Intel Socket LGA2011 CPU Cooler Round Up


Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - coolers

Unlike Intel LGA sockets of the past, the new LGA2011 socket uses a whole new mounting system. To account for this some manufacturers are providing new mounting kits for existing LGA1366 coolers; some even have special edition LGA2011 versions of existing coolers. The upside to the new mounting system is that there is no extra backing plate anymore; it's built into the socket.

Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - X79 board layout

Along with a new socket layout and mounting system, the X79 motherboards have a new RAM slot layout as well. The socket is moved forward on the motherboard, and the RAM slots are now split to be on either side of the socket. In the past the end user only needed to worry about RAM clearance on one side of the cooler; now it’s on two.

Today we have an assortment of 9 coolers, both air and sealed water kits. To keep things fair we will go in alphabetical order.

CPU Cooler Dimension (mm)
Weight Fan size Price
H W D
Coolink Corator DS SE2011 155 140 121 1040g 120mm MSRP $44.90
Corsair H80 38 120 152  680g 120mm x2
$93.24
Corsair H100 27 122 275 1030g 120mm x2
$103.74
Intel RTS2011LC
37 118 150  820g 120mm $79.86
Noctua NH-D14 160 140 158 1240g 120/140mm $84.94
Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 160 140 158 1240g 120/140mm $84.95
NZXT HAVIK 120 160 125 112 980g 120mm x2 MSRP $54.99
Zalman CNPS 11X Performa 154 135 80 450g 120mm MSRP $54.99
Zalman CNPS 12X 154 132 151 1,000g 120mm x3 $103.99

Looking purely at size, the lightest weight CPU cooler of the bunch is the Zalman CNPS11X Performa. I looked at the “Extreme” version of this cooler not long ago and it did well for its size. It will be interesting to see how the stripped down “Performa” will perform. The largest of the group is the venerable Noctua NH-D14. Weighing in at over 1.2kg this behemoth of a cooler has set the level of quiet performance since it came out. I have received my new LGA2011 mounting kit from Noctua for my NH-D14 I reviewed back in February of 2010. So the original model that most enthusiasts have along with the recently released special edition NH-D14 SE2011 will be included in the round up. The SE2011 has different fans than the original, so we are interested to see if that will help the cooling performance of that model.

Now onto the first cooler, the Coolink Corator DS SE2011.

Coolink Corator DS LGA2011


Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - CoratorDS

We first saw the CoratorDS back in March of 2010. Now Coolink has released a special edition of the cooler that is LGA2011 only. This means that the cooler only comes with the Intel LGA2011 mounting hardware.

Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - CoratorDS

The CoratorDS LGA2011 is a twin tower cooler with a center mounted 120mm fan. The fan operates at 800~1700 RPM at 8.5~27.1 dB/A. The CoratorDS LGA2011 is large, coming in at 155mm tall, 140mm wide, 12mm deep, and weighing 1040g. It's not the biggest cooler in the round up, but it is in the top 3.

Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - CoratorDS

The base of the CoratorDS LGA2011 is a gapless direct touch design.

Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - CoratorDS

The included parts with the CoratorDS LGA2011 look slim, but that is due to the fact that this Special Edition only supports the LGA2011 socket. Coolink uses the Noctua SecuFirm2 LGA2011 mounting system and also provides a tube of Chillaramic thermal compound.

Features of the Coolink Corator DS SE2011

Specifications Coolink Corator DS SE2011
  • Scope of Delivery: Heatsink, SWiF2-120P Fan, Mounting Hardware (SecuFirm™2 for Intel LGA2011), Thermal Paste, English Manual
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • MSRP: €39.90/US$44.90
  • Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - CoratorDS

    Here it is installed on our Intel DX79SI motherboard.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - CoratorDS

    The CoratorDS SE2011 does hang over the RAM slot closest to the socket on both sides of the socket. So RAM that is over 40mm tall is not going to fit.

    Corsair Hydro Series H80


    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Corsair H80

    The Corsair Hydro Series H80 is a thick single 120mm radiator that supports twin 120mm fans in a push pull configuration. We first looked at it back in July. The H80 also was the first cooler in the Hydro Series made by CoolIT Systems for Corsair. The previous generation H50 and H70 were made by Asetek. With the H80 being a single 120mm radiator cooler, the unit can be mounted in just about any case with a rear 120mm exhaust port. 

