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How to Choose the Right CPU Cooler

The CPU is the heart of any desktop computer, but without a CPU cooler, it wouldn't work at all. Providing your CPU with a safe and controlled environment in which it can operate goes beyond improving performance – it prevents it from self-combusting. A poorly cooled processor can burn out in seconds.

SummaryWhat to watch out forCooling mechanismsFansLiquid coolingHeat sink designSize and dimensionsAppearanceWhat are the best CPU coolers?1. Noctua NH-D152. NZXT Kraken X723. Cryorig M9 Plus4. Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240P

Most of the time, your CPU will come with standard cooling gear, but an aftermarket option can seriously help. Here are some tips for getting the perfect CPU cooler along with some great options currently available.

What to watch

Gathering your CPU and motherboard information can save you a lot of time and frustration right from the start.

Most important is the maximum amount of heat your CPU can generate. Knowing this helps to accurately inform your decisions about a cooling unit. Anything above around 60°C makes buying a large cooler a good idea.

Don't forget to also check the specs of the cooling unit you're currently considering for precise plug compatibility. This information is usually provided in a clear list on the manufacturer's website.

In addition to the above, the following aspects should also be considered/


When it comes to cooler mechanics, there are a few key things to consider.


Powerful fans can make a huge difference in performance, but more power isn't necessarily the best option for your rig.

High power can have a negative impact on noise levels, making your machine much louder than expected. If noise is an issue, it may be beneficial to choose a cooler with multiple fans instead of just one. The more fans there are (and the bigger each one is), the slower each individual fan has to spin. Multiple slower fans provide quieter performance while operating at the same temperatures as a single fast fan.

Liquid cooling

All-in-one liquid cooling units are more efficient than air cooling options, but they may not be necessary for your machine if your processor is relatively cold.

The same guideline of 60°C or higher should help you decide what is needed for your PC. Also, keep in mind that a liquid cooling unit's pump tends to be much quieter than a fan, making them good choices for low-noise builds.

Heat-sink design

Some materials conduct heat better than others, and CPU coolers use a variety of materials to conduct heat away from the motherboard. Copper is a great option and is often used in high-end coolers, but is priced higher than standard aluminum options.

Size and dimensions

Know the dimensions of your computer case, especially the depth, in advance. Fitting a huge spare cooler into a small box is an assembly contortion game you don't want to play.

Densely populated motherboards require the use of narrower or taller cooler designs, but less footprint allows a multitude of designs to be used.

The dimensions of the heatsink and pump of your chosen unit are also important – some motherboards may place RAM close together, and smaller cases may completely exclude larger units.


Cooling units are available in a variety of form factors ranging from cubes to towering rectangles and more. In addition to ensuring that the shape of the unit you have chosen is satisfactory, you should also consider lighting options.

Customization and color options can make a big statement in your finished build.

Are preset cooling color modes available? If so, you can enjoy a great light show whenever your computer is in use.

What are the best cpu coolers?

The following cooling units are designed for use with Intel and AMD motherboards/sockets. However, not all socket and motherboard options are supported, so be sure to check compatibility.

Each of the options below feature advanced cooling technology for highly efficient operation, as well as looking pretty cool to boot.

1. Noctua NH-D15

How to Choose the Right CPU Cooler

This all-in-one multi-fan liquid cooling unit comes with more than powerful hardware.

The CAM software control system allows you to completely customize the functions of this chiller. There are also several lighting options and pump modes to choose from.

3. Cryorig M9 Plus

How to Choose the Right CPU Cooler

This particular CPU cooler features a compact design to allow the use of any type of RAM modules without getting in the way.

Two fans maximize efficiency, while a tower design simplifies installation.

4. Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240P

How to Choose the Right CPU Cooler

This all-in-one liquid cooler features a neat transparent pump and customizable lighting for a memorable look.

A quiet driver keeps noise below 20dB for extremely quiet performance.

There are plenty of CPU coolers available these days and many of them could be just right for your personal setup. Keep the tips above in mind and take a look at the models mentioned here before making your final decision to ensure you get the best cooler possible.