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Best LGA 1366 Compatible CPU Cooler?

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August 6, 2009 4:27:49 PM

So I custom built my i7 PC a little while ago with help from Tom's Hardware, but now I'm interested in aftermarket coolers and overclocking this monster. I've done some poking around, and have come up with a few candidates. My full specs are at the bottom of this post and if necessary, I can provide measurements as well.

Please keep in mind that I am looking for something with good cooling and low noise, at a decent price.

Sunbeam Core-Contact Freezer
I assume that this also requires the optional bracket (+$10) for LGA1366 compatibility. It's highly recommended at FrostyTech, and is also the cheapest on my list after MIR.

Scythe MUGEN-2
I've heard good things about this one and it's natively compatible with LGA 1366.

XIGMATEK Dark Knight
Seems to be a very popular choice and is natively compatible with LGA1366. It's a little bit more expensive, but I'll pay extra for quality. I've heard some negative things about this one though.

ZALMAN CNPS9900LED
It's the most expensive cooler (even though it's on sale at newegg) on my list, but I've heard great things about Zalman and this cooler looks like it's no exception. Again, this one appears to be natively compatible.

COOLER MASTER V8
Added from a later suggestion. It looks very promising, though a little expensive. It comes with an LGA 1366 mounting bracket.

It's important that whichever I decide fits in my case without any problems, so I will probably buy from my local Microcenter if they stock it so I can return it easily in the event it doesn't fit. (or "work" as I'll probably tell them) Let me know what cooler you recommend, and why. (it obviously doesn't have to be one of these) Thanks in advance for any help.

Core i7 920
ASUS P6T Deluxe
Corsair XMS3 3x2GB DDR3 1333
Corsair 850TX
EVGA GTX 275
Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro
WD Caviar Blue 500GB x1
WD Caviar Black 500GB x2 (RAID 0)
Antec P182 Case
August 6, 2009 4:35:19 PM

With having a mid tower case size becomes very important of the cooler. From what I have heard do not go Zalman! I orderd a DK because they come with a bracket and I have heard nothing but great things about them.
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August 6, 2009 5:05:15 PM

Do you say don't go with Zalman because I have a mid-tower, or because you have heard bad things about them?

I heard the DK is very tall and therefore probably wouldn't fit into my mid-tower. Look at the reviews on newegg, sort by helpfulness, and the first 9 reviews are either 1 or 2 eggs, with one 5-egg exception. That's what scares me about the DK.
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August 6, 2009 5:11:00 PM

don't go with Zalman because their performance with LGA1366 is poor.

I'd go with a prolimatech Megahalem and a couple of Noctua fans, don't forget to get an extra fan clip.

or out of those 4, go for the Mugen 2.
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August 6, 2009 5:57:25 PM

Hello have you heard anything bad about the Cogage True Spirit?
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August 6, 2009 6:30:09 PM

^ it looks pretty good, considering it's a chopped down TRUE.
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August 6, 2009 6:35:09 PM

Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer
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August 6, 2009 6:50:11 PM

The Prolimatech Megahalem is another one I've heard nothing but excellent things about, but the thing seems to be very rare and hard to find.

I've eliminated Zalman from my list of recommendations based on the fact that they don't work well with LGA1366.

Thanks for the input guys! Keep the great suggestions coming.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2009 6:57:20 PM

for the price of the zalman get the cooler master v8
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August 6, 2009 7:34:34 PM

Updated my suggested list to add the V8. It looks like a very nice cooler, and I'm actually leaning toward it a little now. Good find obsidian86, thanks!
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August 6, 2009 8:01:52 PM

I really want to go with a single fan option for noise reasons, and I doubt I will ever have the patience or the skill to overclock past the 3.6-3.8 mark, so some of the more expensive and advanced coolers would be wasted on me. (though this thing is too cool looking for words lol)
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2009 8:07:24 PM

well the v10 would be best but the performance over the v8 doesn warrent the premium but i had a look round of all the coolers mentioned the v8 is 3rd cheapest but only by bout 10 bucks an the v8 performed much better but give me a sec im looking into a reasonable water kit
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2009 8:15:02 PM

orry seems the thermaltake bigwater 780 is sold out all over
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August 6, 2009 8:35:33 PM

^ and it's rubbish anyway, deff not a good buy.

try the Noctua SE1366 then, it's nearly as good as the Megahalem.
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August 6, 2009 8:42:40 PM

The Noctua SE1366 is a bit out of my price range at over $70. I'm looking for options under ~$50.

Like I said, I probably won't be shooting for 4.0-4.2GHz on my upcoming overclock. Performance vs cost is important to me, as is something that runs fairly quietly. easy installation and adjustable speed switches would also be fantastic. I love being able to choose between 3 different speed settings for the case fans in my P182.
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August 7, 2009 12:24:15 AM

@ geofelt...why the hell does ur review not even have the scythe mugen II ?!?
it's one of the best on the lga1366 socket
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August 7, 2009 4:04:49 PM

Hooray you guys! (in the voice of Eric Cartman)

I just found out that Microcenter has started stocking Prolimatech Megahalems for $70.

I wanted something a little cheaper, but I've never heard anything negative about this particular cooler, and I'm willing to pay a premium for superior performance. I've done a bit of research, and as far as I can tell, nothing can rival this cooler with the possible exception of the TRUE, which isn't LGA 1366 compatible w/o an optional bracket.

Two more things:

1) Does anyone know if it will fit flawlessly into a P6T Deluxe motherboard and/or an Antec P182 case?
2) Does anyone have anything else to add about different coolers or the Megahalems in particular.