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Corsair H80

    The H80 is powered from a single molex connector. The pump also acts as a fan speed control. Up to two 120mm fans can be powered from the unit and their speed is controlled from the button in the center of the top. This is the mode selector switch. Around the outside of the button is a meter bar. The bar sections light up to show which of the three modes is being selected.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Corsair H80

    The Corsair H80 comes with all that is needed to mount the H80 to all the Intel LGA sockets and AMD AM2/3 sockets.

    Features of the Corsair Hydro Series H80

    Specifications of the Corsair Hydro Series H80

  • Cold Plate
  • Tubing: Low-permeability for near-zero evaporation
  • Fan
  • Compatibility
  • Hydro Series H80 requires a case with a rear or top 120mm fan mount
  • Warranty: 5 Years
  • Corsair Hydro Series H100


    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Corsair H100

    Corsair started selling the H100 in July of 2011, and it quickly became the flagship cooler for the Hydro Series. The H100 was also the first kit in the Hydro Series to have dual 120mm or 240mm radiators. We first looked at it in October; you can see our full review here.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Corsair H100

    The pump/cold plate housing for the H100 is powered from a single molex connector. The pump also acts as a fan speed control. Up to 4 fans can be powered from the unit and their speed is controlled from the button in the center of the top. This is the mode selector switch. Around the outside of the button is a meter bar. The bar sections light up to show which of the three modes is being selected.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Corsair H100

    When compared to single 120mm radiator units the Corsair H100 and its dual 120mm radiator has limited case options that it can fit in. The radiator is 27mm thick without fans and 77mm thick with four fans installed. Overall length is 275mm.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Corsair H100

    The Corsair H100 comes with all that is needed to mount the H100 to all the Intel LGA sockets and AMD AM2/3 sockets.

    Features of the Corsair Hydro Series H100

    Specifications of the Corsair Hydro Series H100

  • Cold Plate Material: Copper
  • Tubing: Low-permeability for near-zero evaporation
  • Fan
  • Compatibility
  • Warranty: 5 Years
  •  

    Intel RTS2011LC Water Cooler


    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Intel RTS2011LC water cooler

    The Intel RTS2011LC is the first water cooler from Intel and was released for their new Sandy Bridge-E processors and X79 chipset. This was released as an option for end users as Intel decided not to ship CPU coolers with the new LGA2011 processors.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Intel RTS2011LC water cooler

    Intel teamed up with no other than Asetek to offer the Intel RTS2011LC self contained water cooler kit. Asetek has been making this type of kit for a while and was behind the Corsair H50 and H70 as well as the Antec Kuhler 620 and 920 and, most recently, the cooler AMD paired up with their Bulldozer chips. The Intel RTS2011LC most resembles the Antec Kuhler 620 in design. It has a thin single 120mm radiator with a single 120mm blue LED fan. Unlike the AMD water cooler, the Intel cooler will not have any software controls.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Intel RTS2011LC water cooler

    The Intel RTS2011LC water cooler is not just for the LGA2011 platform. It comes with all hardware needed to mount up to all the LGA sockets.

    Specifications of Intel RTS2011LC

    Noctua NH-D14


    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Noctua NH-D14

    The biggest cooler in our roundup today is the Noctua NH-D14. I first reviewed the NH-D14 back in the first part of 2010, and it has served me nicely and without issue. The NH-D14 is considered one of the best air coolers available today. It is a solid performing cooler that is extremely quiet for an actively cooled cooler. The NH-D14 is a twin tower cooler with dual fans, 120mm front and 140mm center mounted.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Noctua NH-D14

    The NH-D14 is not a small cooler. It weighs in at 1,240g and stands 160mm tall, 140mm wide, and 158mm front to back.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Noctua NH-D14

    The NH-D14 comes with SecuFirm2 mounting system that allows the cooler to mount to all the Intel LGA sockets and AMD sockets. Since this particular NH-D14 is the same cooler I reviewed back in 2010 we got an updated set of mounts for the LGA2011 socket that any Noctua end user can get for free from Noctua.

