You will find the best air CPU coolers we have tested in the following paragraphs. There will be another best picks for liquid coolers soon. Compared to liquid coolers, air coolers usually offer lower noise output, but to achieve high performance, they have to be enormous. Besides lower noise output, compared to all-in-one liquid cooling solutions (AIOs), air coolers don’t need any special maintenance. Their performance doesn’t drop in the long run, which can happen in AIOs depending on the quality of the cooling liquid they use and the operating conditions, leading to its evaporation over time.
UPDATED 1 January 2023
On the other hand, large air coolers might not be compatible with your mainboard or your RAM if the latter has tall heatspreaders. Moreover, you should check the maximum heatsink height that your chassis supports. Most chassis don’t have a problem with 160mm height coolers.
We use a fully automated, custom-made CPU cooler testing station to evaluate cooling solutions that can apply any load from 1W to 500W. At the same time, the fan speed can change automatically, so many test scenarios can be applied without supervising the whole procedure, which can last for several hours. Using a simulated load has several advantages, the most important being that you don’t have to rely on a specific CPU, which will eventually become outdated.
Watch the following video to learn more about our load-testing tool, Jalapeno.
There are two essential things that products need to be added to our best picks: to be available on the market and excel in terms of performance and reliability (cooling fans quality). Their build quality should also be the best possible, given their price tag.
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