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AMD Wraith CPU Cooler Review: Cool and Quiet

Manufacturer: AMD

Introduction: Rethinking the Stock Cooler

AMD's Wraith cooler was introduced at CES this January, and has been available with select processors from AMD for a few months. We've now had a chance to put one of these impressive-looking CPU coolers through its paces on the test bench to see how much it improves on the previous model, and see if aftermarket cooling is necessary with AMD's flagship parts anymore.

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While a switch in the bundled stock cooler might not seem very compelling, the fact that AMD has put effort into improving this aspect of their retail CPU offering is notable. AMD processors already present a great value relative to Intel's offerings for gaming and desktop productivity, but the stock coolers have to this point warranted a replacement.

Intel went the other direction with the current generation of enthusiast processors, as CPUs such as my Core i5-6600k no longer ship with a cooler of any kind. If AMD has upgraded the stock CPU cooler to the point that it now cools efficiently without significant noise, this will save buyers a little more cash when planning an upgrade, which is always a good thing.

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The previous AMD stock cooler (left) and the AMD Wraith cooler (right)

A quick search for "Wraith" on Amazon yields retail-box products like the A10-7890K APU, and the FX-8370 CPU; options which have generally required an aftermarket cooler for the highest performance. In this review we’ll take a close look at the results with the previous cooler and the Wraith, and throw in results from the most popular aftermarket cooler of them all; the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO.

Continue reading our review of the AMD Wraith CPU Cooler!!

First Impressions

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Our Wraith sample came bundled with a new retail FX 8370 processor, and that's the CPU I'll be using for the benchmarks to follow.

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The fan is the most important aspect of a quiet cooler, of course, and the biggest advantage the Wraith has over the previous thermal solution is an 80 mm fan, up from the previous 60 mm size. The larger fan surface area allows for lower speeds, and, consequently, lower noise.

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The ability to effectively run the Wraith at low fan speeds is going to depend on the capabilities of the heatsink, and here the Wraith offers a pair of copper heat pipes on each side and a milled copper base.

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There is plenty of fin density to help distribute heat away from the copper pipes.

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The Wraith is built with a plastic shroud around the fan, which also offers LED illumination from the subtle AMD logo on the side (we'll see this on the next page).

Next, we'll see how effective the new design is with our thermal and noise testing.


July 20, 2016 | 07:24 PM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

Just because the Wraith is 29% cooler than stock AMD and ties only one aftermarket cooler in efficiency it deserves a gold award? It's only 8% quieter than stock AMD and still 4% louder than the EVO. It's a good upgrade as long as AMD doesn't charge more than $30 more for it than stock cooler. If so, you're better off buying an aftermarket cooler yourself.

It doesn't deserve gold for coming close to a cheap aftermarket cooler. Silver is what it should be. Either that or put it up against some more expensive ones and see where their performance lies.

Surprised there isn't any AMD fanboys screaming about the lateness of this review.

July 20, 2016 | 07:32 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Its a $5 difference from non-wraith version

July 25, 2016 | 01:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

Makes a good buy and good upgrade for AMD fanboy only. I bought Intel and replaced cooler right away with an NiC F3 because I knew cooler wasn't great. I didn't buy my 4770k just to get a snappy cooler. I got it for performance.

Don't see anyone buying AMD CPUs to get a Wraith cooler. It's a little bonus to you for buying their underperforming CPUs.

I owned an Evo before it's decent aside from needing really wide case. If I was really being mean I'd ask how come it wasn't reviewed with everything fully overclocked thermally vs Evo. Come on let's generate more posts.

July 20, 2016 | 07:39 PM - Posted by anon (not verified)

it not just ties with one aftermarket cooler. it ties with 212 evo.

July 21, 2016 | 02:51 AM - Posted by SV108 (not verified)

The ease of installing this thing is worth the slight price bump and makes it better than getting something that's 212 Evo class or the like.

I actually have the Wraith and the 212 and have installed both and the difference in ease of installation is a big deal. It's hard to guage it until you do it yourself. The Wraith is as easy to install as a stock cooler (snap, snap, done) and doesn't need a special backplate or finagling with the fussy x-screw mount or even thermal paste if you don' want.

