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

Cooling Temperature: Range From 30°C To 56°C

The Swiftech remains the undisputed champion as the cooler with the best cooling performance.

The most essential criterion to consider when buying a processor cooler is the temperature produced on the CPU surface. The coolers from our last comparative test weren't shown up by the 23 new test candidates. The Swiftech MC462 continues to be la crème de la crème, cooling down the CPU surface of an AMD Athlon 1000 to a minimal 30°C. Of the new coolers tested, the Blizzard Thunderbird demonstrated very good cooling capabilities, producing a temperature of 37°C on the CPU surface. This puts it on a level with the exemplary Silverado from Noise Control, whose innovative technology set the standard during the last test.

In general, you can say that all models that cool down to under 40°C are very good candidates for extreme overclocking of AMD Athlon/Duron and Intel Pentium III/Celeron CPUs.

The difference between these separate coolers and the standard el cheapo solution - the no-name serial cooler - is telling, as the chart indicates. The no-name cooler produces a temperature of 54°C, whereas the leader of the pack - the Swiftech MC462 - manages to produce a sensational 30°C. This fact alone reflects the vast range in cooling capacity among the models - a range largely invisible to the naked eye.