Brace yourselves, summer is coming. As it happens every summer, the sales of advanced cooling solutions tend to increase this time of the year. This year a little more than usual, as many enthusiasts likely found the perfect excuse for an upgrade in light of the new Windows 10 release. Rising temperatures are a concern for both the casual user, who usually is just psychologically stressed by the higher temperature readings, and the advanced enthusiast, whose overclocked system is now facing random stability issues. And of course there are those who are simply annoyed by the increasing noise of their current cooling solution and are in need of something less intrusive.

Liquid-based cooling solutions are becoming easier to install and AIO kits generally are hassle-free, yet they are still not favored by the majority of the users. Their space requirements, increased complexity and price hold most people to simple air-based cooling solutions. After all, most advanced users are not quite convinced about the performance of AIO coolers to begin with, with some even claiming that air-based solutions can be as good or even better.

We have not had a review of simple air-based cooling solutions in a while here in AnandTech. With a new advanced testing setup and equipment, it makes sense to begin with roundup reviews, which present multiple current solutions and create a healthy reference database. However, there are thousands of air-based cooling products available and almost every one of them is designed for a specific purpose and target group. We had to start from a single category, therefore we simply requested from a number of companies to ship us whichever product they consider their best. Nine companies answered our call, alphabetically listed in the table below.

Product Fans Fan Speed
(RPM)
Current Retail Pricing
be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 1 × 135mm
1 × 120mm
1400
1700
$86.50
Cryorig R1 Ultimate 2 × 140mm 700-1300 $196**
Logisys (DeepCool)
GamerStorm Assassin
1 × 140mm
1 × 120mm
700-1400
1200
$56.90
Noctua NH-D15 2 × 140mm 300-1500 $93
Phanteks PH-TC14PE 2 × 140mm 700-1200 $80
Raijintek Tisis 2 × 140mm 600-1000 64€ (≈$72*)
Reeven Okeanos RC-1402 1 × 140mm
1 × 120mm
300-1700
300-1800
60€ (≈$66*)
SilentiumPC Grandis XE1236 2 × 120mm 500-1500 £34.90 (≈$45*)
Thermalright Macho Zero - - $65 (no fan)

*As these coolers are not available in the US at the time of the review, these are the average retail prices in USD, excluding taxes.

**The Cryorig R1 Ultimate currently is available only through a foreign store registered in Amazon.com that ships from Korea. The current retail price is extremely bloated, far above the MSRP.

The Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3
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  • kraznal - Thursday, July 16, 2015 - link

    LOL - "Liquid-based cooling solutions are becoming easier to install and AIO kits generally are hassle-free, yet they are still not favored by the majority of the users. Their space requirements, increased complexity and price hold most people to simple air-based cooling solutions."

    so they become easier to install, hassle-free but somehow managed to keep their complexity? what are talking about??? :)

    anyway, I am sure you know this and you just overlooked this fact to support your own story, liquid cooling sets are NOT more expensive (Corsair H50 costs $60 shipped), are NOT bigger (H50 compared to any of the air coolers here for example), and are NOT complex (whatever you mean by that), or even the noise factor where air coolers need to run on higher RPMs to achieve same cooling effectiveness as liquid coolers - simply there is no comparison between liquid solution and air solution. Cheap Corsair H50 is far superior in every way than those colossal monstrosities you are reviewing here now. Smart user would never chose an air cooler simply because it doesn't make sense to chose an old and less effective idea.

    Therefore please do not spread bullshit just so you can cash a check for an article.
    Reply
  • rleigh - Saturday, July 25, 2015 - link

    Liquid cooling doesn't always work well. I got a Corsair H60 to put in a Corsair Obsidian case with an ASUS Sabertooth R2.0 mainboard and an AMD FX8350 processor. It worked brilliantly with CPU temperature at ~35C under load. Unfortuately, the layout of the case and lack of airflow around the CPU heatsink lead to the VRMs/MOSFETS around the CPU reaching temperatures of over 85C, no matter how I arranged the case fans. I replaced it with a Noctua cooler similar to this one which also kept the CPU nice and cool, but with the side effect of the large 14mm fans producing sufficient airflow onto the mainboard to eliminate the dead space which caused overheating.

    This isn't to say that closed loop coolers are bad; their performance can be very good. But they aren't compatible with every case/mainboard.
    Reply
  • kraznal - Wednesday, August 5, 2015 - link

    First: it's been almost a month - E. Fylladitakis - must be on vacations since he has yet to reply to my comments.

    Second: rleigh - very sorry to hear that you had to install additional cooling for your motherboard. It is best to keep high air flow inside the case, if you didn't provide that then no wonder you had an overheating problem.
    Reply
  • Cvengr - Friday, December 25, 2015 - link

    http://serverfault.com/questions/263931/why-datace...

    Here's an interesting link regarding the use of water cooling in data centers (limited to air cooling). Primary issue is safety.
    Reply
  • alexbagi - Monday, March 7, 2016 - link

    Good picks. I'd also suggest looking at http://www.144hzmonitors.com/cpu-cooler-buyers-gui... for guidance.

    I am going with the 110i myself, as I need water cooling.
    Reply

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