Plus, it's not just a little bit less noisy than the stock cooler it is a LOT less noisy. The DB only tells part of the story, it's the quality of the noise that matters as much as the quantity. The stock AMD coolers tend to make a high pitched whine you can hear over case fans and background noise.

The Wraith has a more low-pitched sound that I personally can't hear over case fans. It's so quiet, I've had PSU's with fans that are louder.

Basically, my point is: "Don't knock it until you try it". I installed a 212 evo on my own computer, and the 8370 w/ Wraith in a computer I built for my mom for her Birthday and not only is the Wraith comparable in performance, noise, cooling, etc. It is a LOT easier to install and also pushes air down to cool surrounding components on the mobo, which tower fans don't do.

I understand why people wouldn't want to buy an AM3 processor or motherboard right now, with Intel providing superior single core and AM4 and Zen being right around the corner, but if you were to buy an AMD Processor, I really do highly recommend the Wraith.

July 21, 2016 | 11:24 AM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

I agree with everything here. Consider it an official addendum to the review, SV108!

July 22, 2016 | 12:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Everything you've just said here is logical, reasoned, rational, and truthful.

He's going to ignore all that, because Nvidia. It's kinda what he does.

July 25, 2016 | 01:23 PM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

Unlike an AMD fanboy utilizing fanboy math. It tied Evo in thermals but not overclocked to max/fully stressed (wasn't done AFAIK). It still lost in acoustics. So it is still inferior to a budget Evo. Tying in 1 of 2 categories doesn't a winner make. Is that logical enough for you.

Didn't ignore either.

Truthful coming from AMD fanboys that's rich. Overclocker's dream and only a few Rx 480s were affected, TDP is only 110 wait 150 um yeah and hits 1600mhz easy. To name a few.

Rational I guess the implication is that I am not. I'm perfectly fine in these regards. Hurling veiled insults is still attacking the person. Don't worry I got thick skin. A few hundred AMD fanboys couldn't run me out. You're just attacking because I'm honest about what company I support and not hiding behind anonymous. It's OK to be petty. I don't expect any better from fanboys.

Reasoned and rational are pretty much the same thing.

July 25, 2016 | 01:42 PM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

I had an Evo as well. I prefer the way it mounts rather than Intel's plastic pins into the motherboard. I had one go bad hence needed replaced. It wasn't that bad of an install. Not as easy as putting pins in but more secure.

This is a great upgrade over stock AMD. I didn't say it wasn't. It gets close to the Evo and that's about it. I wouldn't call the Evo a top tier product (gold). It's good for the price and served me well enough. There are better ones out there but you get what you pay for.

It's a worthy upgrade if you buy an AMD CPU for only $5 more. See I said something nice about it.

Not going to waste all my time responding to everyone. Enjoy your Wraiths.

July 21, 2016 | 12:43 PM - Posted by willmore

Sorry, you lost me when you compared decibel values in % showing you clearly don't know what the numbers mean.

July 21, 2016 | 06:39 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Exactly. It's amazing how few people understand that it's a logarithmic scale.

July 25, 2016 | 12:55 PM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

I understand it's logarithmic scale. That 4% means a lot more than the 4% implied. So the Wraith is lots louder than an Evo as a result. I was simply putting a percent to it. Don't read too much into it to simply attack a Nvidia user.

July 25, 2016 | 01:00 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Spare us your false martyr delusions. Neither of them said anything about you being an Nvidia user.

I mean, we all know that the only way you can feel justified in being the obnoxious, pathetic little troll that you are is if you feel like you're being persecuted for it, so you HAVE TO turn everything anyone says that disagrees with you into an attack on your brand preference - otherwise, you can't rationalize your constant attacks on anyone whose brand preference doesn't align with yours.

You're not an idiot because you're an Nvidia user. You're an idiot because you're just a fucking idiot.

July 25, 2016 | 01:24 PM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

Same with you little petulant child.

July 25, 2016 | 01:49 PM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

Who else would be reading a review of a Wraith cooler but a fanboy. It comes bundled with an AMD CPU. I posted because there were no posts about it and knew I'd get responses. Wow no one complained about late review simply because I said they would. AMD fanboys didn't even care enough to post anything in here until I posted.

