[SOLVED] Will a CPU cooler increase CPU performance?

n00bguy84

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Dec 12, 2014
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If my understanding of the way modern CPU's use thermal throttling is correct then keeping it cool should have an impact on performance.

I did some research on this and some people seem to say it will boost performance and some say it won't. It seems like one of those things people don't have a clear answer for.

So I figured I would ask here. Will keeping the CPU cool boost performance?

I have seen posts from people that said that using an aftermarket cooler even on a standard non K locked version of an intel CPU will increase performance. Not a huge increase but at least a small one.
 

Karadjgne

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Herald
To clarify, the answer is yes and no. If your current cpu cooler is efficient enough to keep the cpu under throttle temps when at max boost or OC levels, then a better cooler will do nothing but reduce temps/noise and doesn't affect performance. If your current cooler is not effective enough and allows the cpu to get into throttle temps during max boost or OC, then a better cooler will make a difference, it won't increase performance as such, just allow the cpu to run at maximum performance and not take a thermal throttle bath.
 
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If my understanding of the way modern CPU's use thermal throttling is correct then keeping it cool should have an impact on performance.

I did some research on this and some people seem to say it will boost performance and some say it won't. It seems like one of those things people don't have a clear answer for.

So I figured I would ask here. Will keeping the CPU cool boost performance?

I have seen posts from people that said that using an aftermarket cooler even on a standard non K locked version of an intel CPU will increase performance. Not a huge increase but at least a small one.
For Intel an aftermarket cooler is basically required for every level. The Intel stock cooler, that only comes with non K CPUs, is only marginally better than having the case open and you blowing on the CPU. For the K series CPUs you have to buy an aftermarket cooler since they don't come with one. For Intel the CPU cooler is designed for the rated TDP only, which Intel rates for the base clock only. That means for the best performance you will need to have an aftermarket cooler to be able to get the best performance.

AMD is another story. They stock cooler is good enough for people who don't overclock. Anandtech actually did their CPU review using the stock cooler. The only issue you might have is that the fan will have to spin faster which will increase noise.
 
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USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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Basically, no.
Unless your CPU is working at above 85-90C....any temp below that it can run at full performance.

ex:
Reducing the full load temp from 75C to 65C brings zero performance increase. It was already able to deliver 100% at the previous 75C.
 
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Wolfshadw

Titan
Moderator
A CPU cooler does not boost performance. A CPU cooler prevents performance degradation due to over heating.

-Wolf sends

Caveat: A better CPU Cooler may allow for better overclocks which WOULD improve performance, but the cooler, by itself, does not boost performance.
 
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Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
To clarify, the answer is yes and no. If your current cpu cooler is efficient enough to keep the cpu under throttle temps when at max boost or OC levels, then a better cooler will do nothing but reduce temps/noise and doesn't affect performance. If your current cooler is not effective enough and allows the cpu to get into throttle temps during max boost or OC, then a better cooler will make a difference, it won't increase performance as such, just allow the cpu to run at maximum performance and not take a thermal throttle bath.
 
Reactions: n00bguy84
For some processors, the Intel stock cooler will be fine enough to keep them operating at their normal boost clocks, but if you are running a heavily multithreaded workload on something like an i7-8700 or 9700, the stock cooler will likely not be enough to allow the CPU to maintain its full boost performance. It will also be relatively audible as the fan needs to spin at high speeds to keep the small heatsink cool. That could be affected by case temperatures as well.

Of course, it's questionable whether it's worth spending an extra $30+ on an aftermarket cooler for performance reasons alone, as they will likely be minimal on a locked processor, but quieter operation might make it worthwhile.
 
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Oct 9, 2019
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If my understanding of the way modern CPU's use thermal throttling is correct then keeping it cool should have an impact on performance.

I did some research on this and some people seem to say it will boost performance and some say it won't. It seems like one of those things people don't have a clear answer for.

So I figured I would ask here. Will keeping the CPU cool boost performance?

I have seen posts from people that said that using an aftermarket cooler even on a standard non K locked version of an intel CPU will increase performance. Not a huge increase but at least a small one.
Short answer: generally speaking, YES.*
Most PCs will throttle their performance back in the presence of inadequate cooling.
If your fans are ever running at maximum speed, they’re doing so because they are failing to keep the CPU at safe temperatures at lower speeds. (And you can bet that they’re failing to do so at the top speed, as well.)
If you’re considering installing an aftermarket cooling system, that’s probably not worth it, but if a PC is having performance problems, I’ve had tremendous results from just replacing the thermal paste in many cases.
*If the fans aren’t at capacity when the CPU is, you’ve got all the cooling you likely need for performance. The CPU is throttling itself for reasons other than thermal.
 
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