Hey there and welcome to a CPU cooler roundup. In this article we test roughly fifteen CPU coolers. We'll test them on a Core i7 3770K, one of the more difficult to cool processors on the market. In this group test we'll use Scythe, Noctua, Coolink, Deepcool, Alpenfohn, Gelid and Cooler Master coolers. We'll test the more standard low-cost heatpipe coolers, two low profile ones for HTPCs and some heavy duty heatpipe coolers targeted at the overclockers.
We will be testing these heatpipe based CPU coolers in several configurations. We'll have a look at the dBA noise levels, we'll look at default non-overclocked performance and we'll also overclock the Core i7 3770K processor towards a good 4600 MHz and then test the cooler performance based upon two voltage modes (1.2 and 1.3 Volts) on that very same processor.
The coolers submitted for review were initially intended for a LGA 2011 cooler review, but with the Core i7 3770K (and Ivy Bridge in general) being a harsh product to test as they get so hot we decided to use the coolers on that specific platform.
For today's used hardware we'll be equipping an ASUS Sabertooth TUF Z77 motherboard with 8 GB of Corsair memory and tie it to that 3770K CPU. The coolers tested today are:
- Cooler Master GeminII SF524
- Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
- Cooler Master Hyper 412S
- Coolink Corator DS
- Corsair H100i
- Corsair H60
- Deepcool Assassin / Alpenfohn K2
- Gelid Tranquillo
- Gelid GX-7
- Noctua NH-D14
- Noctua NH-L12
- Scythe Grand Kama Cross Rev. B
- Scythe Katana 4
- Scythe Mugen 3B
- Scythe Ninja rev 3B
As you can see, we've also added the results of the Corsair H100i and H60 which we recently reviewed on this very same platform, it will help you to get an idea of where performance of heatpipe coolers is scaling wise versus simplified liquid cooling kits.
Now, before we start off please bear in mind not everybody will need high performance CPU coolers. It is a mix of price and requirements. The Cooler Master GeminII SF524 and Noctua NH-L12 are low profile CPU coolers that perform excellently in an HTPC as they offer plenty of cooling and sheer silence, however on an overclocked platform they miss out on performance. It works vice versa as well, if you are building a PC with the means to overclock and care a little less about noise, then the rather big high-performance coolers come into play. None of the products tested today are bad, but some are superior for their target audience.
Anyway, have a look at a couple of boxes, after which we'll quickly show you the products tested with a small description of them. Next page please.