Best With Liquid-Cooling
NZXT Kraken M22
Cooler Master Hyper 212
Last Updated On June 2nd, 2021
Top 10 Reviews
Best With Liquid-Cooling
When building or upgrading your computer, one of the most important components is a CPU cooler. The best CPU cooler can help disperse heat from your CPU and prevent it from overheating. As a result, this enhances its longevity as well as helps improve its performance.
Some processors come with CPU coolers. However, these are usually basic models which are not the most efficient. Also, if you purchase a pre-built computer, unless you specify otherwise, it will usually have only a basic CPU cooler.
Therefore, if you want optimum performance and heat dispersion, you must purchase an advanced aftermarket CPU cooler. There is a large range of CPU coolers available. We have listed 10 of the best options below, including both air and liquid coolers. Enjoy!
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 looks fantastic and it also performs well. If you want a vibrant product with bright lighting, this is the best CPU cooler for gaming. It’s ideal for those who want a display case included where they can show-off their components.
Aside from the superb lighting, this Cooler Master product performs impressively and offers great cooling, too, via its 120mm RGB fan and copper heat pipes. The combination of style and efficiency make this one of the best CPU coolers on the market.
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 is a single block design where the heatsink sits below the fan unit and is connected via four copper heat pipes. The heatsink is plated in nickel which provides superior heat radiation compared to traditional copper-based heatsinks.
Also, the fan unit has a host of aluminium fins that have lateral grooves to further induce thermal conductivity. The 120 RGB fans can synchronise with the existing motherboard architecture, but it can also be manually assigned using the included controller.
The RGB lighting system can also be controlled with the included 6-mode wired RGB controller. This controller can also be used for multiple devices without the need to install additional software.
Although this is an air cooler, it is still not the easiest to install. It can be tricky to fit into place without knocking your other components. This is even more challenging due to the lack of instructions which could have made the whole process much easier. Also, the diagrams on the instructions are not the clearest which can impede you further.
The NZXT Kraken M22 Liquid CPU Cooler is an excellent product that provides efficient liquid cooling in a relatively compact and stylish design. If you want a sleek, black CPU cooler with LED lighting, this is one of the best coolers on the market.
The liquid cooling system is highly efficient and comes with enhanced features such as the Aer P radiator fans, and reinforced nylon tubes for protection. It also has a standard manufacturer’s warranty of three years. This is a solid-liquid cooling system that should not be overlooked.
The NZXT Kraken M22 has a main circular heatsink that connects to the processor. This is connected to dual tubes and finally to the fan and radiator. The Aer P radiator fan helps improve the cooling process and provides additional cooling to the radiator.
To strengthen the water tubes and to lessen the chance of leakages, these rubber tubes are coated in nylon sleeves. This serves as additional shield that enhances the tubes’ performance.
The pump itself has been improved from previous versions and features a quieter operation and better cooling. To control the fan and pump, you can utilise the software created by CAM and there is an app available for your smartphone, too. This means you can adjust its functions depending on the settings that can be easily applied through your computer.
Although this is a great liquid CPU cooler, it does have a few issues. Firstly, the mounting bracket can be difficult to install and is rather fiddly. You must take care when installing it to avoid damage to other components. Also, although the thermal paste is pre-applied to the heatsink, some customers have reported that it is poorly distributed. Hence, always check so you don’t run into issues further down the line.
The Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 4 is the best quiet CPU cooler due to its dual silent wings PWM fans. The fans have a host of advanced features including fluid-dynamic bearings and six-pole motors. You should hear no sound from this air CPU cooler.
It also has a sleek black design that will fit well with any case you have. If you want a quiet but powerful product, this is one of the best CPU coolers available for various purposes.
The Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 4 features a single unit that combines the heatsink, transferal pipes, and dual fans. The fans sit in a vertical tower combination and there is one fan pointing outwards on either side.
