Mini-ITX CPU Air Cooler Round-Up

Today we're reviewing the SilverStone Argon AR06, Reeven's RC 1001 Brontes, ID-Cooling's IS-VC45 and the Shadow Rock LP from be quiet!.

One of the nice things about requesting review items is that manufacturers always want to send you a myriad of extras to test along with the product you requested, which is just one of the many benefits of being a Tom's Hardware product reviewer. A handful of compact cases we requested also showed up with an extra CPU cooler (or two) for us to test. In addition to the extra coolers that showed up, we've also received a couple of CPU coolers from other manufactures that requested we test their products. With a fair assortment of compact CPU coolers now on hand, we decided it's time for a round-up.

Since we already have a reference platform put together for testing Mini-ITX computer cases, we'll be using it for today's tests. Additionally, we'll be using the Cougar QBX as our go-to case for compact cooler testing as it's specifically designed to handle small coolers that pull air in from the side of the case and vent it down towards the motherboard. Finally, to improve airflow and reduce heat inside the case, we're swapping out the reference platform's power supply for SilverStone's modular SX600-G 600W power supply.

For today's round-up, we'll be reviewing coolers from SilverStone, Reeven, ID-Cooling, and be quiet!. Additionally, we'll be using the well-reviewed NH-L12 from Noctua as a baseline for today's tests.

Specifications



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  • why_wolf
    For these kinds of small form factor coolers I would greatly appreciated seeing the stock Intel cooler in there. No point in buying 3rd party if it can't beat stock.
    22
  • Other Comments
  • megamanxtreme
    I was hoping for one that can be mounted like the stock AMD cooler, without having to rely on pulling-out the motherboard to install the back plate.
    0
  • why_wolf
    For these kinds of small form factor coolers I would greatly appreciated seeing the stock Intel cooler in there. No point in buying 3rd party if it can't beat stock.
    22
  • farlandprince
    What kind of a roundup is this?

    you missed like 10 available coolers ...
    6
  • Onus
    The Reeven appears to be available at Newegg, but all their products also tack on a $20 shipping charge.
    0
  • SuperBox
    The Shadow Rock LP does not require the use of low profile memory, standard memory without a tall heat spreader can fit.
    0
  • Calculatron
    I love cooler round-ups!

    Please tell me that more are coming!
    3
  • DonkeyOatie
    Shame some of the older coolers you have reviewed, like the RAIJINTEK Pallas or Xigmatek Januscould not have been included, so the earlier reviews could be 'normalized' with this hardware kit
    4
  • SR-71 Blackbird
    Cryorig?
    0
  • NMOGV2
    How about the inclusion of the scythe big suriken 2 rev. b? For 40$ it's an amazing little cooler.
    2
  • Yuka
    No GeminII M4? :(

    I wish you guys can include them, as well as include (when available) the new boxed cooler from AMD, plus Intel boxed coolers.

    Cheers!
    0
  • 10tacle
    I'm curious what the requisites were for just these four coolers being tested. Was a notification sent out to all the mITX cooler makers to ask for a sample product to test and these are the only four that were sent? Or was it a case of not all mITX cooler makers were reached out to? It's not real clear in the intro.

    Tom's tested eight of them back in Nov. 2013:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/low-profile-heat-sink-mini-itx,3639.html
    0
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    I'm curious what the requisites were for just these four coolers being tested. Was a notification sent out to all the mITX cooler makers to ask for a sample product to test and these are the only four that were sent? Or was it a case of not all mITX cooler makers were reached out to? It's not real clear in the intro.

    Tom's tested eight of them back in Nov. 2013:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/low-profile-heat-sink-mini-itx,3639.html
    You'd probably be upset if you found out that these were leftover samples sent with things like the big coolers that I test and the small cases that he tests, so let me be nice and say that he has the full license to pick up on small cooling reviews where I left off. So this is just the intro to a series of reviews.
    2
  • 10tacle
    Anonymous said:
    So this is just the intro to a series of reviews.


    Ah....I had to read the intro again to fully understand after your response. Thanks Crashman! Fully understood.
    0
  • cmiconi
    As Crash mentioned earlier (and as I mentioned in the article), most of these coolers came with the mITX cases I received. We also had a couple requests from manufactures to test their products. I've still got a couple of coolers on hand that need to be tested at some point, but I've shifted my focus back to cases for the time being, so it's going to be a bit.

    That does leave me some time though to start sending out requests for samples and I'm open to suggestions on what to request. Also, if there's enough demand for a particular theme (i.e. budget coolers) I can also put together another round-up.
    0
  • Janemba
    What about AMD Wraith ? Its Mini-ITX cooler
    0
  • gadgety
    I'd like to see tests based on cooler height: This is the best performer up to 40 mm, 45 mm, 50 mm, 55 mm, 60mm, 65mm etc. At least when I go searching for a cooler one of the first questions I ask is "will it fit." In addition it makes the comparison more relevant. A 75mm cooler will likely be better than a 45, or 58mm. The second question is "how does it perform" and the third "how much is it". Q2 and Q3 I might switch but the first one is not negotiable. I also think that the stock cooler should be in all comparisons.
    0
  • bit_user
    Thanks for the article.

    Anonymous said:
    I'm open to suggestions on what to request. Also, if there's enough demand for a particular theme (i.e. budget coolers) I can also put together another round-up.
    I'd love to see how Scythe Big Shuriken II Rev. B compares. I have one paired with a Noctua 140 mm fan on my Sandybridge-E. I don't know if it's compatible with Skylake, though.

    Something I've seen on at least one other site is to take another set of cooling measurements using a common reference fan. This is helpful for those of us who would swap fans anyway, and it's a more direct apples-to-apples measurement of cooling efficiency.
    1
  • Daniel Ladishew
    Thank you for testing a product in the environment it was meant to be used in! This is a great start to a (hopefully) comprehensive series of reviews and a truly useful roundup. Thanks guys!
    0
  • RedJaron
    Do you per chance have an ITX FM2+ board to check RAM clearance when you review these?
    0
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Do you per chance have an ITX FM2+ board to check RAM clearance when you review these?
    First of all, I'd like to appologize to everyone for the missing information.
    The NH-L12 for example has 0.5" of offset. That's important to know if you're wondering "can I turn this thing to fit the other way". I later started listing which directions the offset pointed (front/rear left/right). When you have both the dimensions AND the offset, you can figure out what the biggest cooler to fit your board will be.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/low-profile-heat-sink-mini-itx,3639.html

    Second of all, one reason the NH-L12 was included in both articles is so that a reader could compare the differences of various coolers (such as "this one is cooler than the NH-L12, what does the previous article say about the other one). So the NH-L12 is the "conversion factor" cooler.
    0