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Best CPU Coolers for your rig this summer

Has your rig been getting a bit hot during the spring? It might be time to upgrade your cooling with summer on the horizon. But what cooler do you go for?

CPU coolers are not actually cool. Often they look rather stupid, but they do ensure your CPU is all nice and cool. This doesn't only aid performance, but you will be able to overclock your CPU to gain a bit more performance, and overall your CPU will last a bit longer -- though overclocking does tend to reduce the lifespan of the CPU even with the best cooling systems.

Knowing that PCs run best when they are at risk of getting a cold, which CPU coolers are best suitable for the task? From the humble 120mm fan, to a much larger 280mm liquid cooler, each one of the following coolers will do the best job it can at ensuring your CPU stays chill. Your only job is to make sure the airflow in and out of the case is good, and the cooler will do the rest.

NZXT X61 Kraken - 280mm closed loop liquid cooler

The X61 doesn't look like anything special, but NZXT is a leading name in cases and cooling. If you can afford to splash out a little, and have the case to fit it, the Kraken doesn't only own the high seas, but will ensure your CPU stays cool. Overclock to your heart's content -- you can push the CPU as far as it goes without worrying about it overheating. (Of course, you still need to configure the overclock correctly.) A 280mm radiator simply means you have 2x 140mm fans cooling

Alternatively, you can check out the Corsair Hydro Series H110iGTX.

Corsair Hydro Series H100iGTX v2 - 240mm closed loop liquid cooler

This is the smaller version of the H110iGTX mentioned above, but amazingly the H100i v2 is just as efficient. This 240mm liquid cooler is pretty much the best cooler on the market. Where the v1 was slightly less efficient, the v2 joins together what made the 100iGTX so good, with the price of the H100i. In other words, this is the best value for money liquid cooler on the market. Just make sure you have the space for it.

Corsair Hydro Series H80i v2 - 120mm closed loop liquid cooler

If you don't have room for a long radiator, you likely will have plenty of room for a 120mm liquid cooler. Most of them fit nicely in even the smallest of cases. While the H80i v2 will not cool as well as a 240mm or 280mm coolers, it will ensure that even during the 115F/45C heat of summer your CPU will not explode. You can even do some light overclocking with it. Definitely worth investing some money into the H80i v2 if you don't have room for a large cooler, as most cases should fit this one.

Noctua NH-D15 - dual 140mm fan cooler

If you don't have any room for a liquid cooler, you should have room for a more standard fan cooler. While liquid coolers will keep the temperature of the CPU more steady -- as they don't rely as much on air being cool -- the Noctua NH-D15 is the best non-liquid cooling option. Noctua has been at the top of the cooler and fan game for a very long time, and they know exactly how to get the best out of a fan cooler. This heatsink will perform almost as well as any liquid cooling, and if you have a lower frequency CPU, you can even overclock it -- though I wouldn't suggest overclocking a CPU which is over 3Ghz with a fan cooler.

Go forth and keep cool!

If you have the room for a large cooler, or a smaller one, these coolers will ensure that your PC doesn't overheat during the hot summer months. There are a few things you shouldn't cheap-out on, and a good cooler will stay with you for a long time.

Published Jun. 28th 2016

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