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Overclocking On Air: 10 LGA 1156-Compatible Performance Coolers

Features Comparison

While most of today’s cooler competitors already include the necessary LGA 1156 mounting hardware, two require additional components. Sunbeamtech’s accessory mounting brackets cost around $10, while Xigamtek’s $8 universal LGA adapter is expected to eventually replace the dual-compatibility part included in current samples.

LGA 1156 CPU Cooler Features
Top HeightBase HeightDIMM IntrusionNumber of FansFan SizePWM ControlLGA 1156LGA 1366LGA 775AM3 / AM2
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro R2131mm28mm12mmOne92mmYes
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus160mm38mm6mmOne120mmYes
Noctua NH-D14160mm46mm42mm*Two120mm, 140mmNo
Scythe Mugen-2 Rev. B156mm41mm28mmOne120mmYes
Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer156mm38mm10mmOne120mmNoxx
Thermalright MUX-120161mm47mm2mmOne120mmNoxxx
Thermaltake Frio162mm28mm11mmTwo120mmNo
Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme156mm47mm9mmOne120mmNo
Xigmatek Thor's Hammer160mm44mm24mmTwo120mmNox
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet160mm37mm8mmOne120mmNo

Top height in the chart above refers to the amount of mounting space needed to install the cooler in a case. Base height refers to component clearance space under the bottom fins, a number required to determine whether large coolers will fit over various motherboard sinks. DIMM intrusion refers to how far the sink extends beyond the front edge of the 3.75”-wide silk-screened outline that surrounds most LGA 1156 sockets.

Notice that all of today’s coolers extend beyond the outline that surrounds the socket. Base height can also be used to determine maximum memory height for DIMMs that fall under the cooler’s front fan.

Noctua’s NH-D14 gets an asterisk following its DIMM intrusion number because this particular cooler has a center fan that can be used with or without the front fan. Removing the front fan lessens DIMM encroachment by 25mm, though it also reduces the performance of the heat sink.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.