Category >> Air Cooling
Thermaltake Frio Advanced & Extreme Coolers 09-28-2012

It's been more than two years since Thermaltake launched its first Frio CPU cooler. Then they turned around and presented the Frio OCK nearly a year later. For this year Thermaltake presents not one but two new Frio based coolers for review, the Advanced and Extreme! Both coolers carry on the Frio name by utilizing dual fans on a heatpipe tower configuration. Both claim top-shelf cooling ability suitable for today's high-end processors, the question becomes then just how extreme do you need your cooling?

Noctua NH-L12 L-Type Low-Profile Cooler 07-01-2012

Often built into micro-ATX or smaller chassis, HTPC aficionados demand small size and silent operation over sheer performance. Noctua aims to target the HTPC crowd with the release of their latest cooler, the NH-L12. Following in the footsteps of their C-Type NH-C14 that we reviewed here last year, the L12 offers a similar top-flow design in a slimmer, lower profile, while retaining a dual-fan configuration and incorporating their latest F-Series Focused-Flow PWM fan.

Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 Heatsink and NF-F12 PWM Fans 04-22-2012

Two years ago I posted my review of the original Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler and proclaimed it the best air cooler money could buy at the time. When it came time to select a heatsink to use in our new LGA2011 test system, I immediately reached out to Noctua for our cooling needs. The timing was just right as Noctua had recently introduced the NH-D14 SE2011 for Intel's Sandy Bridge-E platform. The gang had also launched their NF-F12 PWM cooling fans and agreed to send over a few along with the cooler for evaluation in our test system.

Swiftech Polaris 120 CPU Cooler 05-16-2011

It has been quite a while since Swiftech last offered a new air-cooled heatsink. Looking back through old reviews it appears the last one may have been the MCX6400-V, circa 2004. Certainly at that time Swiftech's coolers were well regarded, and they were the only ones to utilize anything like their patented Helicoid cooling pin design for base to fin heat transfer. However in more recent years Swiftech has concentrated exclusively on liquid cooling products. You can imagine my surprise then when I received the notice that I would be reviewing a new air-cooled heatsink from Swiftech, the Polaris 120.

Thermaltake Frio OCK CPU Cooler 04-05-2011

We first saw this cooler on display at CES 2011 in the suit that Thermaltake was set up in. The Frio OCK is the refreshed version of Thermaltake's top Frio cooler. With OCK standing for “Over Clocker King,” it wasn’t hard to determine the target market here. We are actually a little surprised to see it released as our rep said it might not make it to market due to a cost prohibitive construction.

Thermaltake Jing CPU Cooler 03-21-2011

Thermaltake is known for a variety of products -- everything from cases to CPU coolers. Today we are going to take a look at one of their new CPU coolers – the Thermaltake Jing. The “Silent by Design” tag line indicates this will likely be a quiet cooler. CPU coolers have a tendency to be either very quiet or very efficient, but hitting both can be a challenge. The Jing was noticeably absent from Thermaltake's CES lineup earlier this year so this will be our first look at this new cooler.

Noctua NH-C14 CPU Cooler 03-15-2011

As aftermarket CPU coolers continue a trend of "bigger is badder", manufacturers must constantly tweak their designs to ensure compatibility across multiple platforms. Perhaps no one knows this better than Austrian company Noctua. Within the last year we've reviewed three coolers from them, the NH-D14, the C12P SE14 and the U9B SE2, and two of those feature their signature NF-P14 140mm fan. If you thought finding room to put one 140mm fan on a CPU cooler wasn't challenging enough, today we take a look at Noctua's latest creation, the NH-C14, and see how they manage to squeeze two of them on there.

Arctic Freezer 13 CPU Cooler 12-02-2010

Not too long ago, I took a look at the Noctua NH-U9B SE2. Today I am going to compare that to the Arctic Freezer 13 from Arctic Cooling. Arctic has long been known for their cooling products, but has also branched out into peripherals as of late. Taking a look at one of their core products, the Freezer 13, should make for a nice comparison against the recently reviewed Noctua heatsink.

