Question 140mm CPU Air Cooler Recommendations

Mantrid-Drone

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Mar 15, 2014
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I'm looking for an air cpu cooler either designed for or a 120mm type capable of taking replacement 140mm fans with 120mm mounts.

I have two unused Akasa Viper R 140mm 'round' 120mm mount fans I know work very well as cpu coolers. Another I've used with an Scythe cpu cooler, mounted horizontally, gives temperature readings with a 3rd gen i5 as good as a CM Hyper 212 used with two 120mm Akasa Viper fans. So I want to find a cooler which allows me to use them but without fouling any RAM slots using standard height modules.

The problem is the Viper R is genuinely round with an approximate 145mm diameter so even some coolers designed for 140mm are likely unsuitable.

In my researches even when a 120mm fan fitted cooler's height dimensions are shown it is not clear how much leeway you have beneath to be able to mount, or not, a 140mm fan like this.

There is also an issue even with the coolers designed for 140mm fans. The one(s) provided are often not typical 140x140x25 size either. I've found coolers which use 140x150x25 fans (Noctua), other with unique 135mm 'round' fans (Be Quiet) and other two fans coolers where the first has to be a 'slim' type so that it doesn't foul the RAM.

My case will take a cooler up to 180mm height to that should not be a problem. I'm not bothered with the fan(s) fitted or the claimed performance of the cooler because I know the Viper R's will have better AF and SAP. The primary concern is fitting the Viper R and RAM clearance.

Initially I'm doing without a GPU so will likely be going for a i5 cpu with OB HD graphics. Therefore the only other criteria is that it should have S1700 mounts available.

I have looked at the CM Hyper 212 V2 black edition and, I think, that might work as the heat sink is slightly offset but there must be others.

Any suggestions appreciated.

EDIT 1

Interesting; I revisited Noctua coolers and looking through the options I found the NH-D15S which specifically mentions that if you add a front fan to that it can be positioned higher to allow for RAM clearance.

I've messaged them to ask about this, although not mentioning the purpose is to use a non-Noctua fan and how high it can be mounted without affecting the cooling performance.

EDIT 2
They replied very quickly confirming that on either cooler, which are essentially the same just supplied with/out the extra fan, the front fan in either case can be positioned up to 20mm higher to prevent RAM module fouling without it affecting performance.

I think I'm sold.
 
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BonzaiDuck

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For a heatpipe cooler, unless you're building a lower-end box for a Mainstreamer for which a Hyper 212 EVO would be just fine, I recommend the ThermalRight Le Grand Macho (LGM) -- especially if you are fine with a Noctua NH-D15.

If you're worried about mounting fans, You can do marvelous things with zip-ties and Spire foam rubber to isolate the vibrating fan from the hardware. The round fans indeed fit 120mm holes and mounting hardware.

The Macho is specifically designed to avoid interference with RAM modules, even those with a high profile. The cooler has a "swept-back" design, so it doesn't hang over the RAM slots.
 
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Mantrid-Drone

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I'll have a look at that - not one I came across in my researches.

Idea is to be a general purpose machine but, when I can afford it, putting in a decent gaming GPU. That means more heat and with the well sound insulated case I'm using I think it makes sense to get as good a CPU cooler as I can afford.

Thing now is to decide on the CPU/MB I'm going for - I'll probably open another thread on that but at this point the i5-12600K with its built in UD 770 Graphics looks good.
 

Tech Junky

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Basically it comes down to the notch on the one side for the fins to clear the RAM. Fans are just a bonus at this point since you can position a 120 on one side and 140 on the other. I haven't encountered a cooler yet that permanently had fans attached to it. I also tend not to use the ones they include in the box as I have better fans on hand.

I ended up going somewhat cheap @ $50 for ID-COOLING SE-226-XT and put 2 x 120mm Artic PWM PST P12's on it and it's stable at room temp most of the time @ ~23C and hits a max of ~53C under load.

My issue when building an LGA1700 based system was not wanting to mess around with adapters and other methods of mounting the new CPU/cooler to the board. There were other options but, it didn't make sense to spend twice as much for the same result.

The hype around the heat on these ADL chips was blown out of proportion to the reality of the system up and running with an air cooler. I was considering a AIO until I threw caution to the wind and dropped back to the 226.

I also got sick of pasting systems awhile back and switched to using graphite pads instead and they just slide into place and you clamp things down and no worries about the paste degrading over time. Also, if you need to move the cooler later on you don't have to clean the CPU / cooler off and reapply you just make sure the pad is in the right spot and clamp it down again.


