Introduction: Budget Cooling Options and the Seidon 120V

The Seidon 120V is Cooler Master's newest 120mm all-in-one liquid CPU cooler, and its affordable price adds another option to anyone looking for an aftermarket cooler on a budget. But when we start comparing low-cost options it's valid to wonder just how much better a liquid cooler in this price range might perform over air. To find out we'll test the Seidon 120V against a popular budget air solution, and see how these aftermarket coolers compare against the stock solutions from AMD and Intel.

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Image courtesy of Cooler Master

Cooling on a Budget

When you’re pricing out a new computer build these days it’s pretty easy to put together a solid group of components for $500 or so, and these will get you going on all the latest games at HD resolution. Sounds awesome! Of course, within that tight budget certain things are going to have to wait, and right up there on the list is probably some better cooling. It’s easy enough to change out a CPU cooler later, but if the stock cooler is doing the job within the thermal specs of the processor is it really needed? Clearly, AMD and Intel are not going to ship a cooler with their product that can’t keep it cool enough under stock workloads, but having better cooling can allow for overclocking as well as extend the life of not only the CPU, but the components around it on your motherboard. Aftermarket coolers are often able to cool more efficiently as well, producing less noise.

So...many...options...

The selection of aftermarket coolers available is, well, ridiculous. As easy as it is to get lost looking at, say, every virtually identical stick of DDR3 memory, scrolling through product pages for CPU cooling is on another level entirely. Liquid cooling systems are much easier to navigate, as there are not only fewer of them, but the pricing segmentation allows for easier selection if you’re on a budget.  For instance, the Seidon 120V at around $50 was the least expensive AIO option on Amazon when this review was started (actually coming in at 47.99 shipped, though this has been fluctuating quite a bit lately). Finding a suitable budget air cooler was not so easy, and it needed to be at least comparable to the performance of a liquid cooler, while coming in at or below the $50 mark of the 120V. (This might take a while…)

On the air-cooling side of things narrowing the selection to $50 or less doesn’t help much, as there are still (roughly) 50 million to choose from in that price range. There are going to be so many different preferences and opinions on these, so an easier alternative would be to simply follow the consensus pick, e-tail style. This intensive research project involved visiting Amazon and typing “cpu cooler” into the search box. (OK, that was pretty easy!) The plan was to put whatever came up first under $50 in the cart. Turns out the most popular air-cooler is also under $50 (not surprising). This top result was also from Cooler Master, their Hyper 212 EVO which was selling for under $34 shipped. Done.

Continue reading our review of hte Cooler Master Seidon 120V Liquid Cooler!!

Manufacturer: Noctua

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Noctua

Noctua is an established player in the CPU cooler space, offering high quality solutions that cool your processors without killing your eardrums. Their U-series coolers combine unrivaled cooling performance with an innovative design to ensure quiet operation and motherboard compatibility. The flagship product of this line, the NH-U14S, is composed of a single aluminum-finned radiator with six embedded, nickel-plated copper heat pipes running through a copper base plate. For performance testing of the NH-U14S cooler, we put it up against other high-performance liquid and air-based coolers. With a retail MSRP of $75.99, the NH-U14S CPU cooler has a premium price to match its premium size and cooling potential.

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Courtesy of Noctua

Continue reading our review of the Noctua NH-U14S CPU air cooler!

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of SilverStone

SilverStone Technology is a well known brand in the computer component space, offering high quality solutions for everything from cases to case-mounted fan controllers and displays. Their CPU air-coolers are some of the best in the industry with the latest incarnation being part of the Argon Series. The Argon Series AR01 CPU cooler is made for optimal cooling of your Intel socket 115X or AMD-based systems, comprised of a single aluminum radiator tied to a copper base-plate via a set of copper heat pipes with a 120mm fan for heat dissipation. To prove out the performance of the AR01 unit, we tested put it up against other high-performance liquid and air-based coolers. At a retail MSRP of $34.99, the AR01 cooler has a great performance to price ratio for its cooling potential.

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Courtesy of SilverStone

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Courtesy of SilverStone

Continue reading our review of the SilverStone Argon Series AR01 CPU air cooler!

Manufacturer: Phanteks

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Phanteks

A relative new comer in the enthusiast space, Phanteks has taken the hearts and minds with their high-performance and innovatively designed thermal cooling solutions. The PH-TC12DX cooler features a massive dual-radiator tower actively cooled by two 120mm fans with a copper, nickel-plated CPU base plate. The cooler cines packaged with support for all current Intel and AMD CPU socket offerings. To properly gage the PH-TC12DX's performance, we put it up against several similarly-classed air and water-based cooling solutions. At a retail price of $54.99, the Phanteks PH-TC12DX offers you solid performance without busting your bank.

