Best Budget CPU Cooler

To reduce the noise nuisance from your machine and better dissipate the heat from your processor, it is generally necessary to replace your PC cooler. Whatever your use, avid gamer, overclocking, office user, etc. replacing the cooler concerns you as long as you use your computer regularly.

Indeed, the stock coolers (basic cooler often supplied with the processor) are generally noisy and this is not improving, they are also unsuited to gaming or the intensive computing required in video applications for example.

It is to help you increase your performance but also guarantee the durability of your CPU that we offer you a comparison and a selection of the best coolers on the market.

Whether for a comfortable sound environment or to obtain the best performance, you will benefit from a very wide choice of possibilities of which only a few references clearly stand out, in particular with the Noctua cooler and the Be Quiet cooler at the top of the panel.

Our Selection of Top 10 Best CPU Cooler

There are two types of architectures, AMD and INTEL. The heat from the AMD processors is easier to dissipate because it is better distributed in the CPU, this will give silent and efficient configurations with all the products in the classification.

With Intel, during intensive use, the processor heats up more quickly and intensely in its center. It is recommended to favor the first two, the Noctua NH-D15 coolers and the Dark Rock Pro 4 if your use is greedy in terms of audiovisual, gaming, or overclocking.

The performance of the last 5 is excellent on AMD but the results observed on Intel chips pushed to the limit are not encouraging, apart from Noctua. We have provided your Best Budget CPU Cooler but some of them are premium. We just put these so you can differentiate between features of both. Overall our attempt is to enlist the Best CPU Cooler. So, here we go!!!

1. Noctua NH-D15 Chromax CPU Cooler

Specifications:

Brand Noctua
Cooling Method Air
Compatible Devices Desktop
Noise Level 24 dB
Material Copper, aluminum, soldered joints & nickel plating

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About This Item:

  • It is an extra wide 140mm dual tower design having 6 heat pipes with dual fans cooler
  • Delivers maximum quiet cooling efficiency
  • This cooler is ideal for overclockers and silent enthusiasts
  • It includes a thermal paste along with the mounting system for easy installation
  • Compatible for Intel and AMD

The Noctua brand coolers have for a long time monopolized the first places in the rankings for many reasons. In addition to the design, finally, the colors that please or not, Noctua designs powerful fans in the triple ratio RPM/airflow/silence.

With a double finned block and no less than 6 heat pipes, the worthy heir to the famous NH-D14 comes with the renowned quality NT-H1 thermal paste.

The performances are at the top, the installation is very simple and fast, the finish is perfect. Add to that a new design in black to convince aesthetes, it becomes difficult to choose anything else if your budget allows.

Check the dimensions to know if you will have access to the RAM sticks after the installation of the machine. Compatible with Intel sockets, almost all AMD sockets, and more than that, Noctua will provide accessories for future sockets.

Strengths
  • Excellent quiet Performances
  • Ease of installation
  • 6 year warranty
Weaknesses
    • Size
    • Little bit pricy

2. Be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 CPU Cooler

Specifications:

Brand Be quiet
Cooling Method Fan
Compatible Devices Desktop
Noise Level 24.3 dB
Material Copper

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About This Item:

  • It has inaudible quiet wings fans
  • For high pressure, it is front fan frame is Funnel-shaped
  • It has seven high-performance heat pipes
  • The cooling fans are optimized for Airflow

The Dark Rock Pro 4 cooler is a heavy brick made by beQuiet, powerful and silent. Two radiators and two fans of 135mm and 120mm, it is the most efficient of all, with a TDP of 250W!

Even for demanding gamers and overclocking enthusiasts, it is even quieter than models from the Noctua brand. If it were a little smaller and easier to install, it would have been in first place in the ranking.

Almost everywhere we are told a laborious, long and painful assembly, it will only take a small shock on a fan blade for it to lose its advantage in terms of noise pollution. It is compatible with all Intel sockets and all AMDs up to AM4, however, it cannot be mounted on an SP3.

Just like the Noctua, you will need to ensure compatibility with your motherboard regarding its imposing size and also the location of your RAM.

Strengths
  • Excellent Performances
  • Very quiet
  • Maximize the heat conductance
Weaknesses
    • Size
    • Difficult installation

3. Noctua Chromax CPU Cooler

Specifications:

Brand Noctua
Cooling Method Air
Compatible Devices Desktop
Noise Level 24.6 dB
Material Copper

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About This Item:

  • It is a premium-quality quiet CPU cooler
  • Having asymmetrical dual-tower heatsink design
  • Compatible for Intel and AMD

A slightly lighter version of the NH-D15, still 6 heat pipes but with a single fan, the NDH15-S benefits from both Noctua’s power and expertise by being more compact and a little less expensive than the large model.

