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Ten of the best... Core i7 CPU coolers

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Zalman CNPS9900-LED

Zalman CNPS9900-LED

The Zalman has a 100mm fan that sits between two copper coolers that are non-symmetrical with the thinner cooler designated as the front and the thicker cooler as the back. It comes with three mounts that cover LGA775, LGA1366 and AMD motherboards, but we found installation to be a nightmare. With the motherboard removed from the case and turned upside down you install the base plate with four screws from the back of the board. Then you slip the cooler into the mount and screw it home. However, the cooler isn’t positively retained in the top frame and can easily twist or slip. If you try to mount or dismount the cooler in your case you will have a tough time of it. To add to the fun the four mounting screws for the cooler frame are located very close to the fins of the coolers so it is tricky to screw them home.

Once those hurdles are overcome the Zalman is an absolute joy and is the most effective cooler in the group. The thermally controlled fan has a four-pin fan connector and is nice and quiet in operation. We disliked the blue LEDs in the centre of the fan but we accept that some misguided souls like that sort of thing.

Reg Rating 80
Price £56
More Info Zalman's CNPS9900-LED page

Akasa Nero

Akasa Nero

The Akasa Nero AK967 appears to pick and choose features from most of the coolers in the round-up. In appearance, it has a certain amount in common with the Coolink Silentator and the Noctua NH-U12P as the cooler stands vertically on a set of heatpipes.

The mounting mechanism is similar to the GELID and Thermaltake as you get a selection of three types of mount for LGA775, LGA1366 and AMD that you screw on to the sides of the cooler. The Core i7 mounts use Intel-style push pins that were a doddle to install. The 120mm fan has a four-pin connector and increases speed when the CPU is under load. It is mounted on four rubber posts that pop into place.

Editor's Choice

The novel feature on this cooler is that the three heatpipes are exposed at the base of the cooler and make direct contact with the heat spreader on the CPU. The result is that the Akasa Nero is simple to install, very quiet in operation, incredibly cheap to buy and offers superb cooling. It is the best cooler in this group by a large margin.

Reg Rating 90
Price £24
More Info Akasa's Nero page

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