CPU Low Profile CPU Cooler round up

23571113

Chassis Packer
Feb 27, 2018
16
16
Well, the chart still doesn't tell the entire truth since there are so many variables already in something as straightforward as CPU-coolers and delta T can be misinterpreted very easily like we have just seen:
  • What height does the heatsink have?
  • What height does the heatsink & stock fan have?
  • What length and width does the heatsink & stock fan have?
  • Are any compatibility problems arising from those dimensions?
  • Are there any known work-arounds for incompatibilities on certain boards, in combination with certain dGPUs, RAM or in certain cases?
  • How many cooling fins does the heatsink have and what is their spacing?
  • What surface area does the heatsink have?
  • What material is the heatsink made of?
  • What weight does the heatsink & stock fan have?
  • Which CPU sockets is the cooler compatible to?
  • Can the heatsink be rotated 90° or only 180° on asymmetric socket mounts?
  • Are there any known work-arounds in case only 180° rotations are possible?
  • Is there a possibility to mount a bigger/smaller, thicker/thinner fan with stock peripherals?
  • Are there any known work-arounds in case no suitable peripherals are given?
  • What type of fan - high pressure or high airflow - does the design of the heatsink ask for?
  • What type of bearing does the stock fan have?
  • (Rarely published/tested/known) What do the accoustic spectrum and the deltadB(A)/RPM,deltadB(A)/Q, RPM/Q and P/Q curves of the stock fan look and sound like?
  • At the same delta T, what frequency, deltadB(A) and RPM do we look at from the heatsink and stock fan combo compared to other stock configurations and ones with reference fans?
  • (Highly dependent from the setup) Does push or pull mode of the stock fan (and one or more reference fans) result in lower delta T?
  • What is the build quality and series production variation?
  • What is the availability of the cooler?
  • What price does the cooler have?
I'm sure I've missed a lot of critical aspects but those were the ones that immediately came to my mind.
Infographics/"Best of"-charts should be taken with a huge grain of salt since they cut of so much information and recommend products that are more often than not not ideal for the specific use case.
 

Thehack

Spatial Philosopher
Creator
Bronze Supporter
Mar 6, 2016
2,648
3,327
J-hackcompany.com
Well, the chart still doesn't tell the entire truth since there are so many variables already in something as straightforward as CPU-coolers and delta T can be misinterpreted very easily like we have just seen:
  • What height does the heatsink have?
  • What height does the heatsink & stock fan have?
  • What length and width does the heatsink & stock fan have?
  • Are any compatibility problems arising from those dimensions?
  • Are there any known work-arounds for incompatibilities on certain boards, in combination with certain dGPUs, RAM or in certain cases?
  • How many cooling fins does the heatsink have and what is their spacing?
  • What surface area does the heatsink have?
  • What material is the heatsink made of?
  • What weight does the heatsink & stock fan have?
  • Which CPU sockets is the cooler compatible to?
  • Can the heatsink be rotated 90° or only 180° on asymmetric socket mounts?
  • Are there any known work-arounds in case only 180° rotations are possible?
  • Is there a possibility to mount a bigger/smaller, thicker/thinner fan with stock peripherals?
  • Are there any known work-arounds in case no suitable peripherals are given?
  • What type of fan - high pressure or high airflow - does the design of the heatsink ask for?
  • What type of bearing does the stock fan have?
  • (Rarely published/tested/known) What do the accoustic spectrum and the deltadB(A)/RPM,deltadB(A)/Q, RPM/Q and P/Q curves of the stock fan look and sound like?
  • At the same delta T, what frequency, deltadB(A) and RPM do we look at from the heatsink and stock fan combo compared to other stock configurations and ones with reference fans?
  • (Highly dependent from the setup) Does push or pull mode of the stock fan (and one or more reference fans) result in lower delta T?
  • What is the build quality and series production variation?
  • What is the availability of the cooler?
  • What price does the cooler have?
I'm sure I've missed a lot of critical aspects but those were the ones that immediately came to my mind.
Infographics/"Best of"-charts should be taken with a huge grain of salt since they cut of so much information and recommend products that are more often than not not ideal for the specific use case.
You're over complicating these things. The chart is a guide. Just that. a guide. All your answers can be solved with the following logic process:

  1. Determine your build components.
  2. Determine your max cooler height/dimensions based on your component and case.
  3. Make list of compatible coolers.
  4. Locate cooler's standing on list, and pick cooler based on performance, availability/price, and features.
This shit isn't a "A comparison of various mechanical heat dissipation apparatus including measurements of specific heat capacity, heat transfer coefficient, and human loudness level normalize with spectrum analysis inside an anechoic chamber, with full mechanical 3D measurements and physics simulation." It's not rocket science. It's not aerodynamic engineering. We're building computers. And most of the time, we don't really care as long as it cools well.

btw, half the answer to your questions can be looked up googling the model name and their manufacturer specs.
 

