Best CPU cooler: 12 top coolers reviewed and rated

Just how cool can our coolers really cool?

Our test platform involves our favourite CPU of recent years it just so happens to be a great little overclocker too, the Intel Core i5-2500K. We've paired it with an Asus Z77 motherboard because Intel's latest performance chipset seems to squeeze more out of its CPUs and Asus boards are the most consistent performers.

As for the settings and benchmarks, where configurable, we set fans to balanced rather than ultra quiet or high performance mode and then tested temps and performance at both stock clock speeds and the maximum overclock possible with each cooler.

We chucked in some Cinebench rendering and World in Conflict gaming tests to get a feel for performance comparisons and also to quantify the impact of any clock throttling.


bench 1

bench 2

bench 3

bench 4

bench 5

bench 6