Noctua NH-U9B SE2 Heatsink 06-30-2010

Noctua has long been known for their quiet fans and have earned quite the reputation for silent operation and outstanding cooling ability. Both Shawn and Zahn have recently reviewed some Noctua heatsinks, the NH-D14 and the NH-C12P SE14, each targeted at a different audience. Today I will be taking a look at the NH-U9B SE2, a compact heatsink that is designed with lower end / HTPC use in mind.

Noctua NH-C12P SE14 CPU Cooler 05-21-2010

With a new fan design featuring Noctua's Vortex-Control Notches and included Ultra Low Noise Adapters, the D14 is not only an awesomely effective cooler, but also extremely quiet at the same time. For those seeking a quality cooling solution without yielding up quite so much real estate, Noctua offers a revamped version of their popular NH-C12P, now designated the SE14. Included is the same NF-P14 140mm cooling fan found on the D14, coupled with what Noctua refers to as their "C-shaped" cooler, featuring six heatpipes connecting the copper base to a large array of aluminum fins oriented parallel to the motherboard.

Thermaltake Frio CPU Cooler 04-09-2010

The cooler we have for review today, the Thermaltake Frio, has been designed to handle up to 220w of thermal design power and is fully compatible with six core processors. With five large 8mm heatpipes set into a wide copper base, and supporting all of the major socket types, both Intel 775/1156/1366 and AMD AM2/+/3, the Frio is ready for maximum performance. A tower style cooler with dual 120mm fans setup in a push/pull configuration, mounted to 48 0.5mm thick aluminum fins and a bolt-through socket mounting show that the Frio means business. At over 1,000 grams, this is certainly no light-weight contender.

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 04-02-2010

Cooling is very important to us here at the Overclock Intelligence Agency. Sure, good hardware is necessary to build a stable, fast system, but a good heatsink/fan combination can be the most cost-effective way to turn a decent rig into a great one. It comes as no surprise, then, that we tend to review a lot of cooling products. Today we have for review one of the newer CPU coolers from Cooler Master, their Hyper 212 Plus. The Hyper 212 Plus belongs to Cooler Master’s performance line, aiming to provide overclock-worthy temperatures to users on a budget.

Noctua NH-D14 CPU Cooler 03-31-2010

It's been nearly four years since we last looked at a Noctua air cooler here at This is a real shame as they are widely considered one of the top air cooling manufacturers in the world, held in the same regard as Thermalright and Tuniq. Today we have their flagship cooler in for evaluation, the NH-D14. This is an absolute monster of a heatsink - more like two coolers welded together with dual fans. Those with cramped mid tower cases need not apply. But just because it is very large doesn't automatically make it worth your hard-earned money and this wouldn't be the first time that a large cooler has failed to deliver on perceived high expectations. Does the NH-D14 have what it takes to keep the Noctua brand in the top three globally? Keep reading as we put it to the test.

Thermaltake Silent 1156 CPU Cooler 03-10-2010

Although released in August of 2009, there is little doubt that heatsink manufacturers like Thermaltake are receiving more interest in their Socket 1156 solutions thanks to Intel's release of the new Core processor family at CES back in January. Based on a new 32nm manufacturing technology, these new processors produce much less heat than their 45nm counterparts. But like every heatsink provider, Thermaltake knows there are users who want better-than-stock performance without sacrificing noise or sinking a lot of money into a cooling solution (no pun intended). Does the $29 Thermaltake Silent 1156 fit into this mold?

Cooler Master Hyper TX3 CPU Cooler 02-10-2010

Today's review item is the Cooler Master Hyper TX3. Unlike many of the coolers you're used to seeing reviewed here at, the Hyper TX3 is not designed for high-end processors, nor is it geared towards overclockers. Indeed, the TX3 is Cooler Master's latest mainstream cooling solution, compatible with i5 and below, as well as Phenom II and below.

Thermaltake SpinQ VT CPU Cooler 01-27-2010

Nowadays CPU coolers come in every imaginable size and shape. While some still retain the same basic format, many now sport heatpipes and exotic coatings, even the processor OEM coolers. And some are just downright strange looking, like the Thermaltake SpinQ. The SpinQ VT is slightly different from the original SpinQ in that it tilts the cylinder vertical. The number and dimensions of the fins remain the same, as does the 80mm centrifugal fan, other than LED color. And despite Thermaltake's advertised spec that the fins are now copper as well, the SpinQ VT weighs in at almost 175g less than the SpinQ.