    Features of the Noctua ND-14

    Specifications of the Noctua ND-14
  • Height (without fan): 160 mm
  • Width (without fan): 140 mm
  • Depth (without fan): 130 mm
  • Height (with fan): 160 mm
  • Width (with fan): 140 mm
  • Depth (with fan): 158 mm
  • Weight (without fan): 900 g
  • Weight (with fan): 1240 g
  • Material: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
  • Fan compatibility: 140x140x25 & 120x120x25mm
  • Scope of Delivery
  • Warranty: 6 Years
  • Fan specifications

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Noctua NH-D14

    Being so large the NH-D14 covers a very large amount of the motherboard.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Noctua NH-D14

    The fins of the NH-D14 cover the first RAM slot on either side of the socket. With the 120mm fan installed all the RAM slots on the front of the motherboard are covered.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Noctua NH-D14

    The fan body gets very close to the 24pin main connector. This puts the fan very close to the edge of the board. So, with the NH-D14 on an X79 board in a shallow depth case you could have space issues.

    Noctua NH-D14 SE2011


    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Noctua NH-D14 SE2011

    The NH-D14 SE2011 is the same base cooler, but the fans and mounting system have been updated. Both fans are PWM controlled and the mounting system is only for the LGA2011 socket. When mounted to an X79 motherboard the only way to tell the original version and the SE2011 apart is by looking at the power connectors on the fans.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Noctua NH-D14 SE2011

    The accessories are changed up a little, as well. The new SE2011 version has a Y splitter cable, power extension cable, and separate single Low Noise Adapters for the 120 and 140mm fans. There is no more Ultra Low Noise Adapter. Noctua still provides the long screwdriver to aid in the installation and the metal Noctua Owl case badge.

    Features of the Noctua ND-14

    Specifications of the Noctua ND-14
  • Warranty: 6 Years
  • Fan specifications

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Noctua NH-D14 SE2011

    Seeing how both the NH-D14 and the NH-D14 SE2011 are physically the same, they have the same issues for motherboard clearance.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Noctua NH-D14 SE2011

    The fins of the NH-D14 cover the first RAM slot either side of the socket. With the 120mm fan installed all the RAM slots on the front of the motherboard are covered.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Noctua NH-D14 SE2011

    The fan body gets very close to the 24pin main connector. This puts the fan very close to the edge of the board. So, with the NH-D14 on an X79 board in a shallow depth case, you could have space issues.

    NZXT HAVIK 120


    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - NZXT Havik 120

    The NZXT Havik 120 is the smaller version of their first cooler, the Havik 140, that we looked at back in June. The Havik 120 is a 4 heatpipe tower cooler with dual 120mm fans.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - NZXT Havik 120

    The fans on the Havik 120 are thirteen blade 120mm fans that push 75.8CFM @ 22dBA. The cooler body is made up of a nickel plated copper base and aluminum cooling fins.

    Features of the NZXT HAVIK 120

    Specifications of the NZXT HAVIK 120
  • WEIGHT:
  • MOUNTING PRESSURE: 55-60 lbs
  • FAN SIZE: Dual 120(W) x 140(H) x 25(D) mm
  • FAN BEARING: Long Life (Oil-Leaking Prevention)
  • FAN SPEED: 1200 +/- 10% RPM (low); 1500 +/- 10% RPM (high)
  • NOISE LEVEL: 18-22 dBA AIR FLOW: 61.5-75.8 CFM
  • CONNECTOR: 3-Pin Y-SPLIT CABLE
  • INPUT POWER: 3.6 W
  • LIFE: 30,000 Hours
  • COMPATIBILITY:
  • Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - NZXT Havik 120

    The Havik 120 also has a universal mounting system that allows the user to mount it up to AMD AM2/AM3 and all Intel LGA sockets. NZXT uses rubber mounts for the fan that attach like metal spring clips. When using these for the first time putting them on can be annoying, but are they easier to take off. NZXT also provides two Y power cables; black is for full speed, white is reduced speed.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - NZXT Havik 120

    Here we have the Havik 120 mounted up.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - NZXT Havik 120

    Being the Havik 120 is single tower cooler it is narrow, so the fins of the cooler are clear of the RAM slots. With the fans installed though, the first RAM slot is covered.