23571113

Chassis Packer
Feb 27, 2018
16
16
You're over complicating these things. [...]This shit isn't a "A comparison of various mechanical heat dissipation apparatus including measurements of specific heat capacity, heat transfer coefficient, and human loudness level normalize with spectrum analysis inside an anechoic chamber, with full mechanical 3D measurements and physics simulation." It's not rocket science. It's not aerodynamic engineering. We're building computers. And most of the time, we don't really care as long as it cools well.
We are here to discuss small form factor pc builds, the very core of this forum is to overcomplicate things.
I don't get the nerd shaming though, without effort there will never be progress, anywhere.

The chart is a guide. Just that. a guide. All your answers can be solved with the following logic process:

  1. Determine your build components.
  2. Determine your max cooler height/dimensions based on your component and case.
  3. Make list of compatible coolers.
  4. Locate cooler's standing on list, and pick cooler based on performance, availability/price, and features.

btw, half the answer to your questions can be looked up googling the model name and their manufacturer specs.
Do you honestly think I would list all those things and at the same time not be able to check upon them myself?

This guide is not aimed at people who are willing to read through numerous pages and threads and ask questions to find the best fit for themselves but at those who want quick and easy answers (of which there are little to no in this world btw).
But even for said purpose the guide makes very little sense since it misses the single most important dimension of coolers for sff-builds, the heatsink (or cooler) height.
Instead people look at a chart that compares apples to oranges (height; material; mass; fan size, type and noise; compatibility; cost; availability) and even if they realize all that they still have to abstract the information given (open test bench vs. enclosed cases, specific power drains from the test setups, 50% fan speed which could be 900 RPM for some and 1250 RPM for others etc) to their use case.
The transferability is very low.
What would make sense to me is:
  • Create a list of all coolers under certain heights and highlight which one is agreed on to be the best package by the community. You can even distinguish between "best value for money", "most powerful" and "most silent". This would make it the easiest for all those who don't want/aren't able to read into technical details. They most likely will never buy the absolut best fit for their use case but would be on the save side because there would be no risk of misinterpreting data.
  • Create the most comprehensive information collection (including amongst others what I have listed above) for small form factor coolers and enable people, both enthusiasts and beginners in building sff-pcs, to inform themselves as in depth as possible before their purchase. This is a shit ton of work but would definitely prove the expertise of the users of SFFF and draw attention from elsewhere. This approach can also be combined with the first to also give guidance to those who can't or don't want to spend as much time on their decision.
 

Thehack

Spatial Philosopher
Creator
Bronze Supporter
Mar 6, 2016
2,648
3,327
J-hackcompany.com
We are here to discuss small form factor pc builds, the very core of this forum is to overcomplicate things.
I don't get the nerd shaming though, without effort there will never be progress, anywhere.


Do you honestly think I would list all those things and at the same time not be able to check upon them myself?

This guide is not aimed at people who are willing to read through numerous pages and threads and ask questions to find the best fit for themselves but at those who want quick and easy answers (of which there are little to no in this world btw).
But even for said purpose the guide makes very little sense since it misses the single most important dimension of coolers for sff-builds, the heatsink (or cooler) height.
Instead people look at a chart that compares apples to oranges (height; material; mass; fan size, type and noise; compatibility; cost; availability) and even if they realize all that they still have to abstract the information given (open test bench vs. enclosed cases, specific power drains from the test setups, 50% fan speed which could be 900 RPM for some and 1250 RPM for others etc) to their use case.
The transferability is very low.
What would make sense to me is:
  • Create a list of all coolers under certain heights and highlight which one is agreed on to be the best package by the community. You can even distinguish between "best value for money", "most powerful" and "most silent". This would make it the easiest for all those who don't want/aren't able to read into technical details. They most likely will never buy the absolut best fit for their use case but would be on the save side because there would be no risk of misinterpreting data.
  • Create the most comprehensive information collection (including amongst others what I have listed above) for small form factor coolers and enable people, both enthusiasts and beginners in building sff-pcs, to inform themselves as in depth as possible before their purchase. This is a shit ton of work but would definitely prove the expertise of the users of SFFF and draw attention from elsewhere. This approach can also be combined with the first to also give guidance to those who can't or don't want to spend as much time on their decision.
There is no nerd shaming here. I read specifications all the time. They are very important to me at my day job. However your expectations is on the requirement of highly scientific measurements when it is not practical or required. A good engineer provides an elegant and practical solution, as simple as possible to implement. Most won't care how many grams the cooler is or the series production variation. It is for the same reason we don't use a scalpel when cutting our steak.

I can give you the list of coolers from smallest to tallest in terms of best overall:

1. NH-L9 37mm
3. LP53 with Noctua fan 43mm
3. C7 47mm (best with Noctua fan)
4. Big Shuriken 2
5. NH-L12S
6. NH-14S
7. NH-U9S

Of course most the criteria is subjective on what is considered the best but really. It's that simple and most of people here will agree with me, people who actually build.