 
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Mantrid-Drone

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I assume you can re-position the second fan to match - I know it is is a bit OCD but it would bother me that not being the same height.

Interesting information using graphite pads for the TIM instead of paste - I've not checked yet but are they widely avialable (UK) I'd not heard of them before? Last time I fitted a chip/cooler I used my trusty tube of AC MX4 but that must be over 5 years old now so I was thinking about what to use this time.

Those Arctic Cooler P12 PWM (120mm) fans are an interesting 'budget' choice - I created some fan comparison/ratings tables based on manufacturers' figures. Apart from the price their main raison d'etre seems to be that they are quiet. They don't shift a lot of air at full speed but their SAP is reasonable and they outperform (on paper) fans selling for much more.

They've proven they can do the job required and that's what matters.

Thanks for that Thermalright Macho cooler suggestion ^^^^

I had a look at it and seems good and would certainly handle the heat from any chip I've been considering. The big problem for me is the price: £114/$140 in the UK.

That's almost £25/$30 more than the Noctua DH-D15 and considering the latter is pushing my budget for a cooler to the limit the Thermalright is, unfortunately, a non-starter.
 
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Tech Junky

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I've used the P12/P14 pwm pst models for a few years now and they handle the heat well. They're near silent even when they ramp up which matters when you're using the box playing back audio whether music or movies.

I was repositioning them once while powered on and it nicked something and got a micro fracture in a blade that caused a ton of noise. I emailed them and they sent a replacement no questions asked within a week. I have spares on hand though since I buy them in their 5pack option at a lower price.
 
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BonzaiDuck

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The NH-D15 is a good cooler. Using the Transitivity Axiom, I was in the habit of gathering about three lab-test reviews on these heatpipe coolers. Relative rank-order ratings allow comparisons of coolers that might not be found in one or even two reviews, but if it occurs in the tests for a third -- or any one or more -- then you have a rank order comparison for just about anything of interest. That was five years ago. I don't think heatpipe coolers have improved, unless some company has released something exotic.

So if we're still discussing the Noctua twin-tower NH-D15, I can vouch that the ThermalRight LG Macho exceeds Noctua performance by 1 to 2C for the same test-bed. This is all stale information, even so. I gathered it five years ago. But anything that comes close to or exceeds some AiO water-coolers is a great choice, because of heatpipe simplicity and the NASA-reported MTBF of about a million years.

What I mean, is -- I don't much look for something better anymore. My latest boxes both use the TR Macho. I buy the silly-rubber ducts for them by TR. For any common tower case, you could just install the exhaust fan, fit the duct to the back of the Macho, slide the board into place and secure it with the usual 9 screws.

Otherwise, the duct is a bit difficult to remove between the exhaust fan and the cooler, requiring you to compress it to clear the hardware. But for installation and constant use, this installation method is convenient.
 
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Mantrid-Drone

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^ Looks good but as far as I can find out there is no UK importer - certainly not on Amazon UK or Amazon EU.

You can get the lower spec Thermalright Frost Spirit from Amazon US but that's about it.

I think I will go with Noctua - its actually been reduced in price £10 to just under £80 since I put it on my to buy list - so I guess Amazon are desperate to get themselves financially back in the black again. I'll consider it overnight but unless somebody else has a other suggestions I'm pretty sure I'll bite. :)
 

bigboxes

Lifer
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^ Looks good but as far as I can find out there is no UK importer - certainly not on Amazon UK or Amazon EU.

You can get the lower spec Thermalright Frost Spirit from Amazon US but that's about it.

I think I will go with Noctua - its actually been reduced in price £10 to just under £80 since I put it on my to buy list - so I guess Amazon are desperate to get themselves financially back in the black again. I'll consider it overnight but unless somebody else has a other suggestions I'm pretty sure I'll bite. :)
I paid $10 more for the Chromax.black version. I don't have a window in my case and I suppose it doesn't matter the color in the big scheme of things. I was using Noctua fans with a Thermalright TRUE heatsink on my 2009 i7 920 build.
 
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DasFox

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I just built a box with a Corsair 4000D Airflow, nice case, great air cooling, easy to build in.


Noctua all the way! Been using them for years, amazing cooling, and great case fans too, they are all I use!

I am using 3 Noctua NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM in the case, 2 up front, 1 in the back.


For a Ryzen 5 5600G, I’m using a Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4 CPU Cooler, I’ll also use this on a 5600x.


GELID GC-Extreme paste is amazing stuff too, been using them for as long as they’ve been around.

