CoolerMaster’s ML360R and Corsair’s H150i are some of the best AIOs on the market today. Both are equipped with a 360mm radiator with three 120mm fans mounted for excellent cooling performance.
- 4 Types of CPU Coolers – Air / AIO / Custom Water Loops – Which is the Best for You ?
- Types of CPU Coolers
- 1. Aftermarket Air Coolers
- 1.1 U/Twin Tower Type Air Cooler
- PC Case Airflow Configuration
- PC Cooler Types
- Air CPU Coolers
- Types of CPU Air Coolers
- In Summary
- Step 2 – What size CPU cooler do I need?
- Step 3 – Do I need a 3-pin fan or a 4-pin (PWM) fan?
- Variable Speed
- How Can You Find Out What CPU Cooler You Have?
- Types of CPU Coolers
- Interested in water cooling? Ensure that your computer case supports it
- Style does matter
4 Types of CPU Coolers – Air / AIO / Custom Water Loops – Which is the Best for You ?
Over the past 10 years, CPU performance has increased significantly due to the use of smaller semiconductor technology.
When you compare the 2009 Intel Lynnfield processors with their latest Comet Lake processors, you can see that there has been a huge leap in performance.
As today’s processors are able to achieve higher frequencies, heat production has also increased.
Thus, the need for cooling the processor increases.
Unless you want to experience thermal throttling, where the CPU automatically slows down to cool itself down, you should make sure your CPU is properly cooled.
Types of CPU Coolers
If you purchase a processor, it will include a dedicated cooler, which is commonly known as the “backup cooler”.
While they’re designed to cool your CPU, it doesn’t perform as well, especially if you’ve been using your PC for long periods of demanding tasks like video editing and rendering, or playing high graphics.
Most standard coolers are not able to cool the CPU under heavy load, causing temperature spikes in the range of 80-90 degrees. This in turn makes the fan spin faster to cool the heat sink, producing more noise.
There are many alternatives to stock coolers that are much better at lowering temperatures and avoiding CPU clock throttling.
There are currently 4 main types of coolers / cooling systems that use PCs.
- Air coolers – The most popular, cheap and easy to install
- AIO Coolers – Aesthetic design, good cooling
- Custom Water Loops – Used by enthusiasts for high-level cooling
- Immersion cooling – very advanced
1. Aftermarket Air Coolers
The simplest upgrade you can do with a standard CPU cooler is an aftermarket air cooler. In this context, the aftermarket air coolers perform the same as the stock cooler, but with an increase in performance.
They often have larger fans and heatsinks that absorb and dissipate heat faster compared to standard CPU coolers.
If you have a 4-core processor or higher, you should always go for an aftermarket cooler if you want the CPU to stay cool and the fan noise to be low. There are many reputable brands such as Noctua, Cooler Master, DEEPCool that manufacture high efficiency air coolers.
Today, there are different types of air coolers that you should be familiar with in order to be able to properly choose what suits you best.
1.1 U/Twin Tower Type Air Cooler
This type of cooler consists of two large heat sinks that form a U-shape or a twin tower next to each other.
Fans are attached to the side of each heat sink that actively carries heat away from the case and is typically aligned with the exhaust fans on the back of the case for enhanced cooling efficiency.
The DeepCool Assassin III CPU cooler is a good example of a dual-tower air cooler. The Assassin III is equipped with two 140mm fans that can run at speeds up to 1400rpm. It has seven heat pipes and can hold up to 280W TDP (Thermal Design Power).
Twin Tower air cooler
PC Case Airflow Configuration
Here are the three types of airflow you can apply to your computer case for an overall better cooling system.
1. Negative air pressure
This type of airflow configuration mainly focuses on drawing hot air out of the case. To achieve this, you should have 2 to 3 fans drawing hot air out of the case, and one fan on the other side of the case (lower front section) that draws cold air in from the room.
2. Positive air pressure
Having positive airflow in your CPU case means most of your fans will suck in cold air from outside, which can help cool your hardware like your CPU and graphics card.
3. Balanced air pressure
Among the types of airflow, balanced air pressure is the best configuration you can make for your CPU fans. This means you have the same number of fans that blow hot air out of the case and pull cold air into the case.
The smoothness of this element will affect the conductivity of the device. Manufacturers are never able to produce a completely rinse off product, therefore they artificially recreate a smooth surface using conductive and non-conductive pastes.
PC Cooler Types
A single CPU cooling system is made up of hundreds of tiny parts, and you can make many choices when choosing the right cooling system. Buyers need to choose between air cooler and liquid cooler. To complete the setup, buyers also need to choose between a silicone based thermal paste or a carbon based paste.
A single CPU cooler can have different fan sizes, noises, and speeds. The exact process for mounting the cooler will also vary, depending on whether you have an AMD or Intel processor system. Some coolers are optimized for CPU socket sizes that will fit both AMD and Intel. Cooler Master MasterLiquid Lite ML240L RGB AIO is a special case where both are supported.
