In Pictures: 20 Heat Sinks That Look Cool, Too

Zalman CNPS9900 NT

Zalman offers several versions of this CPU cooler, resembling one of the shield generators built into the Rebel Alliance's Echo Base located on Hoth. However, the Zalman CNPS9900 NT looks rather interesting, thanks to the green LEDs mounted inside and its nickel plating. It's certainly a bit more unique than your standard (and boring) CPU fan, splashing a bit of color on the inside, while giving the PC a somewhat futuristic look.

Employing a pulse-width modulation (PWM) 120 mm fan with two ball bearings, the CNPS9900 NT also features a copper base giving way to three heat pipes that extend up into a circular array of fins on each side. On the compatibility front, the device works with Intel LGA 775, 1366, and 1156 interfaces, along with AMD's Socket 754, 939, 940, AM2, AM2+, and AM3. Its fan spins between 1,000 to 2,000 RPM (± 10%) and is rated for a noise level between 19.5 dBA to 38.0 dBA (± 10%). Overall, it measures 94 mm (L) x 131 mm (W) x 152 mm (H).

Thermaltake CL-P0401 V1

Is it a fan? Is it a weird-shaped accordion? Or is it an alien weapon? Thermaltake's CL-P0401 V1 is certainly different, to say the least, and it even won the Red Dot Design Award in 2008. Its overall shape seems to stem from paper-based hand fans, and it consists of a 110 mm cooler sandwiched between three vertically-layered red fins that are positioned in a "V" shape on each side. Four heat pipes extend up from a copper base and enter into both sets of fins. There are even blue LEDs to project a red-purple-blue wash inside the chassis.

According to the company, its "side-flow design" further utilizes the system air flow to help accelerate air speed without increasing fan speed for cooling efficiency. As for compatibility, the CL-P0401 V1 fits Intel LGA 1366 and 775 interface, along with AMD Socket 754, 939, AM2, AM2+, and AM3. The fan spins between 1,300 to 2,000 RPM and is rated with a noise level of 16 dBA to 24 dBA. Weighing 637 g, its overall size is 147 mm (L) x 92 mm (W) x 143 mm (H). It also comes with a speed control knob that can be mounted on the chassis faceplate.

Noise Limit Silentflux Passive Pro

The Noise Limit Silentflux passive pro is an unusual, non-mechanical approach to heat sinks, as it delivers passive cooling using Noise Limit's "bubble pump technology." There is no fan, nor are there heat pipes to carry the heat off the CPU. Instead, it uses the heat to create hot liquid and gas bubbles within the device's tubing. These bubbles circulate through the system, carrying the heat away from the CPU, and then condensing back to repeat the process again.

"This efficient and lightweight all-aluminum design reduces the need for the typical high-power, high-noise airflow, thus creating a cooling system that is high-performance, flexible, and cost-effective with very low audible noise," the company claims.

Currently, the device only fits on Intel LGA 1366, 775, and 1156 interfaces. Weighing 282 g, it measures 145.4 mm x 138 mm. It's said to be environmentally safe, and is made of 100% recyclable materials. It's also maintenance-free thanks to its factory-filled hermetically-sealed design.

Cooler Master CM Sphere

The Cooler Master CM Sphere is hot. No, not on a thermal level, but in appearance, sporting a look that may bring out the disco dancer in any PC enthusiast (or the fashionable grenade-thrower). Rather than focusing all of its attention on the CPU, this cooler also thrusts some much-needed ventilation on surrounding hardware. Made with 100% copper, the CM Sphere offers a round shape consisting of a radial copper heat sink, four heat pipes, and a vortex fan set within a sphere of red fins. The added blue LED gives it a special touch, casting an awesome red-purple-blue hue across nearby components.

Weighing 684.54 g, this disco-ball-like device fits on Intel's LGA 775 interface and AMD Socket 754, 939, 940, and AM2-based processors. The device measures 132 mm x 113 mm, and the actual fan measures 66 mm x 68 mm and spins at up to 2,200 RPM. Other features include a multi-air outlet that supposedly makes heat dissipate more efficiently, and two-way airflow from the top and bottom inlets. It's also supposed to run quietly, operating at 22 dBA.

Thermalright IFX-14 Intel BP

This beast not only features a long name, but resembles a futuristic skyscraper that honestly looks too tall to fit within a PC chassis. Called the IFX-14 Intel BP (Inferno Fire eXtinguisher for short), this Thermalright device offers enough room for three 120 mm fans or two 140 mm fans, though it can still do its job without the optional fans. It also has four 8 mm heat pipes and a secondary heat sink that aides in CPU and motherboard underside cooling.

So how tall is this thing? The specs indicate it measures 146.2 mm (L) x 124 mm (W) x 161 mm (H) with a weight of 790 g, while the secondary heat sink measures a smaller 135.5 mm (L) x 163.5 mm (W) x 112.6 mm (H) and weighs 130 g. The main heat sink fits on Intel LGA 775 and 1366, but users will need to make sure at least 70 mm of space is free within the chassis to make room for the secondary heat sink.