For cooling, the Dark Rock Pro 4 provides a rating of 250W TDP and gives low temperatures even during high CPU usage. To improve heat transferal, it has seven copper pipes and special wave-contoured cooling fins that increase air circulation.
Also, it has two aluminium heatsinks and two cutouts that improve its RAM compatibility. You can also add further a 120mm fan for improved cooling on top of the two existing fans. This product is compatible with most modern AMD and Intel processor sockets.
This Be Quiet product is not the easiest to install due to the mounting system. You may find some of the parts’ fitting to be overcomplicated. When installing, simply take time and be patient. Also, this air cooler isn’t the smallest and you may have height clearance issues in a smaller case.
The Cooler Master Liquid Lite is a powerful CPU liquid cooler available for a range of Intel and AMD processor sockets. It has a good combination of stylish design, efficient cooling, and high-quality components that make it one of the best CPU coolers available.
Its sleek black structure and LED lights will fit with any type of tower build. Plus, the small pump unit and the heatsink take up minimal space on your motherboard over the CPU. As a closed-loop CPU cooling system, it has both a fan and a radiator for effective heat dissipation.
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 is a closed-loop all in one cooling system that features a heatsink, pump, tubes, radiator, and fan. The heatsink is relatively small and has the dual dissipation pump attached to it.
From this, there are two sturdy tubes that connect to the radiator and fan unit. The MasterLite 120mm radiator is versatile and can fit in a myriad of tower cases. This is supported by a MasterFan Pro 120 hybrid fan with an advanced IC silent drive.
To ensure protection and less chance of leaks, the tubing is made from extra-thick corrugated FEB. This provides strength and durability but still allows you to easily bend the tubes around tight corners. This gives you greater flexibility when installing the cooler if you have minimal space to work with.
Despite its great cooling performance, this Cooler Master product can have a few problems. Firstly, the radiator pump of the cooling system can be tricky to position and install. Also, the customisable lighting system can have issues. For example, some customers have set their lights to a particular colour, only to find that it has reset randomly after a few days of use.
If you don’t particularly care about style or aesthetics and want a high-performance air CPU cooler, the Noctua NH-U12S is a reliable and efficient option. This CPU cooler uses high-quality materials and components to ensure effective heat dissipation.
Noctua also offers an excellent six-year manufacturer warranty, although you should not experience any issues with this well-made CPU cooler. It performs well and is one of the best CPU coolers on the market.
The Noctua NH-U12S features an NF-F12 120mm focused flow fan that supports PWM. It also has a low-noise adaptor that allows for automatic control of speed and reduced noise during operation.
This cooler also has a SecuFirm2 mounting system which makes it easy to install. The heatsink sits at the bottom, and has six pipes that connect this to the fan and fins. Also, the fan is vertically positioned.
It is compatible with a wide range of processor sockets including AMD AM4/3/2, FM2m and LGA2011, LGA2066, and LGA1200. The tower design has an overall size of 120mm, and it is RAM and PCIe compatible.
Although this product has great cooling performance, it does have a couple of minor drawbacks. Firstly, some people may not like brown and cream colours or design. It isn’t a particularly stylish model and may not fit in with the aesthetics of your gaming setup. Also, some customers have received bent and damaged heatsinks which must have happened during transportation. Always call customer service if you believe you have received a damaged product.
The Corsair Hydro Series H75 is the best closed loop CPU cooler. It has reliable performance and looks fantastic, too. If you want a highly efficient liquid cooler, this is the best CPU fan/radiator combination available.
It combines a myriad of useful heat dissipation features and design elements to effectively transfer heat from your CPU. Also, compared to some other liquid CPU cooling systems, it is much easier to install due to its closed-loop design.
The Corsair Hydro H75 is the best CPU water cooler and features a closed-loop design. The heatsink is connected to the LED illuminated pump head, which then connects to the radiator and fan via two durable tubes. Its fan speed can reach 1.800 RPM.
