Keep Your Processor Cool with These Air and Liquid CPU Coolers

When building a gaming PC, keeping your processor cool will keep you from baking your processor and turning that $1,000 PC into nothing more than an elaborate end table. While the stock cooler that comes with some CPUs is fine and all, an aftermarket CPU cooler will run quieter, keep your CPU a bit more chilly and thus allow for overclocking, and can also add a bit of flair to the interior of your rig as well.Given all these benefits along with reasonable prices, you really can’t afford to not run one of these coolers.

TL;DR – These are the Best CPU Coolers:

1. Noctua NH-D15

Best CPU Cooler

Our Pick

Noctua NH-D15

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$90 for an air cooler?! Yes, it’s not a typo, but in its defense the NH-D15 is one of the most powerful CPU coolers available thanks to its dual-fan, push-pull configuration.

There are only two major problems, however: Noctua’s insistence on using the ugliest possible colors for its fans, and the NH-D15’s size. To say it is large is an understatement. It is enormous. It is the size of a European car. However, if you’re building a gaming rig and want to overclock, the Noctua will cool it as well as a liquid cooler.

2. Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition

Best Cheap CPU Cooler

Our Pick

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition

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No roundup of CPU coolers is complete without a Hyper 212. We selected the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition, due to its low price and updated, blacked-out aesthetic. Its predecessor, the 212 EVO, was the most common CPU coolers for PC gamers, and for good reason: it’s surprisingly effective, whisper quiet.

The new version of the Hyper 212 is just as good and it fits a huge variety of CPU brackets for both AMD and Intel chips. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition is everything most gamers need at a sweet price.

3. Corsair Hydro Series H100i Pro

Best Liquid CPU Cooler

Our Pick

Corsair Hydro Series H100i Pro

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Corsair is the first name that comes to mind when it comes to liquid CPU coolers. The Corsair Hydro Series H100i Pro is the company’s latest and greatest liquid cooler offering great amount of cooling and RGB lighting at the same time.

It’s also very easy to install and only costs a relatvely reasonable $125. This 240mm liquid-cooler should fit into almost every setup from full tower PC cases to even the smallest Mini ITX cases.

4. Corsair Hydro Series H75

Best Compact Liquid CPU Cooler

Our Pick

Corsair Hydro Series H75

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Interested in liquid cooling, but not ready to spend a ton of money, or deal with priming and filling? All-in one liquid coolers like the Corsair H75 are a great choice to make the leap to liquid cooling with minimum hassle. Liquid coolers put less weight on your CPU and motherboard, and utilize air from outside your case to cool rather than recycled air from the case.

The result is a frosty CPU, with less noise, and if space is really tight around your CPU, no air cooler will leave a smaller footprint. However, it is likely that you won’t much get lower temperatures than with a Cooler Master Hyper 212 or an H7, but you will usually get a bit less noise under load.

5. Cryorig H7

Our Pick

Cryorig H7

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Why would I even bother suggesting a cooler that cost $10 more than the 212 EVO when I already said the 212 EVO is all you need? The main reason is the H7 offers a bit more clearance which makes swapping RAM sticks easier, and it just takes up less room, so your build looks better. Plus, its smaller size doesn’t really come with any drawbacks; the H7 is slightly quieter and runs as cool (if not cooler) than the 212 EVO. The H7 fits both AMD and Intel sockets, although again, you will likely need a bracket for AM4. There is a lot of debate as to whether the H7 is an “EVO killer,” and honestly a lot of people are just tired of the 212 EVO as it’s been around forever. So, if you’re willing to spend $10 more, and are tight on space, the H7 is the way to go.

6. be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4

Our Pick

be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4

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The be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is true to its name, and is one of the quietest CPU coolers money can buy. It can whisk away up to 250w of heat, which is an excessive amount (a core i9-9900K has a TDP of just 95W). It can do this thanks to its massive 6mm copper heat pipes.

More importantly, it’s designed to operate at near silence. Even wtih two or three fans strapped on and spinning as fast as possible, it’ll only achieve a maximum 24.3dBA. It’ll set you back a pretty penny at $90, making it one of the more expensive air coolers on the market, but if you demand silence, this is the cooler for you.

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