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Best CPU Cooler Roundup Review Feat. Corsair, Cooler Master, Noctua, Phanteks, Zalman

Best CPU Cooler Roundup Review Feat. Corsair, Cooler Master, Noctua, Phanteks, Zalman

Sam ChenJanuary 30, 2013

Battle of the Titans

five-cpu-cooler-roundup-custom-pc-review-1Up until the release of Sandy Bridge processors back in early 2011, overclocking was something generally reserved for only the most hardcore gamers and enthusiasts who wanted to push their systems to the limits. Overclocking required countless hours of tinkering and testing, which was generally a bit too complicated for mainstream users.

With the release of Sandy Bridge however, the landscape of overclocking has really changed dramatically. Significant overclocks may now be had with simple motherboard overclocking buttons or 5 minute adjustments in the BIOS, which greatly simplified the once complicated and confusing task.

With overclocking however, there is one inescapable problem – heat. Unfortunately as voltages on processors are bumped up above original specifications, these powerful processors begin to get hot which tends to create instability issues or may damage the processors in the long term. To solve this issue, aftermarket CPU cooling solutions must be used which is why today we’ll be reviewing five of the top CPU coolers on the market.

The five CPU coolers reviewed today include the Corsair H100i, the Cooler Master Seidon 240M, the Phanteks PH-TC14PE, the Noctua NH-D14 SE2011, and the Zalman CNPS 12X. Each of these coolers are considered flagship coolers for each respective company, so let’s see how they stack up against each other.


TypeFansPricePurchase Link
Intel BXRTS2011AC (Reference Only)Air1x100mm (3,000 RPM)$21.80Click Here
Corsair H100iWater (240mm Radiator)2x120mm (2,700 RPM)$109.99Click Here
Cooler Master Seidon 240MWater (240mm Radiator)2x120mm (2,400 RPM)$97.50Click Here
Phanteks PH-TC14PE (Black)Air (5x8mm Heatpipes)2x140mm (1,300 RPM)$89.99Click Here
Noctua NH-D14Air (6x6mm Heatpipes)1x120mm (1,200 RPM)1x 140mm (1,300 RPM)$79.95Click Here
Zalman CNPS 12XAir (6x6mm Heatpipes)3x120mm (1,200 RPM)$79.54Click Here
About The Author
Sam Chen
Hardware and Technology Enthusiast. SSD Evangelist. Editor-in-Chief. You can find Sam's full biography here
  • Russell Robinson

    Excellent review. Id still go with an air cooler over these AIO solutions. If I ever did water cooling again, Id do it properly (custom loop).

  • PC_ User

    Ill Stick with my Phanteks PH-TC14PE out does the all in one coolers at
    1/2 the noise mine never gets over 62c while gaming , folding,
    benchmarking on a OCed 2500K@ 4.5ghz nice review Sam.

  • ubercake

    Good review. There aren’t many sites out there compaing the H100i to the NH-D14 (are they being paid not to?). This is one of few that does.

  • Anoince

    The “m” stands for Medium, just like on the 220XL the “xl” stands for extra large. The difference between them are the thickness of the radiator.

  • Brian Blair

    Why can’t Intel not be so friggin cheap and just add a decent Heatsink. My non K i5 3470 does fine at 3.8GHZ with the Stock heatsink never going to 60c under load, Ok that’s fine but could still be much better. Just good enough should never be acceptable for the price we pay for these chips.

  • Gabe

    got the phanteks and with delid , CLU i am able to clock at 4.8 ghz i7 4790k , with prime stable not seeing anything past 80 C