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Quietest + Largest Airflow Micro ATX sized Air Coolers - Your TOP Choices...

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February 4, 2014 6:30:14 PM

Hey Everyone!

I'm Dustin from Ontario Canada! This is my first post on Tom's Hardware.

I just built my 1st PC.

PC SPECS:

Case: Cooler Master Silencio 352 (Micro ATX / Mini ITX Support)
Mobo: Asus Maximus VI Impact (Mini ITX)
CPU: Intel i7 4770K LGA1150
SSD: Samsung 840 EVO 500GB
RAM: Patriot Viper 3 DDR3 2400 16GB (2x8)
PSU: Corsair AX760 Fully Modular
GPU: Asus GeForce GTX 770 2GB
OD: LG BR-DVD Burner

Cooler: Noctua NH-C14 (top-down style)

Dilemma:

Although there are many great reviews for the cooler I bought, i never realized how large it was - even after measuring it. It seems overkill for my tiny motherboard. The fan when installed faces the case side, therefore not allowing that much airflow to enter the fan optimally.

I am looking to possibly replace the cooler with another one. One where it has the fan facing into the fins and towards the back case fan to make a linear airflow through the case.

What I do not know enough about is fan RPM / Airflow Capacity and dBA levels.

The tower sits on my desktop and I NEED it to be as quiet as can possibly be. I am not to concerned about price, just quietness & performance.

Because the NH-C14 is too large for my case / motherboard as I've discovered I'd like an alternative.

I do plan on possibly overclocking in the future, but only minimally.

I am a graphic designer and I use Cinema 4D to render 3D animations and logos primarily as well as After Effects for motion graphics. .....and SimCity / Need for Speed for fun!

So, I am asking all of you fine knowledgable people to point me to the quietest and best performing air cooler for my CPU (LGA 1150).

I've been eyeing be quiet! 's stuff but they seem slightly too tall for my case.

PS. I've reverted back to using the horrible intel stock cooler - too loud, and doesn't keep things cool when pushed.

Thanks everyone!

Best solution

a c 75 à CPUs
February 4, 2014 6:36:57 PM

http://www.coolermaster.com/cooling/hyper-series/hyper-... this might be your solution.

The case supports up to 155 mm CPU coolers, while this one sits at 152.
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a c 169 à CPUs
February 4, 2014 6:43:48 PM

And no matter what you choose...if it sits on your desk you need to decouple the case from the desk.
Fans and drives will vibrate, and vibrate the desk.
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a c 75 à CPUs
February 4, 2014 7:08:37 PM

Wise words, but that depends on the desk and the conditions on the fans. My good old solid wood, 50 kilo, 120x90 table does not vibrate unless the 200mm front fan need oil. Then I notice tiny ripples of the top surface of the water bottle. That's how I know it needs attention. :p 
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February 4, 2014 8:03:12 PM

actually, my desk is an executive style solid wood desk. built like a tank. The desk u would say plays very little play in sound resonance in thus case.
I am purely interested in knowing top 2 or 3 air coolers for my cpu which combine the absolute lowest noise at high to full load.
I already know Noctua makes great ones but any other specific models or other brands you all could siggest? Thanks!
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a c 169 à CPUs
February 4, 2014 8:10:24 PM

the905sdw said:
actually, my desk is an executive style solid wood desk. built like a tank. The desk u would say plays very little play in sound resonance in thus case.
I am purely interested in knowing top 2 or 3 air coolers for my cpu which combine the absolute lowest noise at high to full load.
I already know Noctua makes great ones but any other specific models or other brands you all could siggest? Thanks!


I have a CM Hyper 212 PLUS, and it is as close to silent as I can imagine. Under full 100% load, the only way to actually hear it is to take the side panel off and stick my head right next to it.
The 212 EVO is also good, probably a little better.
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February 4, 2014 8:10:54 PM

Thanks for the Cooler Master suggestion Shneiky! are there any more on the market or this size with lower dBA levels? Also the ram modules I have about a half inch high heat sink on top of them so a fan would have to be adjustable in placement on the cooler.
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February 4, 2014 8:14:03 PM

USAFret, the ks for the suggestions as well. It's nice to know people can confirm these are quiet. ... knowing what a certain decibel level sounds like without hearing it is hard. This helps.
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a c 75 à CPUs
February 4, 2014 8:30:50 PM

I got a Hyper 212 Evo and it is set at the lowest RPM possible and I can't hear it whatsoever. The hard drive is nosier. It keeps my 2700k at 52C full load after hours of rendering, running infinite turbo (3.6 GHz). At full RPM it does get a little nosier for my taste, but the tems fall down to 45C. All this in a 20C room. The cooler I suggested has the same rated DB as the Hyper 212 Evo or the 212 Plus. If you keep your temp target at 60C and don't OC, I don't see it reaching Stage 5 (50% of the difference between Full RPM and Min RPM) but that is more of a guess.

The problem is that the majority of the good and silent coolers are around ~160mm tall and up and your case can only fit 155mm and down.
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a c 169 à CPUs
February 4, 2014 8:49:16 PM

Shneiky said:


The problem is that the majority of the good and silent coolers are around ~160mm tall and up and your case can only fit 155mm and down.


Interesting tidbit:
Antec says the Antec ONE case can only fit a 155mm cooler. The Hyper 212 Plus is 159mm. It fits with about 3mm to spare, not counting the side bulge.

So the case builders may be a little conservative.
YMMV.
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February 5, 2014 12:53:38 AM

I suggest Thermaltake's NIC series. Stands for Non INTERFERENCE Cooler. Guaranteed to fit on just about any motherboard without getting in the way of anything, especially high end ram. There is NIC F3, F4, C4, and C5. I got the f3 for $30 and I idle at 23c on my 4670. Fits fine on my mini atx board.
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February 5, 2014 11:13:06 AM

Hey everyone, thanks for the great suggestions. I did some more looking online, everyone keeps point to Noctua for best overall performance and noise levels. The NH-U12S cooler which is slimline comes with a NF-F12 PWM fan which is a very quiet well performing 120mm fan. Wanted to know if anyone had heard this fan in person before?
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