Prolimatech Mega Shadow Deluxe Edition LGA 1156 Ready CPU Cooler 12-09-2009

Prolimatech has also released a new version of the Megahalems. It is a Megahalems that has been covered with a beautiful black nickel plate and sports LGA 1156 hardware so it will fit every enthusiast Intel CPU built in the past five years or so. But under that shiny black nickel finish, it still is a Megahalems at heart. Today I will be looking at this cooler, the Prolimatech Mega Shadow Deluxe Edition. Will it keep my LGA 1156 i7 870 nice and cool? Read on to see!

Dynatron Genius G950 CPU Cooler 10-29-2009

Although Dynatron is certainly no stranger to the CPU cooling industry, their heatsinks and Top Motor brand fans have been more commonly found in OEM cooling solutions and have largely gone unnoticed among many in the enthusiast and overclocking community. They look to possibly change that perception with their Genius and Evolution series CPU coolers, which incorporate many of the features we come to expect in a modern cooler. What I have for review today is the Genius G950, an oversized twin-tower style heatsink with a definite serious approach to quiet CPU cooling.

Spire TherMax Pro CPU Cooler 10-09-2009

CPU cooling is a highly competitive market. Over the past 10 years we have seen a multitude of cooling innovations and breakthroughs in how to draw heat from our processors. It seems that lately all the newer coolers are getting bigger and some cases just don't have room for them. Lately I have seen an increase in coolers blocking memory slots and making cable management essential for good airflow. Not all CPU coolers need to be 8" tall and fill up half of your case interior to be effective. Case in point: the Spire TherMax Pro.

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme CPU Cooler 09-28-2009

Being an avid overclocker means hundreds of hours and many different methods of cooling will be implemented in the quest for a cooler processor. This involves experiments in thermal interface materials, application of said pastes, lapping, airflow, and most importantly coolers. CPU coolers come in many shapes and sizes, and more often than not, those shapes and sizes have a direct bearing on the cooler's ability to draw away and dissipate the heat created by energy lost in your processor. Today we get to test the newest offering for Tuniq: the Tower 120 Extreme.

Zalman CNPS10X Quiet & Extreme CPU Coolers 09-10-2009

True to their company slogan "leading the world of quiet computing solutions", Zalman identifies each of their silent CPU coolers with CNPS in the model number. CNPS stands for Computer Noise Prevention System. The new 10X represents Zalman's first foray into the more conventional rectangular-fin tower style. There are two models to choose from, a basic no-frills Quiet version and the more advanced performance-oriented Extreme, both of which we will be looking at today.

Kingwin XT-1264 HTC Cooler 07-01-2009

New for 2009, Kingwin has replaced the RVT-12025 with a newer, updated tower cooler dubbed the XT-1264. Both models retain their machined individual copper heatpipe base with aluminum fin configuration coupled with a 120mm fan. The new cooler design is a few millimeters shorter than the old RVT but nearly 2˝cm thicker for increased fin surface area. Heatpipe count has been increased from three to four for better performance and heat dissipation. Support for Intel's socket 1366 is also added.

Thermaltake TMG IA1 CPU Cooler 04-12-2009

Today, we have for review one of Thermaltake’s newest CPU coolers, the Thermaltake TMG IA1. TMG is Thermaltake’s “thermal maximum grade” product group, a series of computer hardware products aimed at the quiet computing audience. You can glean a little bit more information from the forgotten TMG website. In contrast to the brute-force approach of the Thermaltake BigTyp 14 Pro, which I had a chance to review a few weeks ago, the IA1 hopes to provide a more elegant and standard way to cool your CPU without a burden on your ears.

Thermaltake BigTyp 14Pro CPU Cooler 02-20-2009

Today, we’re going to have a look at Thermaltake’s latest air cooler, the BigTyp 14Pro. The BigTyp 14Pro is the newest generation of Thermaltake’s legendary Big Typhoon air cooler, which was met with great reactions back in its day. The Big Typhoon’s large footprint and excessive heat-pipes worked as a brute force solution to the problem of a hot processor, and did a great job of it. The BigTyp 14Pro hopes to do the same.

