Can't Touch This! A Comparison of 46 CPU Coolers

Cooler Trends - Complex Design & Precious Materials, Continued

A global view of things reveals that a development is taking place away from the simple fan design of previous years. Technically high-quality models in this test rely on a copper core for their heat sink and are surrounded by thin fins. This core is complemented by a fan with ball bearings and a rotor designed to enhance airflow. The CPU contact surface has also been designed to enhance heat transfer. The ergonomic design of the coolers is also important - users should be able to install them easily, without needing a lot of elbow grease.

AMD's new Athlon processors above 1200 MHz practically beg for a powerful cooling system. Using a cheap generic cooler is just not worthwhile in that scenario. Also, overclocking fans who want to eke the last ounce of performance out of their system won't be able to get around buying a top cooler.

Complex construction - the Molex models are made up of many separate parts.

In a nutshell - this comparison shows a wider selection of coolers than the world has probably ever seen. The prices and features of all the coolers vary dramatically from one model to the next. In our last test, the Silverado from Noise Control emerged as the victor - and the result? Delivery times shot up to between four and five weeks and the manufacturer changed its business strategy.

  1. Cooler Trends - Complex Design & Precious Materials
  2. Cooler Trends - Complex Design & Precious Materials, Continued
  3. Theory: Ideal Cooling
  4. Cooler Master EP5-6151: Plain Jane Cooler For Undemanding Tastes
  5. Cooler Master DP5-6H51: Small Heat Sink - Large Fan
  6. Cooler Master DP5-6G11: Flatliner
  7. Blizzard Thunderbird: Shooting Star
  8. TRIG T40-6EA: Powerful Fence-Straddler
  9. TRIG T40-6EAC: XXL And Case Fan
  10. Global Win WBK 38: Behind Bars
  11. Global Win WBK 68: Wacky Little Brother
  12. Global Win CAK 38: Top Model With High Cooling Performance
  13. Elan Vital FSCUG9C: Ribbed Structure Made Of Sheet Steel
  14. Elan Vital FSCUG9C-6FC: Unsuccessful Thermal Trigger
  15. SPRING SPCT381 BAF-1B: Black And Quiet
  16. SPRING SPCT801 AAF-1B: Son Of Flatliner
  17. SPACEWALKER: A Nobody In The Crowd
  18. AVC Mega-Cool: Compact And Powerful
  19. Taisol CGK 744092: Unergonomic
  20. Smart Cooler FSM 1168T: Buyer Beware!
  21. Molex 371650008: Avant-garde Design
  22. Molex 371660002 U. 371610002: Little Brother
  23. Zalman CCC Project: Much Ado About Nothing
  24. Zalman CNPS2005 (Aluminum): Below Expectations
  25. Zalman CNPS3000 (Copper): Better Than Aluminum
  26. Zalman CNPS3100G (Gold): The Crowning Glory In Gold
  27. Zalman CNPS3100 (Cu-Au Alloy): Visual Blarney
  28. Zalman Coolers: Poor Manufacturing Quality
  29. Laboratory Tests Up Close & Personal - CPUs Maxed At 100%
  30. Cooling Temperature: Range From 30°C To 56°C
  31. Noise Level - Is That A Construction Site Or An Office?
  32. A Real Heavyweight - Swiftech's 789 Grams!
  33. Specific Cooling Performance - Swiftech Duo Still In The Lead
  34. Fan Speed - 2850 RPM To 6700 RPM
  35. Summary - A Comparison Of All 46 Coolers
  36. Conclusion - Just Say "No" To Cheap Generics
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