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How do I tell a bad CPU cooler from a good one?

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May 6, 2012 1:59:11 PM

I need a new CPU cooler fan for my I7 3770. Its on a Asus P8z77v deluxe board.

I know nothing about CPU coolers, how do I select a one that will last and perform well?

More about : bad cpu cooler good

a c 203 à CPUs
May 6, 2012 2:02:33 PM

Hello Light Plasma;

Looking at the review sites is a good option.
The ones that look at and test a lot of CPU coolers can give you a great idea that you'd getting your money's worth in coolers.

What's your cooling goal? Quiet stock performance? Maximum overclock? Or safe moderate overclocking on a budget?
May 6, 2012 2:21:20 PM

Hi WR2, cool name by the way!

I just want to replace the stock cooler. That is quiet stock performance.

I read that stock coolers are really bad. Is that true?

I don't think my processor overclocks. However it has Turbo, I guess that is a bit like overclock.

I heard someone really long ago say that if a metal fender on a cooler gets partially bent, even though if it is only a little bit. It downgrades the cooler.
Related resources
a c 203 à CPUs
May 6, 2012 2:28:23 PM

Stock coolers aren't terrible. But aftermarket coolers are quite a bit better - mainly due to bigger fan, higher airflow and larger heatsink.

If you don't have the K model of 3770 you probably don't need 'best & most expensive' coolers.
A small ding on a heatsink isn't cause for too much concern. If the heatsink allows mostly normal airflow it should still work OK.

What case do you have? We can check to make sure what size cooler will fit inside.
May 6, 2012 2:54:10 PM

I have a question for you wr2!

Why is the 212 so popular? Is it more because of the low price or because of extreme cooling?

I had a coolermaster v8 on i5 2500k clocked to 4.6 on an asus maximus iv gene-z board... It idled at temps from 19c to 23c and even when running prime 95 for hours on end only reached peaks of 40-41c. I monitored this with both core temp and asus's monitoring software supplied with the board.

This was installed in a coolermaster storm scout case with stock fans.

Now I have an i5 2500k also clocked to 4.6 on an asrock extreme3 gen3 board in a bitfenix survivor case with stock fans. For a cpu cooler I have the coolermaster hyper n520 and my temps are much higher. Idles are from 25c-32c and at load closer to 50c Is this a result of less air flow through my case or a lesser quality cpu cooler?

As far as the 212 I have always been tempted to get one but I am more partial to the lower temps and am willing to spend the extra on the best.

Not trying to hijack the thread, but the answers to my questions might serve the ops needes as well. Thanx in advance
a b à CPUs
May 6, 2012 3:04:10 PM

The hyper 212 is popular because it's price/performance ratio is still unbeaten at it's bracket. Other larger more expensive coolers will have better performance, but at it's price it still performs better than others priced a bit higher.

Back on topic. OP I believe you can probably pick up the smaller brothers of the hyper 212 since you are not going/can't overclock your processor. It will give you great performance, fit in your case without messing with mounting brackets and what not.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cheers and GL

a c 203 à CPUs
May 6, 2012 3:06:16 PM

It's probably very good performance at a very good price.
Hyper 212+ (not the Evo) is about half the cost of the CM V8?

FrostyTech review shows CM V8 performance and Hyper 212 performance to be very close.
And Hyper 212+ can take a 2nd fan for a push/pull setup for slightly better perforamnce.
http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=231...
a c 309 à CPUs
May 6, 2012 3:30:50 PM

The stock Intel cooler is perfectly fine in normal usage.

But, under load, or when overclocked, the small fan will spin up and get noisy.

The advantage of a cooler like the cm hyper 212 is that the larger 120mm fan can do a good job of cooling and not need to spin up. It is quieter under load.

Another advantage of the 212 is that it has a backplate mount. Not only is it more secure, but it is easier to install compared to the Intel pushpin mounts.

Unless you are pushing for high overclocks, most any aftermarket cooler with a 120mm fan will do the job for you.
May 6, 2012 3:34:30 PM

How good is the stock cooler on the i7 3770 considered to be?
a c 203 à CPUs
May 6, 2012 3:37:56 PM

It's perfectly adequate for it's intended purpose.
Especially when it's in a well ventilated space (case) and not subject to unusually hot environmental conditions.
a c 203 à CPUs
May 6, 2012 3:39:41 PM

Another way of looking at it - it doesn't match the quality of your other mentioned parts, i.e., the i7-3770 and Asus P8z77v Deluxe MB
May 6, 2012 4:17:12 PM

I see. I have a Define R3 case from Fractal Design, its got two fans that came with the case.
The placement of them is a bit off right now, as one is in the front door (seems to be placed there to help cool HDDs). The other one is the back. I only have a SSD as storage space (they don't need fans). So maybe the front foor fan is better off in the bottom of the case.
May 6, 2012 6:43:16 PM

Light Plasma said:
I see. I have a Define R3 case from Fractal Design, its got two fans that came with the case.
The placement of them is a bit off right now, as one is in the front door (seems to be placed there to help cool HDDs). The other one is the back. I only have a SSD as storage space (they don't need fans). So maybe the front foor fan is better off in the bottom of the case.


