There isn't a one solution fits all product when it comes to CPU coolers. Folks with spacious full tower PCs might favor massive tower style coolers, but even if you have the space, some prefer to prioritize volume over temperatures... and if air cooling comes off as unadventurous, an all-in-one liquid cooler may be your best bet.
Older CPUs would simply fail if they started to overheat, but modern CPUs adjust their frequency based on temperature (among other things) to prevent a dramatic failure. Because of this, it stands to reason that once you reach certain temps, you will no longer be getting the maximum performance from your CPU because it will be busy protecting itself. But what is that temperature? And do you really need a high-end liquid-cooled system to get peak performance?
Gigabyte Radeon R9 290X OC & R9 290 OC Review: Immense potential lost to GPU shortages and inflated prices
AMD's Radeon R9 290 and 290X made a strong case against Nvidia's GTX 780 and Titan late last year, but that position soon weakened with unexpectedly high prices and limited options from board partners. This time we'll revisit the cards with actual production units from Gigabyte so we can weigh in on third-party performance at actual market prices.
Recently we compared 10 of the best CPU air coolers and while we didn't think twice about stamping the NH-U14S with our Outstanding Award, we've since wondered how it would fare against a basic water cooling setup. On paper, closed loop systems simplify the process of diving into water cooling, being about as safe and easy to work with as air cooling while delivering much of the performance you'd expect from an elaborate custom loop at a fraction of the cost.
An often overlooked but always important side of PC building, we must admit our knowledge on the latest aftermarket CPU cooler offerings was a little dated, so it felt like the perfect time for a roundup.
We test 10 of the best CPU coolers in the market including top units from Noctua, Thermalright, Xigmatek, Silverstone and Thermaltake.
Branded the Obsidian 350D, the newcomer crams its more expensive sibling's features into an affordable microATX package and sports the same clean, black brushed-aluminum finish, handy tool-free design and innovative cable management.
While the base 350D is available for around $90, a second edition goes for $110 that adds a side window. So how does Corsair budget Obsidian fair? Read on and find out.
The Silencio 650 not only resembles a cleaner version of Cooler Master's more aggressive HAF series, but it touts many attractive features, chief among which is sound absorbing foam mats and specially designed air vents to minimize noise while maintaining low operating temps.
The Silencio's ability to muffle high-end hardware is undoubtedly its key selling point, but there's plenty more to see here. Other noteworthy features include a "DualBoot HDD Switch" for toggling between OSes, a fan speed controller, a memory card reader, 1amp USB 3.0 ports for charging smartphones and tablets, as well as X-Dock, Cooler Master's hot-swappable 2.5"/3.5" HDD/SSD drive bay.
Without question one of the most affordable and thus commonly upgraded components by PC builders and enthusiasts alike is the CPU cooler. Generally the main goal is to lower operating temperatures, but aftermarket coolers can also reduce operating volumes and provide a greater overclocking headroom.
Included in the comparison are top contenders in the form of the Thermalright True Spirit 140, Prolimatech Panther, Thermaltake Frio Advanced and Noctua NH-C14. All four designed to support multiple platforms on both AMD and Intel camps.