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What is the absolute best CPU air cooler?

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August 12, 2008 2:17:10 AM

I am curious as to what heatsink is the best out right now. Price and size are not considerations, just absolute performance. Noise IS a consideration, however. Thanks.
August 12, 2008 2:30:37 AM

sunbeamtech corecontact- freezer edges in front of the xigmatek S1283 Rifle by a few degrees for 10$ more.

you just need to mod the fan and install a quiter fan if noise is an issue.

otherwise they run at max around 53 dBa
August 14, 2008 12:51:14 AM

Right, you looked off Frostytech's reviews for that. Not that I don't trust them, but most review sites are differ quite significantly from each either as far as I've seen. I currently own the Xigamatek S964 and I am not very satisfied with it, although it is 9 on that list I believe. What do people out there who have had multiple coolers firsthand choose as the very best?
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August 14, 2008 8:34:01 AM

isnt the tuniq tower better than the TRUE? shove two of the fastest fans in the world on it and OVERCLOCK! :p 
August 14, 2008 10:28:28 AM

^wtf how can there not be a "best" heatsink?? the one with the best design will win... its not completely random... you can't get an intel stock cooler to perform even closely to the TRUE. not like processors mate.
August 14, 2008 6:37:00 PM

Well how about most high quality heatsinks perform within a few degrees of each other? How about the fact that case size, noise level, price, weight, and ease of installation are all as important as cooling performance depending on the person, motherboard, or rig in question? How about the fact that two reputaible websites can classify the same heatsinks differently in their own "charts" as well as find marginal differences in performance? Are you ******* serious when you say that?

The xigy is cheap but its loud and doesn't cool the best. The thermalright IFX has the best performance but it is huge and expensive. The artic cooler 7 pro is cheap and easy to install but doesn't cool as well as the xigy or the thermalright.

If I wanted a quite case I might get the thermalright or the artic cooler. If I wanted best performance for my dollar I would get the xiggy. If I had case limitations I would get the artic cooler again. If I didn't care either way then maybe the thermalrigth would be right for me.

And that is just considering 3 heatsinks and their abilities and strong suites. Now multiply that by all the heatsinks out there and all the benefits each can bring and you have no all around ******* best heatsink.

You find a general consensus, across the web, of the "best heatsink" with one model coming ahead in a noticeable margin and I will eat my monitor and leave these forums forever.
August 26, 2008 6:35:02 AM

^ROFL! sure it looks cool but it is waaaaaaayyyyy too old to match it with the latest coolers...
August 26, 2008 9:18:32 AM

the best cooler is TRUE with 2 high speed Delta fan.
August 29, 2008 1:59:04 AM

xigmatek S1283 Rifle. E8400 oc`ed to 3.6, intelburn test, max temp was 55c
August 29, 2008 12:15:38 PM

Any computer heatsink with a known (Degee's Celcius per watt) rating given by the manufacturer is to be trusted, and you want a heatsink with very low figure.

For example, a really poor heatsink with a rating of 2'C per watt will effectively reach 240 degrees celcius if mounted to a CPU with a thermal design of 120W, excluding ambient.

But it we managed to find somthing around 0.1'C per watt, then it works out to be 12'C on the same thermal power. of course including the ambient temp 20'C, its looks more like 32'C

So in turn the BEST cpu heatsink is the one that has the least temperature rise for a given power.

You will need to study the manufacturers data for the heatsinks, if they dont provide it, then you buy it at your own risk, unless you know people of friends who have had good results that you have actauly seen.

August 29, 2008 12:23:53 PM

seems the Thermalright Ultra 120 faired quite well for 775 cpus. 150W test the final temp was 17.5'C but quite noisy 53.7DBa
August 29, 2008 2:53:51 PM

wait till the liquid metal cpu cooler called danamic lm10

its coming out in q3 of this year... gonna blow yo mIND, looks real promising

and to jcorqian-
when they get the heatsink for review, they get it from the company, and the company makes sure its handpicked... the ripest apple from the bunch if not mistaken.. or the least rotten in this case
a b à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
August 29, 2008 3:02:22 PM

^ I'm interested in checking that thing out, looked pretty cool, no pun intended.
August 29, 2008 6:32:49 PM

As E3210 said, Thermalright IFX is the best air cooler but is pricey and big.
August 29, 2008 7:42:33 PM

The Xigmatek HDT-S1283 worked well for me. It reduced my cpu temps from 80C -> 27C at idle. Make sure you get the retention bracket and some Artic Silver 5.

I'm not sure it's the best though.
a b à CPUs
a b K Overclocking
August 29, 2008 8:57:01 PM

A 53c drop in idle temps with air cooling?
August 29, 2008 8:59:38 PM

YES! but clearly that was a mismounted cooler before.

i guess....
August 29, 2008 9:11:34 PM

iluvgillgill said:
YES! but clearly that was a mismounted cooler before.

i guess....


