Question 6600k oc/cooler advice needed

Jun 1, 2019
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Hello folks,

I've had the cpu running with stock cooler for about 3 years now, never OCd it. Since the only game I play occasionally (csgo) relies heavily on single core performance and I've noticed a significant decrease in performance (FPS) progressively throughout the years after each update, I just thought I'd give the cpu a little push. Naturally, I shall assume that getting a decent cooler is the first step, which is why I'm asking for help here. I've gotten very rusty with the overclocking and stuff. I don't aim for anything extreme so my question is which cooler would suffice to let me OC it moderately (whatever the average value for the chip is)? Please post a couple of suggestions and I'll see what's available in the stores here. Much appreciated.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Below is my list of preferred CPU AIR coolers, also known as Heatsink fans (HSF).

Do not look here for recommendations on water/liquid cooling solutions. There are none to be found.


They are basically listed in order of preference, from top to bottom. To some degree that preference is based on known performance on similarly overclocked configurations, but not entirely. There are likely a couple of units that are placed closer to the top not because they offer purely better performance than another cooler which is below it, but potentially due to a variety of reasons.

One model might be placed higher than another with the same or similar performance, but has quieter or higher quality fans. It may have the same performance but a better warranty. Long term quality may be higher. It may be less expensive in some cases. Maybe it performs slightly worse, but has quieter fans and a better "fan pitch". Some fans with equal decibel levels do not "sound" like they are the same as the specific pitch heard from one fan might be less annoying than another.

In any case, these are not "tiered" and are not a 100% be all, end all ranking. They are simply MY preference when looking at coolers for a build or when making recommendations. Often, which HSF gets chosen depends on what is on this list and fits the budget or is priced right at the time due to a sale or rebate. Hopefully it will help you and you can rest assured that every cooler listed here is a model that to some degree or other is generally a quality unit which is a lot more likely to be worth the money spent on it than on many other models out there that might look to be a similarly worthwhile investment.

Certainly there are a great many other very good coolers out there, but these are models which are usually available to most anybody building a system or looking for a cooler, regardless of what part of the world they might live in. As always, professional reviews are usually an absolutely essential part of the process of finding a cooler so if you are looking at a model not listed here, I would highly recommend looking at at least two or three professional reviews first.

If you cannot find two reviews of any given cooler, it is likely either too new to have been reviewed yet or it sucked, and nobody wanted to buy one in order to review it plus the manufacturer refused to send samples out to the sites that perform reviews because they knew it would likely get bad publicity.

IMO, nobody out there is making better fans, overall, than Noctua, followed pretty closely by Thermalright. So if you intend to match case fans to the same brand on your HSF, those are pretty hard to beat. Of course, Corsair has it's Maglev fans, and those are pretty damn good too, but since they don't make CPU air cooling products, only AIO water coolers, they cannot join the party.


Noctua NH-D14 (Replace stock fans with NF-A14 industrialPPC 2000rpm)
Noctua NH-D15/D15 SE-AM4
Noctua NH-D14 (With original fans)
Thermalright Silver arrow IB-E Extreme
Phanteks PH-TC14PE (BK,BL, OR or RD)
Cryorig R1 Ultimate or Universal
Thermalright Legrand Macho RT
FSP Windale 6
Scythe Mugen 5 rev.b
Noctua NH-U12A
Noctua NH-U14S
Thermalright Macho rev.B
Thermalright Macho (Direct, 120)
Scythe Mugen max
BeQuiet dark rock pro (3 or 4)
BeQuiet dark rock (3 or 4)
Deepcool Assassin II
Thermalright true spirit 140 (Direct, Power, BW)
Cryorig H5
Noctua NH-U12S
Phanteks PH-TC12DX (Any)
Phanteks PH-TC14S
Cryorig H7
Deepcool Gammaxx 400
Cooler Master Hyper 212 (EVO, X, RGB. I'd only recommend this cooler if no other good aftermarket models are available to you.)



It may not be obvious, but is probably worth mentioning, that not all cooler models will fit all CPU sockets as aftermarket coolers generally require an adapter intended for use with that socket. Some coolers that fit an AMD platform might not fit a later AMD platform, or an Intel platform. Often these coolers come with adapters for multiple types of platforms but be sure to verify that a specific cooler WILL work with your platform before purchasing one and finding out later that it will not.
 
