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The best QUIET! CPU cooler

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September 25, 2006 4:13:00 PM

Sorry to add to the endless CPU cooler threads, but not many seem to answer the question i'm very interested in.

I'm about to try and build a near-silent system with a core 2 duo E6600, however at the same time i want to OC it quite a bit.

From looking at wusy's list:

-Scythe Infinity
-Scythe Ninja Plus
-Scythe Mine
-Tuniq Tower 120
-Thermalright Ultra-120 or SI-128 or SI-120
-Noctua NH-U12
-Thermaltake Big Typhoon
-Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
-Zalman CNPS CNPS9500AT
-Zalman CNPS 7700AlCu or 7700Cu

It seems that i probably want to go for one of these, so out of these which would you say is the quietist, and by going for the quietist on that list how much OCing potential would i lose by not going for the best?

And is there a CPU cooler not on this list which is quiet and performs well to?

ATM i'm thinking of the 7700Cu, because i know zalman are quiet and Copper is a better conductor than alluminimum so surely it would have better performance, but i'm open to all suggestions so fire away. Thanks :D 

p.s. though water cooling would be good for quiet and performance i'm not really interested

More about : quiet cpu cooler

September 25, 2006 4:25:30 PM

Quote:
I'm about to try and build a near-silent system with a core 2 duo E6600, however at the same time i want to OC it quite a bit.


You probably need to give some kind of hint about your interpretation of "near-silent" and "OC quite a bit". For air cooling, those paths diverge pretty quickly. The Ninja Plus is the quietest of the better cooling HSFs that I've had experience with, but on my rigs it is a couple of degrees warmer than the Mine and the big Zalmans. I do not like the big mass of the Mine and NP.
September 25, 2006 5:06:37 PM

Quote:
I'm about to try and build a near-silent system with a core 2 duo E6600, however at the same time i want to OC it quite a bit.


You probably need to give some kind of hint about your interpretation of "near-silent" and "OC quite a bit". For air cooling, those paths diverge pretty quickly. The Ninja Plus is the quietest of the better cooling HSFs that I've had experience with, but on my rigs it is a couple of degrees warmer than the Mine and the big Zalmans. I do not like the big mass of the Mine and NP.

Well as for noise, it's rather a grey area - personally i would rather keep it in the lowish 20dBas, vague i know, but around there.

I've heard the zalman 9500 is very quiet, with a max dBa of 27.5, but i don't know about it's quality?

That ninja plus does look good, it's in wusy's list, has great reviews it seems, and it also seems quite quiet, apparantly only 23.5dBa (i am doubtful of that though), but if anyone could credit this cooler as being as good as it looks i'd give it serious consideration.

However, like you said it's size does cause concern, it looks MASSIVE! i would be very worried about not knocking my comp or moving it any way whatsoever if i got one of those, nearly a kilo!

edit: as for OC quite a bit, well anything over 3Gig i would be happy with, never OCed before so it's a bit of a starter project for me, not expecting anything too extreme.
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September 25, 2006 5:18:15 PM

Quote:
Well as for noise, it's rather a grey area - personally i would rather keep it in the lowish 20dBas, vague i know, but around there.


Then you're leaning towards the NPlus or Tunic Tower, something like that. This may not allow much of an OC if the Tunic. When the Zalman kicks up to its top speed, you will hear it. Not an obnoxious tone, but audible.

Quote:
I've heard the zalman 9500 is very quiet, with a max dBa of 27.5, but i don't know about it's quality?


People dis Zalman for cost and noise but cooling and quality are excellent.
September 25, 2006 5:30:12 PM

That's weird - i always thought Zalman were good for noise, i guess i was wrong :D 

Well it seems i'll probably want to go for the Scythes, just wondering why you don't think the Tunic is any good? From a brief look it seems to have good reviews, and it's in wusy's reccomended list.

