Fall 2014 Cooler Roundup
- Noctua NH-D15 ~$104.99
- NZXT Kraken X31 ~$73.99
- NZXT Kraken X41 ~$109.99
- NZXT Kraken X61 ~$139.99
- Thermaltake Water 3.0 Pro ~$109.99
- Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate ~$139.99
- Thermaltake NiC L32 ~$37.99
- Thermaltake Frio Extreme ~$94.99
- Thermaltake NiC C5 ~$49.99
Today we are taking a look at a bunch of coolers from a few different companies and putting them up against each other in a massive cooler showdown. In this article we'll briefly cover each cooler that is going into the ring and then simply take a look at performance. We aren't reviewing each cooler in depth, but we will highlight some of the features of each unit so that you can quickly and easily know what you're getting with each unit. At the end, we'll post a chart of all of these coolers compared to each other and see how they all compare when going head-to-head.
We have coolers from Noctua, Thermaltake and NZXT represented here today and this round will cover HSF units as well as liquid cooling kits. We won't do a direct comparison of noise, but we will make some notes as to noise levels as we go. If you want some good kit-cooling and have a decent budget, make sure you follow along to see the candidates.
The first cooler up on the bench is a huge unit from Noctua. Every time we get a Noctua cooler, we are amazed at how they manage to up their performance without upping the noise produced by their coolers. The way they increase the performance with this (their current flagship), is by making it huge and including two massive fans. You can run this cooler with either one or two fans and use fan speed reducers to make it even quieter. Even if you leave the fans running at stock speeds, they are still quiet.
As you can see below, this cooler has a total of six heat pipes that travel up into two separate cooling fin sections. By default a fan is installed between these, allowing it to pull air through one side and push air through the other section. If this isn't good enough, you can add a second fan - which is included.
As with all Noctua coolers, installation will either require motherboard removal or a large hole in your motherboard tray in order to attach the stiffener plate. You really need this plate in order to secure this 1.32kg cooler (2.91lb) to your CPU. The beauty of this cooler is that it is massive - in terms of sheer size and as well as its promised performance. When you combine the claim of silent and awesome cooling with a six year warranty, you just may have a winner.
Noctua NH-D15 Installed
If you want to check out all the features and specifications of this cooler, please be sure to check this manufacturer's site here.
Next up, the NZXT Kraken X31 Liquid Cooling System.