The Best GPU Coolers in 2021
Being a PC enthusiast is sometimes a pain. You have to spend dozens of hours doing research on the best builds, spend a lot of money on components, spend hours hunched over your PC to cable manage it, all to play a handful of games that can run just as well on a 10-year laptop with integrated graphics.
Joking aside, building a PC is hard work, and finding the right tools to accompany your hardware is a drag. The best CPU cooler, GPU cooler, the most efficient power supply, the prettiest motherboard, it translates to a lot of time spent watching tutorials, reading reviews, time that could be spent doing literally anything else.
Don’t worry though, we have your back. We’re committed to doing market research and determine what are the best products in order for you to spend more time playing those flashy new games or to hang out in Discord with your buddies, sharing memes and TikToks, watching react videos, discussing world politics, getting into heated arguments, losing friends, you know, the usual.
Let’s continue by diving into some of the best (and worst) aftermarket GPU coolers and determine what makes them so good. We’ve also prepared a comprehensive guide on how to pick the best GPU cooler for your needs, so make sure you go through the entire article.
- 300-watt cooling power
- Easy installation
- Up to 2000 RPM
- 3 x 92 mm fans
While Arctic might not be a huge name in the US cooling market, in Europe, it’s one of the top manufacturers, constantly revising their designs and coming up with innovative and reliable products. The Accelero Xtreme IV is their flagship GPU cooler. This cooler is beefy and brings a strong breeze to keep your high-end GPU running at low temperatures.
With three 92 millimeter fans spinning as fast as 2000 RPM, the Xtreme IV has enough power to handle a 300-watt TDP (thermal design power) GPU. This includes the 2080 Ti, 1080 Ti, and anything below.
The cooler is designed to fit any GPU with a standard width 98 mm printed circuit board (PCB). To find the whole list of compatible GPUs, visit the manufacturer’s page. The design is very user-friendly and comes with all of the insulation pre-applied, so you won’t have to mess with your GPU’s processor and VRAM chips. Overall, you’ll have much lower temperatures and less system noise, all for an affordable price.
- Silent operation
- Fits a wide range of graphics cards
- No-glue installation
- 300-watt cooling power
- Might render your first PCIe slot unusable because of its beefiness
- Doesn’t come with 14-pin adapter by default
ID-COOLING FROSTFLOW 120 VGA Graphic Card Cooler
The Best AIO GPU cooler
- 220-watt cooling power
- Very silent operation
ID-Cooling is one of the biggest Chinese cooling manufacturers, with a wide array of solutions for CPU and GPU cooling. Their Frosftflow 120 is an AIO cooler (all-in-one) for those who want to hit solid temperatures when overclocking.
Our favorite part about this cooler is that it’s small and makes the GPU a lot lighter, reducing GPU sag and strain on the motherboard PCB. It comes with small heatsinks that you place on your VRAM chips and the 120 mm fan paired with the water pump will bring your temperatures down significantly.
The ID-Cooling Frostflow 120 is a great choice for reaching very low temperatures on a tighter budget. It’s easy to install, it’s easy to use, and it’s much more silent than any air cooler out there. For a list of all the compatible GPUs, check the manufacturer’s website.
- Very silent
- Good cooling power
- Very light
- Only works with cards with heatsinks
- Only works with cards that have MOSFETs on the right side
anidees Graphic Card Cooler 3 x80mm PWM Fan
Nice RGB GPU Cooler
- 1600 RPM
- 3 x 80mm fans
- Fan hub for programmable lights
Sometimes you need that extra bit of bling to pimp out your system. If you’re looking for a VGA cooler that brings a lot of personality to your setup, then anidees have got the solution for you. The aindees VGA cooler comes with three RGB rings that are programmable through software like MSI Mystic Light, RGB Fusion, Aura Sync, etc.
The three 80 mm fans spinning as fast as 1600 RPM are adequate for keeping even high-power GPUs nice and cool. A standard fan functions at around 1200 RPM at a maximum, so this is still a welcome upgrade.
Overall, the aindees VGA RGB cooler is a good choice if you want that extra bit of color, but it’s not amazing if you’re looking for raw cooling power. Check out the manufacturer site to see a full list of compatible GPUs.
- Not the best aftermarket GPU cooler, can feel underwhelming compared to competition
- Takes up a PCIe slot
Raijintek Morpheus II Universal GPU Air Cooler
Great Passive Cooling, Heavy Heatsink
- 360-watt cooling capacity
- Very big heat sink
- Very silent cooling
Sometimes, you stumble upon a product that’s just too good to ignore. That’s the Raijintek Morpheus II, a hybrid of very good passive and active cooling that will make your high-end GPU shred through games while being overclocked to the max.
If you want to get very solid and reliable temperatures but are wary to invest in water-cooling, this is one of the best alternatives. The huge heatsink helps chill the VRAM and processor very fast due to its very large surface area.
Overall, the Raijintek Morpheus II is a great choice if you’re looking for a silent cooler with plenty of power. While it doesn’t support a wide array of GPUs, it can be a great purchase to the right person. Check the manufacturer’s website for a complete list of supported GPUs.