Air CPU Coolers
Air coolers are perfect for regular PC users. They are inexpensive and aftermarket air coolers can be used as replacements for standard air coolers. Air conditioners actively disperse hot air through specially designed heat fins. These fins keep the temperature inside the computer’s case low.
Air coolers can be an ideal solution for miniature custom PCs and desktops that require additional cooling beyond the factory coolers.
Air coolers are not small. The typical aftermarket air cooler is quite large compared to the water cooling options. This means that these heaters may not fit comfortably into every computer case. Additionally, if you’re building a gaming PC or other system that will run frequently at higher temperatures, an air cooler may not be enough for your needs.
In addition, most aftermarket air cooling fans run at high speed, making the fan noise much louder than both standard air units and water coolers.
Types of CPU Air Coolers
A commonly used cooler with a vertical stack of heating fins arranged parallel to the heating base. It has a tower-like shape due to the U-shaped heat pipes. The lower half of the heat pipe is embedded in the heat base.
Due to this design, the heat energy is actively dissipated twice by the heat pipes by means of the fans.
Top air cooler with C-shaped heatpipes curved away from the heat fin stacks. These rib stacks connect to only one end of the heating base, allowing the fan to be applied to the top or bottom of the heating ribs. This design element allows multiple fans to be installed in one unit.
How these fans are installed and the thickness of the included fans will determine the overall quality of the air flowing from the unit and its clearance in the computer case. 120mm and 140mm designs, most commonly used in Type-C air coolers, will fit different CPUs.
A simple refrigerator that does not take up much space. This type of unit is good for buyers who want to build a computer in a case that has no extra space.
Summary: If you have a good CPU cooler and it is compatible with the CPU you’re upgrading to, then no. You don’t need a new CPU cooler.
These are just some of the CPU cooling related questions I have come across that caught people’s eye when they decide to work on their own computer.
Please let us know if you’d like us to address any other similar topics!
That’s all from us! Do you have other questions about CPU coolers? Let us know in the comments or on our forum!
Most air coolers have large heatsinks which may not fit in some cases, especially Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX cases. In addition, air coolers have large fans that get noisy at high speeds.
Step 2 – What size CPU cooler do I need?
Well, CPU coolers come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s fair to say that the larger the heat sink, the more efficient it is. If it has a fan, the bigger the better. Large fans can turn slowly while moving a lot of air, and being slower are usually much quieter.
If you only have a low power CPU say 40 to 70W, it really doesn’t make sense to go for the greatest cooling available, you’d be better off going for cheaper, small to medium CPU coolers.
If you have a CPU of 70W or more, you want to go for a larger, more efficient CPU cooler.
Step 3 – Do I need a 3-pin fan or a 4-pin (PWM) fan?
Most, if not all motherboards these days have a 4-pin CPU fan connector on the motherboard. This allows you to set the temperature-to-speed ratio of the CPU cooling in the BIOS or by using the provided utility software that comes with most motherboards.
For example, if the maximum CPU temperature is 70 ° C, you can tell in the BIOS that the CPU fan can run at its lowest speed until it reaches 65 ° C, then increase the speed to say medium or high when it gets too hot.
With this method, you tend to notice the fan spinning up and down, so you have to play around with the temperature-speed ratio a bit until you get the right balance.
In addition, the amount of control you have over the fan speed can vary from low to high. Overall, the more expensive the motherboard, the more control you have. On a good board, the fan speed can be between 40% and 100% of full speed. On a cheaper board, you can only have the slow, medium or fast option!
Many people still prefer 3-pin fans because of the range of control they offer. If you have a 3-pin fan it means the fan spins at a constant speed or (using the fan controller) you can change the fan speed. They even work on a 4 pin fan socket. Usually you want to reduce the fan speed as much as possible while also making sure the fan spins fast enough to make sure it doesn’t overheat, no matter what you do.
A common misconception is that you need to keep an eye on the temperature and adjust it at regular intervals. It’s not true. However, you need to set the fan speed when all the CPU cores are at full load. Search the web for such programs. Currently, a popular example of this type of tool is CPU burnout.
If you have, say, 4 cores on your CPU, run 4 instances of the program and adjust the fan speed so that the CPU temperature does not exceed the maximum value (but maybe 5-10 ° C lower than the maximum value). That way, no matter how busy your CPU is, you know it can handle it. When you are done adjusting the fan it will run slower and quieter than at full speed.
When choosing an air cooler, make sure you have enough RAM space on your motherboard so that the air cooler does not fall into the RAM area.