The radiator has a slim design and is just 120mm in size. This minimises the cooler’s footprint whilst still providing a wide surface area for heat dissipation.
Also, this liquid CPU cooler can be installed without the use of tools due to its modal mount system and how the radiator and fan unit have been designed. To help during installation, thermal paste has already been applied to the heatsink.
A drawback of this Corsair Hydro Series H75 cooler is that it requires a larger footprint than air coolers. You must think carefully about the available space you have in your case. Also, it does have a low noise level, but it is not truly silent and louder than some other liquid coolers.
If your main focus is a great value when looking for an effective cooler, the Arctic Freezer A13 X is the best budget CPU cooler. Buy this device and you gain a stylish and effective air CPU cooler that performs admirably.
This AMD compatible CPU cooler is quite easy to install and this is helped by pre-applied thermal paste. It is also quite small and offers a slimline design that should have minimal impact on your other motherboard components.
The Arctic Freezer A13 X has a tower design where the heatsink is connected to the fan unit via three copper pipes. The copper pipes are direct touch and connect directly to the heatsink for better heat dissipation.
For thermal conductivity, there are 44 aluminium fins and a 100mm PWM fan. For installation, the heatsink has excellent quality Arctic MX-2 thermal paste applied so that you can simply connect the heatsink and form a secure bond with the CPU.
Also, this product has a relatively small footprint and will take up minimal space in your tower compared to liquid cooling products and other larger air CPU coolers. This results in a maximum installation height of 137cm which should provide ample clearance.
One drawback of this Arctic Freezer A13 X is that it is only available for AMD AM4 processor sockets – there is no version for Intel processors. Also, although it strives for quiet operation, the fan still makes noise and compared to liquid cooler products it is much louder.
Many gaming rigs have bright and cold LED lighting to make a statement. If you have such a setup, the Deepcool Gammax GT BK CPU Air Cooler could be the perfect accompanying product. It features a variety of bright LED lights on the fan itself and on the mounting brackets.
As a result, it can fit in with an existing light scheme you have and stand out as a focal point in the centre of your motherboard. Also, the fan and top cover lights are synchronized so that your lighting remains consistent.
The Deepcool Gammax GT BK CPU is a single unit that features a small heatsink with four direct connection copper pipes. Above this are the main housing unit and the vertically positioned fan. The fan has an RGB backlight that creates a bold burst of colour when the fan is operational.
Above the fan, there is also a top cover that has RGB lighting on the outer rim, and a spiral pattern on the inside – the effect is understated but pleasing. The top cover and other elements are made from durable but lightweight aluminium and the direct contact pipes are made from copper. The fins are also constructed from aluminium and are 0.5mm thick to provide better heat transfer from the CPU. Additionally, the lighting can be controlled via a cable controller or motherboard using a 12V 4 pin RGB port.
This Deepcool Gammax CPU cooler is a great choice for cooling performance but it’s LED lights can have flaws. For example, LED bulbs can be temperamental and some customers have reported LED bulbs that do not work or won’t change to a certain colour. Also, the CPU cooling of this product is good, but there are models that offer superior cooling.
If you want to keep your computer rig fitted with manufacturer-specific components, the AMD Wraith Prism RGB CPU Cooler is a good option. It works directly with all modern AMD processor sockets and you can be assured of the quality from AMD’s years of experience.
This heatsink air CPU fan is durable, well-made, and offers great cooling for AMD processors. It is also incredibly stylish with the AMD logo embedded on various panels, and a changing set of RGB lights. For an AMD inspired gaming rig, this is the best RGB CPU cooler.
The AMD Wraith Prism RGB CPU Cooler features a single unit with a heatsink, connecting pipes, and a fan unit that sits directly above. This makes for a relatively compact design that is easier to install than typical liquid CPU coolers.
