Best CPU Coolers 2020 – Design & Performance

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best cpu cooler 2020

There are many benefits you get by pairing your CPU with one of the best CPU coolers, lower temperatures, higher performance, and increased durability. In the long run, you’ll really appreciate yourself for buying a decent CPU cooler, it is seen as one of the best investments when building a PC.

In this list, you will the best CPU coolers, we will be evaluating the design and performance of the cooler, and who it is best for. Many coolers on this list are purely based around performance, whilst others are around aesthetics, some have a bit of both. Nevertheless, we will help you find the best CPU cooler that works best for you.

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Quick Buying Tips

  • Check for RAM clearances, MAINLY FOR AIR COOLERS. Massive, dual-tower air coolers tend to block the RAM slots preventing the installation of tall RAM sticks
  • Then you should pick up an air cooler. Air coolers are prevalent for a reason, you can find an air cooler on par with 240MM AIOs for a fraction of the price. 240MM AIO cooling power is more than enough to cool an I9 9900K.
  • More fans mean better cooling but more noise.
  • Ensure that you can control RGB settings; changing the mode and turning it off. This can usually be done through the cooler’s software.
  • If you’re going for a mid-high overclock get a decent air or AIO cooler. The NH-D15, & Dark Rock Pro 4 can overclock pretty well, as for AIO coolers a 240MM+ AIO will suffice.

If you happen to be in a hurry, here’s a quick summary of the best CPU coolers on the market.

Preview
Noctua NH-D15, Premium CPU Cooler with 2X NF-A15 PWM 140mm Fans (Brown)
Best Performing AIO
CORSAIR Hydro Series H100i v2 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler, 240mm Radiator, Dual 120mm PWM Fans, Advanced RGB Lighting and Fan Software Control
Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO RGB AIO Liquid CPU Cooler, 360mm Radiator, Triple 120mm ML Series PWM Fans, Advanced RGB Lighting and Fan Software Control, Intel 115x/2066 and AMD AM4 com
Best Low Profile
Noctua NH-L9i, Premium Low-Profile CPU Cooler for Intel LGA115x (Brown)
Title
Noctua NH-D15, Premium CPU Cooler with 2X NF-A15 PWM 140mm Fans (Brown)
CORSAIR Hydro Series H100i v2 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler, 240mm Radiator, Dual 120mm PWM Fans, Advanced RGB Lighting and Fan Software Control
Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO RGB AIO Liquid CPU Cooler, 360mm Radiator, Triple 120mm ML Series PWM Fans, Advanced RGB Lighting and Fan Software Control, Intel 115x/2066 and AMD AM4 com
Noctua NH-L9i, Premium Low-Profile CPU Cooler for Intel LGA115x (Brown)
Noise Levels
24.6 dBa
37.7 dBa
25 dBa
23.6 dBa
Size
2x140MM
240MM
360MM
1x92 MM
Star Rating
Preview
Noctua NH-D15, Premium CPU Cooler with 2X NF-A15 PWM 140mm Fans (Brown)
Title
Noctua NH-D15, Premium CPU Cooler with 2X NF-A15 PWM 140mm Fans (Brown)
Noise Levels
24.6 dBa
Size
2x140MM
Star Rating
Buy Now
Best Performing AIO
Preview
CORSAIR Hydro Series H100i v2 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler, 240mm Radiator, Dual 120mm PWM Fans, Advanced RGB Lighting and Fan Software Control
Title
CORSAIR Hydro Series H100i v2 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler, 240mm Radiator, Dual 120mm PWM Fans, Advanced RGB Lighting and Fan Software Control
Noise Levels
37.7 dBa
Size
240MM
Star Rating
Buy Now
Preview
Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO RGB AIO Liquid CPU Cooler, 360mm Radiator, Triple 120mm ML Series PWM Fans, Advanced RGB Lighting and Fan Software Control, Intel 115x/2066 and AMD AM4 com
Title
Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO RGB AIO Liquid CPU Cooler, 360mm Radiator, Triple 120mm ML Series PWM Fans, Advanced RGB Lighting and Fan Software Control, Intel 115x/2066 and AMD AM4 com
Noise Levels
25 dBa
Size
360MM
Star Rating
Buy Now
Best Low Profile
Preview
Noctua NH-L9i, Premium Low-Profile CPU Cooler for Intel LGA115x (Brown)
Title
Noctua NH-L9i, Premium Low-Profile CPU Cooler for Intel LGA115x (Brown)
Noise Levels
23.6 dBa
Size
1x92 MM
Star Rating
Buy Now

The Best Air CPU Coolers

Air Coolers are fantastic cooling options simply because they offer insane cooling for the price, and they’re more durable. Air coolers can be seen as the ‘safer’ option since they don’t have as many failure points as AIO coolers.

Noctua NH-D15 · Buy On Amazon!

Powerful · Easy Install · Reputable

Best air cooler
Credit: Noctua
Intel Compatibility ListLGA2066 / LGA2011-0 / LGA2011-3 / LGA1156 / LGA1151 / LGA1155 / LGA1159
AMD Compatibility ListAM2 / AM2+ / AM3 / AM3+ / FM1 / FM2 / FM2+ / AM4
Number Of Fans2X140MM
Noise Levels24.6dBa
Weight1320grams
Cooling MethodologyAIR
Lighting Technologyn/a

Design

The NH-D15 is a large CPU Cooler with a dual-fan & heatsink setup. Just looking at the sheer size can give a good idea of its cooling performance. The fans that power this CPU cooler is the NH-A15 140MM fans which are designed to move air with extreme pressure to cool the heatsink.

