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

CNPS8900 Quiet Installation

T-nuts are placed into support plate mounting holes that correspond to a motherboard’s mounting pattern, and are held in place with plastic retainers. These are barely long enough to reach the top of the board using Intel’s original socket support plate as a spacer.

Shoulder screws secure top brackets to the under-motherboard T-nuts. The CNPS8900 Quiet is too large to allow vertical access to the #2 Phillips heads of these screws, and we found that a #1 screwdriver could more easily be angled into place.

Like the traditional flower-style cooler that’s also in today’s comparison, the CNPS8900 Quiet is small enough to clear nearly any motherboard component and angled in a way that complicates precise clearance measurements.

With only 1.3” of space under the edge, CNPS8900 Quiet users who need to add more memory should probably choose low-profile DIMMs.

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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"