Having an overpowered processor is nice, but you still need to be able to cool it down effectively. We have chosen for you the best compromises between cooling and silence in this comparison of the best AIO coolers and water cooling.
Cooling a CPU properly is not as simple as it seems. And with the generalization of modes increase » automatically adjusting the frequency of the processor, the choice of a good cooling system, whether it is a cooler or a cooling system water cooling AIO, it is more important than ever to get the most out of your processor. These gadgets are even more essential when you’re using your PC in indescribable heat.
Most processors have consumption peaks well above the TDP, the theoretical maximum consumption of the chip. This is especially noticeable on high-end chips. Therefore, its cooling should not be neglected for optimal performance.
Therefore, we have chosen for you The best refrigerators and refrigeration systems water cooling all in one depending on your processor.
If you are in the process of building a new PC, feel free to consult our dedicated guides:
Cooler Master TX3 EVO: unbeatable value for money
For a small processor like an Intel Core i3 or an AMD Ryzen 3, the coolest” values » Supplied with the processor is usually sufficient, but for less than thirty euros a greater operational silence and a small margin of maneuver can be offered for a possible overclocking with the Cooler Master TX3 EVO.
There is compatibility with most plugs on the market, as well as easy mounting. Its small size means it will fit in all cases and won’t interfere with RAM modules with large heat sinks.
On the performance side, the gap with a stock radiator is not monstrous, but it allows the frequencies to be maintained. increase stable with less noise. Although launched in 2011, the TX3 EVO is still the reference for low budgets.
Calm down! Pure Rock 2: The Right Compromise
When you get into the mid-range, with an Intel Core i5 or an AMD Ryzen 5, the cooler doesn’t necessarily ship with the processor anymore. Above all, the TDP often exceeds 100 W, which requires a slightly more advanced cooling solution. The Pure Rock 2 perfectly meets these needs thanks to its 4 heat pipes capable of dissipating 150 W.
In practice, however, this value will only be sustainable with the fans at maximum and with frankly unpleasant noise pollution. On the other hand, for a CPU around 100 W, it is capable of doing its job in remarkably quiet. The mounting system is easy to use and there are no compatibility issues with RAM or motherboard heat sinks.
Given its price, we have one of the best quality-price ratios on the market. Note that, for the most aesthetes, a black version is available for a few more euros.
Cooler Master MA612 Stealth: performances and silence
With its double 120 mm fan and 6 heat pipes, the Cooler Master MA612 will be able to cool the most powerful processors, both Intel and AMD. In fact, it can support a TDP of up to 180 W. Its two fans can spin up to 1800 rpm and thus provide the necessary cooling, even for i9 SoCs.
The manufacturing quality is at the top and the installation is particularly easy, in particular so as not to interfere with the RAM. It also has the advantage of being compatible with a large number of plugs. (Intel: LGA 2066/2011-v3/1200/1366/1156/1155/1151/1150 and AMD: AM4/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2/FM2+/FM2/FM1). Finally, it even has LEDs, so you can mix it in with the rest of your RGB setup if you want, but there’s a non-RGB version as well.
Noctua NH-D15: the extreme cooler
Have you fallen in love with a very high-end CPU like the Ryzen 5800X or a Core i7-12700K? Congratulations, but we are going to have to take a step forward to exploit them to the fullest without going deaf. To cool down these monsters, we highly recommend going for a dual-tower model with two fans like the Noctua NH-D15.
With a weight of no less than 1.3 kg and an impeccable finish, it is simply the best fridge on the market. The Austrian manufacturer still offers the most practical mounting system we’ve come across and the supplied fans are a silent model. Of course, be careful: its height means that it does not fit in all cases and its size can pose some compatibility problems with certain motherboards. Please take the time to check your compatibility before purchasing.
The performance is worth the cost: this monster manages to silently cool the most greedy consumer processors as long as we stay within the TDP limits.
True, the price may make you pale, but Noctua has one of the best after-sales services on the market and will even send you a new mounting system for free if you change your setup in a few years. For lovers of black, a version chromax. black exists
ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 360: Affordable all-in-one water cooling
If you have a very high-end CPU and want to push it to the limit, there is no miracle: you will have to switch to liquid cooling. That being said, the water cooling has come a long way since its DIY beginnings with aquarium pumps. AIO (all-in-one) systems are reliable and efficient, though obviously less flexible and scalable than a custom solution.
