• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Question Recommend a CPU cooler for AMD 5800X /5900X

PatrickCah

Member
Nov 6, 2012
42
2
71
Hi all,

I'm planning to build a new PC in the next few weeks and I need some advice, particularly about cooling. My current system is as follows:

Intel i5 2500K
16 GB RAM
ASRock Z68 Extreme 4
GTX 1660 Super
Samsung SSD (860 Evo)
Blu-ray Drive
Antec 1100 case
Nec PA271Q monitor
ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro
Corsair 650 watt PSU

I haven't decided on the AMD 5800X or 5900X yet. Both are expensive, compared to the previous generation and now require one to buy a third-party cooler. I was thinking of the ID-COOLING SE-224-XT Black or the ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports, but after looking at Youtube videos, it seems neither cooler would be adequate to get the maximum boost clocks. Is that correct? I don't plan to overclock. If I added fans to the case, would this lower the CPU temperate by much and/or allow me to use the aforementioned coolers?

My current CPU down-clocks when appropriate and runs about 55 - 57 Celsius under load. However, the new AMD processors seem to run hotter at all times, in spite of being relatively energy efficient. Both are rated having a TDP of 105 watt. My existing CPU is rated at 95 watt.

I don't game that much nowadays so I wonder if the 5900X is overkill but I'll likely keep whatever CPU/system I choose for over 5 years. I mainly use Lightroom but also Photoshop.

I am going to reuse my case, SSD, GPU, Blu-ray drive, PSU and monitor.

New system parts:
Aorus X570 Pro
Crucial Ballistix 16GB RAM 3600 MHz


Thanks.
 
Last edited:

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,936
1,048
126
I'm an Intel Bigot when the facts would suggest I should swing to AMD.

But this is all about thermal properties, and I've not seen a cooler yet which didn't have both Intel and AMD mounting hardware. The 5900X has a TDP (thermal Design Power) of 105W. The maximum temperature -- which probably means the temperature at which it throttles -- is 90C.

I'd be surprised if someone comes back to tell me I'm wrong about this, because I do considerable research before I choose a cooler. As far as I can tell, the situation has hardly changed in four years. The best coolers are also the biggest, but my only requirement is that a cooler will fit in my case. I choose to live with the inconvenience a cooler might pose to manual access of the motherboard, but then all you'd ever want to do is add or subtract memory modules. Occasionally, for maintenance, you might have to pull a power-plug and cable from a motherboard socket.

So . . . "The Best". The Best as far as I can tell is the ThermalRight Le Grand Macho RT. You can get a smaller, less effective cooler, and it will work with your 5900X, given the TDP of 105W. My Intel chips have all been spec'd between 95W and 125W.

How do I know it's the best? I find two or three lab-test comparison reviews, such that each review will compare the performance of 20 coolers or more-- and the more the better. Sometimes you have to extrapolate the results from rank-ordering in different reviews, but this has always proven reliable to me. So for overclocked load temperatures versus idle temperatures, coolers like the LGM, the Noctua NH-D15, and a few more come very close to the performance of several AiO water coolers. The Noctua cooler falls behind the LGM by maybe 1 to 2C degrees.

The LGM RT is priced around $80. You might spend half that or a little more on a smaller cooler. But that's my recommendation. Others can recommend "adequate" coolers and there are many.

The coolers you mention are probably sufficient. Note the remarks on the Arctic Freezer: "Does not cover the entire processor heat spreader, but it covers the area above the processor die." I wouldn't know how big is the heatspreader on the AMD 5900X. I DO know that the heatsink base of the LGM RT covers about twice the area of my processor cap or heat-spreader. Quickly looking now, the information suggests that the processor cap is 40mm square, so the LGM RT is plenty big for it, as are some others.
 

PatrickCah

Member
Nov 6, 2012
42
2
71
Thanks for your recommendation.