July 22, 2016 | 10:41 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Woah! Ease up on the coffee buddy. It's a STOCK cooler. Have you seen Intel's stock cooler go against the 212EVO? They get destroyed! The fact AMD is boxing a cooler that's better than the EVO and doesn't have space issues is fantastic. This totally deserves a GOLD award simply because it's a one stop shop without the ergo headaches of an aftermarktet solution.

July 25, 2016 | 02:24 PM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

I never said the Wraith was garbage. It's lots better than stock just not a top notch cooler deserving gold is all. If it was only measured against stock coolers than it would merit a gold for stock cooler.

If Evo wasn't thrown into mix, you might be right on gold. But no measurement against top of the line coolers either. Evo is considered to be baseline cooling solution. Meaning adequate not outstanding.

Evo beats it in acoustics and the AMD CPU was not overclocked AFAIK. The Evo would probably have much better thermals in this case. How does this equate to beating the Evo? Almost as good is more like it.

If they ever bundle it with a $30 CPU then buy it and discard the CPU to get the Wraith. Be a steal then. LOL

July 22, 2016 | 11:34 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Doesn't deserve Gold? Yup, it does. Your comments are what don't hold true. Coincidentally, AT came to the exact same conclusion as Sebastian Peak's article. Wraith is what it's about.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/10500/stock-cooler-roundup-intel-amd-vs-ev...

July 25, 2016 | 01:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

Went there and the Evo in their own words is a "baseline comparison of aftermarket cooling solutions". This means adequate. Two sources using the same comparison. Did they get the same review manual for Wraith from AMD?

July 22, 2016 | 10:24 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Don't you ever get tired of being wrong about everything?

July 25, 2016 | 02:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

When you can prove your absolute "everything" then we'll talk about me being right.

Either that or have your doctor up your meds because denying reality is quite a problem.

Don't want to give me any credit. Even a broken clock is right two times a day.

Inherently false statement because you didn't back your wrong opinion up with proof.

Cite every instance where I've posted I dare you to prove me wrong on everything. You won't do it because you can't. Hence proving you wrong and me right.

July 22, 2016 | 10:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Exactly one article down from this one, is an article about a CPU cooler that performs WORSE than the Wraith and costs more.

Why aren't you in there complaining about that one?

Oh, wait, it's because it wasn't made by AMD.

Yes. That's why.

My bad.

July 25, 2016 | 02:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

How do you know it performs worse? Just your opinion. Testing methodology and variables are different. Slap a Wraith on a fully overclocked 4770k and see what it can do. Can't right. Well the AMD CPU it was mounted on wasn't overclocked either AFAIK.

Two 120mm fans and it's 44db just like the Wraith only this one was stressed more.

I see no AMD fanboy bothered to post in there as well. Doesn't make me the only one. I only posted in yours because I waited for some AMD user to expound upon the virtues of the Wraith cooler. Lo and behold there wasn't a one to be found until I posted. Not hypocritical at all. Just saying.

July 20, 2016 | 08:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Saves me $25 on an Evo? Deal. This is a good move when most AMD processor purchases are made with budget in mind.

July 20, 2016 | 08:49 PM - Posted by leszy (not verified)

Nice review.
Thx.

July 20, 2016 | 09:03 PM - Posted by Butthurt Beluga

I love the wraith cooler, it is by far the most aesthetically pleasing stock cooler available and it performs much better than other stock coolers.
It's not exactly the second coming of heatsink-christ, but considering that Intel doesn't even ship heatsinks with some of their CPUs while pocketing the savings, this is a welcome change.

Hopefully this isn't a one-and-done by AMD and they continue to put better stock coolers on their CPUs.

July 20, 2016 | 09:19 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Sebastion, I was specking an inexpensive mini itx system for a friend who will not be gaming but will be otherwise using it as both a home office machine and an htpc. Is there a way to identify the coolers associated with the other A series apu's as Wraith without the fan shroud? I have not built a non intel system in a long time, so this is kind of exciting. The problem is I can't help but think the Zen/Polaris APU's are going to be awesome for these use cases in that their single threaded performance will be much improved and they will have 4 or 8 cores. But they will probably not be out until the latter part of the year. Thanks in advance.