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Courtesy of Phanteks

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Courtesy of Phanteks

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Courtesy of Phanteks

The Phanteks PH-TC12DX cooler consists of a single tower radiator with four U-shaped heat pipes intersecting the its cooling fins. The cooler uses nickel-plated copper heat pipes to transfer the heat from the copper CPU base plate to the fins of the aluminum radiator for optimal heat transmission and dispersal. The tower is sandwiched by two high air flow 120mm fans for heat dispersion from the radiator. Phanteks went to great lengths to make sure the PH-TC12DX kept a sleek looking appearance from the black coloration of the radiator to the branded top-plate to hide the heat pipe termination points.

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Courtesy of Phanteks

Phanteks includes everything you need to get the cooler up and running in your system: mounting kits supporting both Intel and AMD-based systems, dual PH-F120HP 120mm fans, fan mounting kits, a sleeved dual-ended fan power cable, and Phanteks PH-NDC thermal paste.

Continue reading our review of the Phanteks PH-TC12DX CPU air cooler!

Manufacturer: Noctua

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Noctua

Noctua is a well known name in the enthusiast world for its high-end CPU cooler products. Their flagship cooler, the NH-D14, features a nickel-plated copper base with dual radiator towers actively cooled by low noise 120mm and 140mm fans. The NH-D14 can be used with all current Intel and AMD CPU offerings. The cooler was put to the test against other similarly classed air and water-based cooling systems to see just how well Noctua's design would hold up. The Noctua NH-D14 does not come cheap with a retail price at $99.99, but its performance and utility should make up for that initial outlay.

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Courtesy of Noctua

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Courtesy of Noctua

The Noctua NH-D14 cooler is everything you would expect in a premium CPU cooler - nickel-plating for corrosion resistance, twin-tower radiators for massive heat dissipation potential, and copper / aluminum hybrid design for optimal heat transfer from the CPU. Noctua designed the NH-D14 with a total of six heat pipes, laid out in a U-shaped design which passes through the copper base plate and terminates in the radiator towers. The bottom of the copper base plate leaves the factory ground flat and polished to a mirror-like finish, ensuring optimal interfacing with the CPU surface.

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Courtesy of Noctua

Noctua included the following components in with the base cooler: SecureFirm2™ multi-socket mounting kit, NF-P14 140mm fan, NF-P12 120mm fan, four fan mounting brackets, a dual-ended fan power cable, two single-fan low power cables, a case badge, and NT-H1 thermal compound.

Continue reading our review of the Noctua NH-D14 CPU air cooler!

Manufacturer: Thermalright

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Thermalright

Thermalright is an established brand in the CPU cooling arena with its track record for innovative creations designed to best remove the heat from your prize CPU. The latest incarnation of their cooler line for Intel and AMD-based CPUs takes the form of the Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme, a massive nickel-plated copper cooler sporting two 140mm fans to aid in heat dispersal. We tested this cooler in conjunction with other all-in-one and air coolers to see how well the Thermalright cooler stacks up. With a retail price at $99.99, the cooler has a premium price for the premium performance it offers.

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Courtesy of Thermalright

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Courtesy of Thermalright

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Courtesy of Thermalright

Thermalright took their cooler design to a whole new level with the Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme. The cooler features a nickel-plated copper base and heat pipes with two massive aluminum thin-finned tower radiators to help with heat dissipation. The Silver Arrow SB-E contains eight total 6mm diameter heat pipes that run through the copper base plate, terminating in the two aluminum tower radiators. The base plate itself is polished to a mirror-like finish, ensuring optimal mating between the base plate and CPU surfaces.

Continue reading our review of the Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E CPU air cooler!

Corsair Announces Air Series LED High Airflow PC Case Fans

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 1, 2013 - 06:15 PM |
Tagged: air cooling, fans, corsair, AF120 LED, Air Series AF140 LED, Quiet Edition

Fremont, California — October 1, 2013 — Corsair, a worldwide designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC hardware market, today announced the immediate availability of the Air SeriesTM AF120 LED Quiet Edition and Air Series AF140 LED Quiet Edition high airflow PC case fans. The new fans are the only LED fans to use Corsair’s award-winning AF series impeller designs to produce higher airflow at lower noise levels. The Air Series LED fans are available in 120mm and 140mm sizes with red, white, blue, or purple LED lighting.

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The Air Series LED Quiet Edition high airflow PC case fans are designed with custom-molded, ultra-thin, clear frosted blades with a sleeved bearing system and four vivid LEDs. The result is a visually striking fan which helps users build great looking PCs while delivering outstanding cooling with exceptionally low vibration, noise and turbulence. The fans are ideal for mounting at the rear or top of PC cases to exhaust heat from a PC’s CPU, graphics accelerators, and other heat generating components. The Air Series LED fans work equally well as unrestricted intake fans for areas like side panels or bottom intakes.

