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

Janus Installation

Screws from the assembled Janus cooler and bracket package stick through the motherboard and are secured with nuts. A set of insulating washers protects the board’s surface. If you own an AMD processor, you'll need to remove your board's cooler retention mechanism to accomplish this task.

The Janus provides 1.2” of clearance for DIMMs and motherboard devices, and is offset by 0.6” towards the side shown so that it can be rotated to clear taller objects. The bottom 80 mm fan needs additional space above the socket, but can be removed if necessary.

At 2.5” tall including its top 120 mm fan, the Janus is exactly the design we expected to represent the low-profile performance market. The fan even lights up for users of windowed cases such as ASRock’s M8.

If you need a second set of DIMMs to use with the Janus, you'll either want lower-profile memory or to rotate the cooler away from the memory slots.

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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"