Nothing should stand between a voracious gamer and his pursuit of victory.
The aim is not just good performance but the highest level of performance accompanied by superior comfort.
Unbeknownst to the ordinary mind, our highly intellectual gamers do not settle for less; that is where the need for overclocking comes in.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- NZXT Kraken Z73 – Best AIO Cooler for Overclocking
- Noctua NH-D15 – Best Air Cooler of All time
- Corsair Hydro H60 – Budget AIO CPU Cooler
- Cooler Master MLR360 – Best 360 AIO Cooler
4 Best CPU Coolers for Overclocking 2023
To rev up the battle station requires hardcore overclocking which tends to generate significant amounts of heat.
Therefore the best CPU coolers are mandatory for the rig. Whether an air cooler or a liquid cooler will be more apt is the question to be considered. So we have reviewed some of the best CPU coolers for overclocking in 2023.
NZXT Kraken Z73 - Best AIO Cooler for Overclocking
- 2.36” LCD screen with a capability of 24-bit colour display.
- Customisable look.
- CAM’s unique and user friendly interface.
- Fluid dynamic bearing.
- A longevity span of 60,000 hours/ 6 years.
Representing a new generation of liquid coolers from a well-known company for its profound quality and striking visuals. At the core of the Kraken Z73 is a 7th-gen pump that promises enhanced flow and reliability. The NZXT reflective face incorporates a 2.36-inch (60mm) diameter LCD for real-time reporting of CPU or liquid temperatures and allows you to manage your custom image or animated GIF.
A motherboard USB 2.0 header-to-micro-USB cable manages the connectivity between the CAM desktop software and the Kraken Z73. A proprietary cable fans out from the pump to a trio of fan outputs, a SATA power input, and an unused 4-pin connector.
The base of the Kraken Z73 features a cold copper plate and a little factory-applied thermal compound. The traditional Asetek twist-lock bracket system is easily viewable from below and caters to the simple interchange of the correct mount during installation.
A pair of 90-degree swivel fittings quickly assist the nylon-sleeved tubing in rotating and repositioning during installation.
It has a trio of 120mm AER P120 fans with fluid-dynamic bearings to muster air through the 360mm aluminum radiator. Each of the 2000RPM (max) fan blades has a bit of an upturned winglet near the tip and is surrounded by a contrasting molded shroud.
Rubber grommets are positioned at each of the four corners for additional vibration damping. The length and flexibility of the sleeved tubing and swivel fittings allow for many different mounting options. Management of the USB and PWM+SATA cables requires a bit of thought due to the proprietary cable bundle’s width and the USB plug’s top location, which typically routes to a 9-pin USB header at the bottom of the motherboard.
The elegant and user-friendly CAM software allows for the selection of the LCD as well as multiple sensor reports from the UI. Fan and pump speeds can be controlled using either a curve ramp or predefined performance settings.
Some tech enthusiasts find CAM sluggish and unreliable. However, updated versions of it have redefined opinions in that regard. The use of CAM is also faced with skepticism as an added software booting up and running in the background.
The Z73 is ideal with Intel Core i5 and AMD Ryzen 7 processors or above. If you plan to rev up your gear with processors that rock ten or more cores, you’ll want to have the 360mm radiator for adequate heat dissipation.
Gamers with tight budgets, in all probability, will steer clear of the new Kraken Z73 rather than embracing its added features and performance. Still, gamers willing to spend on the Kraken Z73 will not face disappointment or boredom with this cooler. Its performance is praise-worthy.
- Multi-option LCD pump face displays selected data in real-time.
- CAM software provides ability to manage pump and fan curves.
- Intel and AMD support.
- Excellent cooling capability.
- Good aesthetics.
- High cost.
- Fan noise at 100% RPM.
Noctua NH-D15 - Best Air Cooler of All Time
- Two massive aluminium heat sink towers.
- 6 Copper heat pipes per tower.
- Smooth copper base plate.
- 140 mm fans.
- SecuFirm2 AM4 mounting-kit.
The NH-D15 has become a CPU air cooler benchmark for premium dual tower coolers. The SE-AM4 version is a dedicated special edition for AMD’s AM4 (Ryzen) platform featuring the latest SecuFirm2 mounting system for AM4 Socket.
It is topped off with two renowned quiet NF-A15 PWM 140mm fans and Noctua’s proven NT-H1 thermal compound; the NH-D15 SE-AM4 forms a complete high-quality solution that represents an elite choice for both overclockers and silent form factor enthusiasts who strive to tune their AM4 systems to the maximum.
The possession of dual heat sinks takes it a step ahead of traditional air coolers. NH-D15 enjoys everything that NH-D14 has, but Noctua brought about changes with the NH-D15, which has not only catered for better compatibility but has improved cooling and silent operations.
Each pipe is 6mm thick, and its material is copper with nickel plating. A more widened design than the NH-D14, and the width of each stack is 150mm. The design results in increased surface area, better heat dissipation, and good airflow aided by two fans.
It also provides 64mm clearance in single fan mode, making it compatible with most high-end RAM modules on the market. In dual fan mode, the NH-D15 should be used with standard-height RAM (up to 32mm).
