In the 1990s, the words “low profile” and “cool” were most likely used to describe Johnny Depp or a modified sports car with Pirelli tires. In 2020, Depp will no longer be a marketable player and absurd amounts of computing power can be put in a box the size of a toaster.Today, it’s safe to say that we haven’t exceeded the expectations of most science fiction writers. We don’t live in a dystopia, androids don’t dream of electric sheep but big brother is watching (… so there is that). Yet we are living in wonderful times.
We still want to focus on the toaster-size business.
Mini-ITX: builds are not yet commonplace, although enough designers and case manufacturers have made them that companies (specializing in thermoelectric cooling of computers) are creating more specialized cooling options for them.
Stock CPU: coolers are cool (for lack of a better word), but you might be looking for something with more efficient heat dispersion and lower noise generation. We found five coolers exhibiting these qualities.
Mini-ITX: cases do not have much space, which limits your cooling possibilities a bit. You will find that all of the coolers featured in this guide are air coolers, as low profile liquid coolers are rare and expensive.
Towards the end of the article, we’ve also included a short buying guide detailing some key points to consider when choosing the best CPU cooler for mini itx. So what’s the best low profile CPU cooler for your MITX PC? We hope to answer this question in this guide.
Noctua NH-L9x65 – Best Budget Low Profile CPU Coolers
Noctua makes most of its fans in a brown and creamy white color scheme. I actually like it. It reminds me of a salted chocolate and caramel mousse. I’m a big fan of desserts, but you might not be. This is one of the reasons they are so unique. It’s not a big deal if you don’t intend to show the inside of your computer.
The cooler is a bit bulky for a low profile cooler. It may not sit comfortably in your MITX suitcase. Pay attention to the authorization specifications for your suitcase. You will need a clearance of at least 65mm.
During the initial installation of the Mini Itx Cpu Cooler, the SecuFirm2 bracket may require you to completely remove your motherboard to screw the bracket from the back. Some users may find this annoying, but once you insert and secure the mount, it will be smooth sailing from there.
The mounting system greatly facilitates the alignment of the heat sink to the CPU. The bracket only requires two connections while most coolers will need four. Even with just two connections, the cooler feels secure and firm.
Mini Itx Cpu Cooler has a reputation for producing high delivery volumes. With the cooler, you get the fan, a silent adapter, excellent high-quality thermal paste, the mounting kit, and a housing badge.
It is compatible with a wide variety of central processing units. From 2020 it also comes with an AM4 mounting kit, whereas previously it had to be purchased separately. In terms of quality and performance, it outperforms all stock coolers. It’s a bit pricey for such a small cooler but well worth it.
- Four heat pipes
- SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system
- 6 year warranty
Shut up! Dark Rock TF – Best mini itx Cpu cooler
be quiet! is such a nifty business name. You have to break grammatical rules just to spell it. However, you would be making a huge mistake if you judged them purely on their behalf.
be quiet! is a German company specializing in the production of power supplies, cases, and cooling solutions for desktop computers. It has been around for over 16 years and has maintained a lead in the German power supply market since 2007.
We now know that be quiet! has a great reputation, but does Dark Rock TF’s CPU cooler live up to it? In terms of looks, the Dark Rock TF has an all-black finish. From the pipes to the heatsink stand, he’s dressed like Wednesday Addams at a funeral. The only thing darker is Episode 3 of Game of Thrones season 8.
It seems important enough to complement any transparent case set up by a panel. Again, it’s important to note that while this is a low profile cooler, it may not fit all MITX or compact PCs due to its size.
You will need about 170mm clearance mini Itx Cpu Cooling It can also encroach on surrounding components, so you should take this into account if you are considering purchasing this cooler. The reason it is so bulky is that it has two fans (called wings) and two heat sinks. It’s like a heat sink sandwich or a fan slider.
You can leave one of the fans out, though, but that would be a bit of a waste after spending so much money on it. In terms of delivery, the black TF includes fan cable splitter, thermal paste, wrench, backing plates, and spacers for Mini Itx Cpu Cooling ILM, AMD, and LGA 2011 installations. The mounting kit uses standard screws instead of studs.
The difficulty of installation differs from one outlet to another. For example, the installations of the AGL 2011 are much more complicated. Otherwise, it is a versatile and efficient cooler. A true testament to German engineering.
- Decoupled fan assembly
- Two nickel-plated heat sinks
- Double fans
- 3 year warranty
Cool Master GeminII M4 – best compact cpu cooler
If you are a true gamer, you should know Cooler Master. They have been producing enclosures, power supplies, and coolers since the early 1990s.
