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.

  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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