    Zalman CNPS 11X Performa

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Zalman CNPS11X Performa

    The smallest cooler in the round up is the Zalman CNPS11X Performa. The CNPS11X Performa is a no frills version of the CNPS11X Extreme we looked at back in May. The Performa doesn't have the Black Pearl finish or an LED fan, but this also drops the cost of the cooler.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Zalman CNPS11X Performa

    The CNPS11X Performa is a twin tower cooler, but instead of having the towers parallel to one another they are at an angle away from one another. So when you look at the cooler from the top you see a triangle, or V shaped, foot print.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Zalman CNPS11X Performa

    The CNPS11X is an HDT or Heatpipe Direct Touch and is made up of 4 of Zalman's composite heatpipes. The CNPS11X also sports a 120mm PWM fan that operates at 1000~1600 RPM at 17~26 dBA.

    Features of the Zalman CNPS 11X Performa
    Specifications of the Zalman CNPS 11X Performa

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Zalman CNPS11X Performa

    The CNPS11X comes with all that is needed to mount up to all Intel LGA and AMD AM2/3 sockets. Zalman also includes a long Allen key wrench for installing the cooler, because all the screws used are socket screws and not Phillips like most coolers use.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Zalman CNPS11X Performa

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Zalman CNPS11X Performa

    Being the smallest air cooler of the roundup, the CNPS11X is the only one that did not block the RAM slots and allowed for the use of RAM with tall heat spreaders.

    Zalman CNPS 12X


    The newest addition to the Zalman CNPS line up is the CNPS12X. It is styled in the traditional barrel shape Zalman is known for, and gets some flair from the Black Pearl finish over the whole cooler and blue LED fans.

    The CNPS12X has three 120mm blue LED fans: front, center, and rear. The fans are all wired together and powered from a single 3 pin fan header.

    The CNPS12X has an HDT or Heatpipe Direct Touch base made up of 6 of Zalman's Composite Heatpipes. The rings around the center of the cooler are not functional heatpipes; they are decoration only.

    Features of the Zalman CNPS 12X

    Specifications of the Zalman CNPS 12X
  • Noise
  • Input Voltage: 12V
  • The CNPS12X has all that is needed to mount up to all the Intel LGA and AMD AM2/3. The AM2/3 and Intel LGA 775, 1155, 1156, and 1366 sockets all use an included universal backing plate. Zalman also includes an Allen key wrench for installing the cooler.

    On Zalman's site they had a dimensioned drawing of the CNPS12X installed on a motherboard. As you can see there isn't a lot of headroom for RAM with the CNPS12X.

    Here we have the CNPS12X installed.

    Like the drawing from Zalman showed, there is not a lot of RAM headroom. The first two slots on both sides of the socket are blocked.

    I did experience one issue with the CNPS12X and that was with the decorative ring pieces on the center. In handling the cooler they fell off. They were easy enough to put back on, but if they come off with the system on, that could be VERY bad.

    Legit Reviews Intel Core i7-3960X Test System


    Legit Reviews Intel Core i7 3960X Test System

    System specs

    Here is a short list of the parts that make up the Legit Reviews Core i7-930 test system:

    Intel Test Platform
    Component Brand/Model Pricing
    Processor Intel Core i7 3960X Click Here
    Motherboard Intel DX79SI
    Memory Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3 1600MHz Click Here
    Video Card MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC Click Here
    Hard Drive Corsair Force GT 90GB SSD Click Here
    Power Supply NZXT HALE90 750W Click Here
    Chassis Thermaltake Chaser Mk-1 Click Here
    Operating System Windows 7 Professional (64bit) Click Here

    Test System Detail

    Legit Reviews Intel Core i7 3960X Test System CPUz

    The CPU we are using is the Intel Core i7-3960X LGA2011 processor. We will test with two configurations: Stock and Overclocked. Both will have Hyper Threading and Turbo modes enabled. For the backbone of the system we have the Intel DX79SI motherboard. We have also outfitted it with a 16GB (4x4gb) kit of Corsair Vengeance LP DDR3 1600MHz RAM. Drivers used for the motherboard are as follows:

    Motherboard Drivers:

     

    Legit Reviews Intel Core i7 3960X Test System GPUz

    The video card we are using is an MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC and is running ForceWare 290.53.