The heatsink is made from aluminium and has a copper core base that has high-quality thermal paste pre-applied. Also, you can change the fan profile if you wish to overclock your processor for higher levels of performance.
The lighting covers the inner rim of the fan casing and there is also lighting within the fan blades. This gives off a bright glow and the colours are changeable. The official AMD logo is also present on the central fixture of the fan, and the outer fan casing.
A minor drawback to the AMD Wraith Prism is that during installation, you may need to remove other components like the GPU. Otherwise, you may find these components get in the way. Also, this model is supposed to have thermal paste pre-applied to the heatsink plate – some customers have reported it missing.
The Noctua NH-D15 is a reliable product that is the best CPU air cooler on this list. It is a large unit with dual fans that provide optimum cooling without being too loud. If you are looking for a luxury product, this Noctua device is one of the best CPU coolers available.
It is available for both Intel and AMD processor sockets including LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA2011, AMD AM4, 3, 3+, and 2. This also makes it incredibly versatile and suitable for various computer rigs.
The D15 is the best CPU cooler for overclocking and has two powerful NF-A15 140mm fans. The fans are positioned in a vertical tower with the heatsink sitting directly beneath them.
The heatsink is joined to the fan system via six heat pipes for optimum transferal and cooling. Also, the fans have low-noise adaptors and PWM to provide automatic speed control.
For installation, the D15 comes with NT-H1 thermal paste and a SecuFirm 2 mounting system. The SecuFirm 2 mounting systems mean it has socket support for virtually all modern AMD and Intel processor sockets.
This Noctua product is a high-performance air cooler, but it is relatively bulky and you may struggle to install it without removing other components first. Also, because of its bulk, it is not the most stylish design. Although it is completely black, the dark shade helps it blend in better with other components.
As you can see there is an excellent range of CPU coolers available for gaming and high-quality computer rigs. But how do you know which one to choose? This can be a daunting task and it can have an impact on the overall performance of your computer.
This is not something you should rush into – choosing the best CPU cooler requires forethought and planning. As a bare minimum, you should already have in mind (or already purchased) the PC tower you intend to use, and the processor the cooler will fit on.
Without these items, you are buying in the dark and could potentially buy a CPU cooler that isn’t compatible. Also, you should have a general idea of the other components like a GPU, and RAM, so you know exactly how much space you have around the motherboard. To help, we have created a simple buying guide with considerations you should make before purchasing a CPU cooler.
First, it is important to understand the main two types of CPU cooler – liquid and air CPU coolers. These two types of coolers perform the same function. But they do so in a different manner, and both methods have pros and cons.
Liquid CPU coolers transfer heat from the CPU into the water contained within a special tubing. The heated water travels to a radiator and is cooled. Once cooled, the water is recirculated back to the CPU for the process to start again. This is also known as a closed-loop liquid CPU cooler.
Liquid CPU cooling is more efficient than air cooling. This is because water is a better transferal method for heat, than air. Also, liquid CPU coolers are usually much quieter as there is often no noisy fan. A liquid cooling system is suitable for a gaming PC rig where performance is key.
On the downside, there is always a risk when using a liquid CPU cooler. What happens if water leaks from the tubes or radiator? Although this will rarely happen, it could potentially be catastrophic.
Air cooling CPU systems are much simpler and require less space within your computer tower. As with a liquid cooler, a heatsink plate is placed on the CPU which is then connected to a fan.
The heat travels through various pipes and heatsink plates and is eventually dispersed away from the CPU via the attached fan. CPU air coolers usually have a much smaller footprint. However, they are also much louder due to the revolutions of the fan.
Also, air cooling systems are generally less efficient than liquid coolers. Air CPU coolers still provide excellent cooling and are fit for the purpose. But if you want maximum cooling and ultimate efficiency, a liquid cooler is a way to go.
Now that you understand more about the main types of CPU coolers, we can look at the main considerations you must make before buying one. As stated above, before getting to this stage, ensure you have a firm idea of the tower, motherboard, and other components you intend to use.