I always associated high-end coolers with overclocking and in the past got by with more basic coolers. The ThermalRight Le Grand Macho RT is almost the same price as another cooler that has good reviews - be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4, 250W TDP, CPU cooler, Black. Also, I thought one only had to match the TDP of the CPU with cooler that has a similar cooling capacity (watts), or is that not correct?
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,936
1,048
126
Thanks for your recommendation.

I always associated high-end coolers with overclocking and in the past got by with more basic coolers. The ThermalRight Le Grand Macho RT is almost the same price as another cooler that has good reviews - be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4, 250W TDP, CPU cooler, Black. Also, I thought one only had to match the TDP of the CPU with cooler that has a similar cooling capacity (watts), or is that not correct?
Generally, you will find reviews using similar processor-overclocks that reach similar thermal wattage. They will advertise the cooler to handle 200W+, but if you OC a CPU with 95 or 105W TDP, a sane overclock should push it into the 170+W range -- at most, to my knowledge. What I see myself comes from the monitoring software, like HWiFO64, Aida64, etc. You can check this yourself, but I saw the comparisons with the bequiet! Dark Rock Pro 4, and it rates further down the list from the AiO's followed by coolers like the NH-D15 and Grand Macho RT.

But do the same thing I did to satisfy yourself! Search for comparison reviews which use a long list of coolers. Bit-Tech, Tech-PowerUp and other sources will present them. Tweaktown -- also. The ratings often will include rank-ordering by noise level in dBA, but I pay less attention to that, because they always use the bundled cooling fan, so they're rating the fan and not the cooler. I will buy a cooler with no intention of using the bundled fan. People will say I use an "overpowered" fan that's noisier, but I don't have problems with noise on my systems. The CPU pusher fan, as with everything else, is connected to motherboard PWM 4-pin fan ports, or to a PWM splitter that gets the mobo PWM signal and provides a tach signal to the board, but pulling power directly from the PSU.

One thing I'm coming to appreciate with the LGM RT is the simple box-shape of the cooler, massive as it is. It's not a "double-tower" cooler like the Noctua D14 and D15. But each to his own . . . .

Even so, I'll say this as a caveat. They bundle a very nice magnetic Phillips screwdriver with the LGM RT, which found its way permanently into my automotive/mechanic toolbox. I'm always pulling it out again for this or that task with my computers, but it's great for maintaining my SUV. Well, sir -- the last step for installing that cooler is a bit tedious. You'll want to have younger eyes than I have. Get an LED headlamp and some small LED flashlights. The worst part of it is getting the retaining bracket and its rear screw started. The cooler is built with a hole through all the fins in the center, so you can get the screw driver inserted to place that screw. It takes a steady hand! The reason they give you such a nice magnetic screwdriver: you'd otherwise drop that screw onto the motherboard where it will roll around among the VRMs and Mosfets. P-I-T-A. I say -- get the cooler on the motherboard before you put the motherboard in the case. It will always be easier.
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,607
227
106
I personally should have done more research myself on the heatsink and the new 5600X/motherboards, but I simply picked up the AM4 socket connector for the NH-D15 I already had in the system from before I swapped out the motherboard/CPU/RAM. I figured it shouldn't have any real issue, especially since the old CPU was a 91W part, I assumed it should be able to handle the 65W from the 5600X.

I will say that the speed curve as to when the fans pick up is different than the old CPU/motherboard as this one actually spins up the fans from time to time (the old system was pretty much always sitting at idle). I may go tweak it at some point, as this is in a HTPC in the living room so I like to keep it as quiet as I can.

So depending on what you are doing with the system, I almost always prefer air cooling due to the level of maintanence, risk of damage if failure occurs, and typically noise level for what I need it to handle. But as can be seen, if you are really overclocking hard, you may need to go with a water solution to get the most performance.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,936
1,048
126
I personally should have done more research myself on the heatsink and the new 5600X/motherboards, but I simply picked up the AM4 socket connector for the NH-D15 I already had in the system from before I swapped out the motherboard/CPU/RAM. I figured it shouldn't have any real issue, especially since the old CPU was a 91W part, I assumed it should be able to handle the 65W from the 5600X.

