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
Current Retail Pricing
be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 1 × 135mm
1 × 120mm
Cryorig R1 Ultimate 2 × 140mm 700-1300 $196**
Logisys (DeepCool)
GamerStorm Assassin
1 × 140mm
1 × 120mm
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
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 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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  • AssBall - Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - link

    No it isn't. The mounting mechanisms on these higher priced sinks are, as, had you read the article, solid. If you are missing an arm and wanted to mount a 100$ heat sink in your 25$ case, you might care about the weight, in which case, the manufacturer's website is a one armed lazy click away.
  • Schickenipple - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    Cheaper still, at under $50, is the ZALMAN CNPS9500A. I use it on almost every build due to it's all-copper design and razor thin fins. I can keep the fan on the lowest speed without my Core i7 going over 40 Deg. C under load. It's silent no matter what I'm doing.

    My only complaint is that the fan is not PWM. Quibbles.
  • meacupla - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    The only thing I haven't liked about Zalman, is that the fans they use in their heatsinks aren't exactly the quietest and are usually not easily swappable. At least, not when compared against manufacturers like Scythe and Noctua.
  • Nfarce - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    I have the 9700LED variant of that design for my old Core 2 Duo E8400 build. It does okay for medium overclocks (running my 3.0GHz E8400 at 3.4GHz), but that was about it. And considering I paid $55 for it back in 2009 when I built that rig (about $60 in today's money), it wasn't exactly a cheap option. I would have spent a little more for a better cooler so I could get a higher overclock, but the new Sandy Bridge chipset was coming out soon and I decided to just keep it as a backup rig.
  • Eidigean - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    The conversion from Euro to Dollar for the Reeven Okeanos is incorrect. 60€ != $54. 60€ == $66. I think you divided instead of multiplied.
  • GeekTech - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    I just want to mention that the Cryorig R1 Ultimate CPU Cooler that you listed and said was currently available only through a foreign store registered in that ships from Korea is currently being sold at PC Case Gear here in Australia for AU$89 (US$66.82).

  • letmepicyou - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    I would have liked to see the Noctua's real arch nemesis included in this shootout, the Thermalright Silver Arrow. Crushes the Macho Zero. I have a Silver Arrow on my i7 4790k running seti@home, and it owns.
  • Innokentij - Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - link

    The Phanteks PH-TC14PЕ is a better cooler using noctunas own fans on it and even better if u add AF140 fans to it . Is why i took it over the Noctua for myself.
  • UltraWide - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    There is an updated version of the noctua:
  • Eidigean - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    It's not so much as updated, as it is an off-center version of the same NH-D15. I would need the NH-D15S that you linked to on my MB as the former would hit my GPU in the first slot. I was considering modifying the D15 to move it up and away until I saw the D15S. A good link none the less.

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