You are in the minority with your stringent specifications requirement to determine what is best. And that's fine. I just wanted to let you know for all practical reasons it is not necessary to do so much research. But if anyone is willing to volunteer their time for compiling the data I wouldn't turn down the additional data points.

For primary complaint is being rectified as puma is updating test results with his new test system:
https://infogram.com/official-sffn-cpu-cooler-chart-1hmr6gyjwkz96nl?live
 
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23571113

Chassis Packer
Feb 27, 2018
16
16
You are in the minority with your stringent specifications requirement to determine what is best. And that's fine. I just wanted to let you know for all practical reasons it is not necessary to do so much research.
Actually I think the biggest part of our argument lies in me not being a native speaker and therefore having a somewhat hard time stressing my points.
As an engineer in R&D, the vast majority of what you have said in your last post I wholeheartedly can agree upon.
It's exactly the reason why I recommended the bipartitely guide.
Keep things as simple as possible for those who don't have the time to invest more and don't bother about the last few percentage points of performance in very specific use cases and enable those who do care to educate and help themselves with a rich offering of information.
Yes, sometimes the obvious recommendation even might be the best choice in most/all aspects, but it's important for people to understand that that's not the norm.
I've built pcs and participated in various very specific forums for decades already and experience has told me the never ending "Looking for the absolut best X" threads are best met with simple lists and/or a sea of information.
The current round up of low profile cpu coolers lies right in between, I don't think it's simple enough for everyone to understand and at the same time not comprehensive enough to answer all the questions out there.
Before I come off as even more ungrateful, I can't stress enough how thankful I am for puma's work, it's people like him who keep forums like this informative and alive.
All I wanted to do was place some constructive critisism.
I would also be willing to participate in creating an extensive list of cooler information and have actually contacted Noctua regarding a way how to mount the L9a parallel to the RAM slots on AM4 boards and will try myself to come up with an alternative mounting bracket in case they have not dealt with a nerd as anal about the orientation of the heatsink as Josh (NFC) and me.


One statement I have to disagree with though is
or the series production variation.
The best product is worth shit, if you as a customer never benefit from the theoretical upsides on a spec sheet and instead have to deal with all kinds of shortcomings.

Also,
It is for the same reason we don't use a scalpel when cutting our steak.
I prefer well sharpened carbon steel knives anyways :p
 

Choidebu

"Banned"
Aug 16, 2017
1,133
1,120
@23571113 , this list has just been compiled from April 2018 (first post) and consider that the author is doing it on their free time and also in then midst of moving countries. Also many of your qualms about this being apples to oranges chart is already being in the plan in the future by author himself.

Now the thread title has the word "Low Profile" in it, and I believe it was how it started: just LP coolers with certain height maximum. I'm not sure why the chart now has some tower coolers in it; just a control/expectation management or a scope expansion.

By no means defending the chart, I also think an input should be intended as input not as criticism. It just communicates better to everyone. No use getting heated up...
 
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VegetableStu

Shrink Way Wielder
Aug 18, 2016
1,937
2,587
not to mention moving in-between countries where someone from the destination side decided to tax the source country ._.
 
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23571113

Chassis Packer
Feb 27, 2018
16
16
Everything's fine from my point of view.
I am used to a rough tone from the technical environment I operate in and actually appreciate it, because that way opinions are exchanged openly and in the best sense without hiding behind an excessively artificial etiquette.
 

Kdrs0122

Caliper Novice
Aug 28, 2018
30
30
I've had the ID Cooling IS-60 for a few months now. Keeps my 2400g around 38° idle, never seen it higher than 73° while gaming and the fan is barely noticeable combined with my case fans.

Not great but it'll hold me til my next round of upgrades.

RAM clearance is VERY low. I can't remember the exact number but it's on their website somewhere. I just remember choosing this cooler specifically because I knew the RAM I had would fit but I must've cut it too close because I still had to remove the heatspreader off one of them to get it to fit under this cooler. This may not be a problem for every motherboard tho.

I'll try and get a pic to better show the (lack of) clearance even with the heat spreader removed but you can see how the module is pretty much hidden by the heatsink in this pic.

As far as I know you can only get these on Ebay now but I thought I'd give a little review for anyone looking to exhaust every low profile cooling option.
 
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NOKYARD

Trash Compacter
Jul 7, 2018
44
44
Has anyone seen the Netflix series Maniac with Emma Stone and Jonah Hill?

In one of the episodes Jonah's wearing what appears to be a pair of ID Cooling IS-40 as some form of sci-fi brain scanning headphones.
 
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Beardedswede

Cable-Tie Ninja
Jun 9, 2018
191
158
Has anyone seen the Netflix series Maniac with Emma Stone and Jonah Hill?

In one of the episodes Jonah's wearing what appears to be a pair of ID Cooling IS-50 as some form of sci-fi brain scanning headphones.
Dude spilers alert. Luckily I didn't read it all.