I will say that the speed curve as to when the fans pick up is different than the old CPU/motherboard as this one actually spins up the fans from time to time (the old system was pretty much always sitting at idle). I may go tweak it at some point, as this is in a HTPC in the living room so I like to keep it as quiet as I can.

So depending on what you are doing with the system, I almost always prefer air cooling due to the level of maintanence, risk of damage if failure occurs, and typically noise level for what I need it to handle. But as can be seen, if you are really overclocking hard, you may need to go with a water solution to get the most performance.
Nothing wrong with an NH-D15. Splitting hairs and nitpicking some three comparison reviews, the Le Grand Macho's edge is so close as to be . . . insignificant. Your motherboard manufacturer would be an indicator to me about your fan-control. But then, all of those mobo makers going back five years or more would've built good fan-control features into their BIOS's. It's a feature with which I've been happy on my ASUS boards for a good part of the last decade. And because you can define the fan curves in the BIOS, it eliminates the need to install the manufacturer's bloat-ware.

On the "Air versus Water" issue, one could buy something like a Swiftech AiO and outperform an NH-D15 or Grand Macho RT by maybe 5C under a decently-overclocked testbed. Re-lidding my processors with Grizzly Conductonaut reduces their overclocked temperatures by about 18C. Newer processors, and AMD processors with which I'm not familiar, make that performance bump less certain. Intel has gone back to their Indium solder formulation, but Silicon Lottery still de-lids and re-lids those newer chips to claim something like a 5C improvement. Silicon Lottery is apparently offering binned Ryzen processors, but there's no indication that they cover de-lidding (nominally @ $40 per job) for AMD CPUs, and I just wouldn't know.

Anything really significant in water-cooling advantage would come from a custom-loop, maybe with a 360mm radiator or something on the larger size range, and an exotic addition like a water-chiller added to the loop would count toward "seriously better". That's an extra complication, and water-cooling even in the AiO category is already adding complications.

Some of our veteran gurus here have announced that over-clocking now has the fate of Mark Twain's steamboats. The "need" for it is obsolete. But today's Intel's processors stock from the factory run hot at default settings. For AMD, I could only extrapolate from the TDP spec you cite. That profile shouldn't differ much from what I know first-hand, and you'd think the only difference in AMD versus Intel in that respect might be affected a bit by the size of the processor-cap or IHS. It's all about thermal wattage, though. Something like TR's Le Grand Macho has a heatsink base of size that would make it more than adequate for all processors, AMD and INtel alike.

I'm not sure what the crystal ball predicts in the way of high-end computer-building, but I'm set for the duration with my measly four-core units. When I want more and faster, it won't be an urgent matter for some time.
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
18,946
1,392
126
Be Quiet Pro 4 gets my vote, unless you want to go all out and get a Noctua D15, which then puts you at high end AIO territory, which will then probably go with the 360 AIO, unless your running a case which can not support it.

You are not going to find a 5900X @ retail unless you get incredibly lucky.
The 5800X was listed as a sandbag gap between the 5600X and 5900X, and said it was sort of pointless, which is why no one really buys it, and probably your best chance @ a 5000 series.
 
Last edited:

kschendel

Member
Aug 1, 2018
100
35
71
The Dark Rock Pro 4 is a very good cooler as long as your memory fits under it. It probably has the worst RAM clearance of any of the big air coolers.

I don't think I would want anything much smaller than a Scythe Mugen 5 to cool a 5800X or 5900X.
 

spacejamz

Lifer
Mar 31, 2003
10,385
699
126
I will just create a new post instead of hijacking this one...sorry about that...
 
Last edited:

ASK THE COMMUNITY