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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  • jenesuispasbavard - Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - link

    I've had great performance with the Spire Thermax Eclipse II for five years now, and for the last three years, even better performance when paired with two Corsair SP120's. It's still the highest rated heatsink on Frostytech; not sure why it isn't included here. Reply
  • jenesuispasbavard - Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - link

    Edit: Maybe too old? Released in mid-2010 I think. Reply
  • Iketh - Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - link

    did I miss the thermal medium? what paste is used? I've looked over the article twice Reply
  • Beany2013 - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    Whatever was supplied - it's a test of the product as supplied (for most of them) or as recommended by the manufacturer (as in the TR one, where they provided a suitable fan when requested, as the rest came with one).

    Thermal pastes are best tested on *one* cooled as a known quantity, really, which would be a separate test of it's own, I'd say.
    Reply
  • Iketh - Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - link

    also, EVGA's cpu ACX cooler should be in a cheaper roundup Reply
  • creed3020 - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    Thanks for the review! This is certainly your best review since joining AT, kudos to getting a good spread of products from around the world. There were a few in there that I hadn't heard of so it was great that the final results would be a surprise.

    The results were somewhat what I expected and nice to see where each of the companies's products sit. I have to say that not having the Cyrorig on the final recommendation is a bit sad as their products are simply bespoke. I don't have the R1 Ultimate but I do use their C1 in my SFF case on an overlocked Core i5 4690k and the temperature to noise performance is unbelievable, especially compared to some SFF coolers I've used in the past from other vendors.

    Looking forward to more of these, perhaps a SFF cooler showdown could be next...?
    Reply
  • JimmiG - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    I went with the Phanteks PH-TC14PE back when I built my Haswell system back in 2013. It and my (de-lidded) 4770K are still holding up fine.

    All those coolers are really close though, especially at full fan speeds. We've probably hit the limit of air cooling with heatpipe technology at this point.
    Reply
  • PPB - Thursday, July 9, 2015 - link

    Why review the Macho Zero and not the True Spirit 140 Power or the IB-E Extreme? Those 2 are far a better match for the rest of the lineup that the one you reviewed from Thermalright. Reply
  • katinacooker - Saturday, July 11, 2015 - link

    Cryorig stock is availble in the UK from Alternate

    https://www.alternate.co.uk/html/search.html?query...

    I got my R1 Universal from there
    Reply
  • DPOverLord - Saturday, July 11, 2015 - link

    You can't do a real air cooling review without the Thermalright Silver Arrow, this review is lacking. Reply

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