As for Scythe, what's the difference between the infinity, ninja plus and mine? I'm tempted to go mine as it's 1.5dBa quieter than the other two plus it weighs 560grams which is a tiny ammount compared to the others.
September 25, 2006 5:30:53 PM

I am currently running the 9500 and I would recommend it to anyone else who asked. I have my e6600 OCed to 3.2 and as far as i can tell, heat is not an issue (nor noise level) I am running at idle around 50C on cpuTemp (asus posts it as 31C but i hear that they always display "not true" core temps.
The noise level is very low and deffinitely not louder than my OCed 1900xt with its fan runnin full.
September 25, 2006 5:53:56 PM

Quote:
That's weird - i always thought Zalman were good for noise, i guess i was wrong :D 

Well it seems i'll probably want to go for the Scythes, just wondering why you don't think the Tunic is any good? From a brief look it seems to have good reviews, and it's in wusy's reccomended list.


I'm not saying the Zalman is bad for noise. It's just not as quiet as the NPlus. And the Tunic is good but many people use it fanless and in that configuration, I wouldn't plan on a big OC.
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September 25, 2006 8:35:00 PM

Quote:
As for Scythe, what's the difference between the infinity, ninja plus and mine? I'm tempted to go mine as it's 1.5dBa quieter than the other two plus it weighs 560grams which is a tiny ammount compared to the others.


Both the Scythe Infinity and Ninja are designed to be passive heatsinks that's why the fins are relatively far apart from each other. The Scythe Mine is designed to be an active cooler, that's why the fins are closer together and the fan fits in middle of the cooling planes.

There have been some mixed reviews about the Scythe Infinity. It appears that the Infinity is edged out ever so slightly by the Scythe Ninja.
September 25, 2006 8:45:29 PM

Quote:
As for Scythe, what's the difference between the infinity, ninja plus and mine? I'm tempted to go mine as it's 1.5dBa quieter than the other two plus it weighs 560grams which is a tiny ammount compared to the others.


Both the Scythe Infinity and Ninja are designed to be passive heatsinks that's why the fins are relatively far apart from each other. The Scythe Mine is designed to be an active cooler, that's why the fins are closer together and the fan fits in middle of the cooling planes.

There have been some mixed reviews about the Scythe Infinity. It appears that the Infinity is edged out ever so slightly by the Scythe Ninja.

He asked about the Ninja Plus - it has the wide fin separation of the Ninja but includes a fan, so I'm assuming they mean it to be actively cooled.
September 25, 2006 9:15:52 PM

Well thanks for the help so far :D  i've not made up my mind yet, but i've been having a look around and it seems the Ninja Plus is very highly recommended, and very quiet too (and if it's not quiet enough for me i can just go out and buy a quieter fan for it) - plus a new, lighter revision of it is benig released in about a week which is good :D 
September 25, 2006 9:41:20 PM

I have that Zalman 7700cu and it seems pretty quite to me. My 120mm exhaust fan is louder.
September 25, 2006 10:06:04 PM

Scythe Ninja Plus, with a Nexus 120mm fan, and an in-line voltage regulator set to 5v (7v will cool better, 12v better still but loudest) is generally regarded as being the quietest HSF setup available.

HOWEVER it should also be apparent that

Low fan speed = low noise but low CFM air being pushed = worse cooling

High fan speed = high noise and high CFM air being pushed = best cooling

So, in reality you really have conflicting requirements. When it comes to air cooling, Silence and Overclocking capability are pulling in opposite directions.

At the end of the day, the Scythe Ninja is a very good cooling solution due to its heatsink design (and the fact it can be used fanless in some systems), but the decibel volume will be largely dependent on which fan you use and at which voltage.

Simply put: Buy the Scythe Ninja, the Nexus fan, and a voltage regulator such as Zalman FanMate. Adjust the voltage between 5v and 12v until you get suitable temps at an overclock you are happy with.

If it's too noisy at 12v you will need to concede some overclocking headroom. If you are as happy with the volume at 7v as the volume at 5v then run it as 7. Experiment!

I hope this helps.
September 26, 2006 2:21:57 AM

Well! I think the Zalman 9500 is quiet, some of my other case fans make more noise, however, it may not cool as well as you like. I was running a stock AMD cooler at 54C (overclocked to 2.7) at idle. With the Zalman it now idles at 58C. I just re-installed it to make sure I didnt do something wrong, like apply too much AS5, but no, its still at 58C! Bummer!
September 26, 2006 2:37:14 PM

It's an underperforming gimmick HSF.
Just look at reviews when compared with other cheaper & superior coolers.

