I'm in the process of selecting a CPU cooler and have been reading lots and lots of reviews but one thing I don't fully understand I'm hoping someone can offer some education. I notice when they're discussing temps and which coolers do best they always show it at idle and then at 100% full load. I don't completely understand how these translate into everyday use. How much of my CPU do I use when I'm just on the internet, reading websites, youtube etc..? How much of my CPU am I using if I fire up a game? Is playing a game 100% of the CPU?
I'm just trying to understand because all the reviews make it seems difficult to get your system very cool but then I wondered if it would rarely ever hit 100% like they do in these tests which I know they have a bunch of programs that force the CPU to run at 100%.
Some overclockers use Prime95 for stress testing their CPUs and it does make the CPU cores all @ 100%. For daily computing and hardcore gaming I doubt you'll reach those 100% loads unless you have an older Pentium D or C2D CPU. Some multithreaded and heavy applications like VMware gets the CPU really hot and consumes too much of its potential power making it reaching 90% load.
The point of testing it at 100% is seeing what the worst case scenario would be like, and is also the easiest way to objectively compare a cooler's performance. It will never get anywhere near that hot when you game much less browsing the internet. Depending of the program they use in the review it can be anywhere from 10-30C hotter than it'll ever get during "normal " usage.
You may get spikes of 100% usage in general internet/youtube usage and a high sustained figure in games (entirely game dependant) other than that only persistent tasks like video encoding will max out your cores.
If you're looking for a recommendation I find Arctic cooling products to be pretty darn good.