Eight Low-Profile CPU Coolers For Your Compact PC, Reviewed

Xigmatek Janus

Initially available to U.S. customers from a single exporter in Singapore, Xigmatek’s Janus now sells for around forty dollars. A quick comparison of current Xigmatek products leads us to believe the eventual price will be 25 percent lower. [Ed Note: Unfortunately, there's no pricing available for the UK at this time.]

That price range gets buyers a dual-fan sink and two coolers: 120 mm x 15 mm on top and 80 mm x 10 mm on the bottom. Two sets of brackets fit all consumer-oriented Intel and AMD sockets from LGA 775 and Socket AM2 forward. Bolt-through installation supports all of those sockets except LGA 2011, for which Xigmatek includes a special set of standoffs.

The Janus we received was polished only half-way, showing its original machining grooves across most of its surface. These grooves are shallow and should fill nicely with paste to provide a fairly good thermal interface, and are protected from oxidation with nickel plating.

Xigmatek's submission uses a carriage-bolt design variation with threaded standoffs and insulating washers to fit onto the board from above. Most installations require users to reach around the back of the board to secure the cooler with nuts, but LGA 2011 instead requires that you reach between the motherboard and cooler with a supplied wrench.

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  • LePhuronn
    Zalman CNPS2X conspicuous by its absence - 28mm tall cooler that claims to be able to shift 120W?
  • Sayken
  • tiu_sergiu
    There must be 2 winners
    Nocturna NH-L12 is best quality (Don't forgot about 6 ears of warranty)
    and Zalman CNPS8900 Quiet Smart Buy
  • Haravikk
    I'm a bit surprised by the Noctua offering, as they do have a much smaller only (37mm tall) but then I expect they wanted to use as much space as possible to ensure a good score.

    Also the NH-L12 I believe is compatible with Noctua's NF-A15 which is a 150mm PWM fan with 120mm mounting holes. In my perfect small form factor case I'd swap one of those as the top fan and just use a 150mm side vent as the only exhaust for the case, with other vents as intakes over the major components, or maybe leave off the top fan in favour of fitting an 200mm fan if space allows. That being for a high performance small case anyway, anything more modest I'd probably just go for the 37mm option.

    Another favourite option is Prolimatech's Samuel 17 cool (45mm) plus one of their 140mm x 15mm Ultra Sleek Vortex fans for a total height of ~60mm, which still tops out under 2.5"