When assembling a system unit or buying a ready-made PC, the user is often faced with the need to buy a new cooler to cool the processor in order to change the boxed version of the chipset already in the kit or for its first installation. As a rule, in the BOX version of the processor, the cooler is supplied with enough power for cooling, but it is too loud and not designed for overclocking.
Choosing a cooler for a processor is difficult because there are a number of parameters that should be taken into account — here power, socket type, and design play a role. Do not forget that coolers are made of different materials, and when choosing, not only the material of the cooler itself is taken into account, but also the base that is in contact with the chipset. There are a lot of parameters, and it’s very easy to get confused in them, so you should consider each nuance separately in order to finally choose the best processor cooler for a particular case.
What are the designs of coolers
At present, it is customary to divide all coolers into two types — tower design and classic ones, but in fact there are more of them.
- Classical is the simplest type and the least efficient. It is these coolers that are usually found in BOX versions of chipsets. Designed primarily for weak processors or systems with minimal heat.
- Classic design with side tubes. In fact, the structure is similar to the first option, but with the addition of cooling tubes, which improve heat dissipation performance. Designed for cheap and mid-range processors.
- Tower (vertical) — the most popular option for coolers for the system unit. The essential difference between such cooling systems is that hot air is not blown towards the motherboard (as in classic ones), but into special holes. They can be equipped with additional fans or have several towers. Suitable for mid-range and high-end chipsets.
- C-type — visually similar to a tower-type cooler, but in this case, the air blows on the motherboard. A kind of intermediate option between the classical and tower design. The advantage is that the space around the chipset is blown, that is, the connecting elements of the structure are cooled, but, according to experts, the overall efficiency here is lower than that of the usual tower version.
- Combined variant — a rather rare species, but at the same time the most effective. Its peculiarity is that not only the chipset is cooled, but also the motherboard. If you need to choose a cooler for a top-level processor, or the user is going to overclock it, then it is better to choose the combined option. It should be understood that its cost is higher.
How to choose socket type
Socket is the format of the socket into which the processor is installed.. Any chipset has its own standard, and based on this, you should choose a cooler.
Advice! Finding out the processor socket is easy — just go to the AMD or Intel manufacturer’s website and enter a specific model. After that, you need to see which sockets the selected cooler supports. Manufacturers of the latter make them universal, that is, one cooler is designed for a dozen or even two processors at once.
It happens that the selected processor cooling cooler suits the user in all respects, but the socket is not suitable. Many experts point out that you should not just look at the description. It is better to get on the forums, and ideally look in the store or consult the sellers. In fact, many cooling systems there are significantly more sockets supported than indicated on the box. But if it’s scary to make a mistake, or cooling is purchased through an online platform, and it will be problematic to return it, then it’s better to act for sure and look at the description.
What is TDP
When choosing a cooling system for a chipset, it is extremely important to understand how much power it must have in order to cope with the task assigned to it. In the computer environment, there the concept of TDP, which stands for «heat dissipation». This parameter is specified for each chipset and can have both extremely low values - about 4.5 W, and very high values - over 100 W.
Advice! When buying a cooler, you should choose it with a margin of 30% if the processor will work without overclocking, and if the user also overlocks, then you should add all 50% of the power. That is, for a processor with a TDP of 65 W, the minimum power of the cooling system should be 75 W, and ideally about 100 W.
Why is it necessary to choose a cooler with a margin? There are several reasons for this.
- Cheap cooling systems often indicators exceeded. If the specification says that it puts out 85 watts, then it may well happen that the actual power reaches 65 watts.
- Under high loads, the chipset may get hotterthan stated — this is why it is not recommended to take the cooler «back to back».
- If the cooler is chosen with a margin, then it will not work at the maximum, which means it will be quieter, and in the end it will last longer.
The processor cooling cooler is made of copper or metal. At the same time, when choosing, experts recommend paying attention to what the base (the part that directly interacts with the chipset) and the heatsink are made of.
Important! It is worth noting that in expensive models nickel is found as a coating. In fact, it plays a decorative role. Manufacturers say that nickel protects copper from oxidation, but this process does not in any way reduce cooling efficiency. Therefore, there is no point in overpaying for nickel.
There are three types of cooler base — copper, aluminum, combination of two materials. Copper has the best thermal conductivity, so it is considered the best and most efficient material, but it is quite expensive.