Cooler Master V10 Hybrid TEC CPU Cooler 02-04-2009

But what will come as a surprise to most people is the direction Cooler Master opted to go with the V10. While externally it appears very similar to the air cooler on display at the CES booth, the original consisted mainly of a V8 cooler with an extra bank of fins and a second 120mm fan. But that's not the version we have received for review... oh no. A close look at the product packaging reveals the V10's trump card, 200W HYBRID TEC cooling.

Thermaltake RamOrb Memory Cooler 11-20-2008

Heat spreaders on memory modules are nothing new; they first saw use on RAMBUS memory back around the turn of the century, and quickly caught on in the enthusiast memory market as a means to help dissipate extra heat brought on through higher performance. More recently manufacturers have taken to incorporating heatpipes and additional banks of fins to provide even better cooling capacity. The Thermaltake RamOrb takes this idea one step further by adding a fan directly to the heatsink.

NorthQ NQ-3360A Max Tower Extreme CPU Cooler 11-12-2008

While the Denmark-based NorthQ has been making a variety of computer hardware products for the past few years, the availability of their merchandise has always been limited to non-existent in the United States. NorthQ not only manufactures a broad spectrum of computer equipment, from cases to power supplies to CPU coolers (water and air), but also home and car electronics. Their name may not be big in the USA, but we have seen their products before with good results.

Thermaltake MaxOrb EX CPU Cooler 11-06-2008

The six heatpipes travel up out of the base and around the circumference of the fins, with the outermost pipe routed through the copper section and the inside two pipes traversing the inner aluminum fins. As the heatpipes begin and end in the base it could be said there are really only three pipes, but each capable of bidirectional heat dispersal. The control knob is conveniently mounted in a space between the fins on the opposite end of the cooler.

Gelid Silent Spirit CPU Cooler 11-04-2008

You may not have heard it used before, but gelid can actually be found in a dictionary. The word literally means very cold or icy. How fitting for a company who specializes in PC cooling components to use it as their corporate name. Gelid Solutions originated earlier this year as a Hong Kong based company under Swiss management. They manufacture CPU coolers, fans and other thermal-related computer hardware for gamers and silent enthusiasts. Today they have sent us a product sample for review, the Gelid Silent Spirit.

Cooler Master V8 CPU Cooler 10-13-2008

One of the perks of my job is getting to look at some of the coolest new computer and consumer electronics, often times before they are even released to the public. Back in January at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, we got a sneak peek at Cooler Master's upcoming product line. There were several new and exciting products on display, from cases and power supplies to new CPU and GPU cooling solutions. Today we will be taking a look at one of the CPU coolers we saw on display, known simply as the V8.

Zalman CNPS9300 AT CPU Cooler 08-01-2008

Like most of their recent coolers, the Zalman CNPS9300AT uses a circular heatsink design, and just like previous 9000-series coolers the CNPS9300 uses an upright orientation with heatpipes connecting it to the base. CNPS stands for Computer Noise Prevention System, and Zalman uses this designation on all products designed for noiseless operation. Can an air cooler designed to be "noiseless" really provide enough cooling for modern processors?

Thermalright TRue Black 120 06-27-2008

Thermalright is now set to further capitalize on the success of the Ultra-120 eXtreme with the release the TRue Black 120. While physically identical to the Ultra-120 eXtreme, other than the new black nickel finish, the TRue Black comes with another set of clips to attach a second fan in a push/pull configuration and Thermalright has thrown in a small tube of their improved thermal compound, Chill Factor 2.

Sunbeamtech Core Contact Freeze HSF 05-16-2008

More and more I get people approaching me asking about cooling their rig. Sunbeamtech never really crossed my mind when people ask me. I tend to go with Thermalright, Zalman, Noctua, or Tuniq myself. After having my hands on the Core-Contact Freezer from Sunbeamtech, I might have to start adding them to the list of viable solutions to today's cooling needs.

OCZ Vendetta 2 CPU Cooler 04-20-2008

OCZ has never been a major player in the CPU cooling industry, but lately they have moved in strong. CES 2007 was their big opening, where they showed off preliminary models of their Cryo-Z phase change cooler, as well as some of their soon-to-be-released air coolers. A little more than a year later now, they have released four air coolers: the Vanquisher, the Vindicator, the Vendetta, which we reviewed back in November, and the Vendetta 2, which we have for review today.

