Gone are the days when you would buy a new a new computer only to find out that you will have to use Intel or AMD’s stock fan for the rest of your time spent with the hardware. Nowadays, thanks to the technological enhancements and the enhancements in the sockets and chipsets, you can easily fit aftermarket coolers on your processors, and if you are wondering why anyone would need a cooler, it is in order to keep the temperatures down, and for the enthusiasts, it serves the purpose of giving them enough headroom to efficiently overclock the processor while still maintaining the temperatures.
For those who don’t know what overclocking means, it is basically the process of increasing the base clock of the processor to a higher value in order to get the increased performance, doing so will increase the overall heat of the processor, and that is why these coolers come into effect, and are so popular among the enthusiasts.
With that said; under normal circumstances, these coolers are either air coolers, or closed loop liquid coolers. The air coolers are basically large heatsinks with aluminum fins and fans ranging from 1-3. Although these coolers are comparatively low in price when compared to the closed loop liquid cooler, their huge size makes them very aggressive. The other option you have is a closed loop liquid cooler, this cooler basically offers a CPU block that doubles up as a pump, the pump has 2 tubes attached to it that go straight into the radiator that mounts in your case; now this radiator is available in either 120mm, 140mm, 240mm, 280mm, and 360mm.
Obviously, the higher you go, the better the performance you’ll get. Although these closed loop liquid coolers are great, the performance on their side often ends up deteriorating by the time passes by. In the old days, the chances of failure used to be really common, but thanks to the extend warranties and quality components, that issue has been addressed.
With that said, if you are in the market looking for coolers, you should know that there’s as sheer amount of choice when you are choosing a CPU cooler, and this applies to both liquid coolers as well as air coolers. Although the more experienced bunch will have an easier time deciding, the newcomers may end up flustered and not able to make the right decision. To address that issue, we have come with a list of some of the best CPU coolers 2018 in the market, these coolers include both air and closed loop liquid coolers. So, without further ado, let’s take a look.
Top 7 Best Cpu Cooler For Gaming 2018
1. NZXT Kraken X62 – View on Amazon
It’s pretty safe to say that at this point that NZXT’s reputation as a company which heavily focuses on both aesthetics, and performance remains unfazed over the years. The company’s original lineup of Kraken closed loop liquid cooler was one of the best when it came to performance as well as aesthetics.
For those who have missed out on the original Kraken series of coolers mainly because they were waiting for something new from NZXT, the good news is that the company has revamped the Kraken lineup, this means that they are now offering newer versions of all the previous Kraken coolers.
In case you are wondering what has changed, to be honest, not a lot. Sure, NZXT claims that they have reworked the pump, and how it works, but the biggest difference is how the pump actually looks like. It’s quite possibly the best looking pumps on a closed loop cooler that we have seen in ages.
It’s clean, with juts the NZXT logo in the middle, and the entire finish is mirror, now while it may look odd while turned off, as soon as you turn on your PC, the insides light up, and you get to see this infinity effect on the pump.
This looks so cool, and vivid that the only proper way to describe it, is by seeing it in real life, because that’s how different, and wicked it looks. NZXT has dubbed it as an infinity mirror, something that we haven’t seen a lot of other companies doing it with their coolers.
That’s not all, the company has also done a great job in making sure that the fit and finish of the Kraken X62, as this 280mm cooler fits perfectly whether you’re using an NZXT case or a case by some other company. Needless to say, the universal support is there, and it’s brilliant.
In addition to that, another good thing about the NZXT Kraken X62 is that the performance remains one of the best, and there’s absolutely no doubt about that, and in order to sum up all the good things, we are going to take a look at the pros of this amazing closed loop liquid cooler.
For your convenience, they are listed below.
- Large 280mm radiator provides plenty of cooling potential, making the Kraken X62 a great option for people who are looking for an all in one liquid cooler in the market.
- The infinity mirror makes it look like one of the best liquid coolers in the market that has plenty to offer in the performance section as well.
- The cooler cools like a champion, and allows you to easily, and effectively cool your processor, and at the same time, achieve a good overclock as well.
- It runs quietly, making it amazing for people who prefer quieter operations.
With all the good things about this liquid cooler, we decided to look for some caveats as well, lucky for you, there aren’t any deal breaking caveats, however, there some things that are questionable to say the least. For starters, the Kraken X62 happens to be a very small upgrade from the Kraken X52 in terms of performance, as a matter of fact, both perform under a margin of error.
In addition to that, another thing you should keep in mind is that the Kraken X62 is controlled through the NZXT CAM software for the most part. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the software is somewhat dubious at times.
For starters, we experienced several instances in which the software didn’t let us log in, and in addition to that, there was a case in which it wouldn’t run at all. While this won’t really stop the cooler from working, for those who prefer to use it mainly for monitoring, or even controlling their lights, this can be an issue.
The software itself is good, we just wish that NZXT works on making it even better than before, something that’s important to keep in mind. With that out of the way, let’s sum up the negative points of the Kraken X62, shall we?
