We rarely discuss cooling systems bundled with the boxed processors because in most cases there is nothing special about them. However, the situation is totally different in case of the new LGA 2011. Core i7-3960X and Core i73930K processor will be selling as is and even their boxed versions will not be bundled with any coolers. This is a pretty logical solution based on the observation that computer enthusiasts – the primary target group for processors like that – usually prefer to use more advanced cooling systems.
However, Intel decided to pursue different tactics this time: they will be offering specific LGA 2011 coolers separately. Moreover, there will be two models to choose from.
Traditional Air Cooler
This is an aluminum cooler with a copper center priced at about $20. It will be recommended for systems not involved in any overclocking experiments. This cooler will boast pretty common characteristics, but it will be efficient enough to dissipate the heat off processors with 130 W TDP. I have to say that the fan on this cooler features blue LEDs, so it doesn’t look too simple at work.
Liquid-Cooling System (RTS2011LC)
This solution is targeted for overclocking enthusiasts. It costs a little more, around $90, but it is a much more efficient system. This liquid-cooling system is designed by Asetek – a company with enormous experience in the cooling field, which also makes similar products for other well-known manufacturers, such as Antec or Corsair. In this case they offer a modification with a radiator large enough for a single 120 mm fan. But in this case the radiator is 37 mm thick, which is a little larger than, for example, the radiator in a popular Antec KUHLER H2O 620 system. Nevertheless, the cooling efficiency of this liquid-cooling system is lower than that of high-performance air-coolers that is why we do not consider this Intel’s offering a success.
As for the possibility to use non-Intel coolers in the new LGA 2011 systems, it is important to remember that the retention mechanism has changed again. Although the retention holes are laid out the same exact way as in LGA 1366 systems, they have now become part of the CPU socket. And it is a very important change, because these holes no longer go through the PCB and have threading inside them. Of course, you won’t need a backplate anymore, but you will not be able to use any of the LGA 1366 retentions at all. In other words, LGA 2011 requires specific retention kits, so when you are shopping for a new cooler, do not forget to make sure that it is compatible with the new CPU socket.