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

Results: Cooling And Fan Speed

Unable to fit into our ASRock M8 project but still barely qualifying as low-profile, Noctua’s NH-L12 leads the cooling charts. Remember that these tests are based on a low CPU core voltage to compensate for reduced cooler capacity.

SilverStone’s NT06-Pro takes second place in the cooling chart, though it wouldn’t have room for air circulation in the M8 chassis. Thermalright’s 2.8”-tall AXP-200R is the best performer to fit that specific enclosure, followed closely by Scythe’s lower-cost Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B.

Adding the included resistor wires to the NH-L12 lowers fan speed significantly, but with only a minor increase in temperature. Higher overclocks might have changed this scenario, but we’re trying to use settings that all of these coolers can support.

  • CommentariesAnd More
    Good article.
    Reply
  • laststop311
    I knew the noctua was going to win before I even looked at the results.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    I am surprised that the Cooler Master GeminII didn't make this list.
    Reply
  • 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...
    Reply
  • cheesyboy
    Inches/Millimeters/Inches/Millimeters/Inches/Millimeters....

    It's good to see consistency ;)
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • Yuka
    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
    Cheers!
    Reply