be a little tricky. A model reviewed. Aug/04
25~35
Zalman ZM-NB47J
-
chipset HS
Much taller replacement HS for northbridge chipset on most motherboards. Eliminate small noisy fan safely. Should cool better than NB32. 6/02
7
R
Zalman ZM-NB32J
-
chipset HS
Replacement HS for northbridge chipset on most motherboards. Eliminate small noisy fan safely. 6/02
6
F

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RETIRED HEATSINKS

These models are no longer produced, have been superceded by superior products, or are no longer relevant in some other way. The list is maintained for those seeking parts for older systems and for historical value.

Make / Model
Q
CPU
Comments
$
S
Zalman Reserator1 Fanless External Watercooling System
9
478, K8, A
It doesn't really belong here but until we have more Water Cooling systems to recommend, this will do: This fanless external tower WC HS/pump is the quietest, powerful CPU cooling system we know of. Aug/04 (Update Jan '06: There have been a fair number of pump problems reported by users. Zalman seem to have provided good warranty service.) TOO LONG SINCE REVIEW. (June 08) 200~260
Thermalright XP-120
7.5
478, K8, 775
Large area of aluminum fins profiled to clear motherboard components, nickel-plated copper base and five heatpipes for a very light (370g) HS designed for a 120mm fan. With the right quiet 120mm fan, it's both super quiet and cools incredibly well. Sept 22/04 BETTER OPTIONS AVAILABLE NOW - MAY 2010.
40~45
Zalman CNPS-9500
7.5
478, K8, 775
Zalman's first CPU heatsink to use heatpipes and cross-flow fan configuration; it's the most sophisticated implementation of a CPU heatpipe HSF. A top performer, but the 92mm fan acoustics could be better. Can be freely rotated for best airflow configuration. Modest weight considering the performance and all-copper construction. Jan 2006. AM2 clip in latest production models. BETTER OPTIONS AVAILABLE NOW - MAY 2010.
50~60
Apack ZeroTherm BTF80 / BTF90
7.5
K8, AM2, 775
Unusual butterfly-shaped fins on these copper and copper/aluminum HS tha integrated a 92mm fan. Excellent performance, mounts with fan blowing in any direction. Availability a question. Aug/06. BETTER OPTIONS AVAILABLE NOW - MAY 2010.
~50
Scythe Ninja+ Rev B
7.5?
K8, 775
Big tower heatpipe heatsink with loosely spaced fins was once tops on our list, but tests with latest 775 push-pin equipped Plus Rev. B forces a markdown. See discussion in Ninja Copper Review. March 22/08. DISCONTINUED
~40
Thermalright SP-94
7
478
Add three heatpipes to the big all-copper 900-series HS and you have the SP94 (and SP97). It is an excellent low-airflow HS, but its edge over the non-heatpipe 900s comes in only with really hot CPUs (and higher airflow). Very secure spring-loaded through-the-board bolts and backplate under motherboard. Aug/04 - DISCONTINUED (Jan 06)
50
Thermalright SP-97
7
A
Add three heatpipes to the big all-copper SLK-900A and you have the SP97. It is an excellent low-airflow HS, but its edge over the non-heatpipe 900A comes in only with really hot CPUs. Very secure spring-loaded through-the-board bolts and backplate under motherboard. Aug/04 - DISCONTINUED (Jan 06)
50
Coolermaster Hyper 48
7
478, K8, 775
Big, a bit too heavy (864G), all-copper heatpipe-equipped thin fin HS with 92mm fan is Coolermaster's first really quiet model. Needs a speed controller from the fan, though. Very similar in performance to Zalman 7000 and Thermalright SP-9X series.
40~50
Thermolab Baram
7
AM2, 775
Big tower heatsink with interleaved fins looks the part and is a good performer, but falls a bit short of most other similar size tower coolers in performance, and it's hampered by a poor mounting system for either AMD or Intel boards. June09. BETTER OPTIONS AVAILABLE NOW - MAY 2010.
30~40
Thermalright XP-90C
7
478, K8, 775
It's an all-copper version of the XP-90. We haven't reviewed it, but we're pretty sure it deserves this rank. A bit heavy but small enough to fit in most systems. Jan 2005 BETTER OPTIONS AVAILABLE NOW - MAY 2010.
45
Friends & colleagues
Scythe Mine (Rev. B)
7
478, AM2, 775
The Mine is a tower HS, the offsping of a Ninja and a Kamakiri, with genes from the Samurai Z mixed in. It has a very smooth quiet 100mm fan. Very good cooling, but not quite as good the best. It cannot be rotated 90 degrees. Aug/06. Now with socket AM2 compatibility - Jan 2008. BETTER OPTIONS AVAILABLE NOW - MAY 2010.
30~40
Thermalright XP-90
7
478, K8, 775
It's the XP120 scaled down for a 92mm fan that fits on a wider variety of systems. Well designed heatpipes and large area fins with very tight clip for a light (340g) HS. With the right quiet 92mm fan, it's both super quiet and cools very well. Jan 2005 BETTER OPTIONS AVAILABLE NOW - MAY 2010.
30
Zalman 7700AlCu
7
478, K8, 775
120mm fan version of 7000 benefits mainly from larger fan, as total fin area is only 3% higher than 7000. Still a top performer, but let down by a fan that's not a top performer, acoustically. Copper version is mighty heavy. Jan 2005 BETTER OPTIONS AVAILABLE NOW - MAY 2010.
35~40
Zalman 7000/A, both Cu & AlCu
7

