Recommended Heatsinks

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PREVIOUS RECOMMENDATIONS (mid-2010)


LARGE CPU HEATSINKS (mostly tower w/ 12cm or larger fan)
Make / Model
Q
CPU
Comments
$
Source
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev. C
9.5
AMD, 775, 1156, 1366
Latest version of a classic matches or exceeds cooling performance of all others with lower or higher airflow and allows rotated mounting on AMD boards.
65~70
Noctua NH-D14
9.5
775, 1366, AMD
Huge dual-tower heatsink with excellent universal mounting system. Two fans (12 & 14 cm) included with speed adjusting resistors; noisier than ideal but not bad. May 2010.
90
Prolima Megahalems
9.5
1156, 1366, AM2*
Big innovative tower heatsink performs great with minimal airflow fan. An excellent high tension mounting system for Intel boards. AM2 hardware is optional. No fan, costly. June09.
60~70
Prolima Armageddon
9
1156, 1366, AM2*
Excellent performance, same mounting system as Megahalems, resized fin stack to accommodate a 14cm fan that's not included. Fan clips work but are not versatile. It may leave more room for RAM than the Megahalems. AM2 hardware is optional. May 2010.
60~70
Scythe Mugen 2
9
All AMD, 775, 1366
Features design improvements over original Mugen, ships with a quiet 120mm PWM fan, and mounts using a simple bolt-thru installation procedure - a first for Scythe. Multiple fans can also be accommodated. With two fans, quiet cooling is amazing.
35-40
Thermalright HR-01 Plus
9
AM2, 775
Updated version of HR-01 with six heatpipes instead of four, and 120mm fan clips works exceptionally well with very low airflow. Not super heavy, same mounting mechanism as U120. HR-01X variant with different hardware allows free rotation of mounting position on AM2 for correct fan position. June/08.
50~55
Xigmatek HDT-S1283
9
AM2, 775
A tower configuration, 3 U-shaped heatpipes, a 120mm fan and "direct touch heatpipes" in the base combine for exceptional performance in this modestly priced heatsink. The stock 4-pin PWM fan is decent at minimum speed; replace it with a super-quiet one for great low airflow performance. June/08.
35~40
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
9
1366
Slightly smaller than earlier Ultra-120 and U120 eXtreme, it still managed to edge them on our 1366 test platform. Fan is reasonably quiet though not a champ. Good value. May 2010.
40
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
9
AMD, 775, 1156, 1366
Performance similar to Cogage True Spirit. Its fan is pretty quiet, especially with speed reduced using supplied Fanmate2 controller. AMD clip is a bit anemic. May 2010
55~60
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme
9
AM2, 775, 1366*
Bigger version of U-120 with six heatpipes instead of four, the U120E beats all other HS tested thus far. Any 120mm fan works. Same mounting mechanism as U120. Jan/08. *Several different versions with different mounting sets.
55~65
Noctua NH-U12P
9
478, AM2, 775, 1366*
Large tower heatsink with 120mm unusual fan. With lower airflow, it's competitive. Easily rotated for best airflow configuration. Excellent mounting systems.*1366 version only compatible with i7 boards. June09
~60
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus
8.5
K8, 775, 1156, 1366
Tall tower heatpipe heatsink offers excellent performance and value. Clever universal mounting system. Fan is not quiet but replacement cost acceptable at the price. May 2010.
30
Titan Fenrir
8.5
K8, 775, 1366
Big tower heatpipe heatsink with high impedance fin stack and a not-great fan still provides very good performance. Cannot be rotated on K8 socket, and will point up (to PSU) in most cases. May 2010.
50
Thermalright U120 Rev. A
8.5
K8, 775, 1366
Huge tower heatpipe heatsink just edges the Ninja for cooling.Works great with a Nexus 120 fan. Heavy, cannot be rotated 90 degrees on K8 socket. Check on AM2 clip. Now Rev. A - June09.
45~50
Apack ZeroTherm Zen FZ120
8.5
AM2, 775
Another huge tower heatpipe heatsink. Secure and easy to use spring-loaded bolt mounting system for 775; can rotate for fan airflow directionality on AMD boards. Excellent performance. Fan noisy at full speed but quiet when slowed. June/08.
40~50
Scythe Kabuto
8
K8, 775, 1156, 1366
Very tall, blow-down design with a quiet 120mm fan for very quiet, excellent performance. The usual relative weakness of Scythe mounting. Jan/08.
30
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
8
All AMD & Intel
Very large, unique design with good 140mm PWM fan provides best cooling performance of all top-down coolers. July 2010
~45
Scythe Mugen (Infinity)
7.5
478, K8, AM2, 775
Huge tower heatpipe heatsink with both tightly and loosely spaced fins, one of the biggest in the enthusiast PC cooling market today. The stock fan is pretty quiet, the performance is better higher airflow than lower. Decent mounting clips. Jan/08.
45~50
Scythe Ninja 2
7.5
K8, 775
Big tower heatpipe heatsink with loosely spaced fins once tops on our list, but tests 775 push-pin mounting forces a markdown. Still a v. good performer, esp w/ low airflow, and good value w/ quiet fan. June09
~40
Scythe Andy Samurai Master
7.5
478, K8, AM2, 775
A gigantic blow-down heatsink that performs well with its stock 120mm fan, althought it more optimized for best cooling with high airflow (noisier) rather than lower airflow (quieter) fans. Jan/08.
~35
Scythe Zipang
7.5
AM2, 775
Huge, fairly light, blow-down, asymmetrical design uses 6 loop-around heatpipes and a super quiet 140mm fan for very quiet, excellent performance. A bit more airflow would have been useful. Jan/08.
45~55

