Cooling Low-profile CPU coolers?

SumGhai

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Jun 14, 2016
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A bit new to posting on the forum, so forgive me if this isn't the place to post this question.

I'm on the hunt for some low-profile CPU coolers, but there's quite a few options out there and I'm not sure which one might be best for my particular needs. So, I wanted to ask you guys what good performing low-profile CPU coolers are out there.

I'm planning on obtaining an i7-6700K (no OC) for a mini itx build, maybe a standard 6700 depending on the CPU cooler's TDP support. While I have ~160-165mm of clearance for a CPU cooler in this case, I'd like to use a low-profile one for aesthetics and for keeping internal space clear for airflow (though I haven't confirmed if a 120 slim rad would fit yet).
 

jeshikat

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
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Feb 22, 2015
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I like the Noctua L9x65 but swapping the stock fan with the 92x25mm Noctua: http://noctua.at/en/nh-l9x65

Not the cheapest combo but it actually can handle a i7 5930K with decent noise levels for gaming (not Prime or similar full-load applications). There are plenty of shorter heatsinks but you're not really hurting for height.
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Team Leader of SFF.N
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the NH-L9x65 is a solid cooler, it did well in the review. Other options would be the Scythe Big Shuriken, the Noctua NH-L12, Prolimatech Samuel, that sort of thing. The Samuel is my favourite :)
 

SumGhai

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Jun 14, 2016
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I like the Noctua L9x65 but swapping the stock fan with the 92x25mm Noctua: http://noctua.at/en/nh-l9x65

Not the cheapest combo but it actually can handle a i7 5930K with decent noise levels for gaming (not Prime or similar full-load applications). There are plenty of shorter heatsinks but you're not really hurting for height.

Had considered doing the same with an NH-L9i, but I doubt the L9i could handle a 6700 during load. I'd like to keep height around 100mm or shorter, but yeah I've got plenty of space for a decently large air cooler should I really need it.

the NH-L9x65 is a solid cooler, it did well in the review. Other options would be the Scythe Big Shuriken, the Noctua NH-L12, Prolimatech Samuel, that sort of thing. The Samuel is my favourite :)

I'm considering the NH-L9x65 for its compatibility with the mini itx motherboards, but I might swap out the stock fan for a standard 92mm fan (maybe one in black to go with the rest of the case.

Does the Scythe have any adapters to swap out the slim fan for a standard 25mm width 120 fan? How does it perform compared to the Samuel? I like the Samuel for having mounting for a 120mm fan, but how is its thermal performance with a 120mm fan? How much room does the Samuel have for RAM clearance?
 

Zeroth Alpha

Cable Smoosher
Jul 24, 2016
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I would say that the Noctua L9i is passable for a 6700 under load. I run a 4670k (overclocked to 3.8ghz all core turbo, undervolted) and it stays just shy of 90 degrees Celsius on synthetic stress tests. Although uncomfortably hot, a 6700 has a far lower tdp and the L9i would probably work.
 
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confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Team Leader of SFF.N
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Does the Scythe have any adapters to swap out the slim fan for a standard 25mm width 120 fan? How does it perform compared to the Samuel? I like the Samuel for having mounting for a 120mm fan, but how is its thermal performance with a 120mm fan? How much room does the Samuel have for RAM clearance?

The scythe will take a standard 120mm width fan.. IF it has open sides;

https://smallformfactor.net/reviews/scythe-big-shuriken-2-rev-b-big-name-small-cooler

Re: Samuel clearance - this is one of the tightest boards in terms of layout;


https://smallformfactor.net/reviews/prolimatech-samuel-17-goliaths-david

Only standard height DIMMs need apply in the second case.

Regarding cooling, the Samuel with a 120mm fan can keep an 65w apu about 2 degrees delta T at load, versus 10 degrees delta T for the big shuriken on the 89w test bench. One day I will revisit all the cooler tests and retest them all on a standardised bench - 3-4 of the earlier reviews I did was on a higher wattage CPU due to already having that system on hand.

Check out the cooling reviews we've done for more options;
https://smallformfactor.net/reviews/cooling
 
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IntoxicatedPuma

Customizer of Titles
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Feb 26, 2016
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I used a Silverstone AR-06 with a Noctua 92mm thin fan. It's surprisingly good, performs as well as the Coolermaster GeminII S524 v2 which is much much much bigger - but also about the same price :/

I tested it on my G3258 rig @ 4.6ghz (1.320v) and it hit around 82C max temperature. If you're not OC'ing then it should be good enough and very compact.
 

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
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Feb 1, 2016
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Hey I was wondering if anyone thinks it might be worth it to have a master thread/sticky on low profile heatsinks with all of their pertinent measurements. It seems to come up a lot and a central resource would probably be really useful for those of us doing custom builds as well as those interested in doing any production for the open market. Just a thought.
 
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veryrarium

Cable-Tie Ninja
Jun 6, 2015
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I thought about it too but then the Wiki section was born later which I thought should take care of such a database. But I guess it depends on which set of "pertinent measurements" you want to collect for reference.
 

K888D

SFF Guru
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Feb 23, 2016
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The Noctua NH-L9i can handle a 6700 no problem as long as your case doesn't allow the heat to build up, I don't think it would handle a 6700K quietly under load though.

An alternative to the NH-L9 is the Silverstone AR-05 which performs about the same and is he same height.

The AR-06 is slightly taller, but it can handle a 95W CPU as long as you feed it cool air.
 
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