478, K8, A, 370

Zalman's flower turns radial and gets a quieter embedded 92mm fan. Big, powerful cooling, modest noise (Fanmate1 controller included), secure mounting system, low 445g weight for AlCu (which matches 773g Cu performance). Original version compatible w/P4 & K8; newer "A" version adds Socket-A compatibility. Tight fit on some boards and cases where PSU is very close to CPU. June 17/03 BETTER OPTIONS AVAILABLE NOW - MAY 2010.
28~35
Noctua NH-U9
7
478, K8, 775
Tower heatsink for 92mm fan, similar to Thermalright HR-01 but smaller. Cannot be freely rotated for best airflow configuration. Noctua comes fanless, but with fan clips; the Coolink comes with a mediocre fan, and simple fan controller. Good mounting systems. Jan 2006. BETTER OPTIONS AVAILABLE NOW - MAY 2010.
~45
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 / 64 Pro
6.5
775 / K8
Tower heatsink w/mechanically decoupled 92mm fan, like earlier Freezer model, but bigger and with better fan frame. Both versions can be freely rotated for best airflow configuration. Cooling performance is very good at standard fan voltage, but too loud. When fan is slowed to a quiet level, cooling performance is disportionately poor because fins are spaced too tightly. Mounting system is standard Intel for 775, and captive standard clip for K8. Cooling for VRM with airflow deflector fins is claimed. Note that the untested 64 Pro has a slower fan, which will impact both cooling and noise. Jan 2006. BETTER OPTIONS AVAILABLE NOW - MAY 2010.
~25
Reviewed
(7 version)
Arctic Cooling Freezer 4 / 64
6.5
478 / K8
Their first tower heatsink, frameless integrated fan is easily damaged. Cooling performance is good at standard fan voltage, but too loud. When fan is slowed to a quiet level, cooling performance remains OK. Mounting consists of standard clips, whether for soket 478 or K8. The HS cannot be rotated freely (to aim the fan at the exhaust case fan.) Jan 2006. BETTER OPTIONS AVAILABLE NOW - MAY 2010.
~25
Reviewed
(4 version)
Alpha PAL8952
5.5
478
Taller variant of 8942, black anodized aluminum pins, large copper inset base. Great spring-loaded bolt-through board mounting as usual, and blow-up airflow optimized for exhaust ducting fun. 645g, suitable for 80mm fan. Aug/04 SOCKET LONG RETIRED - MAY 2010.
~40
Zalman CNPS-6000Cu
3.5
A, 370
2700 sq cm surface, copper, 462 gram flower-style HS. FB123 fan bracket and handy Fanmate1 fan speed controller. Standard clip with useful tool, flexes too easily from spec. Cooling power is OK, but bettered by Zalman's P4 offerings. 6000AlCu variant has central copper fins with aluminum fins on either side for lower weight, slightly lower cooling power, and lower price. 6/02 SOCKET LONG RETIRED - MAY 2010.
26
Thermalright SI-97A
6.5
A, 370, K8
It's an XP90 variant. We haven't tested it, but we suspect it's the best socket A heatsink ever. Jan 2005. DISCONTINUED Jan/08
35
Friends & colleages
Scythe FCS-50
6.5
478, K8, A, 370
Tall, flat-heatpipe design with many thin aluminum fins, 80mm fan w/wide speed range in embedded controller, and flow-through design that allows easy evacuation of CPU heat through the back case fan. Does fine with Panaflo 80L. Socket "directionality" is important; performance is best with fan blowing towards the back of the case. A most innovative design w/ multi-platform compatibility. 720g. Aug/04 DISCONTINUED Aug/06
50
Thermalright SLK-900U/A
6.5
A, 370
DISCONTINUED (Jan 06)
45
Scythe Katana (775)
6
478, K8, A, 370
Small, canted tower model with good performance at low airflow/noise when stock fan is undervolted. Probably one of the best socket A models around. Can be oriented for different fan directions. Fiddly installation, though. Jan 2006. Now offered only for 775 socket - Jan 2008.
30
Swiftech MCX478-V & MCX462-V
6
478 / A
Continuation of classic Swiftech design, now with pins splayed for improved airflow access. Beautiful workmanship, massive copper base, aliminum "helicoid pins", fits 80 or 92mm fans. No more bolt-through mounting; conventional but secure clips for both the 478 and 462 (620g & 650g w/o fan). Aug/04 - DISCONTINUED Jan/08
~40
Aerocase Condor / Raven
5.5
VGA
Massive brute-force multiple heatpipe passive cooling solutions built to order by a new US company. They need case airflow to work, but work they do. DISCONTINUED; company no longer doing business. Jan/08.
46~60
Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer
5.5
VGA
An 80mm waterwheel style fan in a heatsink replacement for ATI 9500~9800 and nVidia GF3 video cards that expells the hot VGA heat out of the case. Tough to tell whether it does a better job than the competitive Zalman ZM80/50, but the exhaust feature is exactly what's needed. The fan is quiet on low, but a bit too loud on high. Relatively simple install. Main gripe: Fits only a select number of ATI cards, but that's all changing with the new ATI Silencer and NV Silencer series that's just been released. Aug/04 - DISCONTINUED Jan/08
20
Zalman 6500B-CU
5.5
478
Huge 3300 sq cm surface, copper, 0.9 kg flower-style HS, convenient mounting clips. (But suspect because of softness.) Comes with FB123 fan bracket and handy Fanmate1 fan speed controller. Can cool >2.8G P4s quietly (but not with noisier stock 92mm fan). Great results w/ Panaflo at 7V. Dec 3/02
44
Arctic Cooling:
ATI Silencer 1-4