    Legit Reviews Intel Core i7 3960X Test System SSD

    For the main drive we have a 90GB Corsair Force GT SATA3 SSD running firmware 1.3.3.

    Testing Procedure

    Intel settings
    click for larger image

    To test the coolers the system will be left idle at the desktop for 30 minutes and the temperature will be recorded. Then it will run at full load with Prime95 Blended test for 30 minutes and the temperature will be recorded. There will be 2 levels tested with our Core i7-3960X clocked at stock settings with Turbo and Hyper Threading on, and a high OC of 4.5 GHz also with Hyper Threading and Turbo enabled. All temps will be recorded with CoreTemp, and the temp reading from all 6 cores will be averaged. The thermal paste used on all coolers will be Gelid GC Extreme.

    Coolers Tested

    Temperature Testing Results


    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - 3.6Ghz Results

    With the Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition processor running at stock frequencies we see a nice temperature spread from the eight CPU coolers that we benchmarked for this review. The overall temperature winner with default CPU settings was the Corsair H100 with a load temp of 48.67*C and at the back of the pack was the Intel RTS2011LC at 66.00*C. It was a bit shocking to see that water coolers were in first and last place, but that is what happened here today. The good news is that all of these coolers did a superb job keeping the Intel Core i7-3960X processor cool. The maximum temperature or TJ Max for the Intel Core i7-3960X is 91C, which is the point at which the CPU will start to throttle down due to extreme heat in order to protect the CPU and the motherboard. As you can see, none of the coolers are close to hitting that number.

    The best performing air cooler was the Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 with a temperature of 50.5*C at load. The best performing water cooler was the Corsair H100 with a temperature of 48.67*C, which was less than a half a degree cooler than the Corsair H80 and 2 degrees warmer than the Corsair H100. The Noctua NH-D14 is significantly quieter than the H80 or H100 at full speed and performs at roughly the same level, which is great to see for an air cooler. The fan for the CNPS11X Performa was the most impressive when it came to noise, though; at 26dBA it was hard to make out over the case fans in our test system.

    The difference between the best and worst performing CPU coolers was just over 35% or ~17.3*C. This is a rather large difference and one we are happy to see as we hoped that a CPU cooler roundup would be helpful in purchasing decisions.  Keep in mind costs as the gap between the Zalman CNPS11X and the Corsair H100 is only 7 degrees, not bad for a little air cooler that is 1/3 the cost.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - 4.5Ghz Results

    With the Intel Core i7-3960X Sandy Bridge-E CPU overclocked up to 4.5 GHz we found the load temperatures significantly increase across the board and a number of the CPU coolers changed places in the chart.  The best performing CPU Cooler remained the Corsair H100 at 59.17*C and the worst of the bunch was the Coolink Corator DS SE2011 at 79.0*C. The difference between the two coolers was 19.86*C, which is a larger performance gap than what we saw with stock clock frequencies. The good news here is that all the cooling solutions are keeping the processor below the rated TJ Max of 91*C.

    The temperature gap between the Corsair H80 and the Noctua NH-D14 grew a couple of degrees and the Corsair H80 pulled ahead of the Noctua NH-D14, coming in at 62.5*C, but the NH-D14 is still much quieter. The Zalman CNPS11X Performa is second to last, coming in at 74.83*C, slightly behind the Intel RTS2011LC water cooler that costs twice as much and isn't as quiet. The Corsair H100 is again at the top of the charts coming in at 59.17*C. Even on low it is ahead of the mighty NH-D14 by a degree and half! The biggest mover on the chart was the Coolink Corator DS SE2011, which fell to last place, but was in the middle of the pack at stock speeds. The Coolink Corator DS SE2011 has just a single 120mm cooling fan on it and we are likely seeing what happens by lack of sufficient airflow.  Looking at the chart again that makes sense as only three coolers have a single 120mm fan on them (Coolink Corator DS SE2011, Zalman CNPS 11X and Intel RTS2011LC) and they just happen to be the three hottest coolers in this chart. It looks like there is a real reason to have more than a single fan on a CPU cooler these days!

