Eight Low-Profile CPU Coolers For Your Compact PC, Reviewed

Thermalright AXP-200 And AXP-200R

A red-and-black fan color scheme differentiates Thermalright’s AXP-200R from its more pedestrian sibling, and the firm even rates both product's fans at the same speed. Since they employ the same fan motor and design, readers should be confident of identical performance. The AXP-200 sells for $64-$80, and we estimate the special edition version in our lab is at the upper end of that range.

The AXP-200R includes a multi-sized fan adapter plate in addition to its Intel LGA and AMD four-hole mounting kits. Users can substitute the original slim fan for full-sized fans up to 140 mm, as well as Thermalright’s own 150 mm x 26.5 mm unit.

Thermalright polishes its CPU interface better than most competitors, though this does appear to affect flatness slightly near its edge. Nickel plating prevents surface oxidation.

The AXP-200's support plate is drilled for all consumer-oriented Intel and AMD processors, replacing manufacturer-supplied brackets for AMD coolers as far back as Socket 462. Extra holes near its center fit around the screws of Intel’s original support plates, and LGA 2011 users can instead use their original threaded mounts with a set of supplied standoffs.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • CommentariesAnd More
    Good article.
  • laststop311
    I knew the noctua was going to win before I even looked at the results.
  • lowguppy
    It is really nice to see a low profile round up when a year ago it was hard to find low profile coolers at all. I have to ask though, were these tested on an open bench or in an enclosure? I think to really judge them you have to put them in a box. Maybe not that silly ASRock chassis, but something a like a BitFenix.

    Also, every mini-ITX motherboard is a little different. It would take some work, but it would be nice to see coolers cross referenced with different motherboards for compatibility. Just reading reviews it is pretty common to find one or two "Didn't fit my board" comments while other reviewers found the coolers to fit perfectly.
  • Someone Somewhere
    Several others asked us for a few additional millimeters of headroom, though that would have resulted in a viscous cycle

    Do you mean vicious? Because I'm fairly sure the cycle wouldn't be a thick liquid.
  • slomo4sho
    I am surprised that the Cooler Master GeminII didn't make this list.
  • GoliathPtXs
    i feel that only a few of them ( like 3 or 4 ) are really low profile coolers, rest are just normal size, bearing in mind that the big ones are labeled as tower coolers...
  • cheesyboy

    It's good to see consistency ;)
  • AJSB
    Those things are WAY TOO BIG for really compact mITX systems....

    I'm using one from Titan that is really small: 107x70x12.5mm (official dimensions are incorrect) for the skived copper heatsink and can use 60mm or 70mm fans...i'm using a Titan fan that is 70x70x10.

    Really compact....check my build at www overclock net:D

    I i will add soon more pics and you will see something that is really small.
  • Amdlova
    i got here the cp 12 se14 on the lian li v 351 pushed the 3770k 4.6ghz... not bad at all now the noctua is cooling the 3470 no problems.
  • -Fran-
    11933622 said:
    I am surprised that the Cooler Master GeminII didn't make this list.

    I was going to post precisely that.

    I have one for my A8 8350 (100W) and it does a wonderful job inside a TT SD200.

    And this is the CM cooler we're talking about: CM GeminII M4