The design has been specially thought out to free up space and facilitate access to the RAM. Noctua already designs coolers compatible with practically all sockets, and now this model is also compatible with various memory modules.

Like its big brother, it comes with ultra-secure and multi-socket SecuFirm2. Need more power? It is modular and you can add a 14 or 12cm fan.

Strengths
  • Efficient
  • Quiet
  • Modular
  • Compatibility
Weaknesses
    • A little heavy

4. Scythe Fuma 2 CPU Cooler

Specifications:

Brand SCYTHE
Cooling Method Air
Compatible Devices Desktop
Noise Level 1 dB
Material Copper

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About This Item:

  • Its dual heatsinks and fans accelerate and increase heat dissipation for top-level performance
  • Having 6 heat pipes with a copper plate base ensure heat from the CPU and drop the temperature
  • Fits in most of PC Case
  • Two opposite rotating fans generate higher static pressure for stable airflow hence providing maximum cooling performance

The Fuma 2 cooler from Scythe is an excellent compromise in terms of low price and performance. With two fans rotating in two different directions to increase static pressure, sloping heat pipes, and a large cooling surface, it is also quite compact and will fit most cases.

An asymmetrical design (like the NH-D15s) provides better access to RAMs. It is not the most powerful or the quietest, and availability is erratic according to online stores.

The replacement of the Fuma cooler, FUMA 2 is planned with new ideas and motivation. Use double Kaze Flex 120 fans with the Reserve Airflow idea, FUMA 2 proposals up to 15% cooling execution than the past rendition.

The uneven and pattern configuration gives limitless similarity to RAM zoom. Six sintered warmth pipes with double radiators give top-level execution, the third fan is a choice to amplify cooling capacity for the most appeal-like gamers or overclockers.

Strengths
  • Perfect quality
  • Low price
  • Compatibility
  • Easy installation
Weaknesses
    • Not as high of a ceiling as the NH-D15 for heat dissipation

5. Be quiet! Dark Rock 4 CPU Cooler

Specifications:

Brand Be quiet
Cooling Method Fan
Compatible Devices Desktop
Noise Level 21.4 dB
Material Copper

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About This Item:

  • Having inaudible silent wings
  • 6 high-performance heat pipes
  • Well optimized for airflow
  • Easy to install, the kit can be mounted from the top

Like the Pro version model, the Ventirad Dark Rock 4 is very quiet. Unlike its big brother, it is a little more compact while retaining a high dissipation power, with a TDP of 200 W.

During various tests, the temperature deltas between this model and the Pro are only a few degrees, the price is also only different by a few dollars. It is a version with a single-tower radiator and a single 135mm fan.

If you are a fan of the brand and the Dark Rock Pro 4 is too expensive for you: go for it. Be careful, however, it is thinner but it remains quite large with almost 160mm: it remains high-end.

It does not compromise in silence and performance for overclocked systems! Dark Rock 4 GIVES a great rating of 200W TDP and accomplishes low temperatures even during periods of peak CPU performance.

Strengths
  • Affordable
  • Excellent Performance
  • Queit
Weaknesses
    • Even with new mounting system installation is challenging

6. Corsair A500 CPU Cooler

Specifications:

Brand Corsair
Cooling Method Fan
Compatible Devices Desktop
Noise Level 36 dB
Material Copper

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About This Item:

  • It drops down the temperature of the CPU with a copper heat pipe
  • It is easy to install with wide DRAM compatibility
  • Allows you to adjust for extreme cooling performance
  • Ensures consistent thermal functionality with reliable fit

The Corsair A500 cooler is well built, robust, solid and the installation system is amazingly easy, it will cool the hottest AMDs perfectly, even when pushed to the limit or overclocked.

The thermal paste supplied by Corsair is of very good quality. What are its faults you will tell me? The fan, even if it benefits from a levitation system to run quickly (2400 rpm) supposedly silently, is only half so.

With such a flow of air, it’s noisy. Another odd thing, it is much less efficient on Intel, these processors heat up more in the middle of the chip, it is not homogeneous as with AMDs. Only references that aspire to excellence hold up.

A natural Slide-and-lock fan mounting system obliges most RAM designs, while the simple-to-install Corsair holdfast maintenance framework guarantees a safe and reliable fit on practically all advanced AMD and Intel CPUs.