NT-H1 is a well-proven pro-grade TIM solution that gives minimum thermal resistance, excellent ease of use, and outstanding reliability, making it well-suited for demanding gamers and exhaustive environments.
It is slightly expensive for an air cooler as there are AIO liquid coolers in a similar price range. Another major drawback is that it’s large and thus would not be able to fit in smaller-sized cases. Its socket is AMD-specific, and another needs to be purchased for Intel PCs, which adds to the expense. In some cases, it is also seen to block the top PCI Express slot.
This is by far the most award-winning CPU cooler, as it has not disappointed in performance. Its dual-fan system makes it prime for gamers who tend to overclock their systems. However, this is not an attractive option for gamers who are very particular about their battle station glamour.
- No additional software required.
- Good RAM clearance.
- Well rounded bundle.
- Runs quietly.
- Colour restriction (Brown and beige) only.
- Not cost-effective.
Corsair Hydro H60 - Budget AIO CPU Cooler
- Copper cold plate.
- Five years cooling warranty.
- 1700 RPM fan speed.
- 120mm radiator size.
Corsair’s Hydro Series H60 is an all-in-one liquid CPU cooler with a 120mm radiator built for low-noise liquid CPU cooling and bold styling with a white LED-lit pump head.
An adjustable fan speed ranging from 600 RPM to 1,700 RPM with a 120mm CORSAIR SP Series PWM fan makes it easy to minimize noise and maximize airflow. CPU temperatures are remarkably lowered with a 120mm high-density slim radiator for maximum cooling surface area and performance.
A white LED-lit pump head adds a touch of brilliance to the design and will enhance the aesthetics of your gaming gear: a thermally optimized cold plate and low-noise pump design add-in for more efficient and quieter cooling.
The modular tool-free mounting bracket makes for quick and easy installation onto all current AM4, LGA 1151, and LGA 2066 socket CPUs.
This is of prime importance for intense gaming sessions where the right amount of overclocking is underway. This reduced noise feature is bliss for focused gamers who do not want even the slightest distractions.
Unfortunately, the absence of a second fan sets it lower than coolers with dual or even triple fans. This is a restrictive factor for exhaustive games that require systems to be overclocked to a higher degree.
Even though this is an AIO liquid cooler and not very hard on the pocket, it will not be recommended for competitive gamers. Its limitations regarding overclocking the system make it a second choice.
- Easy to install and socket versatility.
- Marked cooling performance.
- Very low pump noise.
- Single fan.
Cooler Master MLR360 - Best 360 AIO Cooler
- 3-Fan AIO CPU Cooler.
- RGB Functionality.
- Compatible with both AMD and Intel Sockets.
- Cool Design and Aesthetics.
- Budget Pick as compared to other 360 AIO Coolers.
It has a PPS (Polyphenylene sulfide) and glass fiber construction that resists a broad range of chemicals rendering it unaffected by moisture or immersion in water.
The pump is also light in weight and impervious to oxidation and corrosion. Its custom design, along with a low-resistance radiator, allows for a higher flow rate, and increased heat exchange efficiency and provides unmatched cooling performance.
These are best-suited features when exhaustive environments are created by serious overclocking.
The FEP tubing makes it durable yet flexible, while the sleeved tubing on the exterior imparts a premium look. Master Fan MF120R ARGB ensures a precise air cooling solution, which is ideal for maximizing air pressure for AIO liquid cooling.
It comes with addressable RGB mode, so you can personalize the color of your fans to match your PC perfectly. What more can aesthetics-oriented gamers ask for than a personalized touch of glitz and glam?
It tends to get noisier at maximum RPM, which is a downside, especially for gamers who are allergic to even the slightest distraction. Secondly, the hoses are rigid, making them trickier to install.
Cooler Master’s new MasterLiquid ML360R RGB provides elite performance with RGB flourish. Being cost-effective compared to its counterparts, it is a popular choice for gamers aiming to achieve superior performance on a budget.
- Excellent cooling ability.
- Chic design and aesthetics.
- Lower price than the other 360 AIOs.
- Cable/controller management is not very good.
CPU Cooler for Overclocking
Investing a truckload of money on the best specifications only to have it crash due to overheating is a plain tragedy.
A good CPU cooler is also markedly involved in noise reduction.
Therefore, buying a CPU cooler that effectively manages thermal output is essential to high performance and an increased overclocking potential achieved in a quiet environment.
Key Factors to Consider before Purchase
The stock coolers equipped with the Ryzen 300 and 2000 series processors have moderate overclocking potential. This is still adequate for gaming enthusiasts. However, if very high clock speeds are desired, an aftermarket cooler will be required.
It is essential to thoroughly assess the cooler’s dimensions and the clearance in your case. Big air coolers can be a hindrance in cases of tall RAM, and VRM heat sinks.
The most effective air coolers are often the noisiest. If fan noise is undesired, you will consider a cooler that ensures active cooling and noise reduction. However, this takes you towards more expensive choices.
