High-efficiency cooling systems have developed as a reaction to the continuous growth of heat dissipation of modern processors. The word “super-cooler” has now become a kind of a technical term to denote a cooling system capable of handling any reasonable load without producing much noise.
This success has largely been due to the development of heat pipes technology none of today’s super-coolers can get along without. On the opposite side of the market there are ordinary, entry-level coolers such as are included with a CPU or shipped in a ready-made computer. The purpose of such coolers is to ensure a more or less stable operation of the CPU and they can do so with no pretension to anything more.
It would be long and useless arguing which super-cooler is better than others in terms of efficiency, quietness, price/performance ratio, but as a matter of fact, there’s little difference between them. Super-coolers are all good and it’s even a somewhat boring job to test them. Checking entry-level coolers is of no use, either, as they are all similar and you can’t wait for any surprises from them. Yet purchasing a super-cooler doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes you may be better off spending the extra $50-60 for a more powerful processor or graphics card instead. And you shouldn’t find yourself limited to a cheap/bad cooler or without overclocking opportunities as there’s a whole class of midrange products with a decent performance. They are not “super” but are quite capable of coping with a modern processor. And they have acquired heat pipes, too!
Today I am going to test seven coolers for AMD and Intel processors: Cooler Master Hyper L3, Cooler Master Susurro, Spire VertiCool II, Spire DiamondCool II, Scythe Katana Cu, Scythe Katana 775 and Scythe Samurai Z. I will compare them each against the rest and also with a Tuniq Tower 120 super-cooler. You’ll see which of these products is better and what you are going to lose if you don’t buy an expensive super-cooler.