A cooler is a special device that constantly takes heat away from the processor. Air coolers differ in a number of parameters: power, noise level, size, the material of components, mounting method, etc.
When choosing a cooler, you should consider in more detail the technical distinguishing characteristics.
Heat dissipation and CPU socket
In order to choose the optimal cooler, it is important to know the CPU socket and its TDP. A socket is a slot on the motherboard through which the CPU is connected. They are different: for Intel and AMD. The first manufacturers focus on coolers with LGA support, and the second – is with AM, FM and TR. The company’s website has all the necessary information, including sockets. Also, the characteristics can be viewed in online stores where this product is present.
But we note that coolers costing more than 2 thousand rubles usually support all modern sockets.
The TDP indicator in central processors varies in the range from 40 to 220 watts. Accordingly, the higher it is, the more massive the cooling system should be. If such a parameter is not specified, then it is also easy to find it on the official website of CPU manufacturers. Such information is usually indicated in the technical specifications of the device.
Type of radiators
Among the simplest and most inexpensive are coolers with an aluminium radiator and a standard 80 mm fan. Usually, they come with a low-power processor. For normal non-resource-intensive work, such a device is quite enough.
Radiators that are equipped with a set of aluminium or copper plates remove heat from the CPU more efficiently.
To date, more modern devices are common – coolers with heat pipes. Some models of powerful processors may come with them. Such coolers perfectly remove heat from the CPU, but the heated air is blown towards the motherboard. This solution is not quite optimal and is mainly used for compact cases.
The efficiency of the cooler itself depends on the number of heat pipes. For example, for a CPU with a TDP of 80-100 watts, a cooler with 3 heat pipes is enough. And for a processor with a TDP of 150-180 watts, a device with 6 tubes is required.
The vertical tower cooler is designed so that warm air from the CPU is blown towards the rear exhaust fan of the case. The motherboard in this case is not blown. For powerful CPUs and their overclocking, this type of cooler is optimal. But it happens that because of its dimensions, it is not able to fit into a standard-sized case.
Good coolers have nickel-plated heat pipes, a copper base, and sometimes aluminium heatsink fins. Usually, these are branded models that are of high quality. Such a solution is able to prevent surface oxidation, which greatly improves the body retraction function and the appearance of the device.
As previously noted, coolers that are equipped with large heatsinks may not fit in a standard CPU case. For example, a tower-type radiator should not exceed 160 mm in height.
In addition, an important parameter is the width of the radiator. The cooler may also not fit in the case due to the closely installed power supply. In some cases, the cooler cannot be installed due to the protruding elements of the motherboard near the CPU. Closely located high RAM modules are also capable of interfering. Therefore, it is recommended to make measurements of all the necessary distances in the computer in order to make sure and select the device of the required dimensions.
It is worth noting that sometimes a horizontal-type cooler is required, which has heat pipes with a specially equipped indentation for the motherboard.
The contact area that comes into contact with the CPU is called the base of the coolers or the sole. Its design and quality directly affect the efficient operation of the cooler. Such a base is usually solid or with direct contact and is made of various materials.
A solid base is optimal since the area of contact between the heatsink and the CPU is larger in this case. The direct-contact design has recesses in the sole that house the heat pipes in direct contact with the CPU cover.
Regarding the material, the base is made of aluminium and copper. Can be partial copper or full aluminium/copper. The most budget option, of course, is aluminium. But not the most reliable. It is desirable to choose the third option, or the first – with an insert.
Fans in the cooler directly affect its efficiency, and dimensional parameters – on the level of noise emitted during operation. Here the principle applies: the larger the fan, the more powerful and quieter it is.
Inexpensive models are usually equipped with small fans measuring 80×80 mm. They are quite simple and in case of replacement, you will not have to spend too much money. But during operation, they create a lot of noise.
Coolers 92×92/120×120 mm are more optimal in use. These dimensions are also standard and can be easily replaced if necessary.
For powerful CPUs, a cooler with a 140×140 mm fan is better, since high-performance processors get very hot. They are more expensive, but they are quiet.
It should be said that the smaller the radiator and the size of the fan, the higher its speed. This is required in order to compensate for the low dispersion area and weak airflow. Budget coolers are characterized by an indicator of 2000-4000 rpm. Moreover, at a value of 4000, they work quite loudly. The best option is a fan with a maximum speed of 1300-1500 rpm.
Thus, when choosing a cooler for the processor, it is desirable to take into account all the necessary technical parameters. This approach will allow you to purchase a device that meets all existing requirements.