The second option is a combination of aluminum and copper, here copper plates are soldered into an aluminum base. In terms of efficiency, the option is not bad, but it is extremely important to choose it correctly. The fact is that the processor chip under the cover is small and located in the middle. For the effect of the presence of copper in the aluminum base to be, it must pass through the central part. If the tubes are soldered on the sides of the pad, they won’t play a significant role, and the chipset will be cooled just as if it were a completely aluminum base. Aluminum is the simplest and most affordable option. Suitable if the chipset is weak.
Advice! When choosing a cooler for a processor of not the highest power, you can look at the classic options, but with a copper base. Among all colleagues in the class, they will be the most effective.
Important don’t get scammed, sometimes in the description it is written that the platform is copper and even yellow, but in fact it is aluminum with a layer of copper applied, which does not give any effect. Little-known companies can sin with this, so before buying, you should study the forums and read what users write about a particular cooling system.
When choosing a platform material, you need to take into account its area. It must cover the entire surface of the processor cover, otherwise the cooling efficiency will decrease. In addition, the platform can be closed or with holes. A closed cooler is better due to the fact that it takes heat faster, and besides, it will not clog with dust over time.
Radiator in most cases made of aluminum. Despite the effectiveness of copper, in this case the difference will not be significant, but the weight and price are much higher. If a cheap model is found on sale, which has a copper radiator, then it is most likely a hoax. Again, a tower structure with aluminum works better than a classic one made of a similar material. In general, if the processor is powerful enough, then you should forget about the classic version, even taking into account its lower price.
The radiator itself can be one-piece square or round, as well as consist of plates. The plate option is considered better in terms of cooling efficiency. One-piece construction is the lot of cheap models. In terms of shape, there is no difference, usually round ones are made for Intel processors, and square ones for AMD. It is these models that are included in the package of boxed chipsets.
Number of tubes for heat output
Many types of coolers have tubes for heat dissipation. Regardless of the type, their presence has a positive effect on cooling efficiency.
Important! The number of tubes can vary from 1 to 8. In this case, the rule “the more the better” works. However, the golden mean is 4.
Chasing expensive options with 8 tubes is not always advisable. For the most part, this is the lot of top coolers for the most productive processors. As mentioned earlier, it is important to look how tight are they?and you should also take into account their proximity to the center of the site — the probability that they will pass over the crystal is much higher, and it is the node that heats up the most in the chipset.
Connectors for connection
Connectors for connection are 3 and 4-pin. The second option is preferable, since with such a connection, the cooler has automatic fan speed control function. That is, the motherboard understands that under serious loads, the speed needs to be increased or, conversely, reduced if the tasks are simple.
4-pin models are silent coolers or with a minimum operating volume. 3-pins always work at maximum, which means they produce more noise.
Important point! If the speed is adjusted depending on the load, then the bearing will live longer, which means that the cooler will not have to be changed soon.
Obviously, it makes no sense to talk separately about the benefits of automatic rotation adjustment. If it is not there, then the cooler always works at maximum and quickly fails, and also makes noise. Models with automation do not have such problems. It is worth noting that in very old models there was a manual adjustment — literally a switch on the case. It was inconvenient, so manufacturers abandoned this design in favor of automation, or without it at all.
Fan selection options
The purpose of the cooler is to cool the processor. The area that touches the chipset takes its heat, and the fan blows over the structure, which provides cooling. In most cases, 1 fan is installed, but in expensive models there are 2. Moreover, in a system with one fan, sometimes you can add one more. We are talking about tower models, but it is important to understand that this makes sense if the cooler has at least 4 cooling tubes. Otherwise, the effect of the second fan will not increase.
The noise level depends on the size of the fan. The dependence here is direct — a large fan makes fewer revolutions to cool the computer, which means it makes less noise than in the case of frequent rotations of small blades. Therefore, when buying, you should give preference to large fans.
Any system with mechanical parts has bearings. They also have a fan in the cooler. There are several types.
- slip. There is a bushing and a shaft. This is an option for cheap models with low cost, low number of revolutions and low service life (about 3 years at best).
- hydrodynamic — similar to the previous version, but with the addition of lubricant (service life from 7 to 9 years).
- ball-bearing (rolling) — works louder than the first option, but the service life can reach 10 years.
