Cooling capacity is improved constantly. Since standard coolers are rarely made for true performance with leading software and games, you may need to purchase a powerful solution separately. The best cheap CPU cooler is often more reliable. In many cases, it can be durable as well. There are many fans which are affordable. One of the issues you need to take into consideration is the actual size of the cooler.
- Features to Consider in Cheap CPU Coolers
- Best Cheap CPU Coolers Under $50
- Best Cheap CPU Coolers Under $100
- Guide to Buying the Best Cheap CPU Cooler
Features to Consider in Cheap CPU Coolers
Some coolers will simply not fit in your case and you need to check the maximum allowed dimensions in your computer.
Fan dimensions are important when it comes to cooling capacity. The regular fan comes with 4.7 X 4.7-inch dimensions and it can be fitted in many computers. Dual fans obviously come with twice the size requirements and you first need to ensure that such a design can be fitted to your machine.
Heat pipes are one of the most interesting solutions for cooling. Added to your cooler, they come with the role of conducting heat. Similar conductive materials are used on other chipsets such as video cards. Modern coolers come with such conductor pipes which come with a sleek surface which is perfect for heat conduction.
The design of the blades impacts airflow. It represents an area which sees constant improvements and new designs are created every year. While the overall difference can be small, it can still be an area which can control a larger cooler to create a better cooling effect compared to a smaller design which needs to work harder for the same effect. Here are the top designs to consider.
Best Cheap CPU Coolers Under $50
Designed with 4.7 X 4.7in dimensions, the cooler should fit most computers. It is designed to be optimized for performance. This means it alternates active cooling power with passive cooling power. With 4 pipes designed with direct contact, it manages to offer one of the leading solutions in its class. The pipes are among the designs which are made to offer accelerated surface to surface thermal transfer and they are a reliable solution which does not require energy to cool.
With the cooling pipes, the cooler comes with a patented design. It is recommended for users who want a good cooler but who also take pride in unique products. Apart from this unique functionality which disperses large amounts of heat, the fan of the cooler is also unique and convenient for cooling. It has been made with unique wave-shaped blades which are made for better airflow.
Other convenient results include a running temperature which can be 25 degrees cooler than what you’ve experienced before. At the same time, some users appreciate the compatibility of the cooler to work with another 120mm attached cooler if needed.
With a unique pipe design which optimized the cooling process and the patented blade design, the cooler is a capable solution to run at lower temperatures.
Designed with a unique Hive Fin System, the fan works well for airflow optimization and air turbulence reduction. This is also partly due to the larger air dispersion area. At 140mm, it is not the most compact cooler and you will need to ensure that it actually fits your case. Its design is also completed by 3 conductive copper pipes. They are used to collect and disperse heat, making the cooler more efficient.
With the help of the three copper heat pipes, the cooler can work better than expected. It used the unique design for a balanced cooling performance. But the fan itself is convenient as well. At 120mm, it comes with a unique bearing design for better airflow. At the same time, the bearing system means that it runs at lower temperatures.
Together with the Quad Inlet technology, it allows for increased air intake. With a warranty of 6 years, the product can also be one of the durable options on a budget. To install it, you may need to take your computer to a service shop or you can do it all yourself. If you are installing it yourself, one tip may help. You will need to apply the thermal paste on the processor evenly. Before doing so, you will need to remove the old paste from the back of the processor which some people do directly with their fingers.
With unique designs and patented technologies, the cooler is recommended for most users who need an affordable solution which runs with low noise and which comes with a consistent warranty policy.
Made with direct contact heat pipes, the cooler is up to date when it comes to durability and heat management. Since the heat pipes are in direct contact with the CPU, they offer rapid heat transfer. With copper designs, the pipes are durable and highly efficient. At the same time, the manufacturer added high-density aluminum fins. Made for rapid heat dissipation, they are highly recommended when it comes to lowering the overall CPU running temperature.
One of the cooler’s convenient features comes with the uniquely-designed fan clips. They are practical as they allow the fan to be closer to the heatsink. At the same time, they can be easily removed and easily installed. The entire cooler can be installed without removing the motherboard.
The high-performance PWM fan is made with high static pressure and large air flow with LED lighting. It represents a good balance between performance and noise, even in this affordable range. Even more, the cooler is available in different colors.
With a simple installation process, a reliable fan and included cooling pipes, the cooler can be one of the options to consider in the affordable range.
The 120mm fan looks apart. It comes in red or black and it can be one of the best solutions when it comes to cooling capacity. For this purpose, the 4 sleek cooling pipes are able to help with the thermal transfer. Heat travels fast through the pipes and it helps the fan with the overall culling process. They are also in constant contact with the CPU.