“Users often feel they are sacrificing quality when using LED fans,” said Xavier Lauwaert, Director of Product Marketing at Corsair. “Our new Air Series LED fans combine the proven low-noise, high-performance design of our standard Air Series fans with just the right amount of LED visual flair. Now users can enhance and customize the look of their PCs with LED fans without compromising performance.”

Air Series Specifications

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Pricing, Availability, and Warranty
The Air Series LED high airflow PC case fans are available immediately from Corsair's worldwide network of authorized distributors and resellers. They are backed with a limited 2-year warranty and Corsair’s excellent customer service and technical support.

Models and suggested prices are as follows:

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Source: Corsair

Akasa's heatsink sandwich, the Venom Medusa

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 17, 2013 - 07:05 PM |
Tagged: akasa, venom medusa, air cooling, heatsink

If you are looking for a cooler that screams high performance then the Akasa Venom Medusa is the heatsink for you, assuming you have a double wide case.  At 1.3kg this is one of the heaviest coolers on the market, with measurements of 129.5x144x163mm (5x5.7x6.4") without fans, it is also one of the largest.  The two 140mm fans [H]ard|OCP used in their testing ensured that the cooler performed very quietly and it performs as well as any of the other high end aircoolers on the market.  The one drawback is the price, at $85 it costs almost as much as some self contained watercoolers.

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"Akasa is a smaller thermal solution company that does have a solid reputation. The Venom Medusa CPU air cooler is a massive unit that promises better cooling with eight high capacity heatpipes, dual 14cm "Viper" fans that promise more airflow, most of all we get promised it is a "Monster of All Extremes." Does it have a place in your next build?"

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Massive Thermalright HR-22 CPU Cooler Pictured

Subject: General Tech | August 5, 2013 - 11:50 PM |
Tagged: thermalright, hr-22, air cooling, heatsink, passive cooling

Additional photos have hit the Internet via Chip Hell of Thermalright’s upcoming HR-22 CPU cooler. The monstrous heatsink is the successor to the HR-02 with improvements to improve cooling and compatibility with tall memory DIMMs.

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Thermalright has not released any formal specifications, but judging from the teaser photos the HR-22 pairs eight “U” shaped 6mm heatpipes with what appears to be a nickel plated copper base plate and an absolutely massive aluminum fin stack. The fin stack has notches along the sides and the heatpipes hold the cooler up high enough so as to not get in the way of memory modules with tall heat-spreaders. The fin stack itself is about as tall as a 140mm fan. Users can use the HR-22 as a passive heatsink or with a single 140mm fan that is attached via two retention clips on either side of the fan.

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This cooler is going to be heavy and while it is rated to support LGA 2011 platforms, clearances may be tight depending on the particular motherboard and case used. There is no word on pricing or availability, but it should be available later this year. Pricing will definitely be on the high end for air coolers and approaching that of AIO liquid coolers such as the Corsair H100i.

In the mean time, more teaser photos (showing the HR-22 installed in a system) can be found over at TechPowerUp.

I am looking forward to seeing this cooler benchmarked!

Source: Fanless Tech

Noctua Launches Two New NH-U Series Air Coolers

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 8, 2013 - 08:14 PM |
Tagged: tower cooler, noctua, nh-u, air cooling

Noctua has launched two new single-tower air coolers in the NH-U series. The new NH-U12S and NH-U14S slim tower coolers come in both 120mm and 140mm sizes respectively. The air coolers are slim-enough to be installed in most system configurations, even with tall RAM heat-spreaders in use.

The Noctua NH-U12S is an updated version of the company's NH-U12P-SE2 cooler. It features a 45mm thick tower heatsink paired with a 120mm NF-F12 fan.

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On the other hand, the NH-U14S is Noctua's first air cooler sporting a 140mm fan. The cooler is 52mm thick, and is compatible with Intel's enthusiast LGA 2011/X79 platform. Further, it uses NF-A15 140mm fan that provides ample cooling power at lower RPMs (which means less noise, ideally).

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Both the NH-U12S and NH-U14S air coolers include Noctua's SecureFirm 2 mounting system, NT-H1 thermal compound, and PWM-controlled fans. Users can also attach the low-noise adapter to reduce the maximum fan speed from 1500 to 1200 RPM should they value quiet operation over maximum performance. Noctua is supporting both air coolers with a 6 year manufacturer warranty.

Both the 120mm NH-U12S and 140mm NH-U14S will be "available shortly" according to Noctua. The NH-U12S has an MSRP of $64.90 USD (59.90 EUR), while the larger NH-U14S is priced at $79.90 USD (69.90 EUR). In all, they appear to be decent air cooling options, and Noctua has demonstrated quality support in the past (such as the free Haswell mounting kit upgrades for older HSFs). Personally, I'm interested to see how the 140mm unit performs.

Source: Noctua