Cooler Master

There are several different ways to keep your PC cool, but one of the most basic and affordable is using air. With a decent air cooler on your CPU, you'll still get great performance and, in the right circumstances, room for overclocking.

Whether you're building or just upgrading, check out this list for some great coolers for your PC.

Does changing the cooler on your CPU actually make a difference?

Cryorig R1 Ultimate

Cryorig R1

With "ultimate" in the name you'd be hoping for big things from this cooler, and thankfully it doesn't just blow smoke. For under $100, the R1 Ultimate is very large and heavy, but it's also one heck of a cooler.

The folks at Tom's Hardware are big fans:

The R1 Ultimate from Cryorig provides the most powerful cooling of any heatsink and fan combo we've tested but at the cost of increased noise. It's got our seal of approval for users who really need that last bit of cooling performance to reach their overclocking goals.

It's universal to Intel and AMD sockets, packs 140-mm fans, 6-mm heat pipes and a sleek black finish that'll look stellar inside your build. It isn't the quietest, and it's a lump for sure. But it's also an awesome cooler, and that's what matters. At $90 it's towards the higher end of pricing, but it's a hell of a cooler.

If you're tight on space and need a lower-profile alternative, the Cryorig C7 is another great choice.

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Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo

If there were such a thing as a legend in the arena of CPU cooling, the Hyper 212 Evo from Cooler Master would stake a claim to the title.

Kitguru explains:

Very rarely in the world of PC tech does a product come along and win universal acclaim. The original Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is one such product, having built up a legendary status over the past few years.

Why's it so good? Firstly, it's absurdly cheap for something of this quality. Its four heat pipes contact directly with the CPU for maximum effect, and it's extremely well balanced despite its size.

The Hyper 212 Evo is also super simple to mount and can even be had in a variant with LED lighting, for extra razzle-dazzle. One of the best value coolers around at $30.

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Silverstone Argon AR-06

Silverstone Argon AR-06

It may not look like much, but the Silverstone Argon AR-06 is one of the best low-profile CPU coolers money can buy — and not a lot of money at that at around $45.

The Eteknix reviewers couldn't find anything to dislike about it:

I tried really hard to find things that I didn't like about this product and in the end, all I could find were little niggles, nothing that would put me off the product. I put it against the large coolers, the AIOs and the market leaders and this tiny product held its own.

It's perfect for smaller PC builds thanks to its near-silent operation, solid build quality, and top-notch cooling performance. It's a little fiddly to install, but if you're only doing it once it shouldn't be much of an issue. Those four heat pipes are direct-contact for maximum effect, and it supports both Intel and AMD sockets with a 95W TDP.

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Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 3

Dark Rock Pro 3

Be Quiet built its brand around offering performance parts for PC enthusiasts that also crave a more silent experience. This sleek, all-black hunk of metal and fan delivers on that front.

Trusted Reviews summed it up well:

The Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 3 is a large and expensive air cooler, with impressive performance and incredibly low noise levels.

This is one for the serious PC builder, with a whopping 250W TDP support, dual-tower design, seven heat pipes and two 120mm fans. With all that cooling power it's still whisper-quiet. How? We don't know, but your PC will love it. And so will your ears, though you'll pay $90 for the privilege.

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Noctua NH-D15

Noctua NH-D15

Don't let the appearance of this Noctua cooler put you off because while it's less showy than others, it's all business where it matters.

PC Gamer explained the added benefits of using a D15:

These fans enable one big advantage that heat sinks hold over closed-loop solutions: motherboard component cooling. Voltage regulators and memory modules get hot, so it's nice to have airflow down there. Noctua stands behind its quality with a six-year warranty, too.

Six heat pipes and a pair of 140-mm fans make this a sizeable yet impressive cooler. It's a premium quality solution that costs $90, and it is backed up by one of the best warranties you'll find.

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Phanteks PH-TC12DX

Phanteks cooler

The name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but this is an excellent cooler from Phanteks that comes in a choice of colors to match your build. And the folks at Trusted Reviews are big fans:

Build quality is excellent too. There are shiny nickel-plated heat pipes, painted radiator fins, and an overall attention to detail that makes this product feel worthy of its price.

At $60 it isn't the most expensive cooler you'll find, and while it's not the outright quietest either, it strikes a strong balance between cooling performance and noise.

It packs four heat pipes along with a pair of 120mm fans to get the job done while adding some premium style to your build.

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Updated March 27, 2018: The Phanteks PH-TC12DX joins our list for the first time.

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