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 Post subject: which kind of CPU cooler you should buy?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:52 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:39 am
Posts: 2
If you've got a modern CPU, you need a CPU cooler.

Gone are the days when PC CPUs could get away with just a little aluminium heat sink stuck on top of them, or no cooler at all. When any Intel or AMD CPU on the shelves today is going full blast, it's pumping out heat - less than 20 watts for current Celerons, less than 30 for current P-IIIs, something around the 40 watt mark for current Durons, and better than 70 watts for top-of-the-line Athlons.

You need a pretty big heat sink, with a fan on it, to shift that energy away.

The faster a given CPU runs, and the higher its supply voltage, the more heat it emits. If the cooling thingy attached to the top of the chip can't dissipate that heat well enough, the CPU will get too hot and stop working.

Note that "stop working" does not imply "and will never work again". Pretty much any cooler will stop a CPU from heating up so fast, and so far, that it's destroyed. If you run a current model CPU with no cooler at all, you can blow it up; Athlons and Durons can die in seconds, and often do when someone's failed to notice that their cooler isn't clipped on right and thus doesn't actually touch the CPU.

But if you're just using an inadequate cooler, as opposed to none at all, your computer will merely be flaky. You'll be able to cure the problem by improving your case ventilation and/or upgrading to a better cooler.

But which to choose?

Even if you're running a CPU at stock speed, the cooler you pick can affect your system stability, especially if you're using the hotter AMD chips. If you're an overclocker, high powered cooling is essential.

Just because a cooler looks, well, cool, doesn't mean it's good. Just because it's expensive doesn't mean it's good.

And even if a cooler is efficient at the basic task of shifting thermal energy from a CPU package to the air, that doesn't mean you'll like it. If the thing's got some bizarre attachment system that drives you bananas when you're trying to put it on your processor - or, worse, if it smashes your processor because it clamps down too hard - then I think it's safe to say that it's not a good buy.

So, in the name of consumer information, I got a pile of CPU coolers, and I annoyed the heck out of myself for some days testing them.


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 Post subject: Re: which kind of CPU cooler you should buy?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:24 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:46 am
Posts: 135
Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
johnlee wrote:
If you've got a modern CPU, you need a CPU cooler. [...] Just because a cooler looks, well, cool, doesn't mean it's good. Just because it's expensive doesn't mean it's good. [...] So, in the name of consumer information, I got a pile of CPU coolers, and I annoyed the heck out of myself for some days testing them.


I'm sure that many would be interested in hearing about your experience. Some sites specialize in CPU cooler reviews. I've always loved Frosty Tech CPU HSF reviews.

I currently recommend low-priced 92mm and 120mm "tower" coolers by Xigmatek. Frosty Tech reviewed the 120mm Gaia and the 92mm Loki coolers. Both use bolt-through mounting and produce less then 35 decibels. Noctua coolers are better, but they cost more then double what Xigmatek coolers cost.

In fact, SPCR reviewed the Gaia at just 28 decibels at full speed.


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 Post subject: Re: which kind of CPU cooler you should buy?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:17 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:06 pm
Posts: 3395
Location: US
johnlee wrote:
Gone are the days when PC CPUs could get away with just a little aluminium heat sink stuck on top of them,

If you run a current model CPU with no cooler at all, you can blow it up;
I believe that what you are saying is becoming less and less true. Intel expects the average TDP to drop over the next few generations.... even while performance increases. And even today's current Intel chips do a pretty good job of throttling back instead of burning up.

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 Post subject: Re: which kind of CPU cooler you should buy?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:31 am 
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 3:58 am
Posts: 757
Location: Formosa
Dr. Jim Pomatter wrote:
I currently recommend low-priced 92mm and 120mm "tower" coolers by Xigmatek. Frosty Tech reviewed the 120mm Gaia and the 92mm Loki coolers. Both use bolt-through mounting and produce less then 35 decibels. Noctua coolers are better, but they cost more then double what Xigmatek coolers cost.

In fact, SPCR reviewed the Gaia at just 28 decibels at full speed.

SPCR reviewed the original Xigmatek 1283 rather than Xigmatek Gaia 1283. Though the shape of Gaia 1283 was slightly modified compared to original 1283, the cooling capability should be very similar.


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 Post subject: Re: which kind of CPU cooler you should buy?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 1:41 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:04 am
Posts: 12
Location: The Netherlands
Dr. Jim Pomatter wrote:
johnlee wrote:
If you've got a modern CPU, you need a CPU cooler. [...] Just because a cooler looks, well, cool, doesn't mean it's good. Just because it's expensive doesn't mean it's good. [...] So, in the name of consumer information, I got a pile of CPU coolers, and I annoyed the heck out of myself for some days testing them.


I'm sure that many would be interested in hearing about your experience. Some sites specialize in CPU cooler reviews. I've always loved Frosty Tech CPU HSF reviews.

I currently recommend low-priced 92mm and 120mm "tower" coolers by Xigmatek. Frosty Tech reviewed the 120mm Gaia and the 92mm Loki coolers. Both use bolt-through mounting and produce less then 35 decibels. Noctua coolers are better, but they cost more then double what Xigmatek coolers cost.

In fact, SPCR reviewed the Gaia at just 28 decibels at full speed.

For the cheap cooler segment I think I would chose for the Cooler Master TX3 (http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.c ... 401&page=5) or Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus (http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1046-page9.html). Especially quiet using the Nexus reference fan. If you have to buy the Nexus fan anyway you can try a push - pull setup :).


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 Post subject: Re: which kind of CPU cooler you should buy?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:56 pm
Posts: 229
Location: UK/Eire
Agree both of those are good value coolers even replacing the fans with better ones (the CM ones are ok but not quiet at higher speeds) it still works out pretty cheap price wise v some other makers offerings. Really we're after the decent heatpipes and oversized fins etc rather than the actual fans!

I've tried push/pull on those CM coolers and I can't honestly see the point of it unless you are doing some OTT overclocking or something like it. You gain very little IMO with 2 fans on the HS.

Nexus well I'm not entirely convinced with them longevity wise when I build quiet I want it to last had problems with silenx fans wearing out too. I replaced one silenx with a cheapo Akasa amber (mixed reviews but undervolts very well and it's quiet at 5 volts or near there) they def do last because I've been using one for years. To me no point having a quiet fan that turns pretty noisy after a year or so.


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