    Price Versus Performance Ratio

    Something we have done before in previous CPU cooler reviews is a chart that shows off cost-performance or the price-performance ratio. Basically, it is the cost of the CPU cooler divided by its performance. These results are shown in a number and the lower the number the better "bang for buck," or so to speak. To find performance we needed to get a standard, so we took the Intel Core i7 3960X's TJ Max of 91 and used that. We then subtracted the load temp average across all six cores from the TJ Max to get the temperature difference and obviously the higher the number the better the cooler performed.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - 3.6Ghz Cost-Performance Results

    First, let's see how the ratios fell with the system running at stock settings. The Coolink CoratorDS is at the front of the pack thanks to having the lowest price of the group at $44.90. Temperature-wise it fell in the middle of the pack coming in at 52.83*C, a hair over 4 degrees warmer than the Corsair H100 and 2.3 degrees warmer than the Noctua NH-D14 SE2011.

    The Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 fell in the middle of the price/performance pack. The Noctua came in second place overall, but first for air coolers at 50.5*C, which is 2.3*C better than the Coolink Corator DS. The bad think is at $84.85 it cost almost twice as much to do so, but you do get better performance and quieter operation with Notua.

    The overall first place cooler is the Corsair H100. The H100 come in at 48.67*C, but since it costs $103.74 its cost/performance ratio is not so hot. As you know, you usually have to pay a premium for performance.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - 4.5Ghz Cost-Performance Results

    With the system overclocked the ratios shifted. At the front of the pack is the Zalman CNPS11X; the Coolink Corator DS fell back 6 places and the NZXT Havik 120 kept its second place slot. Noctua still holds the middle of the pack well.

    Final Thoughts and Conclusion

    Picking A Winner:

     

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - x79 board layout

    With the new Intel LGA2011 socket comes a new list of things to worry about. What seems to be almost a given is that with the new LGA2011 socket paired up with a solid, well-performing air cooler the use of tall RAM is not going to happen. Thus, low profile RAM kits like the Corsair Vengeance-LP kit that we use on the test system are going to be needed by lots of users. All nine of the CPU coolers that we tested here today have pros and cons, but before we get into that let's figure out who is the clear winner using our load temps and the price-performance ratios of the coolers.

     CPU Cooler
    Stock Temps
     Stock Value
     OC Temps
     OC Value
     Totals  Place
    Coolink Corator DS SE2011
     5  1  9  7  22  7th
     Corsair H80  3  6  2  4  15  3rd
     Corsair H100  1  7  1  5  14  2nd
     Intel RTS2011LC  9  9  7  9  34  9th
     Noctua NH-D14  4  5  4  6  19  5th
     Noctua NH-D14 SE2011  2  4  3  3  12  1st
     NZXT HAVIK 120  7  2  6  2 17
     4th
     Zalman CNPS 11X Performa  8  3  8  1  20  6th
     Zalman CNPS 12X  6  8  5  8  27  8th

    Based on temperature performance and the value analysis of the coolers the winner was the Noctua NH-D14 SE2011! The Corsair H100 was a close second and lost by just two points due to the higher cost of the water cooler even though it ranked first in performance. Price and Performance aren't the only two areas to look at though, so let's talk about some of the other coolers. 

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Noctua NH-D14 SE2011

    The Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 at $84.95 is the top air cooler when it comes to temperature performance and it should be as it's massive and built right. The NH-D14 SE2011 not only performed very well, but it was very quiet in the process. The NH-D14 uses different fans and the performance was lower, so it fell in the middle of the pack cost/performance wise. The NH-D14 does have one major downside, and that is its sheer physical size. It blocks all but the rear two RAM slots, and depending on where power connections are on your board it might block those as well. So, with the Noctua NH-D14 there are few things to take into account when planning the build with it.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Corsair Hydro Series H100

