Overclocking on Zen2, with the exception of some very specific use cases, is practically pointless.
Air cooling however, whether you overclock or not, is fine. These are the coolers I generally recommend. Budget will likely dictate selection, but when it doesn't, the closer to the top of the list you get, the better your return will be overall on your investment. To some degree, depending on the system and what you are doing, that might flatline somewhere near 2/3 of the way up the list.
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
Scythe Ninja 5
FSP Windale 6
Scythe Mugen 5 rev.b
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)
Phanteks PH-TC12DX (Any)
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.
I read that the 3700x wraith cooler is the same as a 212Whether you overclock or not, you should still get an aftermarket cooler. A Deepcool GAMMAXX 400 or Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo are good enough to keep a 3700x under 75c or lower. Both are between $25-35 depending on where you get it. Make certain it has socket AM4 listed in the compatibility as some of the older stock don't have the correct mountings.
Oh right, I keep forgetting the 3700x comes with the Wraith Prism and not the Wraith Spire which is worse than a Hyper 212 Evo. So yeah, unless you want a quieter fan, just stick with the Wrath Prism.I read that the 3700x wraith cooler is the same as a 212
Manual overclocking, as in setting a fixed multiplier such that the CPU can no longer either 'boost' higher nor 'clock back' when idle, is what's generally pointless. That's because it's extremely difficult to get the CPU to run at a higher clock than what it will boost to... from 100Mhz to 200Mhz less in most cases. The end result is lightly loaded "bursty" performance, which is where most people use their systems, is reduced. That does include games, even multi-threaded games since game threads are most frequently lightly loaded and bursty.Oh so when people say not worth overclocking they mean on top of the automated precision boost or just in general? Sorry im sorta confused about this area.
Use case is probably a factor too. A lot of people build or use systems that are seriously overkill for what they do. I mean, if you are using a 9700k to browse the web, it's unlikely you're ever going to break a sweat at all. If you're encoding video all day, or folding, or heavy gaming, probably a different story. 9700k was just an example.
The old Wraith cooler was trash, the new Wraith Prism is actually as good as a Hyper 212 Evo, but much louder. also the GAMMAXX 400 is literally +/- 2% on temps compared to the 212 Evo, like a 1c difference.Sorry Logain, but here I have to disagree. Those wraith coolers are dime store Cooler master cheapo models and IMO they suck.
I've seen too many people with throttling and other issues using them even at the stock non-PBO configuration, but more importantly they are loud and likely a source of limitation on boost speeds.
They work, don't get me wrong, but I wouldn't recommend using them and I wouldn't use one on my own system that's for sure. I'd at least get something like the Gammaxx 400, which is a better cooler than the 212 EVO, or the Macho rev.C, which is a MUCH better cooler than any of those and would likely never be heard in all probability unless you were stress testing or running an extremely demanding game that uses AVX for a decent period of time, and no offset.
And no, they are not the same as the 212 EVO, as was asked earlier.
IMO, whether you overclock or not, anything with a 65w or higher TDP benefits from an aftermarket cooler even IF the only benefit is preserving your sanity due to the fan noise, but generally there are additional factors that make it worthwhile. Even if you don't want a tower cooler, there are better top down style coolers or AIO options that look better, make less noise and offer much better cooling potential.
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