MID-SIZE CPU HEATSINKS (mostly not tower or 8/9cm fan tower)
Make / Model
Q
CPU
Comments
$
Source
Noctua NH-C12P
7.5
AM2, 775
Carefully designed and manufactured top-down cooler with unusual features. All joints soldered for maximum heat transfer throughout, excellent spring-loaded bolt-through mounting. Unusual fan has high turbulence noise at 12V, but when used with supplied speed reduction adapters, works silently. High price might be the only quibble. June/08.
~65
Xigmatek HDT-D1284
7.5
AM2, 775
Fairly light, blow-down 120mm fan design with four heatpipes offers good performance about on par with Asus Triton 75. PWM fan is noisier than it has to be except at min speed. June/08.
40~45
Xigmatek HDT-S964
7.5
AM2, 775
A tower configuration, 3 U-shaped heatpipes, and "direct touch heatpipes" in the base combine for excellent performance in this modestly priced heatsink. The stock 4-pin PWM fan is OK at minimum speed; replace it with a super-quiet one for great low airflow performance. June/08.
~33
Thermalright SI-128
7.5
AM2, 775
Large area of aluminum fins only connected via four heatpipes to a minimalist base. It's bigger than the earlier XP120 but easier to mount. The latest version (not reviewed) uses bolt-through mounting for both 775 and AM2. A very good performer. Jan/08.
~45
Scythe Ninja Mini
7.5
478, K8, AM2, 775
A shorter version of the Ninja, designed to fit in lower profile cases such as the Antec NSK2480/Fusion, in which it can run fanless with most systems due to close proximity of case fans. More even spacing of heatpipes than the original helps performance, which is excellent for the size. Stock 80x25mm fan is pretty quiet. We don't like the 775 mounting hardware much but it works. Jan/08.
~35
Asus Triton 75
7.5
AM2, 775
This fairly light, blow-down, Thermalright-derivative lookalike offers excellent performance with any 120mm fan of your choice. Socket 775 mounting is not fun but it works. Excellent pricing. Jan/08.
~35
Scythe Samurai ZZ
7.5
All AMD & Intel
Modest size/price top-down cooler with 92mm PWM fan that's OK at lower speed. Very good low airflow performance. July 2010.
~35
Cooler Master Geminii S
7.0
AMD, 775
Five heatpipes, decently quiet 120x25mm fan, decent mounting and good performance. It will fit in some lower profile cases. May 2010.
30~40
Arctic Cooling Alpine 7 Pro
5.0
775
Basically a quiet replacement for a stock Intel cooler. It's cheap, way quieter than the stock Intel cooler, but doesn't offer better cooling. May 2010.
~15
LOW PROFILE CPU HEATSINKS
Make / Model
Q
CPU
Comments
$
Source
Scythe Big Shuriken
7
AM2, 775
Very low profile, 4 heatpipes, and a super sling 113mm diameter fan combine to provide very good cooling. Installation is painful, but among low profile coolers, this is about the best we've found. May 2010.
30~40
Nexus LOW-7000
7
775
Similar in performance to the Big Shuriken but with a 120x25mm fan that's definitely not as quiet, and way more pricey than it should be. But it may fit where the SBS does not. (The Cooljag Falcon 2 appears to be identical and $15 cheaper.) May 2010.
55

See next page: Coolers for VGA Cards and Chipsets, older slot-CPUs, and Retired Models.


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