    The water cooling kits that we looked at today don't have any of the socket memory module clearance issues that the air coolers have. This is very nice and makes building your system much easier. Of the sealed water kits we have tested the Corsair Hydro Series H100 is the top of the list. The H100 performed very well, but its fans on the "high" setting and at 100% fan speed the H100 can get a little loud. This is especially so when up against the Noctua NH-D14. The H100 comes in at 48.67*C at stock settings, 17 degrees cooler than the Intel RTS2011LC. With the system overclocked to 4.5GHz, the H100 comes in at 59.17*C, an impressive 15.3 degrees cooler than the Intel RTS2011LC. The H100 has a couple of drawbacks; the biggest is the case compatibility. The H100 requires a case with some headroom and vents for dual 120mm fans at the top of the case. Second is price. At $103.74 it's one of two coolers in the round up that is over the $100 mark. The Corsair H100 topped the temperature testing results, but its performance comes at a cost and that is what caused it to end up in second place.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Corsair Hydro Series H80

    Small water coolers like the Corsair H80 are ideal for those that have smaller cases that do not have dual 120mm fan ports on their PC case. With the single 120mm radiator all that is needed is a rear 120mm exhaust port, and just about every case on the market now has this. The Corsair H80 performed a couple degrees behind that of the H100, and its cost/performance ratio was better than the Corsair H100. This is mainly due to its lower cost of $93.24. This cooler finished third in our roundup and is a solid cooling option.

    Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Zalman CNPS11X Performa

    Only one air cooler we have in the roundup allows for tall RAM being used and that is the Zalman CNPS11X Performa. The CNPS11X Performa performed well for its size and also was in the top 3 for cost/performance ratio, coming in at 55.83*C at stock settings and 74.83*C when overclocked to 4.5GHz. That is 10 degrees cooler than the Intel RTS2011LC at stock settings and 5 degrees cooler at 4.5GHz. Zalman says the CNPS11X Performa will carry an MSRP of $54.99 and will be available in February 2012. It's not a bad little cooler, but finished at the back of the pack.

    Final Thoughts:

    Out of the coolers tested here today we are happy with the results and comfortable recommending any of the top three finishers.  The Noctua NH-D14 SE2011, Corsair H100 and H80 are all great products and each suit different needs and cases. Personally, I like the Corsair H80 due to the better of the cost/performance ratio and overall system compatibility. For the air side I like the Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 if it fits and doesn't keep you from running quad-channel memory as it offers solid performance and near silent operation.

    For the average user that is not milking their system for everything they can get from it, the NZXT Havik 120 is a solid cooler. It placed 4th overall and while it wasn't the best at any one thing it performed good enough at the end of the day. The bad thing is that it won't be available until January 2012. The similarly priced Zalman CNPS11X gives the best overall compatibility of parts and can handle the heat at 4.5GHz. It also fell into the top 3 in regards to cost/performance, but also won't be available until February 2012.

    CPU Cooler Dimension (mm)
    Weight Fan size Price
    H W D
    Coolink Corator DS SE2011 155 140 121 1040g 120mm MSRP $44.90
    Corsair H80 38 120 152  680g 120mm x2
    $93.24
    Corsair H100 27 122 275 1030g 120mm x2
    $103.74
    Intel RTS2011LC
    37 118 150  820g 120mm $79.86
    Noctua NH-D14 160 140 158 1240g 120/140mm $84.94
    Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 160 140 158 1240g 120/140mm $84.95
    NZXT HAVIK 120 160 125 112 980g 120mm x2 MSRP $54.99
    Zalman CNPS 11X Performa 154 135 80 450g 120mm MSRP $54.99
    Zalman CNPS 12X 154 132 151 1,000g 120mm x3 $103.99

    At the end of the day you have a wide selection of CPU coolers to pick from, but your case, memory modules and budget will limit the cooler that you can use. On top of that you have to worry about performance and the noise level. The Noctua NH-D14 SE2011, Corsair H100 and H80 are the coolers that won our roundup that focused on load temperatures and cost. We highly recommend these three coolers, but keep in mind that none failed testing or limited our overclock.

    Legit Reviews Recommended Award

    Legit Bottom Line: Picking a CPU cooler for Intel LGA2011 Sandy Bridge-E processors isn't easy, but there is one out there that will fit your needs!