Looking at the overall color scheme, I can see why many dislike it. How many PC builds of today look, I don’t see Brown & Beige going well aesthetically. Despite the looks, the attractiveness of any object is quite subjective.

Performance

The NH-D15 is one of the best air coolers in terms of raw performance, it has earnt this reputation as it cools hot processors & even overclocked processors easily. This is an air cooler that competes with some of the best 240MM AIO coolers. If you’re just looking for an air cooler that gets the job done well, this is the cooler that does the job.

Moreover, the NF-A15 fans are designed to generate a high static pressured environment that is wanted when pushing air in small crevices.

Installation

Without a doubt, the installation process is quite simple. This is because of Noctua’s easy mounting system. It is compatible with a large range of sockets, including the LGA1151.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Silent
  • Excellent cooling capabilities
  • Outperforms some water cooling units
  • Decent build quality, very durable fans
  • Easy installation
Cons
  • Due to the size, you may experience RAM slot clearance issues
  • Expensive for some individuals
  • Some may dislike the color scheme

Why should you buy the Noctua NH-D15

The NH-D15 is one of the best AIR CPU coolers in terms of raw performance. It is silent, and it can handle overclocked processors well.

Some AIO coolers can’t compete with the NH-D15, this AIR cooler is known for competing with 240 & 280MM AIOs. You essentially get 240/280MM AIO performance without the chance of pump failure and leakages.

Also, Noctua fans are famous for their quiet operation; using Noctua fans deliver a pleasant experience, there are very minimal rattling and vibrations.

Cooler Master MasterAir MA410M · Buy On Amazon!

Quality · Effective · Attractive

best rgb air cooler
Credit: Cooler Master
Intel Compatibility ListLGA2066 / LGA2011-v3 / LGA2011 / LGA1151 / LGA1155 / LGA1150 / LGA1156 / LGA1366
AMD Compatibility ListAM4 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1
Number Of Fans2X120MM
Noise Levels6-31 dBa
Weight820 grams
Cooling MethodologyAIR
Lighting TechnologyARGB

Design

The Cooler Master MA410M has one single heatsink partnered with two 120MM fans. It quite compact compared to other large AIR coolers; everything fits snuggly together. This is one of the best air coolers as it’s well balanced in terms of performance, size, and aesthetics

Regarding the lighting effects, you ARGB technology which is completely customization. Unlike normal RGB, ARGB headers are able to individually customize a LED color and brightness. However, you are able to disable the RGB if you’re Anti-RGB

Additionally, the RGB does have some practical settings; when the CPU is at a certain temperature, the cooler lighting will display that temperature in the form of color. Red is hot and blue is cold.

Performance

The cooling performance is decent for a CPU cooler with a single heatsink tower, this is most likely due to the effective and efficient design of the CPU cooler. Effective heat dissipation was heavily invested into this cooler; the heat pipes are heavily compressed together, and the heatsink fins are specially designed to dissipate heat better.

Make sure you set up the cooler properly for the push-pull configuration, You will see a cooling performance boost.

The actual cooling performance is enough to keep hot CPU coolers cool. While there are more powerful CPU coolers, in particular, this cooler has a decent balance between size, performance, and aesthetics. Overclocking wise, you can definitely get extra juice out of your processor, however extreme overclocking is not advised.

Installation

Just like any other CPU cooler, it requires patience when installing. If you follow the manual correctly, you shouldn’t have any issues installing this CPU cooler.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • RGB Lighting
  • Good cooling performance
  • Takes up less space than other air coolers
Cons
  • Will get noisy

Why should you buy the Cooler Master MasterAir MA410M

The first reason is quite obvious, it is an attractive CPU cooler with fully customizable RGB LEDs. furthermore, it is not obnoxiously large like other CPU coolers, and it has decent cooling performance to go with it.

Performance-wise, it is pretty effective at cooling hot processors. It is one of the best compact air CPU coolers you can buy. Overclocking with this cooler is entirely possible too albeit probably mild.

be quiet! Dark Rock PRO 4 · Buy On Amazon!

Powerful · Beautiful · Quiet

best looking cpu cooler
Credit: Be Quiet!
Intel Compatibility List1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011(-3) Square ILM / 2066
AMD Compatibility ListAM2(+) / AM3(+) / AM4 / FM1 / FM2(+)
Number Of Fans2X120MM PWM
Noise Levels24 dBa
Weight1130 grams
Cooling MethodologyAIR
Lighting Technologyn/a

Design

The Dark Rock PRO 4 is a very attractive CPU cooler, and it pulls this off with no RGB at all. Simplicity is what makes it look great, be quiet pulled off an awesome matte black finish that’ll fit well in any case.

The CPU cooler has two heatsinks just like the NH-D15, this makes for a large CPU cooler, and as we all know, large CPU coolers have ram clearance issues. However, the Dark Rock PRO 4 has cutouts which increase RAM clearance, thus allowing high profile ram to coincide.

