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

Cooling Value

Intel’s stock cooler is bundled with retail processors, so we naturally can't use its price as a baseline. We instead used the average of all coolers, and find that the $15 SilenX EFZ-100HA2 wins the cooling-to-price comparison. On the other hand, the cheap cooler runs too hot to satisfy any of our needs.

Priced at only $40, Zalman’s CNPS8900 looks like a great value in a cooler that meets most of our thermal requirements, and its value rating is closely followed by the slightly-warmer Gamer Storm Gabriel and Xigmatek Janus coolers.

Zalman’s CNPS8900 Quiet also has the low fan speed to make it a great overall performer, in the balance of cooling, noise, and price.

  • 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