Strengths
  • Very powerful
  • Perfectly constructed
  • Easy installation
Weaknesses
    • Not completely silent
    • Little pricy
    • Very average on Intel

7. Noctua NH-U12S CPU Cooler

Specifications:

Brand Noctua
Cooling Method Fan
Compatible Devices Desktop
Noise Level 22.4 dB
Material Copper, aluminum, soldered joints & nickel plating

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About This Item:

  • It is a slim design tower, highly compatible with components
  • It delivers outstanding cooling performance with excellent case
  • Ensures ultra-quiet operations with NF-F12 120mm fan
  • It includes a thermal paste along with the mounting system for easy installation
  • Compatible with Intel and AMD

The NH-U12S from Noctua is the 120mm version for the fan with 4 heat pipes, a more compact design, and still as silent, quick, and easy to install, delivered with the manufacturer’s thermal paste.

The price is very very affordable considering the qualities and capabilities of this cooler. It is very good on AMD as on Intel, compatible with all sockets. There is also room to install a second 12cm fan. For tight budgets it is the best, it allows itself to play in the big league at the best price.

I personally used this cooler on a fairly light AMD configuration for silence, the fans were still running at 300 / 400RPM, I also had the same Noctua fans for the case, result: the only sound difference between the computer off and on it was the sound of the on/off button.

For clients who need to achieve better performance by adding a second, discretionary NF-F12 fan to make a push/pull arrangement, the NH-U12S incorporates fan clips and an additional set of specially crafted anti-vibration pads that permit to off-set the back fan by 5mm to improve acoustics in double fan mode.

Strengths
  • The price
  • Silence & Performance
  • Installation
  • Compatibility
  • 6 year warranty
Weaknesses
    • Size is questionable to some people

8. Be quiet! Pure Rock 2, BK006 CPU Cooler

Specifications:

Brand Be Quiet
Cooling Method Fan
Compatible Devices Desktop
Noise Level 26.8 dB
Material Aluminum

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About This Item:

  • A highly efficient cooler
  • Having 6 heat pipes for maximum performance
  • It can easily be installed from the top of the motherboard
  • Perform silently
  • Backed by a 3-year warranty

The Pure Rock 2, with its very aggressive price, tries to compete with the Noctua NH-U12s which itself rivals the Dark Rock Pro 4 in terms of performance.

I can not denigrate the Pure Rock 2 because you will have it for your wallet: it is very very quiet and powerful, it is really good value for money.

You will still have to pay attention, however, to the installation and compatibility with your box because it is high and much less easy to assemble than the Noctua.

I find it very good that such a powerful model, up to 150 w, is also silent for less than 40 dollars. It is downright recommendable if the installation and the warranty period do not repel you.

It offers superb cooling capacity for multimedia and graphics system also for entry-level computers of all kinds.

Strengths
  • Quality/price ratio
  • Performance
  • Silence
Weaknesses
    • Complex installation

9. Cooler Hyper 212 CPU Cooler

Specifications:

Brand Cooler Master
Cooling Method Fan
Compatible Devices Desktop
Noise Level 26 dB
Material Aluminum, Copper

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About This Item:

  • It is a Single Tower CPU cooler
  • It has 4 direct contacted heat pipes
  • Has ability for 2 120mm fans
  • Contains compatible CPU sockets

Here is a very affordable model, an entry-level Cooler Master fan unit which nevertheless offers very good performance in terms of cooling as well as limiting noise pollution.

Cooler Master selects a SILENCIO FP120 fan to offer a quieter solution than on previous models. The design is neat, the whole is compact and if the budget is a discriminating condition for you, go for it because you will get your money’s worth.

An extra fan can be added to help pull heat away quicker from the heatsink to keep away from dynamic warm misfortune and speed up heat exhaust.

Be careful, if you are at Intel, choose the Deep Cool or a Noctua instead because it is much less efficient on Intel.

Strengths
  • Performance / price ratio
  • Design and finishes
  • Price
Weaknesses
    • Less efficient on Intel

10. DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX GT A-RGB CPU Cooler

Specifications:

Brand DEEP COOL
Cooling Method Air
Compatible Devices Desktop
Noise Level 27.8 dB
Material Aluminum, Copper

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About This Item:

  • Has a 120mm PWM fan with upgraded performance
  • The lighting system is controllable by either included a wired controller or motherboard
  • 4 copper pipes improve heat transfer and dissipation efficiency
  • A foolproof mounting kit makes it easier and safer to use

The DEEP COOL GAMMAXX GT A-RGB is a compact RGB cooler. It is equipped with LED and in operation will spring a multitude of colors in your case. The fan is 12 cm, it remains relatively silent but less than its competitors.