With the fan on the front or bottom either way is inflow for the case... It shouldn't be more or less airflow, or any cooler to switch position of that fan. If it were me, I would buy an after market fan for any additional cooling as apposed to moving already existing fans.

I didn't look up your case, but is there not anotherspace for a fan? Say a top mounted fan for the top of the case?
a c 203 à CPUs
May 6, 2012 7:17:12 PM

Right now your R3 has the classic two fan arrangement. Front/low fan for cool air intake and rear/high warmed air exhaust. The case also has a good supply of optional fan mounts.

Fractal Design Define R3 fan mounts:
Front 1x 120mm intake fan, 1x 120mm fan mount
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 2x 120/140mm fan mounts
Side 1x 120/140mm fan mount
Bottom 1x 120/140mm fan mount
May 9, 2012 11:35:22 AM

I don't know how to place the fans. Do you know of any tutorials? I think one more fan should do. What slot is the recommended one?

Still can't decide on the cooler. I need something better then the stock cooler pictured by WR2 above. And the most expensive coolers are probably really over the top, as the processor does not overclock.

The stock cooler connects to the processor through a flat circle copper connection. Do all?
a c 203 à CPUs
May 9, 2012 11:58:33 AM

Continue the front/low fan for cool air intake and rear/high warmed air exhaust strategy. A top mounted 140mm exhaust fan would my next suggestion.

A lot of CPU coolers have a bigger contact patch. And we already talked about the bigger heat sink and higher performance fan.


How much were you thinking about spending for an upgraded CPU cooler.

Also, as yet you haven't shown any CPU temp results that really indicate a new for an aftermarket cooler.
a c 309 à CPUs
May 9, 2012 2:28:27 PM

You could experiment with fan placement.
My thought would be to use the two fans as intakes, either in the front, or bottom.
That would give you a bit more airflow which should be entirely sufficient.

May 9, 2012 3:15:41 PM

I'm in a similar situation as Light Plasma as I'm looking to get the Ivy Bridge i7 3770 CPU with the Gigabyte z77 UD5 for my girl friend and our small business. I was considering getting her the Antec 302 case. My issue is that she will never check temperatures so, the heat issue of Ivy CPU's has me concerned as many reviewers are complaining about the heat.

We don't have central air either and it gets 105 around here and around 80/85 at times inside even with a window A/C unit that's not quite big enough to cool the place - the window isn't big enough to put anything bigger. So, that's what has me most concerned, high workloads on a very hot day; will the air flow inside the case & CPU cooler be enough on those worst days?

I've never had to have an aftermarket CPU cooler before so, like Light Plasma, I just want to make sure I get one that's really worth getting that will keep the hot Ivy Bridge CPU cool BUT, I don't want to gain a noise issue by trying to address the heat issue.

I did just see this new article:

Corsair Adds ''Air Series'' Cooling Fans to Product Line
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Air_Series-AF120-AF140...

Here's the Antec 302 case:

Antec 302 at Newegg
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec 302 video Review
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubX0pKrtZiI
a c 309 à CPUs
May 9, 2012 4:18:24 PM

Unless you are overclocking to high levels, cpu heat should not be an issue. (the 3770 does not overclock).
The Antec 300-2 is a fine case with sufficient stock cooling fans supplied.
Added fans can be installed later, but you won't need them.

Remember that cpu and graphics chips are designed to downclock themselves for protection in the event that temperatures get too hot(like if a cooling fan fails).
Really, an aftermarket cooler is not necessary for running at stock.
Still, I recommend one, like the cm hyper212($20-30) for two reasons:

1) The larger 120mm fan will run quieter and cool better than the stock Intel cooler, particularly under load.
2) The Intel pushpin mounts are notoriously hard for the novice to install properly. The backplate mount of the hyper212 is easier to install, and more secure.
May 9, 2012 5:15:50 PM

Thanks geofelt. It sounds like basic common sense. I just wanted to be sure. We've always gone with the much cheaper AMD computers in the past but, want a serious system for our workloads now. This new system will be almost double the price and I just want to make sure it has a long lifespan. Our current work computer is from 2004 so, we tend to keep our computers until they die. I don't want to have to replace the CPU after just 2 or 3 years due to heat exhaustion. This computer is for work and if it dies on us we're screwed and it'll all be my fault for making this expensive recommendation. I never expected the heat issue with the Ivy CPU's.

I wonder how much noise will I get from the hyper212?

I could also add a front fan in the case, which doesn't come with one.

