Best Intel CPU Cooler

Our top picks for Intel CPU coolers

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The CPU, or central processing unit, performs calculations during each cycle. A stronger CPU handles more calculations, generating more heat. To maintain safe temperatures and enable optimal performance, a CPU cooler is essential. You could go with your stock cooler but considering you might want to overclock to get some extra juice out, you might want to get a beefier third-party cooler.

The CPU cooler helps dissipate heat from the chip, preventing overheating and allowing the processor to operate at its designed speed. Without proper cooling, you might experience thermal throttling. With all that said, let’s take a look at our top CPU cooler picks for your Intel CPUs.

Best Intel CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15

Noctua NH-D15

Type

Air

Max RPM

1500 RPM

Max Noise

24.6 dB

Dimensions

(H)165 x (W)150 x (D)150 mm

Pros
  • Exceptional Cooling Performance
  • High-Quality Fan Bearings
Cons
  • Slightly Higher Price
  • Potential DDR DIMM Slot Blockage

The Noctua NH-D15 is the ultimate choice for an air cooler, especially if you’re wary of potential leaks from AIO coolers. It excels in every aspect, making it the preferred CPU cooler. While the NH-U12A is a strong competitor, the NH-D15’s dual-tower design and paired fans make it the superior cooling solution. Its robust cooling performance surpasses the NH-U12A in ensuring safe temperatures for your upcoming PC build.

The dual-tower design’s advantage lies in its increased thickness compared to the U12S, allowing for dual fan placement. Before installing, ensure your PC case can accommodate the NH-D15’s 165mm height. Also, consider your RAM heat spreaders’ height for potential interference if using both fans.

Addressing this is simple: adjust the position of the fan facing the RAM on the cooling tower. Once installed, the NH-D15 excels in cooling performance with its six heat pipes, premium fans, and reliable bearings, ensuring optimal operation for your new PC build. Although it might be slightly pricier than other air coolers, its exceptional thermal capabilities make it a top choice.

Best AIO Cooler: CoolerMaster MasterLiquid ML360L ARGB V2

CoolerMaster MasterLiquid ML360L ARGB V2

Power Connector Type

3-Pin

Voltage

12 Volts

Wattage

250 watts

Pros
  • Excellent thermal performance
  • Ample headroom for overclocking
  • Sleek and understated design
Cons
  • Higher price point
  • Requires a 360mm radiator slot
  • Cables for fans and RGB connections

CoolerMaster is renowned for producing top-notch AIO liquid coolers, and our favorite pick is the CoolerMaster MasterLiquid ML360 ARGB V2. We always suggest opting for a minimum 240mm radiator size with an extra 120mm surface area for components like RAM and GPUs. This AIO stands fully equipped to handle both Intel and AMD processors. Sporting a 360mm radiator attached to the pump and CPU block unit, the MasterLiquid ML360 ARGB V2 boasts an impressive cooling performance.

Similar to many solutions on the market, this AIO cooler features a myriad of RGB lights, creating a captivating light display. More importantly, it’s more than capable of efficiently managing the demands of an Intel Core i9 or AMD Ryzen 9 CPU, making it a solid choice for performance enthusiasts.

Best Budget-Friendly CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition

Type

Air

Max RPM

2,000 RPM

Max Noise

26 dBa

Dimensions

(H)120 x (W)77 x (D)158.5 mm

Pros
  • Exceptional value for money
  • Impressive performance for the price
  • Remarkably quiet operation
Cons
  • Limited overclocking potential
  • Might struggle with high-core count CPUs

For budget-conscious users who still prioritize solid performance, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition is our recommendation for air cooling. In terms of affordability, especially when compared to pricier AIO liquid solutions, it stands out. Don’t let its cost-effective nature fool you – this cooler has the capability to handle even the more robust Intel and AMD processors. While it may feature a single 120mm fan, it may not match the performance level of the Noctua NH-D15, but the substantial cost savings are undeniable.

Though it might not provide the same overclocking capacity, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition’s overall value, surprising performance, and quiet operation make it a worthwhile choice.

In Summary

That pretty much ties the knot on our top CPU coolers for your next Intel build–whether you’re gunning for Raptor Lake or staying firm with your Alder Lake CPU.

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