- The performance over the Kraken X52 is incremental at best.
- The CAM software works wonderfully when it has to, but when it refuses, things become a lot more annoying than thy should be.
Overall, the Kraken X62 is a great cooler from NZXT, it’s better looking than most of the closed loop liquid coolers available in the market, and provides a lot of performance benefits as well. The only things that are holding this puppy back are the buggy CAM software, and the small performance benefit over some of the other, cheaper coolers in the market.
If you’re okay with that, then the NZXT Kraken X62 is definitely the cooler that you should go for without a second thought.
2. Corsair Hydro Series H115i
The first one on our list is the Corsair Hydro Series H115i GTX; for those who don’t know, Corsair has a long standing success in hydro coolers, and have come a long way when it comes to brilliant price to performance ratio, and overall cooling capabilities of their coolers. In case you are wondering, the “I” in the model name basically means that you can actually monitor your cooler as well as the pump through Corsair Link software; you can also manage the fan speeds, and set profiles regarding the fans. With that said, let’s take a look at all the major advantages of the Corsair H115i GTX.
- One of the best things about the H115i GTX is that it comes with a substantial 280mm radiator; this gives way to better cooling performance.
- Corsair has reworked the cold plate as well as the pump design, and make them provide better efficiency in order to deliver lower temps and better acoustics.
- The cooler ships with 2 SP140L PWM fans that provide top of the line high-static pressure and the ability to change the speed of the fan thanks to the Corsair Link software.
- Corsair offers Corsair Link app that you can download and install on your PC; the app then lets you monitor your H115i GTX easily, to activate it, you have to connect the added USB 2.0 cable with the CPU pump, and then connect it with a USB 2.0 header on the motherboard.
The cooler is built for people who want to do overclocking efficiently, but even if you are not going that way, it is still a wonderful addition to your build, and thanks to the minimal, black aesthetics, would look good in pretty much every build.
3. NZXT Kraken X61
Next up, we are going to look a famous offering from NZXT, and just like the H115i GTX, this one is also a closed loop cooler, and can offer monitoring. However, this time, the monitoring is done through NZXT’s acclaimed CAM software. Obviously, both coolers are slightly different than each other, however, you should know that they are both 280mm coolers and can serve as alternative to each other without any major changes. Comparing both, you’ll realise that the tubing on the Kraken X61 is actually quite flexible as compared to the stiff, and thick tubing on the H115i GTX, however, the choice is completely subjective as the performance on both remains impressive across the board. Below are some of the advantages of the NZXT Kraken X61.
- Can be controlled using the NZXT CAM software.
- Efficient and powerful 280mm cooler for maximum performance.
- CAM Software can control the Kraken as well as some other NZXT add-ons like the Hue+ and Grid.
- Brilliant quality 16″ tubing along with black sleeved cables for hassle free installation.
- Comes with dual FX 140 V2 PWM fans that are specially tuned for radiator cooling.
- The Kraken X61 supports almost all the new and old socket types, and is the best choice for people who have a little bit older hardware too.
Needless to say, the NZXT Kraken X61 gets the top remarks for being one of the closed loop liquid coolers; top of the line build quality, and amazing, amazing cooling prowess. You simply can’t go wrong with the Kraken X61.
4. Corsair Hydro Series H100i
The best cpu cooler for gaming under 100
The next cooler on our list is another one from Corsair, and this time, we are looking at the Corsair H100i GTX, now if you are wonder about any major differences between both the H115i GTX, and the H100i GTX, then you should know that there are a couple to begin with. While from the looks of it, they both share the same aesthetics, as well as the design, the major difference is the radiator size. The H115i GTX is a 280mm radiator, and the H100i GTX is a 240mm radiator. Still, considering how Corsair is just one of the best brands, the performance numbers on this cooler managed to remain impressive across the board even when the CPU was overclocked. Let’s take a look at some of the pros of the H100i GTX.
- Comes as a 240mm radiator with 2 amazing static pressure fans for keeping things cool.
- Has the ability to be efficiently and easily monitored through the Corsair Link software, simply connect the cable to your USB 2.0 header on the mother board
- Highly flexible yet durable cable as well as tubing that lets you easily install the radiator without any hassle.
- New and improved cold plate that lets the heat transfer itself a lot easier as compared to other AIO coolers.
- Includes a handy dandy magnetic installation bracket that allows the cooler to be installed even by people who aren’t as experienced.
- Has full support for all the socket types from Intel as well as AMD; mounting accessories are bundled within the box.
It goes without saying that when it comes to sheer price to performance, not a lot can actually beat the Corsair H100i GTA; yes, it doesn’t perform like a custom water cooler, but it is never intended to. Do keep in mind that custom water cooling is still way more expensive than the AIO liquid cooling, and Corsair H100i GTX does a fine job at that. With that said, if you are looking for a small version, you can always look at the Corsair H80i, and H80i V2 for your small solutions.
