CPU Cooler Reviews

Noctua NH-U12S

Not much can top CPU coolers in your PC in terms of the value and good old-fashioned mechanical engineering they provide. In fact, depending on the CPU cooler you choose, it might end up being a real eye-catching piece of machinery, with some even resembling the small block you might find in a modern-day muscle car.

We've been through a lot of CPU coolers, from the smallest to the largest, and we put our pen to virtual paper in a range of reviews to give you our thoughts on the best models for every application.

The key to understanding CPU cooler performance is striking the right balance based on your needs. You see, while you can always use more CPU and video card performance, reaching for the extremes of CPU cooler performance may not always be in your best interest. More cooling may produce better "numbers", but at a certain point, they are just that, numbers. A CPU only has to be so cold, after all! And higher performance often comes with the drawback of more noise, and in many cases significant compatibility issues, so there's definitely a reason you may want to settle with just good enough.

By the way, if you just want to cut to the chase and see our recommended picks, jump to the CPU Cooler Buyer's Guide, updated quarterly!