Ten of the best... Core i7 CPU coolers
So your processor doesn't lose its cool
Round-up Intel’s standard CPU cooler for the Core i7 family looks like a slightly bigger version of the cooler that we're used to seeing on LGA775 Pentium D and Core 2 chips. It works well at the standard speed but lets the side down when you start overclocking.
After-market coolers for Core i7 come in two distinct flavours. Some designs are older models that have an additional set of mounts to adapt them for the Core i7. Alternatively, you get a huge cooler that can handle the 130W TDP of the Core i7 and which can generally cope with a decent amount of overclocking.
To test our ten coolers, we used a Core i7 920 at three speeds with each cooler: the standard speed of 2.66GHz, modestly overclocked to 3.2GHz and seriously overclocked to 3.8GHz. In each case, we used the free Real Temp 3.0 utility to monitor CPU temperature as it idled in the Windows desktop, when partially loaded in PCMark05 and with the CPU flat out running Prime95.
We also evaluated the coolers for ease of installation, assessed the noise level of the fan and naturally we took the price into consideration. When we had finished we found that one of the coolers stood head and shoulders above the other nine and we were surprised to see that it was also dirt cheap.
@Radiated heat commenters
Wouldn't a CPU cooler be better off with low radiated heat and high conducted heat? I mean radiated heat would go into heating the surrounding case and electronics (which is bad as the heat ends up in non-actively-cooled components), but conducted heat only heats up the air being pulled through by the fan (which, with proper case airflow, is good as the heat's pulled out quickly afterwards). So the best cooler designs would be those with huge surface area (i.e. many vanes) and a big fan.
The best case designs, however, would radiate heat- they're (typically) radiating to a whole room (so radiated heat is spread over a massive surface area) rather than blasting the heat back at whatever you're trying to cool in the first place.
Saying that, the most important thing to start with is good case airflow. Otherwise you just end up recirculating the hot air...
This is without a doubt one of the best coolers on the market fish around for reviews...it costs less than £35 delivered and is in my experience the best you can buy for a air cooled cpu. Water cooling is such a farce...I have had the Zalman 8700 and 9700 models as well as the scythe coolers...min cpu i have had them on is a Q6600 my QX6700 runings @ 40c under load @ 3.2Ghz with the Xigmatek HDT-S1283.... FIVE STARS!
I want a gold plated IEC mains lead too
@refined chap and others
It is indeed largely about "bling". But roughened matt black, whilst good at losing the heat, wouldn't look so good in comparison with superprettified polished chrome would it.
The eejits these things are aimed at are the same eejits that gold plated fuses for the car stereo are aimed at. Fuses. Gold plated. Think about it.
Respect is due also for the EMC comment re see-through PC sides, not that anyone in authority in the UK cares much about EMC regulations anyway (otherwise the market for powerline ethernet (Homeplug etc) would be just as dead as the market for SSE Telecom's powerline broadband).
kinda wished you had also based results on the stupid special fans that need lots of cable ties if the clips ever break or fan needs replacing
i use a mini ninja on my case with 3 fans loaded on it and nootice only a 4 degree cahnge under load and idle :D
but its louder than a bloody 747 at take off :/
The "Titan TTC-NK85TZ Fenrir" is better than these
I have one, it's huge, but cools damned well, and can even cope with tall DDR3 (you mount the fan higher up the heatsink.