The RGB control system is simplified by a supplied cable: external controller or directly via the connectors on the motherboard. This model is the upgrade of the GAMMAXX 400 with a better fan, RGB, a design, and a more polished finish.

All this justifies the increase in price without competing with the top-of-the-range. It is thin, access to RAM is no problem, it is easy to install, the performance is good but this is not the model to choose for overclocking.

I have to add, this RGB cooler has a positioning problem: too expensive for an entry-level and not powerful enough for the high-end.

Strengths
  • Access to RAM
  • Easy rgb
Weaknesses
    • Limited performance

Which cooler to choose for your PC? [Buying Guide]

The cooler is composed of two elements, a fan, and a radiator, it will be necessary to pay particular attention to the fan for the following characteristics: silence, size, and airflow.

Another important point is the lifespan and the manufacturer’s warranty. This indicates the reliability of the fan! After a few years of use, the noise nuisance increases, and it can break down.

The radiator unit is composed of a plate attached to the processor mounted with heat pipes which bring the heat emitted to fins cooled by the airflow of the fan, the cooled air itself is “transported” by this heat pipe cycle to ‘to the processor.

The criteria to be taken into account

In addition to the price, there is a fairly large number of criteria to take into account when choosing your future cooler: size, ease of installation, compatibility, fan airflow, noise, service life, rotation speed, design, and other indicators such as TDP or socket compatibility.

The size of the cooler

Check the size of the fan cooler unit (s) included, to know if, on the one hand, it will fit in your box and then if you will have access to the RAM memory modules. If you have planned to renew the RAM, prefer small-sized modules, you will have more choice in the selection of the cooler.

There is a standard called Low Profile: RAM modules specially designed to leave room for the cooler. installation of a large cooler, rest assured, the performance of the latter is not affected by this change in design.

Ease of installation

This is a fundamental point, just imagine, you bought an expensive, super powerful, super quiet cooler and it will take you day and night to install it, and not necessarily in the best conditions, you may have been ripped with it. The screwdriver and scratched the cooler, or worse, you damaged your motherboard, sent a shock on the fan: no more silence.

This is a fundamental point, just imagine, you bought an expensive, super powerful, super quiet cooler and it will take you day and night to install it, and not necessarily in the best conditions, you may have been ripped with it. The screwdriver and scratched the cooler, or worse, you damaged your motherboard, sent a shock on the fan: no more silence.

Compatibility

The socket is the “receptacle” of your processor. The manufacturer Noctua prides itself on delivering a maximum of accessories in order to offer an expanded installation capacity on all Intel and AMD sockets.

Conversely, the manufacturer’s files like the one at being Quiet for the Dark Rock Pro 4 advance a little because it indicates compatible “AMD and INTEL” while it does not seem compatible with TR4 (Threadripper) at AMD. Indeed there is a special model, the Pro TR4 dedicated to Threadripper processors.

Check the compatibility, especially with the latest AMD AM4 sockets, the SP3 socket and, if you have old machines too, do not hesitate to contact customer services on the official websites of the manufacturers.

Airflow

Controversial criterion, one can imagine that a larger airflow promotes better cooling, therefore, that this is a good point, and you could see in the comparison table of the 10 best coolers at the beginning of this page that the beQuiet brand does not directly supply the airflow rates of the fans.

Against the grain, beQuiet communicates that the engineers have particularly worked and studied the optimization of cooling and dissipation to be efficient even with low airflow.

It’s really very interesting and even relevant: with a lower airflow you will have less noise pollution, and yet the dissipation block will, according to beQuiet, work correctly. This is therefore a criterion to be taken into account except for the beQuiet brand.

The Noise

This is, in my opinion, the point on which the contenders in the running seek to make the difference. The larger the fan, mechanically, the more it will be able to cool the block by rotating less quickly than a smaller fan.

The faster it spins, the noisier it will be. It is the size that matters and that is why for the last fifteen years, we have gone from 80mm fans, then 92mm, finally Noctua, Cooler Master, and some manufacturers have democratized the 120mm after 2005. Today, the trend continues with ever-larger models: 135mm at beQuiet and 140mm at Noctua.

How to interpret the dB? Below 30dB it is silence or a quiet environment. But the repetitive noise of a 27dB or 28dB fan can quickly become annoying. It is very likely that by measuring the decibels in your home in complete silence, the bar will rise above 26, which is one of the maximum levels for the fans in this comparison.

This means that I made this selection paying particular attention to the choice of fans for a quiet PC. Of course, the cooler is not the only noise factor, you also have the graphics card or the PC power supply to take into account.