Not only is the GeminII M4 the most affordable option on this list, but it’s also the most compact and most likely to integrate with your MITX platform. It measures only 2.3 inches. To increase thermal conductivity, it uses direct contact of the heat pipe through its base. This allows it to remove heat from your processor faster.
Its small size can be attributed to the compact heat pipe layout and the incredibly slim fan. The best Mini Itx cpu cooler heat pipes are arranged in U and C shape while the fan is only 15mm thick. The fan itself is made of standard plastic with a long-life sleeve bearing. It’s a small cooler, but it’s still unusually quiet.
While this is sufficient to keep your processor cool under normal stress conditions, it won’t be able to withstand the heat generated by overclocking. It supports a wide range of outlet types and its installation is quite standard.
Compared to other coolers, the best Mini Itx CPU cooler scope of delivery is abysmal. You will need to purchase your own freezing gel/paste as well as your own conversion media and the facilities that require them. If you are using the AM4, you may need to consider other solutions. But is it worth it? Is it more efficient than the original coolers? The answer is a resounding yes.
If you are a fan of the Cooler Master coolers, we also recommend that you take a look at the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO cooler, which we featured as the most economical cooler in our other article.
- 4 direct contact heat pipes
- HTPC compatibility
- Long Life Sleeve Bearings (Fan)
- 40,000 hours of life expectancy
Noctua NH-L9i – Best low profile cpu cooler for overclocking
You shouldn’t be surprised to find another Noctua cooler on this list. If you give your product a 6-year warranty, you need to be very confident of Low Profile Am4 cooler durability.
Once again, the cooler features a dessert-colored fan with the latest self-stabilizing oil-bearing (SSO2). This makes the fan run smoother and quieter than the competition. So it doesn’t just look like chocolate, it also works like that.
A common warning you will see for low profile coolers is that they are not made for overclocking. CPU coolers of this site are not optimized for CPUs over 65W rated thermal power (TDP).
Due to a smaller heat sink, the NH-L9i is shorter than the NH-L9x65, which means it is compatible with a larger number of MITX cases and HTPCs. This thing is an almost perfect bob. It does not encroach on or push into RAM or PCle slots.
It is fully compliant with AMD Safe Zone specifications. Although the NH-L9i supports more cases with less headroom than the NH-L9x65, it does not have the same socket compatibility.
After all, it was designed for systems based Low Profile Am4 cooler on Intel LGA115x. Once again, you will discover the impressive range of possibilities that Noctua offers. Just like the NH-L9x65, it comes with an LNA, high-quality thermal paste, mounting kit, fan screws, and a metal case badge.
It’s not too expensive and you get what you pay for here. If you are looking to replace your stock cooler then this is a definite improvement.
- 100% compatibility with RAM and PCl3
- Uses the SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system
- 6 year warranty
- Includes low noise adapter for automatic speed contro
Heat engine 27 – Best cpu cooler for mini itx
Heat absorption is best known for its gaming PC cases. In fact, Low Profile coolers produce some of the best outdoor PC cases on the market. But they are also well known for their peripherals and cooling devices -; like engine 27.
The thermal intake motor 27 is designed such that it looks like a rotating heat sink. Instead of the traditional plastic fan blades, the fan has forty metal, fin-shaped blades. But thinking about the future doesn’t stop at aesthetics. The fan uses dynamic air bearings, which means there are no physical bearings to wear down over time.
The heat sink fins are arranged around the Low Profile coolers fan so that the heat is efficiently dispersed to the sides. While the design might look knotty, it can encroach on surrounding components and not fit your motherboard at all.
The installation of the cooler is a bit difficult. You must apply real pressure to force it to mount on the CPU bracket. The fan retaining clips can also be difficult to engage and disengage. If you plan to upgrade your CPU soon after installing the cooler, you will have a hard time removing it.
This is an Intel-only cooler. It is compatible with LGA 1156, 1155, 1150, and 1151 sockets. It can cool up to 70W TDP, so we don’t recommend it for overclocking. In terms of scope of delivery, it comes with a mounting bracket as well as some pretty decent thermal paste.
So let’s go through the list. It looks better, performs better, and much quieter than your stock cooler. With an estimated lifespan of 50,000 hours, it will also last longer.
- Comes with low noise PWM fan
- Arrangement of radial fins
- Forty fan blades
Best Budget Low Profile CPU Coolers – Buying Guide
In most cases, you can just keep your stock cool, but if you’re looking for better performance and something a little quieter, it may be beneficial to replace it with a third-party cooler. Even some of the best game processor manufacturers have stopped packing their processors with a cooler because most users swap them out anyway.
