CPU cooling buying guide (2022)

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Very high end

2022 Cooling Buyer’s Guide: tvery high end

Aircooling

Let’s tackle the very high-end sector, i.e. cooling systems with a price tag of more than 101 €. And if you thought that aircooling had no place anymore, think again, because we find excellent references, especially at Noctua. In short, who will be in our buying guide?

High end: the Noctua NH-D15 / chromax.black

Unfortunately, lately, the price of dual-turn heatsinks has gone up a bit. If in the past we could find an NH-D15 for less than a hundred euros, this is no longer the case. Currently, the brown version is traded around 100 € to 110 € when the chromax.black model, therefore black, is between 110 € and 130 € depending on the store. Noctua NH-D15 Chromax.black - Guide d'achat refroidissement 2022

However, behind this elitist price hides in reality the Rolls of the aircooling dissipators. Nevertheless, this is not done by magic since we find a really imposing model with its 164 mm height. The depth is not to be outdone with its 161 mm and the width is just as important: 150 mm. In short, in addition to a case capable of integrating it, you will have to watch the height of your RAM modules since this model does not have an off-center base. Apart from that, the thermal performance is good and the noise is under control, not to mention the SecuFirm2 mounting system, which is pleasant to use.

Alternative top of the range the Noctua NH-U12A / chromax.black

Noctua NH-U12A chromax.black - Guide d'achat refroidissement 2022

Now, if you have a large budget, want to stay in theaircooling world, but have limited space, we can only recommend the NH-U12A. It’s basically the performance of an AS500 Plus in an even smaller form factor… While ensuring maximum memory compatibility since it won’t block the slots on your motherboard.

With this, we have all the benefits associated with the brand, namely support for compatibility with the new sockets to come. The same goes for the six-year warranty or the possibility to customize your heatsink via Chromax accessories. For those who want to combine efficiency with aesthetics, this can count.

In short, this model is a nugget in terms of performance/size ratio. In return, you will have to be ready to pay the price!

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Watercooling

Very high end alternative:Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420

Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420 - Guide d'achat refroidissement 2022

Let’s move on to the all-in-one watercooling offers where two models catch our attention. First of all, we’ll go back to Switzerland to take a look at theArctic catalog. As you know, the brand has some excellent references at very aggressive prices. And that’s where we find the Liquid Freezer II 420, a huge model with a radiator that accepts three 140 mm fans. The only counterpart, and not the least, to have a case able to accommodate it! That’s why we position it as an alternative choice and not as the main choice.

If you have the right housing, you will find a rather affordable model with all the advantages of the 240mm version already recommended in this guide. They come as a pre-assembled kit with fans already installed. The same goes for the pump and its small fan helping to cool the VRMs on the motherboard, or the silence in operation. In short, a model offering a very aggressive temperature/noise ratio thanks to its very quiet P14 fans.

Very high end: DeepCool LS720

DeepCool LS720 - Guide d'achat refroidissement 2022Last model in our buying guide and we find the latest watercooling kit from DeepCool, namely the LS720. If you have read our recent review, you should already know what to expect.

Here we are dealing with a very powerful model from the Asian brand. Our readings easily positioned it against other 360mm performance oriented kits like the NZXT Kraken Z73 for example. However, with this kind of AIO, you have to be careful with the speed of the fans and don’t hesitate to limit it a bit.

Otherwise, for a price of about 150 €, we have an interesting reference with a great design. The finish is not to be outdone and we can even facilitate the wiring thanks to the fans that can be connected in series. Compatibility-wise, nothing to complain about, this model fits all motherboards on the market, so you can go for it!

OCC’s advice for the very high end aircooling

  • Very high end :
    • NH-D15 / chromax.black
  • Very High End Alternative:
    • Noctua NH-U12A / chromax.black

OCC’s advice for high end watercooling

  • Very High End:
    • DeepCool LS720
  • Very High End Alternative:
    • Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420