Compact AMD CPU Cooler?

Yes, yes, I know we get about ten thousand requests for 'The best AM3 cooler' every hour, but that's not really what I'm looking for right now.

I'm doing what is basically a rebuild of my system, and I'll be putting it in an Antec Sonata Elite case sometime in the near future to quiet things down a bit, and more simply because I love that case. Right now, I've got a Sunbeamtech Core Contact Freezer wedged on my MSI 790FX-GD70, and quite honestly, it doesn't fit. It's mounted backwards. I need all of my RAM slots available for my memory, and the fan on the CCF hangs right into the first DIMM. Put bluntly, the airflow and setup in my CM 690 II Advanced is terrible, and horrifically loud. I know a mid-tower case like the Sonata Elite isn't exactly made for an ultra high-end system, but I figure it can handle two 5770s and a Phenom II x4 965 at stock speeds... I'm not much of an overclocker to be honest.

Anyway, back to my question. What I'm looking for is a decent CPU cooler that's better than stock cooling, is relatively compact (top-down?), and most importantly, is quiet. I know I could head over to NewEgg and just start looking... I have been for the past hour... but it's terrible trying to judge how quiet something is, or its size, or even how effective or dated it is, short of Googling for a benchmark or roundup every time you find something. I figure some personal experience would come in handy right now.

Any ideas or suggestions?
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  1. Update:
    I was looking at the CoolerMaster Geminii S... it looks like it may be a little wide and have the same problem as before, though...
    Any opinions?
  2. Have you considered liquid cooling as an option?
    I have zero experience wiith water but am going to give it a try next build. The kit above looks really easy to install and use. This kit has good user reviews as well. Might be someting to consider. Looks like the radiator mounts in place of the rear 120mm case fan.
  3. Fake water cooling, hardly the performance of real water cooling that's for sure. The best low profile cooler available right now is the NH-C14 from noctua. Though it comes with a price tag. 90$.

    Another low profile is the NH-C12P. It also is expensive at 75$ but it does perform and is quiet. Oh BTW a thing about the H50's and H70s from Noctua is in performance settings they get up to 43+ dba while the Noctua's remain at a lower 39 or below dba.

    I mean if you want a cheap option though, the Gemini is perfect. It's a great cooler and low profile. Soo that's just my 2c on the Gemini. As for the C14 it is the king of low profile coolers right now and the C12P is just as good.

    That's a really in depth review of the C14 and will give you the best idea of the it. So check the whole thing, just scan the pics.
  4. Yeah, I have considered a self-contained LCS, but I have to admit I'm not overly impressed with the benchmark results. Of course, it's probably better than most air coolers... I'll have to look into it a little more.

    I have to say, I must have skipped over both of those Noctuas, as I'm rather impressed with the NH-C12P. I can't say I want to spend $80-90 on a heatsink, though. I'll keep that in mind, although I somewhat doubt it's what I'll be getting with all the other options in a cheaper price range. I don't really need the best cooling possible; just something better than stock for minor OC'ing.

    Here's a list of what I've seen (and liked) so far:

    Scythe 92mm SCSMZ-2000
    Scythe 100mm Shuriken Rev. B
    Noctua NH-C12P
    Cooler Master Genii S

    I'm leaning towards either a Scythe or CoolerMaster right now, mostly because of the prices...
    Just answering the question relating to the space issue, "top to bottom" Looks like the cooler does OK on average performance wise.
  6. the scythe coolers have a great rep over at frostytech.
  7. I've heard - the guys at frostytech seem to love those. If I decide to go for a top-down design, it will probably be the Shuriken Rev.B...

    ...which leads me to my next question. This doesn't necessarily have to be entirely low-profile or top down. I'm just tired of installing around a monolithic piece of sharp aluminum that looks like hell inside my case. Sorry, Sunbeamtech, but it's the truth...

    I was thinking about one of Zalman's top sellers.
    I've dealt with Zalman before when I got picked for their design competition, and I must say the customer support I dealt with was some of the best I've emailed yet. The 92mm model looks great from what I (and the reviewers) can see, and appears that it would fit perfectly as well. I actually like the external fan controller that comes with it - I'd rather give myself control over the fan speeds than the motherboard for some reason.

    To save everyone reading everything I've said up to now:

    Scythe 100mm Shuriken Rev.B
    Cooler Master Geminii S
    Zalman 9500A

    I'd say it's down to these three, unless someone else can come up with another option...

    I was looking at the Antec Kuhler series for a while, until I realized that it was high enough that it would be basically sucking on the side panel for air...
  8. Ehhh.... I kinda like the GeminiiS still. The heatpipes seem to be bigger than the Shuriken heatpipes. However, the Scythe's do have a rep for performance at a low price so... Could be a good option as well.
  9. I'm thinking the same thing... I was tipping towards the Shuriken because of its reputation, but according to Overclockersclub's review, the Geminii S outperforms the Shuriken 120. I was just looking at a larger roundup there (actually the SpinQ's review, has a lot of tested heatsinks included), and it basically beats everything short of the V8 and the TRUE. The only thing stopping me from ordering it right now is how much I like Zalman's 9500a...
    ^Not my pictures... images are property of their respective owners... please don't sue me...
    From its size and the way it's mounted, it looks like it gives basically everything more room than the Geminii does, but sacrifices performance and actually costs about $3 more. Factor in free shipping, though, and the 9500 would ultimately cost less...

    It all comes down to the Zalman 9500a versus theCooler Master Geminii-S...
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