Nothing should stand between a voracious gamer and his pursuit for victory.
The aim is not just good performance rather the highest level of performance accompanied with superior comfort.
Unbeknownst to the common mind, our highly intellectual gamers do not settle for less; and that is where comes in need of overclocking.
4 Best CPU Coolers for Overclocking 2020
To rev up the battle station requires hardcore overclocking which tends to generate significant amounts of heat.
Therefore a high-quality CPU cooler is 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 2020.
NZXT Kraken Z73
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Corsair Hydro H60
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Cooler Master MLR360
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Representing a new generation of liquid coolers from a company well known 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 houses the ability 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 copper cold plate and a little of 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 to be rotated and repositioned during installation.
It is equipped with 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.
At each of the four corners are positioned rubber grommets for additional vibration damping. The length and flexibility of the sleeved tubing and swivel fittings allow for a multitude of different mounting options. Management of both the USB and PWM+SATA cables require a bit of thought due to the width of the proprietary cable bundle and the top location of the USB plug, 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 as 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 is booting up and running in the background.
The Z73 is ideal with Intel Core i5 and AMD Ryzen 7 processors or above. Should you plan to rev up your gear with processors that rock ten or more cores, you’ll want to have the 360mm radiator at hand 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 but gamers who are willing to spend upon the Kraken Z73 will not face disappointment or boredom with this cooler. Its performance is praise-worthy.
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.
Topped off with two of the 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 the 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 of 6mm thickness and its material is copper with nickel plating. A more widened design than the NH-D14 and width of each stack is 150mm. The design results in increased surface area, better heat dissipation coupled with good air flow 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 the performance. Its dual-fan system makes it prime for gamers who tend to overclock their systems. However, for gamers who are very particular about their battle station glamour, this is definitely not an attractive option.
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.
For intense gaming sessions where the right amount of overclocking is underway, this is of prime importance. For focused gamers not wanting even the slightest of distraction, this reduced noise feature is pure bliss.
The absence of a second fan, unfortunately, sets it lower than coolers with dual or even triple fans. For exhaustive games that require systems to be overclocked to a higher degree, this is a restrictive factor.
Even though this is an AIO liquid cooler and not very hard on the pocket, yet it will not be recommended for competitive gamers. Its limitations when it comes to overclocking the system make it a second choice.
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, 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 to it. 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?
Tends to get noisier at maximum RPM, which is a downside especially for gamers who are allergic to even the slightest of distraction. Secondly, the hoses are very rigid that makes it trickier to install.
Cooler Master’s new MasterLiquid ML360R RGB provides elite performance with RGB flourish. Being cost-effective when in comparison to its counterparts, it is a popular choice for gamers aiming to achieve superior performance on a budget.
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, being achieved in a quiet environment.
Key Factors to Consider prior to Purchase
The stock coolers that are 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, then an aftermarket cooler will be required.
It is essential to thoroughly assess the dimensions of the cooler 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 want to consider a cooler that ensures active cooling along with noise reduction. However, this takes you towards more expensive choices.
Types of CPU Coolers
There are a variety of CPU Coolers, but predominantly 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 hot cakes in the market these days. Their cooling potential is better than air coolers, has marked reduction in noise in comparison 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 relatively 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 custom water loop, ensure it is not gigantic in comparison to the other components. Factors inclusive are CPU socket as well as any potential chassis limitations like cooler height or radiator size.
A variety of 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.
In general, air coolers tend to be 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. More expensive the air cooler, better will be the performance.
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, then 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 then 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.
There are also expandable kits available like the Swiftech Drive x3 AIO cooler which loses the CLC (closed-loop cooler) anatomy. This allows for 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 mostly 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 into consideration, it is essential to check the TDP rating. In plenty of cases, air and AIO cooler specifications will also list the TDP rating (which is 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 in pursuit of 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 to your armamentarium.
Frequently Asked Questions
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. Coming with dual fan technology and increased surface area, it uniformly dissipates significant amounts of heat.
A cooler is of utmost importance in the apparatus regardless of the functions being performed on it. This is mainly because the heat that is produced reduces the longevity of the equipment and can damage the parts. Overclocking leads to even higher amounts of heat production; without an excellent cooler, performance will be remarkably affected.
Stock coolers are reputed. They also work suitably well, making the CPU run at stock speed, but it cannot be used for overclocking. With stock coolers, the temperatures tend to be higher, yet safe.
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 be running at a high RPM. However, liquid cooling a PC can be hazardous if water leaks onto the hardware.
Yes, they will be adequate. However, ensure there is an exhaust near the back by the CPU cooler, while the other as intake below the graphics card. This placement would lead to more effective air-flow. Increasing the number of fans will improve overclocking potential.
So, that was all! We have listed the Top 4 Best CPU Coolers for overclocking in 2020 after thorough research.
Do let us know, if you have tried any of these or if you have any other suggestions for us in the comments below.