- Very efficient
- One of the best cooling powers out there
- Doesn’t officially support a lot of GPUs
- Very heavy
Jonsbo VF-1 Aluminum VGA Graphic Card Cooler
Promising “no-name” VGA Cooler On a Budget
- 1500 RPM
- 3 x 80 mm fans
If you’re looking to save a bit of cash and maybe want to overclock an older GPU, then the Jonsbo VF-1 is a promising choice. While the design is bland and looks thrown together by someone with some extra red duct tape, the cooler works as advertised.
This is not a replacement for your GPU’s cooler. It’s an addition. You place it in a PCIe slot, so you’ll lose some expansion along the way. Obviously, it’s not an ideal choice, but if you’re using a custom fan curve, your temps should improve and you should see a reduction in noise.
Of course, having 1500 RPM on 3 extra 80 mm fans is great, but note that you can’t use this unless you have an ATX motherboard or larger. It’s very cheap, so if you’re looking for some extra cooling power but don’t want to spend a lot of money, this is a good choice for you.
- Great value
- Reduces system noise
- Build quality kind of meh
- Design is very unimpressive
- Kind of flimsy
GDSTIME Graphic Card Fans
Weird Budget Cooler
- 2000 RPM
- Three different settings
- D-type power
The GDSIME VGA Cooler is honestly a weird product. It’s basically three 120mm fans tied together in a mounting bracket. It’s… priced like three generic fans, and while it does work, is it really worth the money?
So you’re getting some generic fans, and they do bring the temps down, but they wear down pretty fast and you’ll have to replace them. Overall, we’d say try to stay away from this product. While it does work as intended, there are better options out there, so just save up a bit more money or wait for a discount on the other products we’ve featured.
- Easy to install
- Can change fans if they break
- Takes up a lot of space
- Awkward to use
- Not really worth the money
Corsair Hydro X Series XG7 RGB GPU Water Block
The Best GPU Liquid Cooler
- 16-color RGB
- Compatible with high-end RTX series GPUs
- Nickel-plated copper
Corsair are known for manufacturing some of the best PC components out there. From RAM to cases, they have a wide variety of components within the Corsair ecosystem. The Hydro X Series is a liquid cooling block with RGB elements that improves your PC’s aesthetic while providing very solid temps.
It’s a product that’s easy to install if you’re familiarized with liquid cooling. It’s aimed at enthusiasts who want to use a custom loop and it’s designed to work with high-end GPUs. If you’re planning on using an aftermarket liquid cooler or AIO cooler, this isn’t the right pick for you.
It has pre-applied thermal strips that facilitate installation. It’s also accompanied by an in-depth tutorial made by Corsair, so you won’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out how to fit it to your GPU.
- Great cooling capabilities
- Very easy to install
- Programmable RGB
- RGB only fully works in Corsair ecosystem
- Targeted at enthusiasts
NZXT Kraken G12
Budget AIO cooling
- 92 mm fan paired with liquid cooling block
- Industrial design
- Support for a wide range of GPU
While NZXT aren’t as big of a manufacturer as Corsair or Cooler Master, they’ve made quite a name for themselves in the PC component market for being reliable and budget-friendly makers. The Kraken G12 is a combo of liquid and air cooling that’ll keep your graphic chip and VRM running at smooth temps without you having to break the bank.
The 92 mm fan provides adequate airflow to keep your GPUs VRM running at peak performance, giving you broad options in terms of overclocking. The simple design is appealing to those who want a break from the RGB craze, and also makes for a hassle-free setup.
You’ll see big drops in GPU temps, but one of the issues with this cooler is that the fan only covers the right side of the GPU, so if your VRM is split into two sections, then you might have some issues in terms of power delivery. The NZXT acts like a GPU liquid cooling bracket, so you’ll need a compatible AIO cooler to use it. For a list of all compatible AIO’s, check the manufacturer’s website.
- Budget-friendly for its features
- Easy to install
- Compatible with a wide range of GPUs
- Compatible with a wide range of AIO coolers
- Doesn’t cool the entire VRM on some models
How to Choose a GPU Cooler
Choosing the right GPU cooler is as hard as choosing the right case fans or the right RAM. It all boils down to personal preference. Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before making a purchase.
How will it help me?
GPU coolers are amazing for overclockers. If you’re planning on hitting high clock speeds on your high-end GPU, then fitting it with a liquid cooling block or a beefy heatsink will definitely improve your overclocking results.
Is my GPU supported?
Manufacturers will come up with lists of compatible motherboards or PCB sizes. You can check the PCB size of your GPU by checking the spec sheets on the manufacturer’s website.
What are some of the best features in a GPU cooler?
If you’re planning on getting one with RGB elements, then you need to make sure that the lights can be programmed using your motherboard’s software or your RGB header. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with some generic, pre-programmed cycles that’ll throw your entire build out of sync.
You’re also going to want one that mounts directly on your GPU PCB. This is the best way to get better temperatures. If your VGA cooler just blows air from your case into your GPU’s fans, then you’ll be seeing very small improvements.
Only Pick One if You Own a High-End GPU
It makes no sense to invest in such a product if you own a 1050 Ti or a 1660 Ti. These are aimed at enthusiasts who need that custom cooling power to crank up performance to 11. If you own a low-end or older GPU, put that money aside towards getting a new graphics card.
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