Best CPU cooler for AMD Ryzen 9 7950X in 2023
AMD's 7950X trades high performance for high temperatures, so let's keep things cool.
AMD ramped every performance category up with the 7950X. The top-end Ryzen 9 processor has gigantic performance, but it's offset by a 170W power draw and raised temperatures. The best CPU cooler for the Ryzen 9 7950X depends on your PC case and clearance over other components, such as RAM modules, but ultimately needs to prevent the chip from getting too hot under load. Our favorite pick is the NZXT Kraken X63, but we've rounded up alternatives to fit your budget and custom build needs.
If you have space for 2x 140mm fans in your PC case, the Kraken X63 offers an all-in-one closed-loop radiator with a gorgeous infinity-mirror pump head compatible with the AM5 socket. Our X63 RGB review shows the variant with colored fans but the same pump, and we're focused on thermals for now.
If RGB aesthetics are essential, the PL240 FLUX offers similar performance but ramps up the multi-colored lighting to satisfy any gamer. It's a low-profile radiator, taking up 2x 120mm fan spots ideal for more compact PC cases, but it's capable of handling the 7950X under heavy load.
If you'd rather keep your case modest, the Silent Loop 2 does away with RGB lighting and focuses on quiet operation instead. be quiet! offers variants from 120mm up to 360mm, with our 280mm pick seated comfortably in the middle with a balance of whispered AM5 socket performance and cost.
Best air cooler
It would take outrageous thermal output to put the Noctua coolers to shame, and even the 7950X can operate comfortably under stress with the NH-D15. The heatsink is 150mm wide, and 2x 140mm fans are attachable on both sides, so make sure you have enough clearance for this monster.
One of my longest-standing recommendations for CPU air cooling, the Hyper 212 Black Edition RGB variant looks sleek and performs admirably. Featuring adjustable lighting via a motherboard header or the dedicated controller, it's another chunky option that demands clearance.
The king of silence from be quiet! is a chunky air cooler, but our Dark Rock Pro 4 review demonstrated almost silent double PWM fans offering subtle thermal control. It's ready for the AM5 socket and is perfectly suited to a modest build with a larger PC case designed for efficient airflow.
The best CPU cooler for AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
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Breaking down the thermal performances in our combined AMD Ryzen 9 7900X and 7950X review showed that you get exactly the performance you pay for with this beefy processor, but the temperatures can be concerning. There's plenty of room for overclocking, and anyone building a PC gaming rig around this CPU will likely push it for every bit of effort possible. I've chosen the NZXT Kraken X63 as the best overall choice for the 7950X in its 280mm variant as the ideal middle ground, but the Kraken X73 RGB offers a 360mm radiator and extra lighting if you have the case space and budget.
All-in-one coolers aren't your only option for the Ryzen chip, and Noctua still offers fantastic performance with its NH-D15, though it needs plenty of clearance over other components on your motherboard and in the case. If you prefer to stick to conventional cooling methods, it's a long-serving champion available in the classic brown or a simplistic black variant. Still, if you're looking for subtlety, the Dark Rock Pro 4 from be quiet! offers near-silent running until it's time to put the 7950X through its paces with intense gaming, and it'll keep up.
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Ben is the channel editor for all things tech-related at Windows Central. That includes PCs, the components inside, and any accessory you can connect to a Windows desktop or Xbox console. Not restricted to one platform, he also has a keen interest in Valve's Steam Deck handheld and the Linux-based operating system inside. Fueling this career with coffee since 2021, you can usually find him behind one screen or another. Find him on Mastodon @firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions or share opinions.