Performance

Having two respectfully sized heat towers is bound to offer great cooling performance. Also, having 7 high conductive copper heat pipes extracts heat far more effectively than aluminum. The Dark Rock PRO 4 performs on similar levels to 240MM AIOs in terms of cooling performance.

Noise levels are low after all the brand is called be quiet. The PWM fans are specially designed to be virtually inaudible, and it is reported to reach a maximum of 24dBA at max RPM.

Installation

The installation is pretty easy and unique at the same time. With patience, the installation should be painless. They provide you with a screwdriver which you will need to install the cooler from the top of the heatsink.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • One of the best performing air coolers
  • Aesthetically attractive
  • Reputable brand
  • Very quiet
Cons
  • Installation requires patience

Why should you buy the Dark Rock PRO 4

This is definitely a premium CPU cooler, the Dark Rock PRO 4 is a great addition to any PC build. It’s one of the best performing air coolers which is heavily paired with hot processors, and it is used for mid-high overclocks.

Aesthetically, it is a beautiful cooler, not everything needs RGB, and the Dark Rock PRO 4 is a perfect example of that.

Let’s not forget that this is also an extremely quiet CPU cooler. Noise levels are important, loud coolers are distracting, especially when gaming.

Cryorig H7 · Buy On Amazon!

Budget · Effective · Sleek

best budget cpu cooler
Credit: Cryorig
Intel Compatibility List1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156
AMD Compatibility ListFM1 / FM2/+ / AM2/+ / AM3/+ / AM4
Number Of Fans1X140MM
Noise Levels25 dBA
Weight711 grams
Cooling MethodologyAIR
Lighting Technologyn/a

Design

The design of this CPU cooler is pretty simple and somewhat attractive, it is much thicker than Hyper 212 Evo at similar prices. As you can imagine, thicker heatsinks are much better at dissipating heat. Moreover, the heatsink as a unique beehive-like design that is more effective at exhausting hot air.

This cooler does lack RGB, but it makes up for it with its clean and sleek design. If you’re not fond of RGB, this cooler will go perfectly in your build. Having a clean looking CPU cooler is compatible with nearly every build.

Performance

Performance-wise, the Cryorig H7 offers the best performance for price ratio, it is one of the best budget CPU Coolers. It is mostly compared with the Hyper 212 EVO, and is regarded as the “212 EVO killer.

The actual cooling performance is actually superior to the 212 EVO, you will experience lower temps swapping the 212 for this cooler. You may receive 5-10C difference which makes a big difference especially if you’re considering overclocking.

Installation

Installing this CPU cooler is fairly easy, this CPU cooler is favored by many AMD users for the decent AMD compatibility.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • One of the best affordable CPU coolers
  • Very good cooling performance for the price
  • Premium build quality
  • Quiet
  • Fantastic RAM compatibility
Cons
  • Annoying installation if MB is already mounted

Why should you buy the Cryorig H7

The Cryorig H7 forgets all the featureless gimmicks that a lot of hardware tries to sell today, and focuses on what really matters, the performance and the design.

Raw performance is decent for the price, the cooling is on par with coolers double its price, so you really get value from this cooler.

In conclusion, this is one of the best budget CPU coolers that are compatible with Intel and AMD.

be quiet! Dark Rock 4 · Buy On Amazon!

best minimalist air cooler
Credit: Be Quiet!
Intel Compatibility ListLGA 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011(-3) / 2066
AMD Compatibility ListAM2 / AM2+ / AM3 / AM3+ / FM1 / FM2 / FM2+ / AM4
Number Of Fans1X135MM PWM
Noise Levels21 dBa
Weight920grams
Cooling MethodologyAIR
Lighting Technologyn/a

Design

The Dark Rock 4 is similar to the Dark Rock PRO 4 except that it has a single heat tower & fan instead of two. It also has the same all-black design and no RGB; this is essentially a compact Dark Rock PRO 4.

While the design does look pretty, the design is ultimately designed for optimal performance. The cooler has 6 heatpipes which is a decent amount for a cooler of this size.

Performance

Don’t let its compact size turn you away, this is a well-balanced CPU cooler, the size is made to conform with a lot of cases and hardware. The 6 copper heat pipes do an excellent job removing heat from a hot processor. With a TDP of 200, you can definitely do mild+ overclocks.

Just like the name suggests, the cooler is insanely quiet even at full RPM operation. This is a very modest CPU cooler, performance-wise, decent cooling and acoustics.

Installation

First of all, this CPU cooler supports all the major sockets for Intel and AMD. Installing this CPU cooler is relatively easy as they provide a screwdriver perfect for the installation. Just like all CPU coolers, take your time, frustration won’t get you anywhere.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • High performance.
  • Decent RAM clearance.
  • High-Quality build.
  • Not too large.
  • Clean & Sleek design.
  • Practically inaudible even at 100% RPM
Cons
  • Pricey.

Why should you buy the be quiet! Dark Rock 4

The Dark Rock 4 is a well-rounded CPU cooler, decent cooling, not too large, and quiet. If your motherboard cannot fit anything larger, for example, the dark rock pro 4, then this is the closest you’re going to get.

ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports DUO · Buy On Amazon!