* PS. I wish Tom's would do a serious review of the i7 3770 and test for any heat issues. I've yet to see a review of that one - only the k version for gamers to overclock. I'd sure feel a lot better if they did that.
a c 309 à CPUs
May 9, 2012 5:40:44 PM

Hyper212 noise will be determined by the rpm of the fan. If the fan runs at 900rpm or less, you will not hear it, and that speed is sufficient for good cooling.
The speed of the fan can be controlled by the motherboard and by other means.

You can read any review of the 3770K and look at the performance at stock. The 3770 is exacty a 3770K without the ability to overclock by changing the multiplier.

If the price delta is small enough, you might consider the "K" to preserve your option to overclock.

For a quiet case, you might also want to look at the solo II.
Here is a review:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/antec-solo2
May 10, 2012 10:27:47 AM

The fan speed, when connected to the CPU fan slot. Is it already on automatic in that case?
a c 203 à CPUs
May 10, 2012 10:40:30 AM

Light Plasma said:
The fan speed, when connected to the CPU fan slot. Is it already on automatic in that case?
Yes, the fan speed will adjust depending on the CPU temps.
a b à CPUs
May 10, 2012 12:50:22 PM

The corsair A50 is not a bad option eithr. its usually cheaper than the hyper 12+ and it performs about the same
a c 203 à CPUs
May 10, 2012 6:57:01 PM

That's the one. $15 after rebate and $4 shipping charge.
May 10, 2012 7:14:56 PM

I'm curious now if CPU cooler makers will come out with new and improved CPU coolers that can handle the excessive heat from the i7 Ivy Bridge CPU? Or, is it even necessary? Are the coolers already available plenty good enough or is there room for improvement?
a c 203 à CPUs
May 10, 2012 7:27:24 PM

Probably not just because of IVB. The MFGRs have been pumping out new and improved coolers for decades.
Enthusiast owners have been pushing the thermal envelopes ... like forever.

Corsair A50 CPU Cooler Review
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Corsair-A50-CPU-...
May 10, 2012 8:09:29 PM

Thanks for that review, WR2. I will read that at lunch time.

So, the Coolermaster, Corsair and other CPU coolers are made to deal with CPU's that reach 70c, 80c, 90c and up on a consistent basis then? In other words, there's nothing new or different about these high temps from the Ivy Bridge CPU's? Do I really need an after market CPU cooler or will the stock cooler from Intel be fine as well?

I realize I may be asking silly questions but, I've never had to have an aftermarket CPU cooler before so, I just wanted to be sure it'll do the job.
a c 203 à CPUs
May 10, 2012 8:12:45 PM

You don't need an aftermarket CPU cooler.

If you're not overclocking and if you have no unusual thermal challenges (poor case, poor ventilation, unusually heavy duty cycle, etc,) a stock cooler is fine.
May 12, 2012 1:37:22 PM

I got the Zalman CNPS7000C-CU LED cooler. So today is another build day!

May 16, 2012 12:21:31 PM

And then it was replaced by a Hyper 412S Cooler Master, as I understand it is the successor to the 212 model.

And I'd like to add that I have not experienced heat problems with my CPU.
a c 116 à CPUs
May 16, 2012 1:16:24 PM

josejones said:
I'm curious now if CPU cooler makers will come out with new and improved CPU coolers that can handle the excessive heat from the i7 Ivy Bridge CPU? Or, is it even necessary? Are the coolers already available plenty good enough or is there room for improvement?

The stock HSF is perfectly adequate IF properly installed AND there is adequate airflow through the case AND you are not overclocking.

One problem with the Intel stock HSF is that its all-plastic push-pin retention mechanism deforms and loosens over time so even when properly installed, it might start causing problems after 2-4 years.

Aftermarket coolers exist mainly for the enthusiast/overclocking market, for those who seek extra peace-of-mind and for maintenance/repair when the stock HSF is damaged or otherwise no longer providing adequate performance.
May 18, 2012 7:50:47 PM

I really have doubts installing my 412S CM cooler. It feels as if the weight and leverage of the cooler will break the motherboard. The contact size is so minimal.

Do any of you have experience installing a cooler similar to the 412S on something similar to the Define R3 computer case?
Is the cooler supposed to touch the outer case wall on the opposite side of the processor?
The computer case has got silencing foam on the inner side of the walls. Does that interfer or help the cooler?
a c 116 à CPUs
May 18, 2012 10:04:07 PM

Light Plasma said:
Is the cooler supposed to touch the outer case wall on the opposite side of the processor?

Ideally, no. As long as it does not interfere with closing the case, it should be ok. If you have to force the case shut because of it or it does not close quite correctly, you might want to consider something slightly smaller.

Light Plasma said:
The computer case has got silencing foam on the inner side of the walls. Does that interfer or help the cooler?

There isn't much airflow along walls so the loss in cooling performance should be slim to none.
!