Testing results, maximum fan speed (12 Volts)

Average thermal resistance, 60 W to 340 W

Core temperature (60 W Load)

Core Temperature, Constant Thermal Load

Noise level

Fan Speed (12 Volts)

*Note: When the cooler has two different fans, the fan speed of the faster fan is recorded.

We should start by noticing that one should be extremely careful when reading the performance charts. Even though some of the coolers are of similar design or size, their performance differs greatly. Similarly, coolers with similar thermal performance may have great differences in size, acoustics and or price.

Without a doubt, the grandest example of this warning is the Okeanos. Reeven's offering outpaces nearly every other cooler, comparing directly with Noctua's and Cryorig's finest, when tested at our maximum load and has the best average absolute thermal resistance. However, this is not due to excelling technology or design. On the contrary, the Okeanos is simpler and smaller than most of the coolers in this review. This achievement is simple brute force through high speed fans, which places the Okeanos far behind any other offering on acoustics.

Not unexpectedly, the thermal performance charts are being led by the Noctua NH-D15, the Cryorig R1 Ultimate and the Phanteks TC14PE. These are the best coolers of the most renowned manufacturers, so one would expect interative designs over time to yield benefits. The performance differences between these three offerings, thermal and acoustic alike, are very small. Raijintech's Tisis is the surprise of this review, with similar thermal and acoustics performance to that of the best coolers. The Tisis also has the best low load performance, where the charts shift greatly.

The Dark Rock Pro 3 from Be Quiet! offers lower noise levels but falls a little behind on thermal performance. Not the same can be said about Deepcool's offering, the Assassin, which does not match the thermal performance of the best coolers but is neither quieter nor notably cheaper. The performance gap is rather small but the Assassin is at a disadvantage. The Grandis falls even further behind in terms of thermal performance while the noise levels are similar, but SilentiumPC designed it to be more budget-friendly than other offerings, not to compete with the elite on terms of raw performance. Thermalright's Macho Zero is also an inconsistency in this review, as this cooler is not meant to provide maximum thermal performance and hits the bottom of our absolute thermal resistance charts. On the other hand, the Macho Zero paired with the TY147A is by far the quietest cooler in this review, being whisper-quiet even while the fan is spinning at maximum speed.

Testing Methodology Testing results, low fan speed (7 Volts)
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  • Pissedoffyouth - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    I wonder how a D15 or similar, with the fans removed, would work with a 45w or 65w APU to make a passively cooled PC.
  • ImSpartacus - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    That's a really interesting consideration.
  • MrSpadge - Monday, July 6, 2015 - link

    This will depend greatly on your case airflow. And if you only run short load bursts (browsing etc.) which can easily be absorbed by the heatsink heat capacity or continous loads (games, work), where the exchange of heat from the heatsink to the outside world limits cooling.
  • iamezza - Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - link

    With good fan control you could set the fan to switch off below a certain temp. So it could be silent 99% of the time but with a low rpm fan there if needed.
  • Mumrik - Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - link

    You'd probably still need some level of airflow.

    I've never had a fan on my Scythe Ninja that cools an i5-2500k. I think that's a 95W TDP.

    It's close to the single 12cm rear exhaust though.
  • Beany2013 - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    I did similar with my old SLACR Q6600 95w CPU - Noctua D14 (I think) with a fan on a controller. At stock speeds (with a pair of Noctua case fans on it) it had just enough airflow to run without the CPU fan running at all. When I wanted performance, I could overclock from 2.4ghz to 3.something ghz (I can't remember but I think they went to 3.6ghz?) and just turn the CPU fan up to 'normal' speeds and it'd never get above 70deg and it was still a very quiet machine - HDD noise was far more noticeable than fan noise.

    I really must get some decent fans for my current rig - a slightly long-in-the-tooth A8-3870 mit 16gb RAM that is still running the OEM cooler. Yes, I've got bored of overclocking. I still have that noctua kit kicking around somewhere, really must dig it out and see if I can get an adapter for it. I'm sure that'll tide me over till we see if Zen is worth a light...?
  • Essayjedii - Friday, July 10, 2015 - link

    I have made a post about D15 in here <a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2015/04/14-problems-f... Hope ou find it interesting and useful.
  • Essayjedii - Friday, July 10, 2015 - link

    I have made a post about D15 in here http://www.dumblittleman.com/2015/04/14-problems-f...
    Hope ou find it interesting and useful.
  • Haravikk - Sunday, July 12, 2015 - link

    My current machine is an i7-4790T (45W, 2.7ghz, quad-core, hyper-threaded, 3.9ghz turbo with HD4600 graphics) in an Akasa Euler case, which means the case acts as a heat-sink. As I type this I'm transcoding video on all eight hardware threads with a total load of about 760% (where 800% is max), at a CPU temperature of 85ºC and a clock speed of 2.97ghz.

    Of course that's for a passive case rather than a heat-sink on its own, but as long as you have somewhere for that heat to go it definitely seems doable. For example if you used an open-air case then ought to just rise out between the heatsink fins so airflow may not be required at all.

    Basically keeping the case from becoming a big box of hot air is crucial; the Euler case with my processor (which is a slightly higher TDP than the 35W that the case recommends) gets pretty hot internally, which isn't great for internal drives. I ended up having to swap an mSATA SSD for a 2.5" one, as the mSATA drive just got too hot, while the 2.5" one has a bigger surface area and a metal body. Even so, I squeezed a tiny 40mm fan inside just to help pull hot air out on warmer days.

    So ehm… yeah, possible, but you have to be sure you've considered where that heat is going to go before you attempt it. But as others have said; if your case has room then you should just put fans in there anyway and set them to switch off at lower temperatures; you can also use very slow, quiet fans so even if they do run they're silent.
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - link

    Stick with a cooler like the NoFan models which are made specifically passive cooling. They will be much more effective.

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