 
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Mantrid-Drone

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Interesting that Gelid thermal paste - I was looking at various alternatives after dismissing the graphite/thermal pad solution and I had not come across GC Extreme Thermal Paste.

Looking at its own benchmark test results on the packaging against MX-2 its not that much ahead which, in theory means MX-4 is either very close or better.

But I've found a few YT video reviews and other sources which say it is superior. So despite it being twice the price of MX-4 I'll give it a go - just been added to my shopping list.
 

DasFox

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Yes they might be here and there a few degrees different.

All I can tell you, is I’ve used the stuff for as long as they’ve been around and my temps are always great. But I do use a nice big beefy Noctua cooler as well on my cpus.

I use to spread it around, but that’s a pita to do nicely, just squirt a nice Pea sized blob in the middle, and it will spread out under the pressure of the heatsink, but keep it close to pea size, otherwise the grease will squirt out the sides.
 

bigboxes

Lifer
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Yes they might be here and there a few degrees different.

All I can tell you, is I’ve used the stuff for as long as they’ve been around and my temps are always great. But I do use a nice big beefy Noctua cooler as well on my cpus.

I use to spread it around, but that’s a pita to do nicely, just squirt a nice Pea sized blob in the middle, and it will spread out under the pressure of the heatsink, but keep it close to pea size, otherwise the grease will squirt out the sides.
I was told to do the pea in the middle and 4 dots around for my 5950X.
 

Mantrid-Drone

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Oddly enough I was researching the various techniques for paste application as I've not done a PC chip since 2019.

Current best technique recommended is actually not the pea size blob, the two that give the most even coverage are the pea sized blob pre-spread, evenly, using a purposed designed spatula into smaller rectangular area. The pressure from the cooler will then spread it over the whole of the CPU rather than leave the corners paste free as just a blob does.

Second best is dividing the CPU in half with a line of paste roughly two thirds the length of the CPU from a syringe and then each half likewise with another making 3 lines in total.


The first PC chip I did with just two lines last time, dividing the chip into thirds and that has worked fine for me but I did also 'tint' the CPU and cooler contact surfaces first.

That simply means a small pre-application of paste which is then wiped off with a lint free tissue. It is wiped until there is no staining on a clean the tissue but there is some still left as the metal surfaces should now we matt rather than shiny.

The theory is that you are filling in all the micro-surface imperfections even the flatest, most polished metal still has.

I did not like line method because I found it practically impossible to make the lines even width and finishing them I always ended up with a fly away. I had to redo it three times before I was happy.

So the next time I used the far easier pea sized blob technique but also the 'tinting' again. That has proven very successful too with that PC's CPU, with only one fan on the cooler, giving very similar temps to the one done earlier using the more elaborate line method of application.
 

DasFox

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Sep 4, 2003
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I was told to do the pea in the middle and 4 dots around for my 5950X.
Maybe it might depend on how hard the paste is, but the Gelid is real soft, so only need to squirt a pea in the middle for it, otherwise it might squirt out the sides.

I’ve done the Pea size in the middle 3x and worked like a charm, and #4 is just around the corner, LOL.

To Pea or Not To Pea; that is the question... LOL 😆

P.S. So getting ready to do #4, I’ve been doing this for as long as this conversation has been around, how to apply thermal paste. I’ve spread it around evenly, I’ve made a Big X, squirted in the middle and sides, and the pea. So when you think about it, as long as the paste is fairly soft, it will spread out evenly under pressure. Test it out under two sheets of glass and you’ll see. ;) The Pea is Great! 👍
 
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BonzaiDuck

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I'd have to do a massive refresh against my knowledge and experience with coolers and pastes. I mentioned my choice of heatpipe coolers. I still use IC-Diamond, but I don't lap my processor caps anymore.
 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
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Maybe it might depend on how hard the paste is, but the Gelid is real soft, so only need to squirt a pea in the middle for it, otherwise it might squirt out the sides.

I’ve done the Pea size in the middle 3x and worked like a charm, and #4 is just around the corner, LOL.

To Pea or Not To Pea; that is the question... LOL 😆

P.S. So getting ready to do #4, I’ve been doing this for as long as this conversation has been around, how to apply thermal paste. I’ve spread it around evenly, I’ve made a Big X, squirted in the middle and sides, and the pea. So when you think about it, as long as the paste is fairly soft, it will spread out evenly under pressure. Test it out under two sheets of glass and you’ll see. ;) The Pea is Great! 👍
I used MX4 and did the method that everyone said would provide the best coverage. No waste. I would have used AS5, but I was out. That was a year ago.
 

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