Vapochill Micro doesn't even stand a chance against any of the HSFs listed in Wuzy's guide.

Bragging, recommending and trying to justify your mistake will not be allowed here.
September 26, 2006 3:27:23 PM

Well thanks for all the advice so far guys :D  it's great when you get this many replies...

But after quite a bit of reading i'm 70-80% sure now that i'm going to go for the new Sycthe Ninja - i've been reading a lot of reviews on it, especially the one on SPCR (people i respect greatly when it comes to knowing about silence), and they gave it an 8.5/10 saying it's the second best cooler they've come across - performing excellently and quiet.

I'll probably see how loud it is with the stock fan at first as that allready seems to be pretty quiet, but if it's not quiet enough i might get a SilenX for it (ooo the controversey :lol:  ), i know they're not the most reputable of companies and are widley criticised for their marketing techniques, but all reviews say their products are actually great, if unforunatly expensive.
September 28, 2006 1:26:38 PM

Quote:
It's an underperforming gimmick HSF.
Just look at reviews when compared with other cheaper & superior coolers.

Vapochill Micro doesn't even stand a chance against any of the HSFs listed in Wuzy's guide.

Bragging, recommending and trying to justify your mistake will not be allowed here.


My A64 x2 doesn't get above 29*c and it's completely silent.
September 28, 2006 3:26:42 PM

Excuse my noobness, but how do i run two instances of prime 95? I assume by saying dual you mean running the program twice at the same time.
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September 28, 2006 4:02:11 PM

Quote:
I have that Zalman 7700cu and it seems pretty quite to me. My 120mm exhaust fan is louder.


Same. My 7700cu is only barely audible, but a 120mm intake I've got starts to howl when I crank it up.
September 28, 2006 5:03:56 PM

Quote:
I have that Zalman 7700cu and it seems pretty quite to me. My 120mm exhaust fan is louder.


Same. My 7700cu is only barely audible, but a 120mm intake I've got starts to howl when I crank it up.

Yeah, I swapped out my stock 23 CFM fan for an AeroCool fan:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...

I moved my stock fan to the front for intake. Has anybody ever used this fan:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...

110 CFM @ 39.5 dBA. Its pretty loud, but it moves a lot of air! The only downside I can see (other than the noise) is that it only comes in white (WTF?).
September 28, 2006 5:04:36 PM

True, the 7700Cu does seem to be very quiet but at the end of the day the ninja, from reviews, seems simply to be better.

And thanks wusy, running it right now, panicking as (on coretemp) my core near 60c, argh 58c
September 28, 2006 5:43:33 PM

Quote:
I have that Zalman 7700cu and it seems pretty quite to me. My 120mm exhaust fan is louder.


Same. My 7700cu is only barely audible, but a 120mm intake I've got starts to howl when I crank it up.

Is it a stock case fan? If so, you could try one of the quiet fans like Scythe or Yate Loon. I've used those and SilenX but the SilenX is so expensive, you've got to really want quiet to fork over for them.
September 28, 2006 6:19:35 PM

I have an Zalman CNPS CNPS9500AT (with E6600) and it's working great!
I don't hear the cooler and it cools great to ;) 
September 28, 2006 6:48:14 PM

Speaking of SilenX, i'm going to be getting three of them two - two 120x25 and one 120-38... luckily it's my birthday coming up so i've got an excuse to get them, but are they as quiet as they are made out to be? Everyone seems to have a different opinion on them.

And if so, what is their CFM like? Due to me planning on OCing i want quite a good CFM though i don't mind sacrifycing a bit for silence
September 28, 2006 7:02:18 PM

Quote:
Speaking of SilenX, i'm going to be getting three of them two - two 120x25 and one 120-38... luckily it's my birthday coming up so i've got an excuse to get them, but are they as quiet as they are made out to be? Everyone seems to have a different opinion on them.