Thanks for all the help guys!
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August 7, 2009 4:07:09 PM

^ don't forget you have to add a fan to the megahalem which is another $10, and then the Noctua SE1366 would outperform it,
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August 7, 2009 4:17:46 PM

Helloworld_98, you keep mentioning that cooler that I've never heard of before...
Is it one that you personally own?
Do you have any data that shows a side-by-side comparison of the two?

As far as the fans go, what should I look for when I stroll into Microcenter? I was going to just go with one fan (I can always add another later, plus then I'd also have to buy another fan clip) positioned on the RAM side of the CPU blowing air through the cooler to the back.
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August 7, 2009 4:21:24 PM

the Noctua is a great heatsink, because the fans are very quiet, and it comes with two of them, which puts it in the top 5 i7 heatsinks.

for the fans, look for high CFM, low DBa, ideally you want >60CFM and <30DBa.
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August 7, 2009 4:32:10 PM

I can pick up the Noctua SE1366 at Microcenter for the same price as the Megahalem. I'll read some reviews and get back to you on what I think...
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August 7, 2009 5:00:17 PM

I would go with the megahalem. If you look at most any reviews of heatsync's its always on the very top.
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August 7, 2009 5:11:07 PM

(sigh) I'm so confused now lol

Ok there's basically three coolers I'm interested in:
Scythe MUGEN-2 $45
Prolimatech Megahalems $70
Noctua SE1366 $70

In my opinion, the Mugen-2 would be the best for the money. It's also compatible with like ever processor ever made... but I don't know if it's compatible with my motherboard, or if it'll even fit in my case.

Anyone have an opinion?
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August 7, 2009 5:39:24 PM

Prolimatech Magahalems has been known as the best CPU air cooler there is right now.

If your not going for a crazy overlock then just get the Scyth MUGEN.
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August 7, 2009 5:46:41 PM

^ the megahalems are only top notch though when you put either a 2000rpm+ fan on them or use two 1200rpm+ fans.

so if he goes with the Megahalem he won't get that big an advantage over the Noctua and will be paying $20+ more.
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August 7, 2009 5:54:17 PM

^I agree with helloworld_98 on this one. The Megahalem is probably the best cooler out there, but it doesn't come with any fans. They did that to cut costs because hardcore overclockers want to be able to use their favorite fans anyway.

I would pick up the Mugen-2, but I'm still unsure if it'll fit with my mobo and case.

The Noctua is designed specifically for the socket, so I'd really only have to make sure it'll fit into my case.
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August 7, 2009 5:57:07 PM

just throwing another one in the basket, the Titan Fenrir 120mm with stock fan beats the Megahalem with a 1900rpm fan and it's quite cheap but they're quite hard to find.
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August 7, 2009 6:21:51 PM

kufan64 said:
(sigh) I'm so confused now lol

Ok there's basically three coolers I'm interested in:
Scythe MUGEN-2 $45
Prolimatech Megahalems $70
Noctua SE1366 $70

In my opinion, the Mugen-2 would be the best for the money. It's also compatible with like ever processor ever made... but I don't know if it's compatible with my motherboard, or if it'll even fit in my case.

Anyone have an opinion?
The Mugen-2 will not fit into the Antec P182 because it is not wide enough. The P182 is about a 1/2 an inch too narrow. The case needs to be at least 8.5 inches wide to fit the Mugen-2 as it is a tall cooler. Given your choices, you may have to choose a cooler with a 92mm fan instead of a 120mm fan or choose a horizontal cooler rather than a vertical cooler.
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August 7, 2009 6:45:47 PM

^That's what I feared. Do you know about either of the other's on that list?

I don't really want to have to drop to a 92mm or an 80mm fan as it would be considerably louder. and probably not as efficient.

What do you mean by a horizontal cooler? Could you provide an example?
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August 7, 2009 8:14:36 PM

^ or just get a CoolIT, since the domino's are $79 and perform better than the H50.
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August 7, 2009 8:23:44 PM

Hmm... it looks like the pickings are pretty slim from Microcenter. I still want to purchase from a local store to avoid damages during shipping.

This is a list of everything they have that comes with support for LGA 1366:
LINK

Hang on a sec... that H50 water cooling setup looks pretty awesome...
I've never done any water cooling, but that could actually end up being perfect...

I looked at the CoolIT briefly, but it seems more complicated and being this is the first time I've considered water cooling, I want something very simple and hard to screw up.

I'll look into the H50 more and get back to you with my thoughts, but keep the suggestions coming in. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.
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August 7, 2009 9:00:41 PM

Ok, I'm already sold on this water cooler. I love it, I love everything about it. Here's my proposed setup: (please excuse the rushed paint job lol)


Red - stock fans
Blue - H50 and radiator
Green - fan that comes with the H50

Right now, my case is stock with the blowhole fan (exhaust), the lower chamber fan (facing rear), and the rear fan (exhaust). I plan to move my rear fan to the front as an intake, and install the radiator with it's fan at the rear and set it up as intake as is suggested. I should note that I have no HDD's mounted in the upper HDD chamber because my GTX 275 is too long.

I'd probably set all the fans on low, with the possible exception of the blowhole, which I may set to medium to try and pull the air coming off the radiator immedietly out of my case. Moving the rear exhaust fan to the front will also let me blow cool air over my video card, which is a nice bonus.

Suggestions? Comments? Criticism?
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August 7, 2009 9:33:36 PM

If you look at performance reviews it is not too much better than some air coolers :D 
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August 7, 2009 9:45:12 PM

^But that's the thing; I've got a mid-size case, and don't have the luxury of being able to fit in some of those nice, big air coolers. I'd love to slap in a TRUE or a MUGEN-2 or whatever, but I won't be able to fit them in my case. I don't necessarily want to maximize my overclock potential, I just want to squeeze out what I can, and this little setup looks like it could serve me well.
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August 10, 2009 2:49:48 AM

*bump*
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!