Affordable · Compatible · Powerful

best budget air cpu cooler
Credit: Arctic Freezer
Intel Compatibility List115x / 2011-3 * / 2066
AMD Compatibility ListAM4
Number Of Fans2X120MM PWM
Noise Levels28 dBa
Weight764 grams
Cooling MethodologyAIR
Lighting Technologyn/a

Design

The ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports DUO has a single heat sink with two 120MM fans, these fans are designed to generate a high pressured environment in the heatsink. High static pressure is great for delivering air through small crevices eg heatsink.

Also, this cooler does lack RGB, but it already looks decent without it. Red and black compliment each other well.

This is one of the best air coolers for RAM clearances, the cooler completely avoids the RAM slots allowing high profile RAM to coexist. RAM clearance can be an annoying issue, especially with large CPU coolers.

Performance

This is another budget CPU cooler where you get insane performance for the price. The TDP of the cooler is around 200W, you can definitely cool hot chips with this budget cooler. Mild overclocks are also possible. Additionally, when the CPU reaches a certain temperature, the fans will switch to zero RPM mode to reduce noise.

Installation

Installing is pretty straight forward too. Just install the assigned mountain brackets behind the motherboard. Then attach the cooler via the assigned thumb screws. A very simple installation process and beginner builders should not have an issue.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Insane performance for the price.
  • Easy installation process.
  • Zero RPM mode.
  • Quiet.
  • Very good RAM clearance.
Cons
  • None notable

Why should you buy the ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports DUO

The ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports DUO is one of the best budget CPU coolers, you don’t have to spend too much to have a decent cooler.

~200W TDP is insane, for a CPU cooler less than $50. You can cool your processor cheaply and effectively.

The cooler also has some decent features such as the Zero RPM mode which is perfect for reducing noise levels.

Cryorig R1 Ultimate · Buy On Amazon!

Silent · Customizable · Robust

best silent CPU COOLER
Credit: Cryorig
Intel Compatibility ListLGA 2066 / 2011(-3) / 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156
AMD Compatibility ListFM1 / FM2+ / AM2+ / AM3+ / AM4
Number Of Fans2X140MM
Noise Levels~ 23 dBa
Weight1282 grams
Cooling MethodologyAIR
Lighting Technologyn/a

Design

The Cryorig R1 Ultimate has a dual tower heat sink design. Dual tower heatsinks are the best at cooling hot CPU coolers due to the increased surface area. However, massive CPU coolers such as this have a weakness, they interfere with RAM slots. You’re going to need low profile RAM to effectively use this CPU cooler.

Besides the size of the cooler, it is all black, and it has a nice futuristic design to it. The CPU cooler is also customizable meaning you can add a bit of color if you feel that it’s necessary. Essentially, you are able to use CUSTOMOD covers on the CPU cooler to lighten it up.

Performance

The Cryorig R1 is a beast of a CPU cooler, it has 7 6MM thick heatpipes that are compressed together to increase surface area by 10%. On top of that, it has 2 heat towers to exhaust heat away from the processor. This all adds up to the 250W TDP that it allows. The cooling performance that this cooler offer is enough to cool any hot processor and even overclock decently too.

As well as insane cooling performance, the cooler operates quietly as the cooler has been acoustically optimized. It uses special bearings and has vibration absorbers which cancel noise as well as improve the durability.

Installation

The installation should be quick and easy that should only take you 5minutes. The mounting system has been made to ensure a secure, and firm fit. Heavy Air coolers are required to be securely attached to the motherboard to prevent damage.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Easy installation.
  • Good cooling performance.
  • Performs pretty silent when operating at max speed.
  • Good build quality.
Cons
  • Possibility to block DIMM slots due to its size.
  • Expensive for some.

Why should you buy the Cryorig R1 Ultimate

Even with the lack of RGB, this is still an aesthetically customizable CPU cooler. It is all black, however, you can install CUSTOMOD covers to add some color.

It is also a silent and robust CPU cooler. You get respectable cooling performance which you can use to overclock.

Noctua NH-L9i · Buy On Amazon!

Compatible · Low Profile · Quiet

Best low profile CPU COOLER
Credit: Noctua
Intel Compatibility List1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156
AMD Compatibility ListAM4 (Mounting Kit Needed)
Number Of Fans1X92MM PWM
Noise Levels23.6 dBa
Weight385 grams
Cooling MethodologyAIR
Lighting Technologyn/a

Design

The NH-L9I Is a top-down CPU cooler but much more compact, this CPU cooler is designed to go in extremely small form factor cases. Low profile CPU coolers go well in slim cases thanks to their small size, the NH-L9I, in this case, has a footprint of 95×95.

Just like other Noctua CPU coolers, there is a lack of RGB present, and they all follow the same color scheme, brown & beige.

The NH-L9I don’t interfere with RAM and other components which is a huge plus. Hardware clearance is a problem especially when a lot of components are getting crammed together in a small case.

Performance

Performance-wise, you get decent cooling performance for the size, although there are better coolers if you’re using a normal-sized PC. SFX builds can benefit from the cooling performance this cooler offers, just make sure that the overall system is properly ventilated, and you shouldn’t have any noticeable issues.