And if so, what is their CFM like? Due to me planning on OCing i want quite a good CFM though i don't mind sacrifycing a bit for silence


There was another thread on SilenX fans recently so check it out. I'll just summarize by saying that there seem to be more skeptics than believers in SilenX. I'm a believer but admit that they are horribly overpriced.
September 28, 2006 7:50:40 PM

For a quiet cpu setup mine is pretty good. I'd actually suggest for the same overclocking potential get the e6400 and save your money. Since the e6400 only has 2mb of ram the die is alot smaller, many less cache transistors and thus alot less heat generation. This means you can overclock it alot more. My setup is good, maybe a larger cpu case.

This review shows you easy overclocking potentials with the zalman 9500
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2822&p=4

The thermaltake blue orb 2 is 869 grams of aluminum and copper and has a 12cm fan. It rotates at 1700 rpm and generates 17 db... its completely silent, i sleep with my computer on, it runs about 50-55 Celcius and its overclocked to 3.4 ghz.

This is information for thermaltake blue orb 2.
http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/product/Cooler/Retail/cl-...
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September 28, 2006 8:44:48 PM

For cooling to noise ratios I'd go with the Thermaltake Big Typhoon. My reservations concerning that cooler are that it's built rather poorly and is difficult to mount at all, let alone getting it well seated without damaging the board or socket.

I've tried the 9500 and even the yet-to-be-released 9700, and I use the Big Typhoon in my own system.

I quit using the Big Typhoon to test other boards because it's so much of a pain in the arse to mount. I rarely remove the cooler in my own system however.
September 28, 2006 9:38:40 PM

Quote:
My reservations concerning that cooler are that it's built rather poorly and is difficult to mount at all, let alone getting it well seated without damaging the board or socket.


You mean the Blue Orb?
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September 28, 2006 9:45:19 PM

Read the sentence that preceeds the quote.
September 28, 2006 9:56:46 PM

Quote:
Read the sentence that preceeds the quote.


Well, it seemed odd that you'd use it but not recommend it and/or find it potentially damaging so I thought you were referring to one of the two HSFs the previous poster had listed.
September 28, 2006 10:05:20 PM

Indeed the Blue-Orb does look good but i'm sceptical... i've heard so many good things about the ninja, with excellent reviews across the board, where as i've heard nothing about the blue-orb. From it's stats it does look very good and i've learnt to go (from some bad experiences) to go with products that have a very good reputation.
September 28, 2006 10:24:16 PM

The blue orb looks almost the same as the zalman 7700cu except the zalman is all copper.
September 28, 2006 10:30:41 PM

Just had a quick search for the blue orb on google and the first review i found unfortunatly quite clearly stated in its cons 'is nowhere near as quiet as stated'
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September 28, 2006 10:55:08 PM

Odd perhaps, but he asked for the best, I looked at his list, and the Big Typhoon has the best cooling to noise ratio I've tested. It's also built like it was handcrafted by forced labor in a chinese prison camp.
September 29, 2006 2:31:31 AM

Quote:
It's also built like it was handcrafted by forced labor in a chinese prison camp.


I've looked at them up close at the local store. I thought it looked pretty industrial. No frills, just the bidness. That thing is a brick.
September 29, 2006 4:38:13 PM

Quote:
I'm about to try and build a near-silent system with a core 2 duo E6600, however at the same time i want to OC it quite a bit.

I'd go with the Ninja since it gives you more options. You can't get quieter than fanless and with the move to energy efficient CPUs you'll always have the option of silent cooling on this or future systems. At the same time you can whack a fan on it and crank it up if you need to.
September 29, 2006 5:25:50 PM

I have the arctic cooler and its worked fine for me and i virtually silent, only makes a bit of noise at boot up but thats unavoidable.
October 1, 2006 2:21:42 AM

I was thinking I'd pop for the Big Typhoon myself as it comes in very quiet while moving a lot of air (at least on paper and in review). It also looks like it'd be compatable with the Gigabyte DQ6 or the Abit AW9D-MAX (should I ever make up my damn mind).

Mind you, I've not seen one up close.
!