The affordable cooler comes with a few modern features which place it among the up to date designs in its class. One convenient feature comes with the hydraulic bearing system. It works well when it comes to better overall performance and reduced noise. But even so, the fan manages the heat really well at its 120mm. It is compatible with a few Intel chipsets and most AMD chipsets. In terms of practicality, it could have used a clip system for the fin to be connected to the fan for maximum practicality.
With a design orientated towards the average user who wants an improvement over entry-level designs, the fan is recommended if you want to save on your purchase without sacrificing noise levels.
As one of the most affordable water coolers on the market, it represents a design which is worth to consider. The good news is that it needs no maintenance at all. Even more, it represents a solution which allows you maximum versatility and reduced installation time since you will receive everything you need for installation in the box. With a plug and play design, it represents a user-friendly professionally-inspired design.
The 120mm radiator is the biggest part of the cooler. It works well for heat dispersion. If you want to mount the cooler on your Intel chipset, you need to know that it should fit most computer cases with ease. One issue which can potentially scare new users with water coolers is the tubing braking in time. The good news is that the cooler comes with durable tubing which is not likely to break.
Another convenient feature comes with the flow control software which allows you to set the intensity of the cooling process. Depending on what you do on the computer, this can come in handy, especially with demanding software such as games. If you are seeking an alternative to the expensive water cooler on the market, it can be a solution to consider.
With durable materials and easy installation, the cooler can be a top choice for your Intel chipset.
Best Cheap CPU Coolers Under $100
The dual fan design is highly recommended when it comes to the ultimate durability and cooling capacity. At 140mm, it is not the smallest design in its class but the extra size translates to lower running temperatures. Made with PVM it comes with automatic speed control which allows it to cate to your software running needs. With two coolers and 6 heat pipes, there is more room for the heat to dissipate and this makes it a better solution when it comes to heat management compared to single design coolers.
The performance of the cooler is worth noting. Many users manage to keep their modern computers cooler with a performance of 2.400RPM. In some perspectives, it can even successfully replace water coolers. Most users notice a temperature drop which can be monitored through its dedicated program. In the most demanding circumstances, it even manages temperatures below 75 degrees Celsius. For normal use, it can cool the CPU at 41-45 degrees which makes it highly desirable. At the same time, it represents one of the affordable solutions to consider for most home computers.
With a dual fan design and improved cooling capacity during demanding software such as games, it manages to offer a solution which is even quick to install.
Designed with 6 heat pipes made from copper, the cooler aims to disperse heat with efficiency. It manages to do this very well and even the most demanding tests, it has managed to reduce the overall CPU running temperature. Interestingly, it also comes with wave-contoured cooling fins which are designed to perform and which are made with small dots on their surface. This aims to improve heat dissipation and it also makes the cooler a unique and recommended design.
With an impressive design, the cooler is filled with convenient features. For example, it also comes with a coating with ceramic particles which are also used in other industries for proper heat transfer. It manages to produce great results with a single 120mm tower. But if you want more cooling power, you can even add a second cooler on top of it.
The cooler operates under PVM. It means that its speeds very often, more often when compared to a voltage-controlled fan but this leads to lower running temperatures. The good news is that the noise is at a low level even in these conditions. With modern Intel I7 chipsets, it allows the CPU to sit idle at 33 degrees, which is not a bad performance.
With a single fan design which is optimized in terms of design and ceramic coating, the cooler is dependable.
Made with a modern design, the cooler features engineered blades. It comes with a good cooling capacity which can reduce the overall idle temperature of your Intel or AMD CPU to around 30 degrees Celsius. It uses a self-contained cooling system. This means that it is designed to be intervened upon and it needs no maintenances whatsoever. It comes pre-filled and all you need to do to make it run is to simply install it. It also comes with minimal coolant evaporation in time, which makes it a durable solution.
The cooler comes with a daring design. This can be seen in extra convenient features such as the micro-fin copper plate. It is fast with heat dissipation and it represents a good addition to the coolant design.
But maybe the biggest convenient feature lies in its compact design. If you are tired of bulky coolers which barely fit into your CPU case, it can be a real alternative to its coolant and copper heat plate. Its noise level is not bad either, as a result. However, if you want to have the freedom of adjustability, you will need to continuously run its software as it currently doesn’t memorize your preferences. If you don’t mind this small drawback, it can work great with most modern Intel and AMD chipsets.
With a compact design with a sealed coolant and an added micro-fin copper plate, it represents a great solution for most home computers.