Overclocking is definitely not recommended, the NH-L9I is an extremely compact CPU cooler, and shouldn’t be used in extreme environments. Its main purpose is to fit in small cases, not to offer extreme cooling performance.

Installation

If you’re building a new PC, the installation should be near painless. However, if you’re installing this in a pre-built system, you may have to remove the motherboard. You need access to the back of the motherboard to install this cooler.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Slim, fits especially well in SFX & Slim cases.
  • Quiet, Noctua fans are known for their quiet operation.
  • 100% RAM clearance.
  • Premium build quality.
Cons
  • No innate AM4 Support.
  • Not made for overclocking

Why should you buy the Noctua NH-L9i

The NH-L9I is an amazing CPU cooler in its own respect. It’s made for compactness, and compatibility, not necessarily performance. If you’re going for a niched build, where you’re utilizing small cases then this cooler would be a perfect addition to your build.

Remember, this is not a performance-based CPU cooler so overclocking is not recommended. Be careful with processors with more than 65 TDP.

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo · Buy On Amazon!

Well Balanced · Durable · Reputable

best budget cpu cooler
Credit: Cooler Master
Intel Compatibility List2066 / 2011 / 1366 / 1156 / 1155 / 1151 / 1150
AMD Compatibility ListAM4 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2 / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1
Number Of Fans1X120MM PWM
Noise Levels30 dBa
Weight1210grams
Cooling MethodologyAIR
Lighting Technologyn/a

Design

The design is pretty standard, there is no RGB, or colorfulness, its essentially a plain CPU cooler. You have 1 standard heatsink, with 1 120MM fan to cool the processor down. Additionally, you have 4 copper heat pipes to extract heat away from the processor.

Performance

Comparing this CPU cooler to stock intel coolers, it’s definitely an upgrade. However, this is still a budget CPU cooler which means you essentially get close to what you pay for. Price to performance ratio is pretty high, you get a lot of performance for what you pay for however, that’s common with cheaper hardware.

The cooler does have a few features to increase heat conductivity, the heat block has CDC(Continuous Direct Contact) technology where the 4 heat pipes are joined together to create a smooth and sleek surface. This essentially increases heat conductivity consequentially improving performance.

Installation

The installation of this product may be tedious if you haven’t done it before. But as long as you follow the instructions carefully, then installing this cooler shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re installing this on an already built system, you may have to remove the motherboard to install the backplates.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • You get a lot of performance for what you pay for.
  • Supports a second 120MM PWM fan.
  • Better for stock coolers.
  • Great to have around for test builds.
  • It can be used as a backup cooler.
  • Very affordable.
Cons
  • Can get noisy due to fan rattling
  • Not suitable for overlocking
  • Installation can be tedious

Why should you buy the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo

This is one of the most popular CPU coolers for its simplicity, it simply gets the job done without any nuisance. It’s an affordable CPU cooler, anyone can pick one of these up; have a few of them laying around for test builds or used as a backup cooler.

Scythe Mugen 5 Rev.B · Buy On Amazon!

Quiet · Durable · Compatible

best amd air cooler
Intel Compatibility List775 / 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011 / 2011-v3 / 2066
AMD Compatibility ListAM2 / AM2+ / AM3 / AM3+ / AM4 / FM1 / FM2 / FM2+
Number Of Fans2X120MM
Noise Levels24.9 dBa
Weight890 grams
Cooling MethodologyAIR
Lighting Technologyn/a

Design

Physically, this is a large CPU cooler mainly due to the heatsink. Larger heatsinks cool processors better but they usually result in RAM clearance issues. However, this is not an issue since the Mugen 5 rev heatsink is asymmetrical.

Also, the Mugen 5 Rev does not have RGB, this is perfect for users that dislike RGB, or are going for a minimalistic build.

Performance

While it’s more expensive than other “Budget” CPU Coolers, it still offers an average performance/price ratio. The cooling performance is reasonable, it holds up well with other Air coolers in its price bracket

Scythe wanted this CPU cooler to be me quiet than anything. Having a massive heatsink means that the fans don’t have to work as hard, the fans can go as low as 300RPM which is inaudible.

Installation

Scythe does an amazing job making the installation painless, they include a practical magnetic Phillips-head screwdriver for the installation. The installation is even more painless for AMD users as they allow you to use the already installed AMD backplate.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Painless installation
  • Amazing RAM clearance
  • Decent cooling
  • Extremely quiet
  • Durable
Cons
  • There are better performing CPU coolers for similar prices

Why should you buy the Scythe Mugen 5 Rev.B

Scythe wanted to create the best air cooler in terms of acoustics, even at full RPM, the fans aren’t irritating at all. Having a noisy air cooler can annoy anyone within its proximity, noise levels are just as important as cooling performance.

The Mugen 5 Rev.B is compatible with nearly all sockets, and the installation is painless compared to other CPU coolers. Installing this cooler is especially easy on AMD sockets since you can use the existing backplate.

The Best Liquid AIO Coolers

AIO Coolers are considered a step up from air coolers, this is because of the cooling performance they offer as well as their great looks. While AIO coolers do have more failure points, they are actually pretty safe to use.

Assuming you’ve picked up a decent AIO cooler, the failure rate is actually extremely low. Decent AIO coolers are built so the coolant/liquid has a very small chance of leaking. The pumps, radiator, and tubing are all built so the failure rate is as low as 0.015%

Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R · Buy On Amazon!