Among the abundant offer available on the market, it is the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 360 that caught our attention. It’s not the prettiest or flashiest on the market (no RGB LEDs here), but the performance is top-notch. You will be able to get the most out of a very high-end processor or even overclock without too much noise.
However, the 360mm triple fan radiator won’t fit every case and the bill is high. An AIO will also have a shorter lifespan than a more classic cooler, around 5-7 years. If you’re looking for something more compact, the 240mm version also offers solid performance. And if your box is gigantic, bet on the 420 mm version.
Please note that if you have a 12th generation Intel Core, the mounting kit must be purchased separately.
NZXT Kraken Z53: the top of the AIO
The NZXT Kraken are true benchmarks in terms of AIO, both for their efficiency and for the presence of an LCD screen on the pump.
The latter is capable of displaying a very wide color gamut (perfect for matching the rest of your RGB), but also, via the little CAM software, custom images, GIFs, as well as information such as processor temperature. The build quality of the latest model, the Kraken Z, is top-notch. The pump’s operation is particularly quiet, even when pushing the Kraken to its limits.
The Z53 model is the dual fan version at 240mm, but of course there are different sizes to choose from depending on the size of your case. A fully RGB version is also available.
old models, Kraken X-Seriesthey are also excellent and less expensive.
To us, the Kraken are clearly the best AIO water coolers on the market from a performance/style/price standpoint. But there are also valid alternatives such as the kit Corsair iCUE H100i Elite Capellix. If you’re a fan of all things RGB, you’ll be happy as the fans, in addition to the pump, also benefit from LEDs all over their surface. You can find the iCUE H100i watercooling in 240mm for €159, as well as in 360mm for €199.
How to properly cool your processor?
Cooling fan or AIO water cooling, which one to choose?
Formerly reserved for the most DIY enthusiasts (you had to use aquarium pumps…), the water cooling It has become more popular in recent years, with AIO (all-in-one) models that require no particular technical knowledge and are relatively simple to set up. Using the better thermal conduction of water to transport heat from the processor to a heat sink that dissipates it, the water cooling they are on paper more efficient than good old refrigerators.
In practice, however, things are not that simple. a bad system water cooling can be outclassed by a good cooler. And these have the great advantage of being easy to install and cost much less. a system ofwater coolingAIO also has a limited lifespan, around 5-7 years.
A good cooler is nearly indestructible and can be recycled into a new machine. His servant has been using his Noctua radiator for about ten years. In the event of a fan failure, the latter can be exchanged for ten euros.
If they have their uses for quietly cooling very high-end processors that dissipate several hundred watts, AIO systems areexaggeratefor the vast majority of users. That is why we recommend choosing a cooler in most cases.
What thermal paste to choose?
If the thermal paste that ships with your cooler is more than enough for an entry-level processor, we highly recommend spending a few bucks on a more efficient version. There are plenty of references, but it’s the Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut that caught our attention for its performance and ease of use.
For the application there are many schools, but we recommend, from experience, simply apply a small amount of paste on the processor and let the pressure of the assembly do the rest. Avoid putting too much, it would be counterproductive.
How to maintain your cooler?
Contrary to what one might imagine, a cooler requires quite a bit of maintenance. As always, dust is a component’s worst enemy. Start by regularly vacuuming the fins to remove the dust that builds up there very quickly. While you’re at it, wipe down (gently) the rest of the PC to remove all these dust bunnies, and vacuum any case filters if you have one.
Finally, don’t forget to change the thermal paste from time to time. The latter dries out over time and therefore loses performance, which will eventually affect noise and processor life. A renewal every 3 years will suffice. This disassembly allows passage to further clean the radiator and fans if they are clogged.
How to place the fans?
When installing the heat sink fans, be careful to respect the overall airflow created by the case fans.
In a classic setup, this usually means that outside air will be taken in from the front of the case by a first fan, then blown to the rear of the case where it will be extracted by one or two fans. If your radiator has two fans, position them correctly so they blow in the same direction.
Most fans have an arrow indicating the direction of airflow on the edge. When in doubt, the logo or brand is always placed on the front of the fan, where the air is drawn in.
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