The basic thermodynamic principle of CPU cooling is convection. The hot object transfers some of this heat to air molecules near its surface, cooling itself slightly in the process. If the air moves, these heated particles will drain away, allowing the cooler air to replace them and absorb more heat. The use of a fan forces the air to move, providing a constant stream of cooler air to absorb heat from the object and significantly increasing the cooling rate.
Simply passing air over the CPU is not enough to cool it down, due to the high temperatures these chips can reach. A heat sink is a block of aluminum or other metal designed to conduct heat. The bottom of the heatsink is flat to allow maximum contact with the processor, and the top surface has a series of narrow fins with air channels in between. This significantly increases the surface area available for convection cooling and increases the amount of heat that the CPU fan can dissipate as it blows air through these channels.
Most modern CPU fans have variable speed controls. Sensors on the motherboard monitor the CPU temperature while the computer is running and direct the fan to speed up or slow down in response to activity and load. Depending on the manufacturer of the CPU and cooler, the fan may stop at idle times and only accelerate when calculating intense amounts. You should hear your fan spinning when running graphics-intensive programs such as computer-aided design tools or video rendering programs. If you hear the CPU fan running at high speed while the computer is doing less intensive tasks such as calculating in a spreadsheet or word processing.
You can keep your CPU fan running at peak performance by following a few steps. Clean the fan and heat sink regularly with compressed air to prevent build-up which can trap heat and damage fan motors and bearings. Make sure you turn off the computer and let it cool down for a few minutes before vacuuming it. You should also try to maximize airflow through the computer cases by ensuring inlets and vents remain clean and unobstructed, and avoiding tangled cables inside the case that can obstruct airflow. Spending a few minutes maintaining your CPU cooling system can mean the difference between extending the life of your valuable corporate hardware and having to replace failed systems first.
Milton Kazmeyer has worked in the insurance, finance, and manufacturing industries, and was also a federal contractor. He began his writing career in 2007 and is currently working full-time as a writer and transcriptionist. His main areas of specialization include computers, astronomy, alternative energies, and the environment.
An expensive variant of a carbon paste consisting of refined diamond particles and lubricant. The performance and lifetime depend on how the product is manufactured and the CPU load.
How Can You Find Out What CPU Cooler You Have?
There are many programs that give you information about RAM, motherboard, CPU, and the like. But there is no one that tells you what cooler you have. So if you want to know the type of your cooler you have to remove the side CPU cover then look up to see the cooler model and brand.
But if you can’t open the side cover or are afraid to do so, you can search for your computer model on the Internet and try to see if the part number is listed there.
Types of CPU Coolers
There are many types of CPU coolers on the market. So, if you plan to change your cooling system, you need to know what coolers are on the market.
If you are a regular computer user, then air coolers are perfect for you. You will find that these cheap coolers can be adequately used to replace standard air coolers. Note that these cooling units dissipate heat using specially designed heat fins. As a result, the inside of the computer casing keeps a low temperature.
Air coolers are the best solution for small custom PCs that require additional cooling beyond the factory coolers. However, these air coolers also have some disadvantages.
- These air coolers are large compared to water coolers. As a result, these fans are unlikely to fit in all PC cases.
- If you’re building a gaming PC or anything else that gets hotter than usual, air cooling won’t provide adequate cooling for your CPU.
- Most air conditioners run at high speed, so be prepared to hear loud fan sounds.
On the other hand, if you have money to spend on liquid cooling and you don’t mind the work that needs to be put in, you should go straight to custom liquid cooling and avoid AIO.
Interested in water cooling? Ensure that your computer case supports it
For those of you considering switching to water cooling, you need to make sure that the proposed AIO cooler can actually be installed in your case.
The great thing about AIO coolers is that there are a lot of configuration options as well as AIO cooler sizes. However, this does not mean that it will fit in all cases.
Plan your cooling setup before purchasing a refrigerator. Specify whether you want a 240mm, 280mm or 360mm radiator. Do you want to mount the radiator on the top or front of the housing?
Once you’ve decided how you want to install the AIO device, refer to your computer’s case specifications to make sure it supports the installation you want. Always use an enclosure that offers multiple heater installation options, such as the AORUS C700 glass enclosure.
Style does matter
Since CPU coolers aren’t the smallest components in the world, and the fact that they’re literally in the center of the motherboard, it’s fair to say that they stand out from the crowd of other components. Therefore, you should choose a cooler not only for performance but also for style.
There are so many different styles of CPU cooling available with different sizes, designs, and colors that you should be able to find something that both works great and looks great. After all, it will be one of the first things a person will see when they look through the side window in your case.
If you’re someone who wants to take advantage of the RGB customization options available on your motherboard, try to find a cooler that supports RGB. If you want a more concealed look for your gaming PC, try finding a lower profile cooler that matches the concealment aesthetic.
While CPU cooling performance is the most important factor to consider when purchasing a new one, that doesn’t mean it can’t look amazing either.