It is not necessary to understand the basics of thermodynamics to choose a good cooler (although this knowledge is a plus). However, it gets a bit trickier if you’re trying to buy one for a MITX or compact installation. In this buying guide, we hope to iron out some terms that you may find confusing and help you discover new ones.
Scope of service: What do you get
The scope of delivery refers to what you receive in the package. This may include or refer to the product itself and its accessories.PWM pulse width modulation: smarter cooling
PWM fans use an integrated circuit to help dictate fan speed based on how much cooling a chip (GPU or CPU) needs. This method is more energy-efficient and also generates less noise and vibrations, especially at low speeds. It also means that your fan will last longer because the bearings will be less stressed.
To benefit from this feature, you need to make sure that your motherboard has a PWM header and, in most cases, the correct software to control it. On average, your motherboard has at least one 4-pin PWM header. High-end models usually have a maximum of six.
Fan Bearings: How Long Will Your Fan Last
Most modern coolers are HSFs (Heat Sinks and Fans) and your fan does most of the work. The fan bearing (s) determine the life and smoothness of the fan. When it comes to PC cooling, there are five types of bearings that you are likely to come across:
Ball Bearings: You will find that most cooling fans use them. They are also used in toys and everyday household appliances. They are widely used because they are cheap and easy to manufacture. They use oil-based lubrication to reduce friction at high speeds. They will last you over 30,000 hours at an average temperature of 50 ° C. They are relatively quiet, especially at low revs.
Ball Bearings: These bearings are popular because of their replaceability and ease of repair. They last longer than sleeve bearings. They can also withstand higher temperatures than sleeve bearings. However, they are much noisier than sleeve bearings, especially over time. They are also generally more expensive.
Gun Bearings: They are no different from ball bearings, but they are quieter and have almost the same lifespan.
Fluid bearings: These are the quietest thanks to the use of fluid cycle technology. They are also the most durable, with an estimated maximum lifespan of 300,000 hours.
Magnetic bearings (also called maglev): In this type of bearing, a fan is rotated or pushed back by magnetic levitation. This has many advantages. For example, low friction, which means your fans wear less over time. You will rarely find this type of bearing in low profile fans. They are not cheap to make and sell.
Plug compatibility – Can it fit your MOBO
It should be the first thing you look at when choosing your cooler. Since a cooler isn’t designed to fit all outlets and all processors, you need to make sure your cooler is compatible. It is more common to find Intel-only coolers than AMD-specific coolers. Currently, the most common Intel sockets are LGA 775, LGA 1156, LGA 1366, and LGA 1155. The most common AMD sockets are: AM2 / AM2 + / AM3 / AM3 and F / FM1 / FM2.
Best Budget Low Profile CPU Coolers | FAQ’s
Do processors need coolers?
Processors need coolers, even if you don't plan on overclocking them. They usually come with their own stock coolers. There is no need to replace the original cooler unless you plan to overclock the CPU or just want a quieter cooler. A CPU without a cooler can overheat and burn out. A cooler is absolutely necessary. If you're looking for a cooler that isn't stealthy, you should definitely check out our best guide to CPU coolers. It offers a wide range of coolers, from downstream coolers to liquid coolers and tower coolers.
Do AMD processors come with coolers?
Yes, most AMD processors come with coolers. For example, the Ryzen 3 2200g comes with AMD's Wraith Stealth cooler, which is a pretty decent cooler. It's on our list of the best AMD processors for gaming. If you are looking for a great processor, be sure to check out this guide.
Is liquid cooling better?
Liquid cooling is better than air cooling. It is more efficient in moving heat because it uses water/liquid which has better thermal conductivity than air. It is also much quieter, but much more expensive. If you are interested in what we just mentioned, we recommend that you read our Corsair H60 review. While it's not as quiet as some of the models on this list, it's definitely worth considering.
Can I use any CPU cooler?
Unfortunately, you cannot use just any CPU cooler. It must be compatible with the type of socket and the CPU of your motherboard. Your cooler must also comply with the authorization level of your case and motherboard.
If you’ve ever worked in a cramped, poorly ventilated area, you need to understand how the components of an HTPC feel when insufficiently cooled. In this guide, we’ve explored the best low profile CPU coolers you could get for your compact and small PCs. The more popular small, compact constructions are, the more diverse the market will be.
You can expect to find a greater variety of cooling options for MITX cases in the years to come. Hopefully, there will be more options for overclocking. But for now, in terms of low profile coolers, these are the best options you have. Hope you found this guide useful. Thank you for reading it.