Thermaltake DuOrb CPU / Memory Cooler 04-14-2008

Thermaltake has now carried that same patented design over into the processor realm with its DuOrb CPU Cooler. Utilizing twin 80mm fans just as the VGA Cooler did, this time surrounded by six copper heatpipes rather than two, and both an inner aluminum fin and outer copper fin configuration, the DuOrb CPU Cooler takes advantage of the wide wingspan of the DuOrb design to cool not only the processor but also the memory and surrounding socket area. Forum Grand Re-Opening Giveaway !! 03-12-2008

Now, with the main site set, we focused our attention to the forums. We switched to a new forum software and also totally reworked the layout to better match the main page. So now, it's time to celebrate, and what better way to do that than to give away a ton of free stuff to you, our readers?!! We have teamed up with several of our sponsors and put together a prize package worth over $1,300 !!

Cooler Master Sphere CPU Cooler 02-27-2008

The Sphere is an all-copper, quad heatpipe and fin CPU cooler shaped like, you guessed it, a ball. It comes with a single-speed radial fan built in, instead of the typical axial fan you find on most CPU coolers. The radial output of the fan helps to cool other components in the immediate vicinity of the CPU socket. This combination of round-shaped fins and radial output fan put the sphere into a fairly unique class of cooler.

Thermaltake MaxOrb CPU Cooler 02-14-2008

I've used more than a few Thermaltake CPU coolers over the years; no surprise considering they've been in business since 1999. Today I'll be taking a look at another of their latest products, the Max Orb. Following the progression of orb coolers, from the Golden Orb II through the Blue Orb and Ruby Orb, the Max Orb represents yet another level of advancement in design for Thermaltake.

Kingwin Revolution Heatpipe Direct Touch RVT-12025 CPU Cooler 01-28-2008

Kingwin is one of those companies that many enthusiasts often overlook. The name has not previously been associated with higher quality and performance hardware, but lately they have really stood out with their upper-end SLI certified PSUs, high-tech CPU coolers and very attractive HDD enclosures.

Thermalright HR-09 Mosfet Cooler 11-29-2007

With the latest designs, many motherboard manufacturers have started producing boards with chipset/mosfet heatsinks onboard, linked together with heatpipes. The HR-09 mosfet cooler was designed for those users with motherboards that either have an ineffective stock chipset/mosfet cooling system, or that don't have one at all.

OCZ Vendetta CPU Cooler 11-20-2007

As I mentioned earlier, the base is designed so that the three heatpipes will directly touch the CPU's heatspreader. I'm not a thermal engineer, but I do realize that there is some efficiency loss when transferring heat from one substrate to another, such as from the heatsink base to the heatpipes contained within.

Thermaltake V1 CPU Cooler 11-17-2007

The Thermaltake V1 is a copper base, copper heatpipe/fin CPU cooler compatible with Intel LGA775 and AMD 754/939/AM2 sockets. It has a strange sort of "flower" fin design that resembles something that could have come from the folks over at Zalman.

Thermalright SI-128 SE Heatsink 11-13-2007

Thermalright combines the best of their blow-down coolers with the unique design of the high-riser series to bring us the SI-128 SE. Instead of "Second Edition" as you might think, the S in SE is for Silent, something their HR line of coolers was quite good at.

GlacialTech Igloo 5710 Silent & PWM 11-12-2007

Following the release last month of their 5610 series of 80mm upright coolers, GlacialTech announces their latest 92mm 5710 Silent and PWM designs. If you're thinking to yourself, "Glacial-who?" then you should definitely sit up and pay attention, we're about to blow your socks off.

Zalman CNPS8700 NT CPU Cooler 11-11-2007

The major selling points of the CNPS8700 NT are its noise levels and its size, making it the ultimate HTPC companion. With these two features at Zalman’s focus, will the performance take a hit or stay true to the Zalman name? Continue as we find out…

Kingwin RVT-9225 Heatpipe Direct Touch CPU Cooler 10-15-2007

The idea of exposed heatpipes makes sense. Besides the transferal of heat between the heatsink and heatpipes, the heatsink itself can be made of aluminum…allowing lower manufacturing cost, and less weight. We’ll see just how well this new idea works.