NV Silencer 1-5
4~5
VGA
VGA heatsink replacements that expel the hot VGA heat out of the case... for just about every ATI and nVidia video card on the market. The fan is a bit bigger, and unfortunately noisier. They generally cool better better than the original VGA Silencer. but are definitely not as quiet. An outborad fan controller like the Zalman Fan Mate helps.
25~30
Thermalright SLK-800A/U
4.5
478, A, 370
A tall, slim profile to fit almost all motherboards, nice 6-lug clip, many thin all-copper fins and an innovative design combine to make this 505g model the winner of SPCR's first low-airflow HS review roundup. Excellent performance even with Panaflo at 7V. For 60-70-80 mm fans. 29/10/02 - DISCONTINUED (Jan 06)
30/38
Scythe Kamakaze
4.5
478, A, 370, K8
Unique oval-cross section pin HS with copper insert base, similar to Alpha, excellent finish, integrated fan w/shroud for blow up operation, P4 / socket-A compatibility, fan speed rheostat. Very good performance, low noise at lower settings. New Kamakaze2 appears to have an improved mounting mechanism. Aug 7/03 - DISCONTINUED (Jan 06)
35
Scythe Samurai SCSM-1000
4.5
478, K8, A, 370
Somewhat more conventional all-copper tin-finned HS w/ excellent finish, integrated fan w/shroud for blow up operation, multi-platform compatibility, 80mm fan w/speed rheostat. Very good performance, low noise at low settings. Aug 7/04 - DISCONTINUED (Jan 06)
30
Zalman 6500B-AlCu
4.5
478
Aluminum/copper hybrid of 6500 has the same 3300+ cm2 radiating area, central copper fins with aluminum fins on either side for lower weight, slightly lower cooling power, and lower price. Dec 3/02. Discontinued.
41
Scythe NCU-1000 Fanless
4~5
478
This unique, huge yet relatively light (615g) heatpipe-embedded fanless device is well-engineered and very difficult to rank. With a 120mm low noise fan, it matches 6 or 7 rank HS. Without a fan (and no easy option to install one), it's not much better than the Zalman 6000Cu with a Panaflo 80L at low voltage - but it is complete silent. One huge benefit: It can be rotated 90 degrees for optimal cooling with a nearby back case fan or a bottom mounted fan in a power supply. You must read the review to see if this HS is for you. Aug/04 - Bettered by NCU2000 (Jan 06)
60
Scythe NCU-2000 Fanless
4~5
478, K8
Improved version of fanless NCU-1000 using flat heatpipes, like the Scythe FCS-50 also fits Athlon 64, which is a better match because it runs cooler than P4. You must read the review to see if this HS is for you. DISCONTINUED - Jan/08.
60
Spire Coolwave SP441B0-F
4
478
A low-profile oval skivved all-copper HS with integral 70mm manual speed-control fan that's acoustically acceptable ony at or near min speed, it still provides v. good cooling performance and no-fuss fit for tight spaces in small PCs. Aug/04
25
Zalman ZM50-HP
3.5
VGA
Similar to above but smaller, for cooler cards and/or tighter spaces. 6/02
TBA
O
Thermalright AX7
3.5
A, 370
Big chunky 430g large-finned alumium-copper hybrid can't keep up with its more expensive siblings but offers great performance -- especially considering price. Good 6-lug clip. May not fit all mobos. For 80mm fan. 29/10/02. Discontinued - Aug 7/03
30*
Swiftech MC462
3.5
A
Heavy (560g) 3/8" copper base HS with 269 aluminum pins & excellent secure if fussy retention mechanism. Does very well with low airflow (Panaflo at 7V on XP1700). Replaced by improved MCX462. For 80mm fan. 6/02 (Discontinued)
n/a
Thermalright AX478
3.5
478
P4 version of AX7 aluminum-copper hybrid with larger copper base offers good performance and value. Very secure metal clips. For 80mm fan. 29/10/02. Likely discontinued - Aug 7/03
29
Arctic Cooling Super Silent 4 TC
3.5
478
TC stands for temp. controlled. Large aluminum HS w/80mm thermal fan + good clip provides inexpensive quiet performance with decent cooling on P4s. Much quieter than stock Intel HSF. It's a no fuss soluition that should fit any and all P4s. Great for the money. Aug 6/03 - DISCONTINUED (Jan 06)
15
Arctic Cooling Copper Silent 2 TC
3.5
A, 370
TC stands for temp. controlled. Copper-base soldered to good side aluminum HS w/ thermal 80mm fan + decent clip provides inexpensive quiet performance w/ adequate cooling on any 370 socket CPU and up to ~60W XPs. A no fuss solution that should fit any and all socket 370 and A systems. Very nice price. Aug/04
15
Globalwin VOS32
3.5
S-2
S-A
Monstrous aluminum omni-directional fins model is best ever for Slot (P2, P3, K7) CPUs. Supplied with 2 60mm fans, not quiet; with finesse, can run sub-GHz CPUs w/o fan. Check for space on motherboard. 6/02
30
F

