33 CPU cooler group test: cool, quiet and both

33 coolers tested with the new test setup

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The coolest and the most silent

When you overclock you likely only care about cooling performance and it doesn't matter as much if your system is noisy. With the Ivy Bridge CPU simulator set to 125W with the fan on high speed, the Noctua NH-D14 is the winner with a temperature of 37.9 ºC. The Noctua NH-C14 is almost as good at 38.3 ºC, followed by the DeepCool Neptwin (38.5 ºC), Enermax ETS-T40-VD (39.9 ºC) and the Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 (40.4 ºC). That the last two ended up in the top 5 is impressive, since the Enermax ETS-T40 is considerably smaller and the Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 remains pretty quiet even at high speed.

We the Socket 2011 set at 160W the Noctua NH-D14 again takes first place with 40.5 ºC, followed by the DeepCool Neptwin and the Noctua NH-C14. The Cooler Master TPC800, tested with a Scythe Gentle Typhoon 1450rpm fan, takes fourth place, followed by the Zalman CNPS12X.

Noctua NH-D14 (Socket 2011)
The huge Noctua NH-D14 cools te best and is therefore the best choice for overclockers. It's expensive though, and while not extremely loud, there are many more quiet ones at there. 

Most people will prefer a cooler that's quiet, and in this department the Scythe Big Shuriken and Be Quiet! Dark Rock Advanced C1 take the lead. With fans on low they register only 18.4 dB(A) het stilst. Also registering less than 25 dB(A) (which is inaudible) are the Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2, Silentmaxx BigBlock, Be Quiet! Shadow Rock Pro SR1, Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro C1, Cooler Master TPC-800 and Scythe Mugen 3 PCGH Edition. Below 30 dB(A) is still extremely quiet and 35 dB(A) is quiet.

The five most silent coolers keep a slightly-overclocked Ivy Bridge processor with 125W of heat below 70 degrees Celsius. The Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2, Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro C1, Cooler Master TPC-800 and Scythe Mugen 3 PCGH even stick around 50 degrees, which is very good.

Be quiet! Dark Rock Advanced C1
Along with the Scythe Big Shuriken the Be Quiet! Dark Rock Advanced C1 is the most silent cooler in this test, and also cools very well. The Advanced C1 is more affordable than the Gold Awardee Dark Rock Pro 2 and other high-end models.

Be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2
The Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 is among the top 5 in terms of cooling performance, and it's the only one out of those five that's also relatively quiet. It's in the top 3 coolers that are the most silent at low speed, so it definitely is good all around.


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