Colorful · Cost-Effective · Durable

best rgb AIO cooler
Credit: Cooler Master
Intel Compatibility List2066 / 2011-v3 / 2011 / 1151 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 775
AMD Compatibility ListAM4 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2 / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1
Size240MM
Number Of Fans2X120
Noise Levels6-30dBa
Weight1210 grams
Cooling MethodologyLiquid
Lighting TechnologyARGB

Design

AIO’s have the advantage of looking better than air coolers, especially when they implement RGB as well as the ML240R. You have 12 fully addressable RGB LEDs which offers limitless customization with the use of the software

Durability is especially important with AIOs, they have more moving parts compared to air coolers which can be sen as failure points. The ML240R mitigates failure by doubling the amount of tubing, this approach retains flexibility over nylon sleeves whilst increasing the durability.

Moreover, the durability is also enhanced via the pump. It is extremely durable, and Cooler Master has made it so that it’s resistant to oxidation and corrosion.

Performance

The ML240R is cheaper than most 240MM AIOs and performs at the same level as them, this means the AIO is very cost-effective. Thankfully, Cooler Master didn’t cheap out on the features, the radiator is low resistance allowing higher flow rate and heat exchange.

Some fans can be annoying, they can make tons of noise such as clicking and vibrations. However, ML240R fans operate smoothly and have reduced fan clicks and vibrations.

Installation

When you install coolers, always follow the manual carefully, sometimes you require some level of patience. Before you install the RGB, make sure the ARGB header is being used. If you get stuck, here’s a youtube video.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Great aesthetics for RGB enthusiasts
  • Good cooling performance
  • Sleek design
  • Easy to install
  • Reasonable price
Cons
  • Confusing software

Why should you buy the MasterLiquid ML240R

This CPU cooler has all the fundamentals you need to cool a processor. On top of that, it has features such as ARGB which can add some personality to your entire build if you know how to customize it properly.

The ML240R is also extremely durable. You receive a high-quality cooler which will last a decent amount of time

NZXT Kraken X72 · Buy On Amazon!

Powerful · Clean · Durable

best 360MM AIO
Credit: NZXT
Intel Compatibility List1151 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011 / 2011-3 / 2066
AMD Compatibility ListTR4 / AM4 / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2
Size360MM
Number Of Fans3X120
Noise Levels21-26dBa
Weight1290 grams
Cooling MethodologyLiquid
Lighting TechnologyRGB

Design

The NZXT Kraken X72 is an all-black 360MM AIO cooler. It has a clean and minimalistic design to it, there is a hint of RGB on the cooler block. The cooler block has an infinity mirror design which allows for cool RGB effects

Just like the X52, it shares the same RGB presets being Modes: Fixed, Breathing, Fading, Pulse, Spectrum Wave, Marquee, Covering Marquee, Alternating, Loading, Heat Exchange.

Also, the NZXT X72 has a durable design, it has nylon sleeves on the tubing to further enhance its lifespan.

Performance

As a 360MM AIO, they are naturally great at cooling hot processors, they are mainly aimed towards users that have hot processors or, are overclocking enthusiasts. Just make sure that you have enough space to implement this cooler, that’s one downside to having a 360MM AIO

You get 3 impressive 120MM fans, they’re extremely quiet and durable. They’re the Aer p radiator fans which are designed for high-performance operation.

The software that comes with the cooler is extremely helpful. You can use it to monitor the fan and pump speeds, and also tweak the settings to your needs.

Installation

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Good cooling performance
  • Clean design
  • RGB works nice after software setup
  • Allows for extreme overclocking
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Could get louder than other CPU Coolers

Why should you buy the NZXT Kraken X72

Since this is a large 360MM AIO, if your case supports it & you intend on overclocking, then buying this the NZXT Kraken X72 would be the best cooler for you.

Corsair H100i v2 Extreme Performance · Buy On Amazon!

Sleek · Powerful · Customizable

Best 240MM AIO
Credit: Corsair
Intel Compatibility List115x / 1366 / 2011 / 2011-3 / 2066
AMD Compatibility ListFM1 / FM2 / AM2 / AM3 / AM4
Size240MM
Number Of Fans2X120MM 
Noise Levels37.7 dBa
Weight1914 grams
Cooling MethodologyLiquid
Lighting TechnologyRGB

Design

The design of the AIO is actually pretty clean and sleek. There’s not too much RGB which can get quite annoying for some people, it’s got a minimalistic vibe to it.

On to the actual design of the AIO, it is a 240MM AIO that is designed to perform excellently at cooling hot processors. The fans have been designed to generate a high static pressure environment which is best for forcing air into small crevices.

The only visible RGB on this AIO is on the CPU block. The CPU block displays the RGB in the form of the Corsair logo, and it has countless RGB presets you can choose from. One of those presets displays the CPU temperature in the form of RGB color, Red meaning hot, blue meaning cool.

Performance

Nearly all the features to do with this cooler is performance-based. This is one of the best 240MM AIOs to buy for performance, others have excessive features that don’t offer tangible benefits.