Alphatech 3125 / 7125

3.5
S-2
S-A
Similar to GW VOS32, slightly smaller, copper inset in base. Alpha trademark of black anodized fins. 2 60mm fan design, can run many Slot CPUs w/o fan. 7125 for Slot-A. 6/02
32 (no fan)

O, R

Swiftech MCX4000B
3

423, 478

Swiftech's biggest, a P4-dedicated 0.6 kg model with 429 pins that takes advantage of larger space for HS on P4 motherboards. Meant for 80mm fan, not included. Rating conjecture based on experience with MC462A.
47* MSP
O
Swiftech MCX462U
2.5
423, 478, A
MC462 improved: 371 helical pins that increase cooling area and mounting hardware for AMD, Intel P4 and Xeon. Tight spacing between pins hurts low airflow performance. No fan with Universal model.
54* MSP
O
Millennium Glaciator II (also ULN version)
2.5
A
Unique design, all copper, 615 grams. Integrated modest noise fan offers very good cooling. Ordinary clip. Ultra Low Noise version reduces noise by 8 dBA at the cost of 2-3 degrees C. Integrated fan is smaller than 80mm but seems quiet. 6/02
30/35
O, R
Arctic Cooling Super Silent Pro TC
2.5
A, 370
TC stands for temp. controlled. Large aluminum HS with thermal fan + decent clip provides inexpensive quiet performance with adequate cooling on cooler AMD CPUs. Newer copper-base models may provide better performance. June 17/03
17
Intel P4 HSF
1.5
423, 478
HSF supplied with retail P4 is good performer. The fan is too small not to be whiny, but at reduced voltage (~7V), provides good cooling and reasonably low noise with pretty fast P4s. (Note: Intel changes supplied HSF w/o warning.)
n/a

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