If you own an unlocked cpu like fx 6300, i5 6600k or a budget processor like pentium g3258 then you are fortunate enough that you can get some massive free performance by overclocking them to more than 4.0Ghz. But if you do it on the stock cooler you can not get more than a few hundred Megahertz as the temperature of the processors rise quickly and the processor may underclock itself to prevent damage.
Stock coolers should never be used in case you are doing heavy overclocking as the temperature may go above 90 degrees eventually reducing the lifespan of your cpu. There are a lot of Cpu coolers available right now in the market which allow you to overclock your cpu safely with stability.
There are two types of cpu coolers, one is Air cooler and one is liquid cooler. Both have it’s advantages and disadvantages. With the air coolers the advantage is that you don’t have to worry about any leaking which may lead to big damage to the components but on the other hand side the liquid coolers if installed properly will allow your processor to be overclocked to it’s full potential giving you more performance.
In this article I am going to list the best air coolers for your money which will let you at least overclock your cpu like i5 6600k or i7 6700k to 4.5Ghz with stability and still maintaining the temperature under 60 degrees.
The Best CPU Air Coolers
Cooler Master GeminII M4(Compact)
Among all the cooler master cpu coolers, the GeminII M4 is the most compact and most power efficient cooler. As it’s included in the hyper series of cooler master coolers, it has the most unique design among other coolers like hyper 212 EVO, TX3, D92. The cooler is made specially for mini ITX cases and other cases with small form factors. The dimensions are 137 x 122 x 59mm. The 59mm is the height which is less than half of it’s width and depth.
Decent mid tower cpu coolers like hyper 212 EVO has height of more than 150mm. So it’s reduced to almost 1/3rd, which makes it a perfect combination to your itx case and compact build. But it’s short height doesn’t restricts it to it’s performance. As the size is spread instead of adding more height to the heatsink, the heatsink is still big and covers your motherboard from sides more than a mid tower cooler.
The cooler features 4 copper heatpipes which are attached to the aluminium heatsink, two-two separately to face each other from opposite sides. If cooler master would have extended the heatpipes that end at just the cpu contact metal plate to the heatsinks to join the other end, then the heat would have circulated again from heatsink to cpu. So it’s a good technique to suspend the other end just at the end of aluminium heatsink and one at the end of metal plate which will be in direct contact with the cpu.
As the heatsink is shorter the copper heatpipe ending at the cpu contact metal plate, if made extended to the aluminium heatsink without touching it’s own second end would have been an advantage but it would have increased the height of heatsink overall. So the cooler is engineered well.
The copper heatpipes will be in direct contact with the cpu along with the metal plate and will provide decent cooling. However touching them together just like hyper 212 EVO would have been more efficient in cooling. Now keeping this con aside, let’s take a look at the fan which is 10mm less in height than a normal cooling fan to decrease the overall height of the cpu cooler.
The fan doesn’t only decrease the overall height but also is the most silent amongst the cooler master hyper series coolers providing noise upto 30DBA max and as low as 8DBA when operated at the lowest fan speed of 500RPM. But at the max speed of 1600RPM it still provides fan airflow upto 58.4CFM which is equal to most of the standard fans operating at a higher speed. So, my recommendation for a small and compact form factor build goes to this cpu cooler. Although there are some better mini cpu coolers than this but due to the incompatibility with some latest platforms like LGA 1151 motherboards, I couldn’t include them.
Cooler Master Hyper TX3(Mid)
The least expensive cooler is from Cooler Master which is priced at only 20 dollars. At this price this cooler is great for budget builds like $300 build or even $600 build in which processors like pentium g3258 and fx 6300 are used which are unlocked for overclocking.
This cooler has three direct contact heat pipes along with the aluminium heat sink for better heat dissipation unlike the stock coolers which only have the aluminium heat sinks. The aluminium heat sink is big as compared to the stock coolers and absorbs much heat from the cpu.
A pre-installed 92mm fan comes with it which runs at a maximum speed of 2800rpm and a minimum of 800rpm due to which when the system is idle or even under full load it doesn’t make too much of noise and remains much silent as compared to the stock coolers which run at more than 3000rpm under load.
The maximum temperature with this cooler when you overclock your cpu to several hunderd megahertz is only 58 degree celcius as reviewed by a customer. Other than that all of the customers have reported that this cooler doesn’t exceed 54 degrees which is much nicer performance than those stock coolers which may get your cpu temperature over 90 degree celcius.
If you are in search of a good air cpu cooler for under 20 dollars. There is no better cooler at this price. One another advantage of this cooler is that another 92mm fan can be installed on the other side for pull/push configuration.
ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro Rev 2(Mid)
Just below 30 dollars another great cooler from Arctic features 3 copper heat pipes with aluminium fins and a 92mm fan. The design is almost the same as of cooler master TX3 but the heat sink has convex design from back. This cooler has a maximum fan speed of 2200rpm which is even lower than the Cooler Master TX3 which reduces the noise to a big extent.
