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Roundup: 15 affordable coolers
by Marc Prieur
Published on July 11, 2011

Although processors are supplied with box coolers, these coolers are pretty basic and don’t generally cool a high end processor in load in silence. So don’t even think about overclocking in such circumstances!

If you want a quiet configuration in load or a system that allows you to overclock (and why not both!), you need to acquire an additional cooler. The best options are of course very effective but also expensive but there are many solutions available at between €15 and €30. We have selected fifteen for this report:

- Akasa X4
- Arctic Cooling Freezer 13
- Arctic Cooling Freezer 7
- Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
- Cooler Master Hyper TX3
- Corsair A50
- Evercool Transformer 3
- Gelid Tranquillo
- Scythe Big Shuriken
- Scythe Katana III
- Spire CoolGate 10
- Thermaltake Contact 29
- Xigmatek Gaia SD1283
- Xigmatek Loki SD963
- Zalman CNPS 5X

For comparison purposes we have also included a more expensive model, the Noctua NH-UB9, as well as the cooler that Intel supplies with its LGA1155 Core i7 processors.
Towers and heatpipes across the board
In a comparison of coolers from 2003, only three models out of twenty used a heatpipe system and there were no tower coolers. In a cooler roundup two years later 1/3 of the solutions tested were tower coolers.

Things have developed further since then and almost all the coolers tested here use heatpipes. Heatpipes contain a liquid which is vaporised under the effect of the heat and therefore rises up before being cooled back into liquid form and falling back down within the pipe. This method transports the heat away from its source more effectively than simple thermal conduction.

The popularity of tower coolers comes from the fact that they are more efficient as they extend the available cooling area. The placement of these coolers so as to favour the extraction of air from the back of the casing also helps to optimise overall airflow. Of course, you need to have a big enough casing to house such a cooler.

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