Rotation speed is another indicator that affects the noise level. Usually a silent CPU cooler has this figure very low. There are four types of division that help you understand how quiet the cooling will be:
- up to 500 rpm — silent;
- 800-1000 rpm — there is noise, but minimal, almost not felt;
- 1300-1500 rpm — average level;
- 2000 rpm — very loud, in most cases annoying to the user.
Important! It is wrong to draw conclusions about the noise level solely on the number of revolutions. Here there is an influence of the type of bearing and the overall design. A vertical cooler and a classic one with the same number of revolutions will make different noise during operation.
Often, manufacturers indicate specific indicators for the noise level of operation. They are measured in decibels (dB). Obviously, the higher the setting, the louder the system will work.
The last thing to consider when choosing a fan is the airflow capacity. The more air the cooler lets through, the more efficient the cooling is. Measured in CFM.
Today, manufacturers of cooling systems have a strange tendency to make luminous coolers. Whether an LED cooler is needed is up to users to decide. From the point of view of utility, there is no expediency in this option. The backlight makes the device more aesthetic and spectacular, but at the same time, you will have to overpay for beauty.. Obviously, in the case of closed (opaque) cases, there is no point at all.
When choosing a cooling system do not forget about its size. Often they are quite large, especially for tower structures. Before buying, you need to find out about the acceptable models for the computer case, otherwise the cover may not close. Sometimes the cooler fits into the system unit, but completely blocks the slots for RAM. In this case, in the future, it will be possible to expand its volume only together with the replacement of the cooling system.
When choosing, it is important to take into account that replacing the cooling system with a more powerful one is additional load on the power supply. Sometimes you have to change it too.
Advice! Any cooler is sold with thermal paste applied. If the cooling system belongs to the budget or middle segment, then with a high degree of probability the paste here is far from the best. Before installation, it is worth changing it to a better one.
A common question from buyers is which is better, a laptop cooler stand or a new cooling system? It is worth noting that changing the cooling in a laptop is not a trivial task, to put it mildly. The system fan is to be replaced here. But in order for an external laptop cooler to be effective, criteria such as its power, fan size, their number, and flow rate should be taken into account. It is extremely difficult to find the last indicator in the description, so it is better to trust the reviews and descriptions on thematic forums.
A good alternative is a vacuum laptop cooler. The bottom line is that this is an external device that is attached to the device from the side of the radiator outlet. If the stand simply blows into the bottom and drives air through the case (and sometimes there is no sense in this, since the bottom is completely closed), then the vacuum cooler is installed at the outlet (where the internal cooling system blows heat) and sucks out air like a vacuum cleaner.
As tests show, this cooler is much more efficient. The downside is that the stand can be carried everywhere and used by sitting on a sofa or not the most suitable surface for work, but vacuum cooling is located on the side and does not have a hard mount. Putting the device on your knees will no longer work. In addition, the reviews say that such cooling systems noisy at max speed. This is logical because the fan is hidden behind a plastic housing without any soundproofing system. But if no means help to cool the device, then it is better to endure the noise than to have a burned-out laptop.
Summing up the above, we can draw the following conclusions about choosing a cooler for the chipset.
- A processor with a TDP of up to 65 W will be quite successfully cooled by a classic cooler; for models with high heat dissipation, it is better to buy a tower type and a cooling power margin of at least 30%.
- When choosing a tower type, it takes into account its size, the number of tubes, fans, flow power.
- When choosing a cooler base, the ideal material would be copper, you can save money and take a combination of copper and aluminum, but in this case it is important to consider how close to the center the copper insert is located.
- The fan should be large, with a minimum number of revolutions, automatic adjustment and a ball or hydrodynamic bearing.
- Before installation, it is recommended to change the thermal paste from the kit for a better one.
- For a laptop with a lot of heat, it is better to choose vacuum cooling rather than a stand.
On sale you can find a cooler not only for the chipset, but for the computer power supply, video card, RAM, hard drive. If you look at the options offered in stores, you can see that there are very few of them. The fact is that most manufacturers consider such devices not the most effective, and their real need arises. in top gaming builds. It is much more important to buy a good chipset cooler. However, for those buyers who still want to cool other nodes, the selection criteria will not change. Everything is also taken into account dimensions, power, material, connection socket.
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