As per the information given by the manufacturer the maximum temperature with i5 4670K overclocked is only 44 degree celcius compared to the higher 54 degree with the stock cooler. The noise level of this cooler with AMD Phenom II X4 840 is only 0.5 sone as compared to the 2 sone with stock cooler.
It also comes with pre-applied MX-2 high performance thermal compound that is very good for cooling and maintaining good contact with cpu. You don’t have to apply thermal compound separately on it as it works great.
As used by customers, it did not exceed 50 degree celcius in most cases under full load which is good thing for processors especially the amd ones which have critical temperature of 70 degree celcius. This cooler is compatible with almost every generation of intel and amd processors and you don’t need to take out your motherboard out of the case to install it. Just remove the stock cooler and fit it in motherboard. It’s that easy.
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
Perhaps the best budget cooler ever made. This cooler is big and bigger than the previous ones. It has 4 copper heat pipes a large aluminium heat sink. The fan is even bigger with a dimension of 120 x 120 x 25 mm and the heat sink with the dimensions 116 x 51 x 159 mm. This cooler is great for processors like i5 4690K and i7 4790K. You can even use it on amd processors like fx 8350 or higher.
This cooler unlike the traditional air coolers have it’s heat pipes joined together with each other along with the heat sink which is in direct contact with the CPU. This makes heat dissipation even faster. The fan is 120mm which spins at a speed of 900 to 2000 rpm max which is even lower than the previous one and has an advantage of cooling more with less noise.
This is the cooler which can really let you overclock your CPU’s like unlocked i5 and i7’s to 4.5Ghz or higher. Although I recommend overclocking only upto 4.5Ghz as it’s safer and will let the CPU remain in stable condition. For installing this cooler you should at least have a mid tower with at least 150mm of clearance as it is difficult for installing it in mini cases but still some mini cases support it.
For 30 dollars, this cooler is the most bought cpu cooler till now and is still sold on amazon, newegg and other market places more than any other cpu cooler. So definitely go with it if you have a low budget and want to overclock your cpu more.
CRYORIG H7 Tower Cooler
This cooler is one of the most recommend coolers following the cooler master hyper 212 EVO. Although 212 EVO is much more popular but the users of Cryorig H7 say that it’s 212 EVO killer at the same price. And they are not wrong upto an extent. For the same price it provides better cooling and much lower noise. I was astonished to see that many consumers don’t even know about it. They might feel that Cryorig is an unheard brand but the truth is expert techs recommend the coolers of this brand more than they do for other renowned brands.
Taking a look at the specifications, the cooler has a dimension of L98 mm x W123 mm x H145 mm and that of the hyper 212 EVO is 120 x 79.7 x 158.5 mm whcih of course makes it a more compact one to fit easily fit into any mid tower. However you can see that it has more width and looks bulkier despite of the fact that it’s not a full tower cooler. The fan is attached to the heatsink with the help of clips and is tight enough.
The heatsink is not just a simple designed one but actually is Hive Fin based like that of a honey comb. The advantage of that is when the fan puts air pressure on to those fins, the air will be accelerated towards the next array of fins by travelling through the narrow paths which are present in between. This makes it put more air pressure on to the heatsink to cool it down faster.
As for installation, it is compatible with most of the sockets of intel and amd. Installation is easy. Just install the backplate first and then flip your motherboard or case upside again to install the washers. Now you will be able to install the Cpu cooler itself easy as the “X” bar is pre-installed on it. This cooler, although it’s bulky will never interfere in installing your ram sticks.
Many hyper 212 EVO users when switched to this one, their experience with this was much better than the former. Every review that I read about it, I couldn’t find any big con and expert techs who reviewed this recommend it over the hyper 212 evo if the prices are similar at the time you buy.
This is the best air cpu cooler for 90 dollars. This is not a budget cooler for budget builds. This one is only for the enthusiasts. If you want only good performance then this is not for you. It’s only for insane performance. First of all this cooler is very big. It is bigger than it looks in the image. It has two 140mm fans and a big aluminium heat sink.
The cooler comes with 6 heat pipes that are now spaced more than the NH D14 which makes the heat distribution uniform as per the provided information by the manufacturer. Fortunately the fans are on a little more height so as to make it easy to install the memory sticks with heat spreaders. If you remove one fan, you can install any high end memory as it provides upto 64mm of clearance and with two fans with the heat sink, 32mm clearance is minimum which is enough for installing memories like XPG or kingston hyperX.
It is awarded as the best air cooler and is better than the Cooler Master V8 GTS even both share the same price. For high end builds I recommend this cooler more than any other and is also recommended by many.
The fans run at a maximum speed of 1500rpm which is slower, less noisier and provides cooling nearly equal to the closed water loop setup. The maximum temperature remains between 40-50 degree celcius and in some cases may reach above 50 degrees which is still much lower than what you can get with a stock cooler.
Along with these features it comes with 6 years of warranty and in my opinion it’s the best air cooler in the list.