I really like that Tom's is doing this, but why oh why the random selection? Since the sheer amount of coolers obviously makes segmenting the articles appropriate, lumping similarly ranged products together would make the articles much stronger and relevant individually. I.E. Part One - Entry Level/Stock Replacement, Part Two - Midrange Air, Part Three - High End Air, Part Four - Water, Part Five - Passive, etc. and so on.
I could not use this article to make a buying decision until the entire round-up is completed. We need to see similarly priced units compared directly, not a random pool.
I've had high end air, water kits and selected parts, and stock coolers. The Eliminator and Freezone rank up towards the top in the no-pain solutions. Easy to install and nothing to maintain like a water system, other than keeping the heat sink free from a dust blanket. You do have to take a little bit of time initially adjusting the system to your environment/system. Literally involves turning a screw a little bit to get your base cooling. Get it too low and condensation can be a problem. At max settings at idle cores can get 4 to 8C below ambient, CPU temp can be up to 15C below ambient.......
At this moment, have my Freezone set at 3/4 setting, ambient is 22, Everest shows 16 CPU, 18 to 20 cores.
The way they mount those heatsinks was rather strange. I mean - if you're trying to emulate actual positioning of the components and even bother to mount the MoBo upright, then why aren't those HSFs blowing out hot air in the direction of the back of the case (and its respective fan)?
Has a single one of the test subjects received a 10 for installation? Seems like the only way do that is for the HSF jump out of the box, mount itself, cook dinner, bring the beer, and give a relaxing massage. Too subjective. The criteria should have been made clear from the start - what gets you 10, and what nets you 0 (i.e. is unforgivable).