Cooling Low-Profile Cooler Suggestions

Tephnos

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Jul 5, 2017
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Hi, posted this elsewhere as well but wanted a broad opinion range.

In the past, I bought an AXP-100 Muscle and used it. It's a damn awkward cooler, but it cooled an overclocked (4.5) G3258 well for a side spare build and worked just fine for what it was, temps were good too, nothing to be concerned about during gaming.

However, I am switching that box to a 24/7 Linux machine that will be running a bot, and have also moved the build into a Silverstone ML05 case (I considered the ML09 but I really, really hate piano black glossy finishes and the front of the thing is all I will see. Plus, I didn't really consider going smaller than 7L as I simply do not trust those falsely specced super small PSUs when we go smaller). This gives me 70mm of room to play with for the height now, and I thought hey I can just throw a 120mm fan onto the heatsink and have it be even quieter (it will be in the bedroom thus silence is the most important thing now).

Well, of course, it was never that easy, as the muscle doesn't come with the enhanced fan bracket, so I'm SOL there. So I've started looking into other coolers instead. I do hate how the 100 always ends up bashing into something, currently, the best I can do is have it bash into the USB 3.0 cable slightly. It's just a damn awkward cooler and isn't exactly 'silent' either, with no option to replace the fan.

I'll likely run the CPU at stock now as there's no need for that kind of performance in regular applications, especially in Linux. With all of that considered, would the L9x65 be the best choice considering how silent it is, or should I go for something else? My initial thought was going for one with a large heatsink like the Shuriken and then slapping a thicker 120mm fan on it (have spare Noctuas) and then just running it at extremely low RPMs, but now I'm not so sure anymore since it seems all the large top heatsinks all have damn fitting issues just like the AXP-100. Of course, I also came across the Samuel 17 as well which is cheaper than the l9x65 in the UK (35 vs 44) and looks pretty good as well considering I can slap on a 120 or even 140mm fan onto it that I've got spare, meaning I could run it at extremely low RPMs - could the L9x65 even compete with its slim 90mm fan in that scenario? Most of the common options such as the L9i, AR06, and the L9x65 all use 90mm fans so I doubt they'd be as quiet as I'd like given they won't be able to run at very low RPMs.

Most people seem to default to coolers like the L9, and the Samuel seems pretty unknown, so I was interested in how it got such a good write-up here as well.
 

Tephnos

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Jul 5, 2017
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I saw that review and it was pretty good, although I've also seen some reviews saying it was a dud so it's all weird to me. I think roundups are superior to individual reviews when it comes to these.

And yeah, a 25mm thick fan would mean the l9x65 would go above 70mm which means it would be useless in this case...

What kind of thermals did that thing even give you on 140w?
 

Tephnos

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Jul 5, 2017
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Ah, I see. That's pretty good!

Honestly, if I could upgrade the fan on the l9x65 it'd be a pretty good choice, but a super slim fan has inferior bearings and at night it will probably make enough noise to hear it across the room, with no upgrade path. Shame too as it does look pretty nice.
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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The bearings on the stock fan are fine, it's a Noctua after all. My complaints are at load, at idle with a Pentium it could be quiet enough for you depending on how picky you are.

Which motherboard are you using? If the Samuel 17 fits then it's hard to beat a 120x25mm fan for acoustics versus a slim 92mm.
 

Tephnos

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Jul 5, 2017
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I'm sure they are fine, but in comparison to full sized bearings, you're always going to have some noise drawbacks. No problems during the day, but this build will never get turned off. As for how picky I am - well, the ideal would be complete silence in a quiet room at night. The AXP-100 fan is too loud for that.

I'm using an ASUS H-81I-PLUS.
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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It looks like the Samuel 17 would fit that board:



The fan would overhang the CPU connector, but there's plenty of height clearance and you could just remove the fan to get access to it and the fan headers.
 

Tephnos

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Jul 5, 2017
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One of the benefits I read about the Samuel was that it was surprisingly adept at fitting onto most boards - much like the L9i but with the benefit of being able to use big fans due to the strange way it was designed. Looking good though that it will fit.

If I'm lucky I'll be able to squeeze on a spare A15 I have and run it at virtually nothing. Won't get quieter than that I'd think. Speaking of, has SFF done a review on the L9x65? I saw a graph with the Samuel and L9i on it, but not the 65 edition.
 
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Tephnos

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Jul 5, 2017
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Hrm, so if the Samuel 17 is comparable to the Shuriken if not slightly better, then it'll be a clear winner, especially in noise, compared to the L9x65 which surprisingly doesn't seem to be too much better than the L9i.

Seems fair enough then, looks like the Samuel is a no brainer here unless there are any other surprising contenders.
 

grumpyrobin

Airflow Optimizer
May 11, 2017
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An NH-L12 with only the bottom fan.
Noctua said they would replace the small bottom fan with one of their new slim 120mm fans, but you can just buy the current model and a slim fan and stick it at the bottom?
I don't know if the included clams would be enough though.
 

Tephnos

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Jul 5, 2017
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Generally, I wanted to avoid the slim fans if possible since they're not exactly the quietest - hence the reason I'm ditching my 100mm Thermalright one.

The l9x65 would've been great had I been able to shove a 92x25 on it, but then that pushes it above 70mm clearance which is sad. Samuel should just squeeze in.
 

grumpyrobin

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Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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Noctua said they would replace the small bottom fan with one of their new slim 120mm fans, but you can just buy the current model and a slim fan and stick it at the bottom?

The clips on the current L12 don't support slim 120mm fans.
 
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grumpyrobin

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May 11, 2017
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or Scythe Big Shuriken rev 2, with the slim fan from noctua. with a regular fan it would be 71mm, but you could shave it off a bit, I would just be worried about turbulence noise.
 
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Tephnos

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Jul 5, 2017
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The Big Shuriken would likely face the same issues I have with the AXP-100 Muscle right now - that being it's a huge pain to install and work around, and was one of the big reasons I wanted to ditch it. Doesn't seem like the Shuriken would be worth it if the Samuel performs similarly if not slightly better.
 

Tephnos

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Jul 5, 2017
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As I can get the Samuel 17 from OcUK for 35, versus the 44 for the L9x65, I think I'll give that one a try and report back. Ultimately it is silence I'm after (I have an NCASE M1 for when I need to go balls to the wall for POWER) and there's no better silence than a full fat 120, or even better, 140mm fan @ 300rpm if I can fit it into the case.

The AXP-100 Muscle was able to cool a 4.5GHz clocked G3258 on gaming loads with no issues, so I doubt this will struggle at all.
 
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grumpyrobin

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May 11, 2017
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Well in my head you are downgrading with those, but if you plan to just run at stock, then the l9x65 should be plenty.
I would get the NH-L12 off Amazon for 42.8 (slightly cheaper than ocuk) use only the bottom cooler, and the top cooler somewhere else in the case.
And If you decided down the road that you needed slightly more cooling you could just switch the bottom cooler for the slim 120mm fan.
 
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