Overclocking On Air: 10 LGA 1156-Compatible Performance Coolers

The enemy of both stability and longevity, heat changes the characteristics of silicon in a way that eventually makes it unsuitable for use in a logic circuit. Heat damage can sneak up on overclockers quickly, such as the 59 degree Celsius stability limit we encountered when overclocking AMD’s Phenom II. Similarly, many of our Core 2 Duos responded unfavorably to temperatures over 65 degrees Celsius.

But hasn’t all that changed with the advent of Lynnfield, a core that can just withstand temperatures of up to 100 degrees Celsius? We have, after all, been flirting with 95 degrees Celsius regularly while testing the overclocking capabilities of motherboards, yet still reach stable clock speeds of over 4.3 GHz.

Although our Core i7-870 sample raised the temperature level at which we had to put on the brakes, its temperature limit coinciding with our cooling and voltage limits happened by mere coincidence. Surely a platform that operates so close to its thermal limit on an open test bench would be unsuitable for use in a closed case, since the higher ambient temperatures would cause thermal throttling (Intel’s automatic speed reduction) at anything close to full CPU load. Liquid cooling could help, but recent tests have shown that anything less than a dual-fan radiator version often provides unsatisfactory results. Most users don't want to bother with a high-end liquid configuration, and most cases don’t support those enormous radiators. For the sake of builders, it’s time for us to track down the best possible air-cooling solution.

Create a new thread in the UK Article comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • mi1ez
    Is the Titan Fenrir unavailable in the US, or is it just ignored...
  • jimishtar
    i have the mugen 2 coolin my q9400 @ 3,2 GHz at auto voltage. temps are ~40 idle, ~62 load, but watch out - its PASSIVE, honey ! no fans on it, its sheer size is taking all the heat away, although the case is HAF 932.
  • redkachina
    Sunbeam core contact freezer includes 1156 bracket? I've been trying to find those adapter for some time-even tried emailing Sunbeam's tech support.. and now it showed up in Tom's.. anyone have any links of online retailers selling em'??
  • Silvune
    Very useful article.
  • frankgl
    I use a Cooler Master Hyper TX3, which keeps my CoreI5 750 at 29-32 degrees C. It is not overclocked, but it certainly leaves a lot of room with temps that low.
  • brianthesnail
    great review...i have the freezer 7 pro(lga775) cooling my pentium D 915( oc to 3.2ghz) and it does a sterling job keeping the cpu,s idle temp at just 29°C...rising to 47°C(max)at full load..
    i was looking at the corsair H50 however why fix it when its not broken....
    that said i would choose the Scythe Mugen-2 if i had to replace the freezer 7 pro.....
    good article !
  • Anonymous
    Since I hear nothing but good things about the Titan Fenrir I am a little disappointed to not see it in this test...
  • Anonymous
    why dont they have the prolimatech mega shadow in there?

    i5 750 @ 3.6ghz @ 26 degrees in my pc best cooler available imo for 1156
  • abhi_jollyguy
    Well, It's a very nice review. As we all knows that Noctua NH-D14 beats Prolimatech Megahalem by near about 2-4 degree C so may be that is why they have not included Megahalem in this test but overall a very nice review and from this review I have decided to buy Scythe Mugen 2 Revision B.
  • thelivingflesh
    the freezer 7 looks neat with the white fan specially if you have the accellero xxx edition of inno3d graphic cards!
  • bateman82
    I have bought this one and are getting it tomorrow. Will be interesting to see the temp after installing Scythe mugen because now I have a some piece of shit to cooler and fan that keeps my 2,8 ghz processor at a 80 temp when full process and around 60~ in idle.. Plus it sounds like an airplane when the fan is on :P So this will be interesting and appreciated with a new cooler. Nice review!
  • olivierhacking
    im not sure if I should get the hyper 212 plus or scythe mugen 2 rev b. the scythe costs me 50 euro and the hyper 212 plus just 30 euro. Is the scythe worth the almost double price? I am planning to overclock my i7 860 to 3.8ghz. And I am fine with cpu temperatures which are not above 70 C
  • Anonymous
    great review, thanks. which PWM fan did you use to replace the thermalright one?
  • niko935
    noctua is one best cooler
    watch my noctua