Types of CPU Coolers
There are a variety of CPU Coolers, but they can be classified into one of three categories: air, closed-loop, or all-in-one (AIO) coolers, or custom / open-loop cooling setups. It is pertinent to note that open-loop coolers are by far the most complex and expensive choice, though they are unrivaled both in terms of cooling and aesthetics. And for those of you willing to purchase this elite part, Corsair’s HydroX series is the best choice.
The AIO liquid coolers are the hotcakes in the market these days. Their cooling potential is better than air coolers, has a marked reduction in noise compared to the latter, and has fewer clearance issues.
However, the downside is that they are a little expensive, and there are chances of leakage of the liquid component. Air coolers are inexpensive; however, they tend to be noisier and have limited cooling potential.
While performance is not the only reason, quiet operation is also a key factor, especially in an office environment where fan noise would prove to be disruptive.
Competitive gamers also tend to avoid a noisy and distractive setup. The stock coolers bundled with recent models of AMD and Intel CPUs perform adequately. However, Intel stock coolers may not be as quiet, even at stock CPU settings.
Which would be a better fit for the system?
Be it air, an AIO, or a custom water loop, ensure it is not gigantic compared to the other components. CPU sockets and any potential chassis limitations like cooler height or radiator size are included.
Various air coolers and closed-loop coolers exhibit a wide range of support for both AMD and Intel processors.
What makes for a budget-friendly option?
The budget is the prime factor to be considered in pursuit of a good cooler.
Air coolers are generally cheaper than their respective alternatives at around $25 less than any AIO.
While the most expensive air coolers, about $100, can still be less expensive than many comparable AIOs. The more expensive the air cooler, the better the performance will be.
Which type of Cooler would be Best?
If the foremost concern is the economy and ease of installation, then an air cooler is the best choice. Cooler Master’s under-$40 Hyper 212 RGB promises better performance than stock cooling solutions and is easy on the pocket. If you are willing to invest a little more, one of the recommended air coolers on the market is the Be-quiet-Dark Rock 4.
Nonetheless, if noise reduction with lower CPU temperatures is your prime concern, a water-based cooler will prove better. A high-end AIO with a 280mm or 360mm radiator (like the CoolerMaster MasterLiquid ML360R RGB) outdoes most air coolers on the market. However, if the case is not large enough, a tri-fan radiator may not fit inside the chassis.
Expandable kits like the Swiftech Drive x3 AIO cooler are also available, which loses the CLC (closed-loop cooler) anatomy. This allows for the expansion of the cooling loop to other components, having more semblances to a custom loop than a sealed kit.
If you plan to overclock but want to stay within the mid-range prices (less than $125), then both aftermarket air coolers and mid-range AIOs are capable enough of effective heat dissipation. Primary differences mainly come down to appearance and pricing. Coolers like the Corsair H100i Pro and Cooler Master MasterAir MA410M fall into this mid-range category.
Irrespective of the cooler consideration, it is essential to check the TDP rating. In many cases, air and AIO cooler specifications will also list the TDP rating (the amount of heat the cooler can dissipate). This is an excellent way to determine the capacity of the chosen unit.
If the TDP of the processor is higher than the more cooling specifications, the chances are that the CPU will throttle or the fan will run all the time loudly. However, if the cooler is rated higher than the TDP of the CPU, the thermal output would be better, overclocking potential will be higher, and noise would substantially be reduced.
Whether you’re a gaming maniac pursuing overclocking your PC to its highest potential or want to prevent throttling at stock speeds, a good quality CPU cooler is your knight in shining armor. If you don’t have high aspirations and you are using a Ryzen chip, you may be able to make it more economical by using the stock cooler that came along with the system.
Nonetheless, it is essential to ensure the clearance and TDP requirements before opting for the right cooling solution for your armamentarium.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which CPU cooler is best for overclocking?
The Noctua NH-D15 is by far the best air CPU cooler that can be purchased. It is the most logical alternative to liquid cooling if the space to mount radiators in your armamentarium is deficient. With dual fan technology and increased surface area, it uniformly dissipates significant amounts of heat.
How significant is a cooler when overclocking?
A cooler is of utmost importance in the apparatus regardless of the functions being performed on it. This is mainly because the heat produced reduces the equipment’s longevity and can damage the parts. Overclocking leads to even higher amounts of heat production; without an excellent cooler, performance will be remarkably affected.
Is a stock cooler enough for overclocking?
Stock coolers are reputed. They also work suitably well, making the CPU run at stock speed, but they cannot be used for overclocking. With stock coolers, the temperatures tend to be higher, yet safe.
Are liquid coolers better for overclocking?
Liquid cooling is a better way to cool a CPU because water transfers heat much more efficiently as compared to air. Noise is markedly reduced because the fans will not always run at a high RPM. However, liquid cooling a PC can be hazardous if water leaks onto the hardware.
Are dual fans sufficient for overclocking a gaming PC?
Yes, they will be adequate. However, ensure an exhaust near the back by the CPU cooler, while the other is intake below the graphics card. This placement would lead to more effective airflow. Increasing the number of fans will improve overclocking potential.
So, that was all! After thorough research, we have listed the Top 4 Best CPU Coolers for overclocking in 2023.
Please let us know in the comments below if you have tried any of these or have any other suggestions for us.