5. Noctua NH-D15
best air cpu cooler under 100
Much like how Corsair never bothered with air coolers, Noctua never bothered with AIO closed loop liquid coolers, and there is a reason behind that. Thanks to Noctua’s technological prowess, some of their air coolers are so good and efficient and cooling that in many cases, they actually end up edging out the AIO liquid coolers. Yes, you’ve heard it right. Noctua’s brilliant fans coupled with their brilliant implementation of aluminum fin arrays, it goes without saying that Noctua happens to be a force to be reckoned with. Today, we are going to take a look at the NH-D15 from Noctua, and although there isn’t a huge price margin between the NH-D15 and a standard AIO liquid cooler, we are here to look at how much difference there is in the performance numbers, and overall operation. First of all, below are some of the reasons we actually picked this cooler in the first place.
- The NH-D15 provides one of the best air cooling available in the market, while keeping the temperature and noise levels low.
- Considering how most air coolers end up causing compatibility issues, Noctua brought in an asymmetrical design in order to help make the cooler widely compatible.
- The heat sink itself ships with two premium quality NF-A15 PWM 140mm fans that are there to keep everything as cool as possible.
- The cooler itself offers 6 heat pipes cleverly spread and aligned in order to provide the maximum performance
In case you are wondering how the cooler performed, you should know that the D15 by Noctua passed by flying colours; tests revealed that the cooler is powerful enough to go neck to neck with some of the AIO liquid coolers, and even besting them in some cases. In simpler terms, this may be Notcua’s best cooler till date. It’s surely not as economical, and costs more than some of the entry level AIO cooler, but it’s definitely great enough to be on our list.
6. Corsair Hydro Series H60
For those who of you who want to but an AIO closed loop liquid cooler but don’t want to spend the premium money on it, Corsair has you covered. The company released affordable, and budget friendly liquid coolers that are best for people who have a budget on their mind. In comes the Corsair Hydro Series H60; the cooler is a 120mm AIO cooler that should be able to give you some amount of overclocking headroom and enough value for your money, it ships with the always trusted and adored 5-year warranty from Corsair, and happens to be a budget user’s delight. Let’s find out what makes this cooler so great.
- The Corsair H60 offers a self-contained cooling system meaning the radiator can easily cool itself without any outside support.
- For those of you don’t like to get confused with a lot of thermal compounds that available in the market, Corsair has pre-applied the thermal compound for you on the cold plate.
- Despite being budget friendly, the cooler still supports a wide variety of sockets, including the sockets from both AMD and Intel. Some of the supported sockets are: AMD: AM2, AM3, FM1, Intel LGA: 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011-3
- The radiator is super easy to install thanks to the large diameter.
- Cooler ships with a tool –free magnetic mounting kit.
As you can tell that despite a pretty standard and affordable price tag, the Corsair H60 managed to perform relatively well. Yes, you’re not going to get the same level of performance when you compare it to the other high end liquid or air coolers, but for those who are on a budget and just want to buy something affordable for their build, the H60 is one of the best decisions one could make.
7. Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
best cpu cooler under 50
We are heading back to the air cooling territory, and this time, we will be looking at the Hyper 212 Evo from Cooler Master. Now for those of you who don’t know, this cooler right here is considered to be the most popular air coolers that are available in the market. The reason is simple, this is perhaps the most affordable coolers in the market, and while being affordable, it provides enough power to actually overclock a Core i5 6600k to a surprising 4.4Ghz while maintaining the temps. While obviously, silicon lottery plays a huge deal as well, but the fact can’t be denied that when it comes to sheer performance, the Hyper 212 Evo is one of the oldest, most efficient players in town. Let’s look at some of the good stuff.
- The Hyper 212 Evo offers one of the best cooling performance by giving top of the line fin optimizations that is perfectly balanced for operations at pretty much any speed.
- The cooler offers impressive 4 Direct Contact heat pipes that are in direct contact with the heat spreader on the CPU thanks to the patented Continuous Direct Contact technology
- The cooler also comes with a PWM fan that has specifically designed blades that are optimized for maximum airflow, you can also add an additional fan of your choice.
- Sitting with an outdated or old socket type? Don’t worry, the Hyper 212 Evo by Cooler Master has support for almost all the socket types there are, the support ranges widely for both AMD and Intel so you don’t need to worry about it.
No one can deny the fame and power that the Hyper 212 Evo possesses. Yes, it’s cheap and affordable, but people shouldn’t forget that this is one of the most famous coolers for a reason. It provides unprecedented level of performance, quite simply, the best price to performance ratio one could ask for.
While the market is flooded with CPU coolers of all sorts, picking up the best one can still be a tough decision because you never know what the issue maybe. For instance; most air coolers have the tendency to run into RAM clearance issues, and while this can be solved by some careful reading before buying, the issue is still a bit of a nuisance because you won’t be able to buy the cooler you wanted. As for AIO liquid coolers, those suffer from their own bunch of issues like leaking or the pump failing altogether. Although these issues have given a bad name to these coolers, but the ones we mentioned on the list are some of the finest and have never had these issues. Even if you do run into an issue like this, these coolers do ship with a warranty to back things up.