Made with one of the most complex designs for this range of affordability, the cooler impressed with its heat column design. At the same time, if you are a fan of heat pipes, there are a few other options to consider as well. They include the 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8 heat pipes designs. With LED lighting, it also becomes one of the most attractive solutions in its class, especially if you have a see-through case. Designed with aluminum fins for heat dissipation, it manages to offer one of the best solutions when it comes to proper cooling temperature using multiple designs.
The heat column is highly recommended when it comes to convenient contact surface size with the CPU. With an impressive 41.2mm diameter for the contact surface, it is hard to match from this perspective. This would actually be the equivalent of 7 times the size of traditional heat pipes. The heat column practicality proves convenient. It works with rapid heat transfer with the unification of the heat pipes with the base. With quick aluminum heat dissipation fins, it manages heat in a totally unexpected way that its rivals.
With a unique design based on the heat column design, it manages to be one of the solutions made for the stand-out user.
Made with two 120mm coolers, the design is orientated towards maximum cooling capacity with minimum noise. Based on water cooling, it comes with durable pipes which are also made to look good as well. A section of the pipes is see-through so that you can see the liquid passing through. Equipped with quality pumps, it ensures that the water is moving fast enough for proper cooling. The pipes are also made with flexible and anti-explosion rubber pipes which also prove to be more compact than similar options.
Another convenient feature of the cooler is the fact that it comes with a cold copper plate. It is recommended when it comes to faster heat dissipation. Made with high-density aluminum fins, the cooler thus combines active and passive heat dissipation techniques for a lower overall running temperature for your AMD or Intel chipsets. The combined coolers also come with a 3-year warranty.
Made with the combined cooling capacity of two coolers with strong water pumps and see-through pipes, it represents a potent design which also looks apart.
Guide to Buying the Best Cheap CPU Cooler
With so many great designs, it might be difficult to choose the best cooler. But the technologies are different and in many cases, they can’t even be fairly compared. For example, a water-based system has certain particularities which might make it quite different from a heat pipe design. However, all of the solutions above can represent an interesting and reliable choice. When you purchase your cooler, here are a few features to look at.
The size of the cooler is one of the most pressing issues to consider. When you think about the size of these cooler, you might even underestimate just how big they are. Between 120mm and 140mm, there are many solutions to consider. With single and dual fans, the size of the final product can be considerable. The first thing you need to do in this case is to ensure that you have enough space in your computer and that the cooler will not be impeded by the RAM or the video card.
However, the size of the cooler is not a guarantee of its performance. It is not always the case that the largest cooler is always the best. For example, some large coolers have known problems with noise, and this can make them quite unpopular.
Heat pipes can be great if designed correctly. It is hard to say which number of pipes is the best. It is why there is plenty of cheap cooler which comes with 2 to 8 copper pipes which are in direct contact with the CPU. Their role, in immediate proximity, is to transfer some of the heat from the CPU as soon as possible. In reality, this happens very fast and the system can be effective. However, not all pipes are designed with the same and not all of them have the same size. It is why you need to pay attention to the solutions you have when it comes to the ultimate pipe cooling systems.
If you are tired of counting pipes, the copper heat column design can be a good alternative. It represents a system which is easy to work with and which has an even larger CPU contact area. In many cases, this is also when you are able to find the right options when it comes to proper heat control, even with innovative designs. Comparing the two systems, it is really hard to clearly establish a winner.
Water pipes are still popular and they are not likely to go away anytime soon. Although there are a few bad stories with broken water pipes and damaged video cards as a result, most manufacturers now offer more reliable water pipes which are guaranteed to last. They can even cover damages with extended warranties for such coolers.
The good news is that many affordable coolers come with completely self-contained systems. You do not need to add water to them and you have the freedom to allow them to work freely. At the same time, they can also be quite attractive to watch. Many water-based coolers are made with LED lights and if you have a see-through computer case, you can see the cooler in action. Of course, for this to happen, you also need see-through water pipes.
The fins are so complex and so different that they are also worth mentioning. They might seem low tech at first but their designs have also improved and changed over the years. Many fins now come with futuristic designs which even include a ceramic coating. This type of coating is used in other industries where heat needs to be handled quickly, such as in the auto industry. At the same time, the fins can also come with designs which allow the heat to dispense in different directions more quickly and this makes them highly valuable if designed correctly.
The last thing you want is to spend time with maintenance on your cooler. For most designs, this is not the case anymore. Even designs with water pipes do not need any special treatment today. They can be used with ease without user intervention.
However, you may need to intervene on the software side. Some coolers come with dedicated programs which allow you to manually set the cooling capacity. In theory, this offers maximum freedom. But in reality, you may even find programs which need to run constantly on your desktop, at least until you are back to the automatic configuration of the cooler.
