Advanced PC users that like to care for their system commonly believe stock cooling solutions that are supplied with processors to be either barely adequate or too noisy even for a standard, unmodified system operating at stock frequencies. With bulk PC orders it is, of course, a difference scenario when every penny counts. But as a result of the perception of poor cooling from these 'default' coolers, most enthusiast users seek aftermarket cooling solutions. This has created a vast and multivariate demand, and there are so many companies offering such a wide variety of cooling products, from $20 all the way up to custom water cooling solutions. But is that really necessary for a mid-range build? We gathered together around a dozen stock coolers from across the years, from AMD and Intel, and pitted them against the highly rated EVO 212 from Cooler Master.

Introduction

Modern CPUs have become more efficient over time, and have begun to have lower cooling requirements. As a result, the CPU manufacturers have designed some rather advanced stock coolers and are either supplying them alongside their top-tier CPUs or selling them as aftermarket solutions. Despite the fact that these are the 'certified' coolers for the processors, the CPU manufacturer has to make millions, to every hundredth of a cent in manufacturing can be important to the bottom line. It is not easy for the average user to assess just how good the stock cooler really is and how much of an improvement, if any at all, there will be from the purchase of an aftermarket cooler. End users need to be aware of the performance of their current cooling solutions in order to reasonably assess the upgrade that will fit their needs.

In this review we will showcase the thermal performance of some popular stock CPU coolers of the last few years, including the controversial aftermarket Intel BXTS15A and the highly touted AMD Wraith. We also included one of the most popular mainstream coolers available, the Cooler Master EVO 212, as a baseline comparison against aftermarket solutions.

The coolers that we will be testing are in the following table, along with core/fin material listed, the size of the fan, and the overall mass of the cooler as measured on our units. Where heatpipes are in play, these are added into the Core section.

Vendor Cooler Common Bundle Core Fins Fan
(mm)
Mass
(g)
Intel D75716-002 Socket 775 Celerons Alu Alu 80 118
C25704-002 Socket 775 P4 6x0 Cu Alu 80 132
E97378-001 Socket 1155 Intel i5 Cu Alu 80 146
E97379-001 Socket 1155 Intel i3 Alu Alu 80 92
D60188-001 Socket 775, C2D E8x00 Cu Alu 80 419
E31964-001 Socket 1366 i7-X Cu Cu/Alu 100 435
BXTS15A Aftermarket, ≈$30 Cu Alu 80 362
AMD 1A213LQ00 AMD “Kabini” AM1 Alu Alu 50 75
FHSA7015B Several AMD Lines Alu Alu 70 164
AV-Z7UB408003 Black Edition Phenom Alu 
+2 Cu HP
Alu 70 374
Wraith (125W) AMD FX-8370
AMD A10-7890K
Cu 
+4 Cu HP
Alu 90 304
Cooler Master HK8-00005 AMD FM2+ “Godavari” CPUs Alu Alu 70 125
EVO 212 Aftermarket, ≈$30 Cu
+4 Cu HP
Alu 120 436
The Cooler Master EVO 212
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  • tarqsharq - Saturday, July 23, 2016 - link

    I mean, the last few Intel processors I've bought didn't even come with stock coolers.

    Having a good stock cooler bundled in the cost of the chip shaves another 20-30% off the cost of lower end chips, which matters in budget builds.
    Reply
  • SantaAna12 - Saturday, July 23, 2016 - link

    Really?

    Your choice is just baffling to me.

    Your fired.

    Unbelievable.
    Reply
  • HexiumVII - Saturday, July 23, 2016 - link

    That wraith has some pretty surprising numbers and a name to match. Too bad it looks like a dinky stock fan, they just need to jazz it up a little more and it can beat a lot of the cheap aftermarket stuff out there. Reply
  • barn25 - Sunday, July 24, 2016 - link

    Hey that EVO 212 is the same cooler i have! Reply
  • Ascaris - Sunday, July 24, 2016 - link

    Delta over ambient doesn't work. The increase in ambient is not 1:1 with the increase in CPU temp. It's closer to 1:1.5. Reply
  • bj_murphy - Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - link

    Third page, 3rd picture down, caption should be "Intel C25704-002 and D75516-002"...? Currently says "D57516-002" Reply
  • bj_murphy - Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - link

    ** D75716-002 not D75516-002...

    Hooray for more super memorable model numbers from our favourite confusing hardware manufacturer, Intel!
    Reply
  • mikato - Thursday, July 28, 2016 - link

    Any info about the fans?

    Please put the voltage on the noise level graphs next time as well since I was confused about that at first until I noticed the entire page was about 12v or 7v. It's good to see that the Wraith may be relatively loud at 12 volts, but is in line with the rest at 7 volts. I just wish I had a good way to translate this somehow to idle and load noise levels when it's actually on a CPU.

    I agree that AMD should offer the better heatsink/fans with their non-top level CPUs as well. The reason I bought good heatsink/fans in the past was for lower noise and it really pays off there.
    Reply
  • Riley-NZL - Thursday, July 28, 2016 - link

    No Intel Socket 2011 Stock coolers? Reply
  • Byte - Wednesday, August 3, 2016 - link

    Interesting the copper core for the stock 7379 barely helps 1 degree compared to the all aluminum. Reply

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