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Today’s test session didn’t reveal anything sensational: the most efficient cooling system is again Thermalright IFX-14. Its advantage over the rivals on the Intel Core i7 platform is indisputable. This cooler left everyone behind in both configurations – with one and two fans. As for the configuration when IFX-14 comes with three 140-mm fans, only high-quality liquid-cooling systems could probably try to beat that. The drawbacks of this remarkable solution are high price, no fans among the bundled accessories and traditionally uneven base. If we disregard all that, IFX-14 will be an absolute winner. Therefore, we are proud to crown Thermalright IFX-14 with our prestigious Editor’s Choice title for being the ultimate best cooling solution:

Among the highly efficient coolers from a dense group following the leader we should single out Scythe Mugen 2. This cooler not just outperforms its direct rivals if we consider the total score from all the tests, but it is also the cheapest of all! Mugen 2 comes bundled with a high-performance fan that is inaudible in quiet mode and produces moderate noise under high CPU workload. Moreover, it is a universal cooler, unlike Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme-1366 RT, Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 and Prolimatech Megahalems. Taking into account that Scythe has very well-established dealer network, things will become very tough for their competitors.

Among the cooling solutions that disappointed us with their performance on Core i7 platform we should mention Cooler Master V10 and Zalman CNPS9900 LED. The former is not only expensive, but is also extremely large in size that makes it difficult to install and remove it. Moreover, it may not even fit in some cases at all. The solution from the Korean manufacturer that performed very well on the 45nm Core 2 Quad processor, seems to be lacking heatpipes (there are only three of them) and effective heatsink surface. I really think it is time for Zalman to finally launch something impressive not only in terms of pricing, but also efficiency.

Well, that is about all for today. We hope that this article will help you decide on a cooler for your CPU. And as for us, we are going to continue our study of super-coolers performance, because by the time the article was completed, we got our hands on three more ambitious candidates, which we are going to introduce to you shortly. So, stay tuned for more hot cool stuff!

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