Intel vs. AMD
Most coolers can run on both Intel and AMD chipsets. However, as you can see with some designs, there can be exceptions. It is why so many manufacturers try to market their products towards a single type of chipset. But in the end, it is up to you to decide which cooler compatible and up to date and which of its technologies or design characteristics make it the best for you.
In theory, you should be able to install the cooler yourself. Also, in theory, the most time-consuming task is actually removing the old cooler first. It is here that you need to ensure you properly clean the thermal paste and that you prepare the clean area to install the new cooler.
In practice, this can be challenging at times. There are a few problems which can arise. One of the problems refers to the cooler being too big. In this case, there is little a professional can do to help. Other problems might include problems with the fin clips which can be flimsy and which can be hard to attach to the fan itself. Some users even experience an issue with the instructions manual, which is often written badly and which does not contain important information. Information such as the parts you need to install the cooler can be missing completely. For example, some coolers do not come with a thermal paste, but this is not mentioned in the user’s manual.
The warranty policies are very different, even in the segment of affordable products. It is why you need to pay attention to the solutions you have when it comes to proper insurance. If you purchase a water cooler, the minimum warranty coverage should be at least 3 years. But in the world of coolers, warranties can be different and in the advantage of the customer. It is why you will even see plenty of coolers which come with a warranty of 6 years. There are plenty of great designs to consider but in many cases, you will need the freedom of the actual performance before looking at the warranty policy.
The materials used in the manufacturing process are considerably different today. They are better and more reliable. For example, many rubber pipes are now ensured against explosion, which would happen at times in the past.
The fins are made from aluminum which is a quick thermal conductor. It heats up quickly but it also cools quickly which makes it quite versatile. The aluminum can be coated with ceramics, which maintains the same thermic values. Furthermore, you will also see more expensive materials in parts of the cooler.
If the fan is made from plastic due to its lower weight, the bearing system is made from quality metal. The heat pipes are also made from copper for the most part and they represent one of the most reliable solutions for heat transfer. With immediate contact with the CPU, they can also take constant high temperatures for long periods of time. This is often the case with gaming.
The software used to control and monitor the cooler is minimalistic most of the times. It represents a solution which is easy to work with. Most users can easily see the number of rotations per minute here. The overall CPU temperature can also be found here, among other places. The software also allows you to control the fan to a certain degree in some cases. However, the feature may not be as customizable as many users hope. For example, it can force the user to keep the software running on the desktop as it does not have a saving option for your settings. Even more, the software is rarely upgraded. So what you get at the moment of purchase, is also likely to be what you have a few years into the future.
The most important role of the cooler is to reduce the running temperature of your CPU. The discussion here can be endless. Some argue that the reduction doesn’t need to be too considerable for a successful purchase. Others argue that only a significant temperature reduction is worth the upgrade. However, most users can agree that even affordable coolers can be better than standard alternatives which are found on most computers.
The temperature reduction varies from product to product. In most cases, the best cheap CPU coolers are able to bring the temperature down to around 30 degrees Celsius when idle. Of course, this would constantly increase depending on your software. The most demanding software such as video editors and games can considerably increase the running temperature of the CPU. But the temperature can also be different as a result of the design of the cooler. Water coolers are not necessarily superior to other designs, but they can offer an indication of how the temperature is actually being cooled. Some coolers can indicate temperatures across different points of the pipes.
But the cooling result which you hope for also largely depends on how you install the cooler as well. It is why many manufacturers advise you to take your time when installing the hardware. Make sure you first clean the CPU from dust and from the thermal paste. This will give you a freedom to install the new cooler correctly. Some manufacturers even give you small tools such as the one used to apply the paste yourself. It is often discussed that the paste needs to be evenly applied. This way, the temperature from the CPU will be evenly transferred to the cooler.
Buying the best cheap CPU cooler is not as complicated as it seems. You do not need to be a computer expert to make a purchase or even to install it yourself. In reality, the decision can be quick, similar to the installation as well. A good cooler is no longer a tool which only lowers the running temperature of your CPU. It is now a statement of design as well. Many coolers come with LED lights and transparent tubes to make them stand out from the crowd. At the same time, there are many products which even come in multiple colors so that users can pick and match their cooler to other computer components.
So you will need to take these characteristics into consideration before you make the upgrade. With various designs to consider, you might also want to choose a solution which is compatible with a second cooler. Many users prefer to add a second cooler in time for an even better temperature management system. But it is up to you to decide which solution works best for your budget. Regardless of your choice, you should always stay protected and only choose the products with good warranty policies as they can only work in your favor as a customer. In many cases, the coolers prove to be durable purchases, even with affordable prices. The good news is that there are plenty of products which come innovative and even patented designs in the affordable range as well.