Lifetime

The lifespan is that of the fans, you can or will have to replace them if they start to get noisy or if they break down. It is Noctua that clearly stands out in this comparison.

It is generally indicated in hours of use, but many manufacturers do not share this information, which is why I favored in my table the warranty period which indicates the quality of the material, sees which gives more information.

Between Noctua, which provides a 6-year warranty, and Cooler Master of only 2 years, this gives you a clear idea of ​​the potential lifespan of your fan.

Rotational speed

You can easily understand the relationship between better cooling and higher fan speed, and obviously more noise pollution. It is important to be able to use low rotation speeds with the larger radiators, in order to use a completely silent machine without neglecting the cooling capacity.

For that, you must direct your choice on the podium of my classification. Another element, Noctua has made the airflow/speed of rotation optimization a commercial argument. At low speed, a higher airflow than competing fans, this explains the good noise management at Noctua.

The appearance

Now that the set-ups vary, between colorful RGB-type gaming, black or full white cases, you will have to choose a model that does not stain on the whole. RGB I remind you, are gamer PC fans equipped with colored LEDs. Afterward, if your box is completely closed, you don’t have to worry too much about it.

Overclocking and cooling

This discipline, popular with gamers can quickly become addictive, it consists of operating the processor above its maximum capacity. The clock of a processor is calculated in MHz, you increase the voltage and that makes the processor run faster.

The electronic impulse in the transistors is faster and therefore it heats up. To increase this speed, go to the BIOS and select voltages and multipliers. Overclocking is rather water-cooling oriented except for the first half of our ranking on AMD processors, for Intel processors, choose Noctua.

What is the TDP?

The TDP: Thermal Design Power, expressed in Watts, indicates the temperature in energy that will either require the processor to be cooled or the cooling capacity of a cooler.

It calculates the heat that must be dissipated. The higher the TDP of a processor, the more you have to choose a powerful cooler. To make it easier for you, cooler manufacturers give this value.

The best current brands of coolers

It’s very simple: Noctua and beQuiet, power, silence, robustness, design, quality/price ratio, with a plus for Noctua which doubles the warranty time compared to beQuiet and which is easier to install. Scythe comes just behind with his excellent Fuma 2 and also the ultra-quiet Ninja 5.

The case of the AMD Wreath Prism cooler

If you bought an AMD like the Ryzen 7 or 9, the box contains a Wreath Prism cooler which is frankly a very good model for something provided when purchasing the processor.

Unlike the Intel cooler provided for purchase which will leave your processor running hot and noisy, this AM4 Wreath Prism cooler is powerful, quite quiet, and tough.

Why take a premium cooler?

The budget of the so-called premium coolers is substantial, in the 100 dollars, this type of material is dedicated almost exclusively to overclocking configurations.

Even if you have a powerful PC, whether for video editing or 3D computing, you won’t need to overclock so references like the Noctua NH-U12S or the Pure Rock 2 will largely be, but then very largely sufficient.

Thermal paste

It’s not an accessory, it’s essential and can even make a big difference. There are many kinds, more or less expensive and efficient. The thermal pastes supplied by the manufacturers are not all created equal, Corsair and Noctua (the NT-H1) are considered excellent, again, unless excellence is required.

The thermal paste supplied with the cooler will be sufficient. For the others, an indicator in W / MK will be able to give you information on a more or less good thermal conductivity. Corsair, Thermaltake, Arctic are good references, and the “luxury” must be at Noctua with the NT-H2.

Frequently asked questions

Ventirad or Watercooling?

To summarize, water cooling has the advantage of being compact on the motherboard and it is quieter for intensive gaming and overclocking, it is more efficient and much more expensive for high-performance models.

Opposite, you have the coolers, very efficient and silent with the models on our podium, they largely compete with the AIO water cooling at equivalent prices.

How to know the temperature of your PC?

To find out the temperatures of your PC, motherboard, and processor, you can go directly to the BIOS at startup, monitoring is displayed: fan speed and voltage, processor and motherboard temperature.

There is obviously software that collects this data to analyze it and offer you better management of cooling control and monitoring. On Windows, SpeedFan is very complete. On OSX, Temp Monitor and Hardware Monitor are effective.

How to clean your cooler?

Cleaning the PC, in general, is important. Turn off the PC, use anti-static gloves, and disassemble the parts carefully. Provide a dry air canister and a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the dust.

What I recommend is to remove the bulk of the dust packets with cotton swabs moistened, then dry. Then special dust wipes. Do not handle the fan roughly, or hit the blades when vacuuming with the vacuum cleaner, generally do not use the vacuum cleaner directly on the fan.

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