As the name suggests, this CPU cooler is designed to provide you with insane colling performance. If you look at the actual price to performance ratio, you really get a good bang for your buck. It’s a great AIO cooler to buy if you just want inexpensive raw performance.

The 240MM radiator supports two SP120L PWM fans which are designed to generate high static pressure and excellent heat dissipation, on top of that, the noise levels of the fans are very minimal.

Installation

this is a 240MM AIO, so make sure your case has enough case to support it. Installing this AIO shouldn’t be too difficult as you can do it without the use of tools; the mounting bracket is tool-free.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Insane performance for the price
  • Quiet fans
  • Strong build quality
  • Clean and sleek design
Cons
  • A Fair bit of wires
  • Fans could be better, you can swap them out

Why should you buy the Corsair H100i v2 Extreme Performance

The Corsair H100 v2 is one of the best performance based 240MM AIOs you can find. It is best for users that want a clean looking and powerful CPU cooler at the same time. Also, there’s a fair bit of customizability you have, the RGB can be configured to your desire with the presets provided.

Corsair Hydro 115i RGB PLATINUM · Buy On Amazon!

Quality · Colorful · Customizable

Best 280MM RGB COOLER
Credit: Corsair
Intel Compatibility List115x, 1366, 2011, 2011 3, 2066
AMD Compatibility ListFM1, FM2, AM2, AM3, AM4, TR4
Size280MM
Number Of Fans2X140MM
Noise Levels37 dBa
Weight980grams
Cooling MethodologyLiquid
Lighting TechnologyARGB

Design

The Corsair Hydro 115i RGB PLATINUM is a colorful and customizable CPU cooler. You can see the RGB is present all over the cooler, it shows on the fans and on the CPU block. The RGB LEDs are actually able to be individually addressed(ARGB), this is a pro for users that want to fully customize their RGB effects.

As well as the ARGB, you also have 5 RGB presets you can choose from, (ARC, Color Warp, Color Wave, Heartbeat, Spiral Rainbow).

Performance

280MM AIOs are known for their great performance, the Hydro 115i has two 140MM fans which are designed to perform well and operate quietly. Each fan operates between 400-2000RPM, and you can customize the fan as well as the pump speed through the software.

The performance is adequate enough to cool consumer-grade processors, mild overclocking is plausible with this AIO.

Installation

The installation is beginner-friendly, it’s one of the easiest AIOs to install considering that you have the correct tools for it.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Decent cooling performance
  • Attractive design
  • Simple and easy installation
Cons
  • Pump can get loud if the CPU is hot

Why should you buy the Corsair Hydro 115i RGB PLATINUM

The Corsair Hydro 115I is one of the best RGB AIO coolers on the market. It has 16 fully addressable LEDs that look outstanding when configured properly.

Besides the RGB, the CPU cooler is actually decent at cooling. You are able to cool any consumer-grade processor, and even overclocking.

NZXT Kraken X52 · Buy On Amazon!

Clean · Efficient · Effective

best budget 240mm aio
Credit: NZXT
Intel Compatibility List1151 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011 / 2011-3 / 2066
AMD Compatibility ListAM4 / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2
Size240MM
Number Of Fans2X120MM
Noise Levels21-36 dBa
Weight1080 grams
Cooling MethodologyLiquid
Lighting TechnologyRGB

Design

The X52 is a smaller version of the X72, the X52 being 240MM and the X72 being 360MM. Design-wise, the X52 is a clean-looking with the all-black design.

There is RGB displayed on the CPU block, it has some cool effects due to the infinity mirror design it has. Overall, this AIO is minimalistic with a touch of RGB.

If you take advantage of the CAM software, you are able to use some of the RGB configurations such as Fixed, Breathing, Fading, Pulse, Spectrum Wave, Marquee, Covering Marquee, Alternating, Loading, Heat Exchange.

Performance

On to cooling performance, it is actually decent and that is because of the efficiency of this cooler; the pump is able to displace coolant far better than the previous versions. Also, the Aer p fans are great at cooling whilst being relatively inaudible.

The efficiency of the pump also means that it is far more durable than traditional pumps. You can customize the pump and fan speeds through the CAM software.

Installation

As always, patience is required when installing CPU coolers. When installing the Kraken x52, ensure that the backplate is configured for the LGA1151 socket.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Easy install
  • RGB works nice after software setup
  • Allows for decent overclocking
  • Overall a decent, and clean looking cooler
Cons
  • Many dislike the software

Why should you buy the NZXT Kraken X52

The NZT Kraken X52 is another cost-effective AIO. You receive decent cooling for the price which is hard to find among AIOs.

The AIO also looks great, if you have a tempered glass side panel, the infinity mirror design really sticks out.

Corsair H150i Pro RGB · Buy On Amazon!

Quiet · Powerful · Minimalistic

best performing 360mm aio
Credit: Corsair
Intel Compatibility List1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011 / 2011-3 / 2066
AMD Compatibility ListAM2 / AM3 / AM4 / FM1 / FM2
Size360MM
Number Of Fans3X120MM
Noise Levels25 dBa
Weight960grams
Cooling MethodologyLiquid
Lighting TechnologyRGB

Design

Here’s another 360MM AIO, they’re considered the largest of the AIOs, therefore they require the necessary space to support them. It is powered by three 120MM low noise PWM fans, they’re designed to deliver high airflow and static pressure.