Firstly, consider which type of CPU cooler you want. We have discussed the pros and cons of the different kinds given above. Liquid coolers are more efficient and much quieter. However, they require much more dispersed space and may pose a potential danger.
On the flip side, air coolers often take up much less space directly above your CPU. As a result, they are also much easier to install. However, the attached fan makes them louder, and they do not cool as efficiently as liquid coolers.
Think about the differences, and consider which CPU type you feel would be the better option for you. Also, take into consideration your technical skills in installing components.
It is also vital to have a clear idea of the overall footprint of the CPU cooler and its associated systems. Usually, an air CPU cooler has a heatsink and an attached fan that sit directly above the CPU. Liquid coolers, however, have a heatsink system, and a myriad of tubes that connect to a radiator and must be placed on the backplate of the tower.
You must therefore look at the immediate space you have surrounding your CPU on the motherboard. For example, will the CPU get in the way? Or will any other components like an HDD and associated cables create a barrier? Ensure that you have sufficient space surrounding your CPU for the cooler to fit.
Next, for liquid coolers, you must then assess if you have enough space for the radiator and tubing. This may simply require you to have an effective cabling system and use cable ties to maximize available space.
Next, you must look at the compatibility of the CPU cooler. Different CPU coolers may be compatible with different CPU sockets on your motherboard. This is vital to understand as you could end up purchasing a CPU cooler that you can’t even use with the processor you have.
In most instances, you will use either an Intel or AMD processor. These are considered the best quality processor manufacturer available. As a result, this narrows the compatibility considerably. However, different Intel and AMD processors still use a wide range of processor sockets including Intel 1200, 1150, 1151, 2011, and 2066 AMD, AM4, AM3, and AM2.
When choosing a CPU cooler, it should clearly state which processor sockets it is compatible with – double-check this to avoid disappointment.
Also, some people also value the aesthetics of a CPU cooler. In today’s modern world, we can create amazing custom computer rigs complete with LED lighting that look superb. Having a great looking CPU cooler may therefore be highly important.
If you have a fully-enclosed computer tower with no transparent panels, how the CPU looks may be of no concern. However, if you have an exposed side panel or transparent panels, you may want the cooler to fit in with the style of the rest of your components.
If style and aesthetics are important, we advise looking at photos on the web of the different coolers when they are installed. This should give you a clear idea of how they will look, and how they will fit in with your computer style.
Noise levels are also important for some people. This depends on your personal preference and your tolerance for noise. If you don’t mind high noise levels from the CPU cooling unit, an air cooling solution may be a suitable choice.
However, if you want a CPU that runs quietly but still effectively cool, a liquid CPU cooling system is the best choice.
Finally, you must look at what you generally use your computer for. This will greatly dictate what CPU cooling system you need (if any). Remember that most basic computer systems will have a basic CPU cooler installed – the coolers in this list are aftermarket products that you would purchase to upgrade your computer.
Do you use your computer simply for emails, and general data entry? If so, an ultra-powerful CPU cooler should not be necessary. However, if you use your computer for intense graphic design, movie editing, or you are a PC gamer upgrading your stock CPU is a must. As a result, you would greatly benefit from purchasing a high-power CPU cooler.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a CPU cooler. These advanced devices can make a great difference in the performance of your computer. Also, they can help improve the longevity of your components and prevent them from burning out or overheating.
Anyone of the above 10 best CPU cooler options would make an excellent choice for a computer gaming rig, or a computer for graphic design and 3D modelling. Overall, we recommend the Cooler Master Hyper 212 CPU cooler.
This model contains copper heat pipes and a 120mm RGB fan, which can synchronise with your existing motherboard architecture or can be manually assigned using the included controller. Additionally, the CPU’s aluminium fins have lateral grooves to further induce thermal conductivity.
Which product in these CPU cooler reviews has captured your interest?