Ya, it could have just been the pushpins, but they seemed like they were in all the way. It could have also been that bad thermal paste that came with the stock HSF.
August 30, 2008 12:01:43 AM

Lol, 80C idle is more like no cooler before. :na: 

Anyway, idle temperature doesn't matter. It's full load temperature that's important.
August 30, 2008 3:32:39 AM

idle temp could matter if your ambient temp is high...
August 30, 2008 5:42:01 PM

eklipz330 said:
idle temp could matter if your ambient temp is high...


The the load temperature would be even higher. No matter what, the higher load temperature is the cpu breaker, and thus, more important. :p 
August 30, 2008 6:43:55 PM

I have the S1283, i took it off and replaced it with a AC7, temps went down a few degrees c with the AC7. I have the backplate for the Xiggy, remounted it 12 times using proper and improper paste applying techniques, and temps sucked every time. I eventually just gave up and thew it in my storage cabinet. Since im not using it I might try lapping it for the hell of it, just to see if I can get a nice polished reflection off it, then try again.
August 31, 2008 4:58:40 AM

Thermalright IFX-14 beats out the Ultra-120 by a little bit. By many benchmarks, that would make it the best cooler out there.

I am using it to cool my AMD 9850 BE, and it does one hell of a job. The CPU is running around 50C at 3.4ghz on prime95, and around 30C at idle. That's at 1.45 volts. At stock speed and voltage it keeps it at 27C/36C. I have not lapped it yet (it really really needs it), and it's only been installed today so the grease hasn't had time to set.

It can fit two 14cm fans. I chose a couple 50CFM slim fans for low noise, but may eventually go with a couple more powerful fans just for safety sake and extra overclocking power. But right now I can barely hear the thing, which is nice.

The only downside is that it takes up half of a mid tower case. Given the size, I was surprised at how easy to install the thing was. I would definitely recommend it.

One word about acoustics, if you are interested in quiet PC's. In general, every doubling of sound sources increases your dB level by 3, and every doubling of power to your sound sources increases your dB level by 3. This means that if you hook up 2 120mm 20dB fans, your dB level would be roughly 26. If you hooked up 4 of those fans, your dB level would be 32. For every 10 dB, the volume you hear is considered doubled.

Also keep in mind that slower, larger fans are less loud to the human ear than their dB level might indicate. 60hz is usually the point where people start feeling the dB instead of hearing it. Below 15-20 hz, it's fairly inaudible to human ears. 1200 RPM fans start falling into the feel rather than hear category. The only thing to worry about is keeping the airflow as unrestricted as possible, otherwise you get the higher pitch whines as it tries to push through certain things, whether it's an air filter or a steel grill.
August 31, 2008 6:10:09 AM

Happy owner of sunbeamtech core contact freezer.

E8400 @ 4.0ghz
Idle temps 31C 31C
max temps under small fft 56C 58C
1.3825v BIOS, 1.312v CPU-Z load.

Purchased from coolerguys, $42.98
It comes with heatsink, 120mm fan, and PCI fan controller (and thermal paste? i used arctic silver5)

http://www.coolerguys.com/840556086987.html
August 31, 2008 11:12:14 AM

^nice cooler!maybe you should try lap both cooler and cpu see how much drop you can get.
August 31, 2008 5:15:21 PM

RyanS2000 said:
Happy owner of sunbeamtech core contact freezer.

E8400 @ 4.0ghz
Idle temps 31C 31C
max temps under small fft 56C 58C
1.3825v BIOS, 1.312v CPU-Z load.

Purchased from coolerguys, $42.98
It comes with heatsink, 120mm fan, and PCI fan controller (and thermal paste? i used arctic silver5)

http://www.coolerguys.com/840556086987.html


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's cheaper on Newegg, which is a more reliable retailer too. :p 

iluvgillgill said:
^nice cooler!maybe you should try lap both cooler and cpu see how much drop you can get.


Bad idea, you can only make performance worse. A TRUE should be lapped only because of the concave surface that doesn't make full contact. Some coolers should be lapped, some shouldn't.

Speaking of TRUE, on some lesser known reviews, TRUE outperforms the Core Contact freezer. Frostytech had it performing worse because they have a policy of not tempering with any hardware, which means no lapping.
August 31, 2008 5:24:32 PM

why would it make it worse if you lap the core contact freezer? have you seen the thread in the forum the HDT cooler actually will still make it work more efficient. even thought it may seem flat but actually the surface can be finer and make even better contact. thats the whole point of lapping.
August 31, 2008 5:25:31 PM

and actually talk about outperform the IXF-14 is better then TRUE!
August 31, 2008 5:53:07 PM

I have a Xigmatek HDT-S1284 Archilles. Temps at 4,1ghz is 49 in orthos stress test.
September 1, 2008 12:35:04 AM

lol, 4.1 ghz, holy crap...