Reactions: meareiguana
Nov 7, 2018
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For liquid cooling i would go with the Cooler Master MasterLiquid Lite 240. Its not the greatest AIO but its cheap and does the job well keeping the ryzen 5 1600 at 30 degrees idle and 55 under load. Just remember to swap out the fans as they tend to be quiet noisey when ramped up. Still i would go with one of the air coolers mentioned by darkbreeze as they are usually overlooked and keep both the board and cpu cool. Your choice tho
Hope this helps!
 
Jun 1, 2019
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@imoob
Budget is not an issue, however, as I have feared, availability seems to be. (I'm Croatian). Regardless, in the end of the day I'm always looking for the best value for the money and what meets my requirements.

@Darkbreeze
Much thanks for a comprehensive explanation and a thorough list. I've looked them all up. Unfortunately, some brands are unavailable on the market here, many models not readily available (out of stock and/or have to be pre-ordered). As much as Hyper 212 RGB looks appealing to the eye, I would rather purchase a Scythe Mugen 5 from a local store here since it's higher up on your list.

Lastly, I almost forgot to ask a potentially crucial question: Would it be wise to upgrade PSU before attempting to overclock? Currently I have Corsair vx550.
Mbo is Msi z270 pro carbon.
 
Jun 1, 2019
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Depends. What gpu do you have. You can also use a power supply calculator which reccomends when psu you should get.
https://outervision.com/power-supply-calculator
I've used various psu calc websites and the results are very similar. Apparently I've around 'spare' 100W to use. Not sure if they're reliable though? I have a rather old gpu (gtx670) and it's a bit surprising that much better graphic cards use only a little bit more power, at least on paper.
 
Nov 7, 2018
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Your card is power hungry but should only use 170w max add the max power consumption of your cpu (150w when oc'ed) and you have more than enough headroom. Just to make sure, what psu have you got(brand/model). If its a dodgy generic one then you'll need to upgrade and get a atleast 80 plus certified one
 
Jun 1, 2019
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Your card is power hungry but should only use 170w max add the max power consumption of your cpu (150w when oc'ed) and you have more than enough headroom. Just to make sure, what psu have you got(brand/model). If its a dodgy generic one then you'll need to upgrade and get a atleast 80 plus certified one
As I have mentioned in the previous post, it's a Corsair VX550. An old model obviously but I trust the brand. Matter fact I bought two identical ones many years ago, unboxed this one while assembling current configuration 3 years ago so yeah, not much mileage or even workload on it.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Yes, the VX550 was a decent budget power supply when it was new, but that model was last reviewed in 2007 meaning that unit (Regardless of when YOU bought it) was probably manufactured AT LEAST 7 years ago, and likely it was more like 10-12 years.

Ten years is far too long, heck, seven years is about two years longer than I'd want to see a unit like that be used in service for. Based on age alone, I'd say replacement is compulsory.

If you purchased this NEW, as new old stock (NOS), when did you purchase it?

How long has it actually been in service, that you know of?

What are your full system specifications including CPU, motherboard, memory, graphics card, storage devices, etc.?
 
Jun 1, 2019
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Yes, the VX550 was a decent budget power supply when it was new, but that model was last reviewed in 2007 meaning that unit (Regardless of when YOU bought it) was probably manufactured AT LEAST 7 years ago, and likely it was more like 10-12 years.

Ten years is far too long, heck, seven years is about two years longer than I'd want to see a unit like that be used in service for. Based on age alone, I'd say replacement is compulsory.

If you purchased this NEW, as new old stock (NOS), when did you purchase it?

How long has it actually been in service, that you know of?

What are your full system specifications including CPU, motherboard, memory, graphics card, storage devices, etc.?
Hi again. I've installed Scythe Mugen and I'm ready to overclock now. Please point me in the right direction. (a generic guide will do, wouldn't want to bother you with my particular setup)
To answer your questions:
I purchased TWO identical abovementioned PSUs from a hw store somewhere around 2011-2012 give or take, can't tell with absolute certainty after all this time... However, the current one was unboxed 3 years ago and has been in use since. (a rough estimate of "real" usage not more than 1.5 years, as I've mainly been using my laptop during this time).
Full specs:
Msi z270 gaming pro carbon
i5 6600k
Gskill aegis 16gb(2x8) 3000mhz
Gtx670
Ssd, hdd, external usb hdd
2 gaming mice, keyboard, usb headset
No case fans.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
My guide, here:



Along with Skylake specific guide, here:

https://www.tweaktown.com/guides/7481/tweaktowns-ultimate-intel-skylake-overclocking-guide/index.html
 

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