Scythe Ninja-CU

Here's another skyscraper, yet it is unlike Thermalright's towering beast. Scythe's Ninja-CU is perhaps more aesthetically pleasing, with a clean, colorful design. Apparently, the version shown here is a limited edition, but the more recent Ninja 2 looks similar, sporting beefier features, but without the cool red fins. Boasting a pure copper base, six heat pipes extend up into the tower of fins. The 120 mm fan--running at speeds up to 800 RPM--is mounted on the side, blowing heat away from the tower. The device is also rather quiet, rated for a noise level of 20.50 dBA.

The actual heat sink weighs 1,015 g, while the added fan throws in another 115 g. The device's overall dimensions are 110 mm x 110 mm x 150 mm, and it is compatible with Intel LGA 775 and Socket 478, along with AMD Socket 939- and AM2-based motherboards. The newer Ninja 2 is slightly bigger, measuring 116 mm x 116 mm x 152 mm. It features a 120 mm fan running at 1,000 RPM. The newer model is also compatible with a larger range of processor interfaces, including Intel LGA 775 and Socket 478, and AMD's Socket 478, 754, 939, 940, AM2, AM2+, and AM3.

Apack Zerotherm BTF95

Feeling a bit fancy? The Apack Zerotherm BTF95 could bring a little prissiness to your chassis innards with its unique 3D butterfly shape. Considered a high-end CPU cooler, the all-copper device doesn't use a fan by default, though the company does provide an optional fan that mounts between the insect's wing tips. Seated on a polished copper case, four copper heat pipes extend up into layers of red, butterfly-shaped fins and back down to the base, creating eight lines of dissipation. The fins feature an optimized pitch for natural convection.

On a compatibility level, the BFT95 fits on Intel LGA 775 and AMD Socket 754, 939, and AM2. The device weighs 510 g without the optional fan, and measures 108 mm (L) x 81 mm (W) x 128 mm (H). It also comes with a tube of high-performance thermal grease.

Cooler Master V8

Winner of the International Forum Design Award, Cooler Master's V8 heat sink features a 120 mm, rifle-bearing fan sandwiched inside four modular sets of aluminum fins and eight diagonal heat pipes, all of which are mounted on a mirror-finish base. On a whole, the device looks like an A/C unit or a component of a futuristic engine. Either way, the V8 means serious business.

Weighing 1.91 lbs, the V8 measures 120 mm x 128 mm x 161.1 mm and is compatible with Intel LGA 1366, 1156, and 775, and AMD Socket AM2, AM2+, and AM3. The fan runs a variable speed between 800 to 1,800 RPM with an acoustic rating between 17 to 21 dBA. Throw in the adjustable fan speed control, and end-users have a quiet environment during the night while cranking up the performance during the day for gaming, work, or other tasks. The knob is mounted on the back of the chassis though, so it's a bit inconvenient to reach.

Asus Triton 88

Here's another "skyscraper" heat sink design featuring a 120 mm LED fan sandwiched between two towers of aluminum fins. Called the Asus Triton 88, the device is equipped with a massive heat-dissipation area of up to 8,000 square centimeters and uses six high-conductive 6 mm copper heat pipes, allowing for up to 180W of "overclocking fun." It also includes a PWM function that will automatically adjust the fan's speed according to the CPU's temperature. The device even blows air onto nearby circuitry, helping with system stability.

Overall, the device measures 125 mm (L) x 112 mm (W) x 153 mm (H), weighs 876 g, and is compatible with Intel LGA 775 and 1366, and AMD Socket 754, 939, 940, AM2, AM2+, and AM3. The embedded fan is variable, from 800 to 2,000 RPM. Unfortunately, there's no mention of acoustic output, despite mentions of "low acoustics." Users also have the option of installing three additional 120 mm fans, sold separately.

  • ingodwestream
    i have the royal knight. still haven't used it yet..but its out of the box and its a part of my old school CPU cooler collection...sits right next toe the Gemini II.
  • hok
    Not one Noctua.... are you guys crazy?
  • Mark Heath
    There is no fan, nor are there heat pipes to carry the heat off the CPU. Instead, it uses the heat to create hot liquid and gas bubbles within the device's tubing. These bubbles circulate through the system, carrying the heat away from the CPU, and then condensing back to repeat the process again.
    A lava lamp on the cpu?
  • philologos
    I have the Scythe Mugen 2. I think it looks rather prosaic except in its sheer size. Its wide fin spacing makes it work well with low RPM fans, making a good choice for quiet computing. I also think its among the very best in value.
  • anamaniac
    I love my CM V8. Sure, not the prettiest thing around, and it's a horrible cooler if you want high end air cooling (get a TRUE for that), but damn, even at max speed, I can't hear it over even my case fans and GPU all at minimum RPM.
    Though I have been tempted to slap two more fans on it (for each side).
    The sheer size of it though makes it so I have to remove the HSF before removing the first DIMM. Pain in the ass when I have a corrupt stick of memory.
  • Zalman CNPS10X Extreme, no 6 in Amd on frostytech, what a cooler! virtually silent, on my machine, (every fan is controlled for silence except when gaming, all I can hear is the feint clicking of the HDD,s)
  • u forgot
  • arkadi
    V8 it one of the best coolers i had, silent, can handle good overclock on my 920. Unfortunately the fan started to vibrate after year of 24/7 user.
    But no bigy i got better fan inside :)
  • Crazy V
    Where can i pickup the SILENTFLUX passive pro?
  • Like the Noctua NH-D14 wasn't cool enough...