There’s RGB present on this CPU cooler, however it’s only present on the CPU cooler block. The coolers got a minimalistic design towards it. The RGB can be customized through the ICue software Corsair provides.

Performance

This is one of the best performing 360MM AIOs purely because it is quiet, efficient and powerful. The fans at max RPM only produce a maximum of 25 dBa which is impressive considering the fact that it has three fans.

The ICue is an important part of operating this cooler. Without it, you’re missing out on features such as Zero-RPM mode which further decreases the noise it produces.

Moreover, the software allows you to control the fan and pump speeds. Doing this allows you to find what works best for you.

Installation

Before you purchase this cooler, ensure that your case is large enough to support it. Once all that is confirmed, the installation should be pretty simple. The mountain bracket can be customized to support the socket of your motherboard

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Clean, sleek design, especially cooler pump
  • Easy to mount and install
  • Impressive performance especially for overclocking
Cons
  • Can be expensive for some individuals

Why should you buy the Corsair H150i Pro RGB

If your case can support this cooler & you’re running a hot or overclocked processor, then this cooler may be right for you. 360MM AIOs are more than enough to run chips at their stock clock speed.

Evga CLC 280 · Buy On Amazon!

Solid · Robust · Durable

Best durable 280mm aio
Credit: EVGA
Intel Compatibility List2066 / 2011 / 2011-v3 / 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366
AMD Compatibility ListAM2 / AM3 / AM4 / FM1 / FM2 / TR4
Size280MM
Number Of Fans2X140
Noise Levels39.5 dBa
Weight998grams
Cooling MethodologyLiquid
Lighting TechnologyRGB

Design

The EVGA CLC 280 has a clean and sleek design, it has an all-black look to it however, there is RGB to be seen on the CPU block. You can customize the RGB settings through the software provided, there are many color profiles you can choose from.

Moreover, the design is extremely durable which is a massive benefit to have especially with liquid coolers. The tubing of the cooler is sleeved which increases the durability and safety of the cooler and other components.

Additionally, the fans have special Teflon nano bearings that increase the durability and decrease noise levels.

Performance

The price to performance ratio of this cooler is one of the main benefits, you get to liquid cool your PC without spending too much.

Most of the performance comes from the efficiency of this cooler. EVGA focuses on increasing the flow rate of the coolant, consequentially increasing cooling performance.

The noise levels are decent, the fans only max out at 16 dBa which is due to the Teflon nano bearings. Additionally, the fans’ speed depends on the CPU cooler temperature, if the processor is cool, the fans may even completely switch off.

Installation

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • 100% copper base
  • Very durable
  • Amazing cooling performance
  • Quiet fans at 20dBA due to the Teflon nano bearings
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Somewhat noisy

Why should you buy the Evga CLC 280

The EVGA CLC 28 is a decent investment as it is extremely durable. Also, you get a great bang for your buck which is hard to find with AIO coolers. Thermally, the EVGA CLC 280 can cool any CPU cooler no issues, and if you decide to overclock you could get away with a mild OC.

Corsair H80i V2 · Buy On Amazon!

Small · Powerful · Customizable

best 120mm aio
Credit: Corsair
Intel Compatibility List1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 2011 / 2066
AMD Compatibility ListAM2 / AM3 / AM4
Size120MM
Number Of Fans2X120MM 
Noise Levels37.7 dBa
Weight997 grams
Cooling MethodologyLiquid 
Lighting TechnologyRGB

Design

The Corsair H80I V2 design is quite different from other 120MM AIOs. Having a thicker radiator and cooling pipes makes it stand out. It is still compatible with 120MM mounts, it’s just extra thick with a thickness of 49MM.

Additionally, the AIO has two fans, you usually see this on large AIOs 240MM+ however, it’s necessary to cool the extra thick radiator.

The RGB isn’t excessive like other coolers, it is quite minimalistic as it’s only displayed on the cooling block of the CPU Cooler. It’s essentially the Corsair logo which lights up.

You can customize the RGB inside the software, there is a ton of RGB settings you can choose from; there’s a temperature to a color setting which displays red as your processor being hot, and blue as your processor being cool.

Performance

Small coolers like this are best suited for tiny cases, aka SFX builds. This is because of the obvious size limitations of SFX cases, so you’re limited to low profile air coolers or AIO’s like this.

On to performance, for a 120MM radiator, the performance is exceedingly impressive, this is mainly because the radiator is thicker than usual, and it has two fans to cool it. The two fans can be configured in a push-pull configuration to get the optimal cooling performance

Also, customizing the speed of the PWM fans is possible through the software provided, you can tweak the speeds for your desire, fast and loud or slow and quiet.

Installation

The H80I V2 supports all the major Intel and AMD sockets. On to the actual installation, the mounting bracket has been made to allow a tool-free experience for faster and easier installations. However, you can use a tool if you wish.

PROS & CONS

Pros
  • Outstanding performance for the size
  • Easy to use software
  • Customizable
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Bulky

Why should you buy the Corsair H80i

Since this is a small CPU Cooler, it is mainly aimed towards users that don’t have enough room inside their PC case. If that’s the case, then this CPU cooler will do an amazing job at cooling your processor whilst staying compact.

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