Am I the only one who wastes hundreds of dollars per build on bas ass heatsinks just cause I like low temps since I never oc'd in my life and never will o.0
September 1, 2008 12:37:01 AM

Oh and to stay on topic, WHat about the OCZ vandetta 2? It apprently beats my Xigy 1283 by a couple of degrees C
I upgraded from the Thermaltake miniTyphoon (dont ask...) to the Xigy 1283, and my max temps droped from 67C to 49C on my 6400+ at stock speeds of course :p 
September 1, 2008 12:56:32 AM

the OCZ vandetta 2 is better then te xiggy no doubt. but the ThermalRight IXF-14 with 3 high speed fan will beat all those cooler mentioned.

google it up if you never heard of it.
September 2, 2008 11:12:18 AM

OCZ V2 is almost exactly the same as the xiggy is it not? verrrrrrrrry similar temps like under a degree from the frostytech chart i think... its a fair bit quieter than the xiggy though i believe. costs more but it's quieter and like .5 of a degree worse than the xiggy! i think they just spent a little more money on a better fan than xigmatek.
September 3, 2008 12:07:54 PM

most people buy like Scythe Sflex dont they?
September 3, 2008 1:28:45 PM

E3110 At 4.23 ghz with 1.375 V.

With lapped TRUE and ORTHOS I never get above 60 C.

What more proof do you need? > : )
September 3, 2008 1:33:59 PM

Actually i saw a very good thorough user review of the IFX-14 and at the end he compared it with the TRUE with EVERY fan configuration. Low speed fans in every place, high speed, 2 fans and then 2 vs 3 on the true.

Also w/ and w/o that "back heatsink" which did absolutely nothing, guess it looks good.

But anyways, comparing between the true with 2 high speed fan (Scythe Kaze, Delta etc.) it did very well and pushed by the IFX with 3 fans. He gave an explanation y it was better......

In terms of coolers, My friend has a S1283 and loves it, but if u get it get the backplate (pushpins are an abomination).
The Core Contact Freezer just beats the S1283.

But the TRUE....i believe beats everything. I mean it did bad because frostytech doesnt lap but who cares, if it needs to be lapped, lap it.
I mean the old revision beats the new one so its a bad review

Edit: 1.375 and 60C load....thats ok i guess, ive seen better. Did u lap the cpu??
September 3, 2008 2:06:59 PM

The cpu was lapped after the fact. I did it just for fun and didnt see a difference.

The 60C is in summer, in winter its around 55C.

September 3, 2008 3:39:48 PM

ah that would explain it....blasted summer

Also where are u?
September 3, 2008 3:49:20 PM

Michigan, I dont have AC, so the house gets hot during the summer lol
September 3, 2008 3:53:58 PM

lol sort of the same here

we have it but we dont turn it on until its at least 95 for 5 days straight
then we turn it on
September 3, 2008 3:57:04 PM

lol,

I have been able to push the chip to 4.5 ghz, but I haven't had time to figure out a norhbridge voltage limit.

I have the EX38-DS4 MB, OC's like a dream, no time to wipe my own butt though...

September 7, 2008 4:34:56 AM

my E4400 with stock cooler, stock paste and no case fans at 3.6GHz is 71 degrees max 100% load! :D 
September 7, 2008 6:51:56 PM

V3NOM said:
my E4400 with stock cooler, stock paste and no case fans at 3.6GHz is 71 degrees max 100% load! :D 


Doesn't it throttle at 71 degrees to keep it from going up further? :p 

Seriously, spend $5 for a case fan. :na: 
September 8, 2008 6:25:03 AM

yeah....thing is my case only has 40mm fan slots... im thinkin of bringin out ma dads drill, basically raping my side panel and getting a $32 250mm fan :) 

and i thoughti t would throttle at 61... but apparently not! XD i dont really care if it melts or something.. more of an excuse to get my new sli rig then :p 
September 17, 2008 8:30:29 PM

right now, any cooler with this basic design is within 1C of any other:
Xigmatek S1283, S1284EE (replace the fan on the S1284 for better performance)
Silenx iXtrema 120-HA2
Sunbeamtech Core contact Freezer

The Thermaltake True and Ultra have similar performance but slightly different design.

There are others with similar designs that i didn't look too closely at, but you get the picture.

The thermaltakes are very expensive for this design, and you have to buy the fan separate. The Sunbeamtech and Silenx come with fan controls. The Silenx can mount two fans. The Thermalright IFX-14 has a backplate heatsink.
September 18, 2008 8:05:11 PM

No reviews yet, but there are a lot of hype around "Danamics LM10" that uses liquid metal.
!