Cooler Master Hyper 212 CPU Cooler 09-22-2007

Cooler Master has been releasing a lot of new products lately. From cases to peripherals, I’m starting to see their name everywhere. One of their most recent products to hit their website is the Hyper 212 CPU cooler. With support for all platforms, four heat pipes, and a silent, blue LED 120mm fan, this cooler has a lot of things going for it.

Tuniq Tower 120-LFB Heatsink 06-16-2007

It has very thin, tightly packed fins for high airflow situations. They are also folded down on the ends to keep the air flowing directly through the heatsink. The blackplate on the top of the cooler is attached to the blue LED fan and slides out with some encouragement, making it possible to put in a higher powered or lower noise fan.

Ultra Products ChillTec Thermo Electric CPU Cooler 03-13-2007

Here we get a look at the heatpipes and the TEC which is sandwiched between two copper plates. Each plate has four heatpipes leading to the upper deck of aluminum fins that are cooled by the 92mm fan. Initially, the CPU is cooled by the "heatsink" - that is, the heatpipes and aluminum fins.

EnzoTechnology Ultra-X Heatsink 02-20-2007

I will be installing the Ultra-X heatsink in my Intel test system. You can see just how large the Ultra-X is compared to the stock Intel cooling solution. The hardware needed for this install includes the backplate, four spring-loaded thumb-screws and four clear washers. Be extra careful when handling these washers, since they are very difficult to see.

Cooler Master Blue Ice Pro Chipset Cooler 09-25-2006

The thin copper fins are skived, meaning they're actually sliced from the base during the manufacturing process. Because the fins are still attached at the bottom there is better heat transfer than if the fins were soldered. It appears that this heatsink has a missing fin at the far left, there is a ridge on the base as if there was once a fin there, and there is certainly room for one. The fan bracket also appears slightly bent.

OCZ Tempest CPU Cooler 08-03-2006

It also includes a quiet 95mm LED fan and hardware for mounting to Socket 939, AM2, 478 and 775. With this impressive feature list it's hard to imagine that the Tempest would not perform well, however given the length of time since their last HSF offering, can OCZ hit a home run right out of the box? Or is the Tempest more likely to go down swinging?

Thermalright Ultra-90 Heatsink 06-13-2006

The Ultra-90 encompasses the same basic features as the XP-90's and XP-120; heatpipes through an array of fins connecting to a base for contact, but the Ultra-90 is a tower design. Thermalright claims it can outperform it's predecessor, the XP-90, using a lower CFM fan. Today we'll see how it compares to the XP-90C using the same fan.

Noctua NH-U12 & NH-U9 Heatsinks 05-10-2006

Both coolers feature four dual heat-pipes through 38 aluminum cooling fins mounted to a copper base, all soldered for maximum thermal convectivity. The NH-U9 is designed to be used with 80mm and 92mm fans; the NH-U12 with 120mm fans. Both coolers can mount two fans at once and are compatible with Intel Socket 478, LGA 775, and AMD K8.

Spire VertiCool II & DiamondCool II Heatsinks 03-28-2006

As I noted before, the DiamondCool is constructed primarily of copper. It has 55 micro (0.40mm) fins soldered to a very thick base (8.5mm). It uses four copper heat pipes to help draw the heat away from the base and transfer it to the copper fins above. In theory this should work very well, but the proof is in the testing.

Thermalright HR-01 High Riser Heatsink 02-02-2006

Today I will be taking a look at the new HR-01, an aluminum heatsink incorporating 8, count them, 8 heatpipes in an all-new (for Thermalright) tower design. Thermalright claims the HR-01 is so efficient, it can be used solely as a passive radiator, meaning it requires no fan attached directly to the heatsink. Many companies before have tried the passive tower design... tried and failed to produce a heatsink that even comes close to equaling the performance of a traditional fan-cooled heatsink.

Thermalright SI-120 Heatsink 11-18-2005

The heatpipes pass through the center of the fins and are soldered in place. A total of 52 fins provide for a large surface area for cooling. As with Thermalright's other coolers, the finned portion of the heatsink overhangs the base by a good margin and should provide indirect cooling for components surrounding the CPU socket.

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