July 20, 2016 | 09:31 PM - Posted by JoshD (not verified)

It would be nice to see a thermal image of the MB with the Wrath and 212. I bet the downdraft design of the wrath makes a huge difference in MB component temps around the CPU socket.

CPU coolers are like dishwashers, once they are quiet enough the actual dB level doesn't matter anymore. Also the quality of the sound is just as important as the quantity. Some quiet fans can still be annoying. The wrath seems pretty good in the this respect.

July 20, 2016 | 09:55 PM - Posted by AMDTHESITHLORD

Best cooler ever from AMD, AMD the RX 480 and any AMD CPU with the Wraith cooler, you will have the best Direct x 12 Gaming Machine. Amazing cooler AMD RULE EARTH so remember I am the AMDTHESITHLORD.

July 21, 2016 | 01:53 AM - Posted by aparsh335i (not verified)

we will bow... man you are soooooo cool!

July 21, 2016 | 02:34 AM - Posted by The cult of AMD (not verified)

AMDTHESITHLORD be praised!

July 20, 2016 | 10:45 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Never know it was that good, close to the EVO 212.
Now all it need is Zen CPU.

July 21, 2016 | 02:34 AM - Posted by JohnGR

Maybe they should start selling those coolers alone.

July 21, 2016 | 02:54 AM - Posted by SV108 (not verified)

Honestly, I would love that. It'd be a great drop-in replacement for stock coolers, and even some weaker aftermarket ones. The light-up LED logo is snazzy too.

July 25, 2016 | 02:17 PM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

Almost as good as an Evo 212 would make a good marketing slogan. Not sure if you can mention competitors products or not. Just making a joke.

July 21, 2016 | 03:19 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Does the Wraith respect the motherboard keepout zone? That's always an issue with aftermarket coolers using larger heatsinks and fans, so shipping a stock heatsink that may be incompatible with certain motherboards could be a pain in some circumstances.

July 21, 2016 | 03:23 AM - Posted by JohnGR

@Sebastian Peak

Just an idea for you guys after looking that video.

Take a smartphone, load a VNC viewer on it and run a VNC server on the computer. Open a program that reads fan speeds on the computer screen and start the VNC viewer on the smartphone. On the smartphone and the VNC viewer, zoom at the area of the computer screen where the fan speed is displayed. Put the smartphone next to the motherboard. Now, without any special equipment, you can easily display in real time the fan speed next to the motherboard and the cooler you are reviewing, while filming the video.

July 21, 2016 | 11:25 AM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

This is a good idea.

July 21, 2016 | 08:39 AM - Posted by D1RTYD1Z619

Test the cooler with a 9590

July 21, 2016 | 12:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Silly. Air coolers aren't a good idea for a TDP of the 9590.

July 25, 2016 | 02:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

It was put out at retail without a cooling solution for $850-$920. Ouch.

http://techreport.com/news/25486/fx-9590-now-available-in-retail-kit-at-...

Later on they used water cooling, results were better. Can be done on high end air just not with stock cooling solution and limited overclocking.

I agree it's a beast to cool equals about 3 4770k at tdp. About equal or worse in performance than 4770k though.

July 21, 2016 | 07:33 PM - Posted by razor512

It is an overall good move from AMD, especially compared to their older socket 939 cooler, which is a similar design to their new wraith cooler, but a better fan as compared to the previous tiny jet engine.

The similarly sized socket 939 cooler, cooled decently for its size, but the noise it made was more fitting for a server room.

Bottom of their old cooler: http://i.imgur.com/tj5hply.jpg

Side view: http://i.imgur.com/qpVaGVR.jpg

Tiny fan that could reach some crazy high RPMs and generate a shocking amount of noise.

August 3, 2016 | 11:42 AM - Posted by Dont even own a desktop (not verified)

you basically have an evo on your desktop... thats nice on a budget build. A lot nerds think 1,200.00 USD is budget. Go figure

October 10, 2016 | 10:47 AM - Posted by AnonymousJerry (not verified)

I bought the 8350 with this cooler bumped it to 4.2 and will go more because no matter what I am doing the temps stay in the 30's.On my MSI board it just clears the ram and I had to mod the top fans a little to make them fit but it is worth it. Better looking in case then the 212 so I love this Wraith.

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