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

Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Revision B

Is the name “Big Shuriken” a contradiction? While the word may refer to a small bladed weapon, anything smaller than Scythe’s low-profile cooler might have been more-appropriately named Shaken. Then again, the Shuriken is larger than the stock Intel LGA 1150 cooler.

The Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B is even large enough to hold a 120 mm fan above its ultra-thin cooling fins, relying on five double-sided heat pipes to support high thermal loads, purportedly including those of LGA 2011 processors. The installation kit even includes custom screws to utilize LGA 2011’s integral mounting bracket, in addition to Intel’s other consumer-oriented interfaces and the rectangular screw pattern of AMD’s recent mounting brackets.

Scythe puts anti-corrosion nickel plating on its semi-polished copper base, but leaves its copper pipes au naturel.

Threaded collars screw into the Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B’s mounting brackets to allow installation from behind the motherboard on any compatible socket except LGA 2011. Those installations instead require that bolts be secured using a wrench from the side.

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