Picking the best budget CPU cooler out of the loads of options that are available can be a bit of a challenge. Budget CPU cooling is always an interesting step in the process of building a gaming PC. This is one of the areas where you have to be really smart about your decision because the product can affect both the performance and the longevity of your machine. CPU cooling can also have a hit on your wallet as we have several expensive liquid coolers and big air coolers on the market nowadays. Under-buying your cooling solution is another problem that should be avoided as it can lead to severe performance issues as well as longevity issues down the road.
If you are buying a mid-range CPU like a Ryzen 5 or a Core i5 then it does not make sense to buy a really expensive air cooler like a Noctua NH D15 or a high-performance AiO liquid cooler like the EK-AiO Elite 360mm radiator because the heat output of these processors is generally low. Smaller air coolers are the best match for processors of this price range because they are easy on the wallet, have a bigger compatibility window, and deliver a decent thermal and acoustic performance which is important.
Best Budget CPU Cooler – Our Picks
|1||Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition||Best Overall Budget CPU Cooler|| |
|2||Cryorig H7||Best Performing Budget CPU Cooler|| |
|3||DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX GT A-RGB||Best RGB Budget CPU Cooler|| |
|4||Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO||Best Value CPU Cooler|| |
|5||DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX400||Best Entry-Level CPU Cooler|| |
|Product Name||Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition|
|Award||Best Overall Budget CPU Cooler|
|Product Name||Cryorig H7|
|Award||Best Performing Budget CPU Cooler|
|Product Name||DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX GT A-RGB|
|Award||Best RGB Budget CPU Cooler|
|Product Name||Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO|
|Award||Best Value CPU Cooler|
|Product Name||DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX400|
|Award||Best Entry-Level CPU Cooler|
Last Update on 2021-10-23 at 07:12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Budget CPU coolers are the best way to keep your CPU’s temperatures in check without breaking the bank. Over the past few years, this market has really blossomed due to competition and now there are a lot of great options that can be had within a bracket of $30-60. While you won’t be getting fancy AiO water coolers in this budget, you can certainly get a decent air cooler that would perform well and would also allow you to try your hand at CPU overclocking. For more guides and information on CPU coolers, you may visit our cooler review section. Here are our picks for the best budget CPU cooler options you should consider.
1. Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition
Best Overall Budget CPU Cooler
- Great Bang-for-the-Buck
- High Cooling Performance
- 4 Heatpipes
- Nice Black Aesthetic
- Quiet Fan
- Not for Serious Overclocking
- No Lighting
Fans: 1 | Fan Connector: 4-pin PWM | Heatpipes: 4 | Height of Cooler: 159mm | Noise Level: 26 dB | Lighting: None
One of the best budget CPU heatsinks on the market right now is the legendary Cooler Master Hyper 212. Not only is this CPU efficient in its thermal and acoustic performance, but it is also one of the cheapest aftermarket air coolers on the market. The Hyper 212 Black Edition is an upgrade over the standard Hyper 212 and it now features a new black fan with a black colored heatsink which looks very nice. This is a seriously good air cooler that can be considered the best overall budget CPU cooler on our list.
Helpful Read: Air Cooling vs Water Cooling
The name of the game for the Hyper 212 has always been the price-to-performance ratio. The Hyper 212 Black Edition is no exception as it delivers great cooling performance for most modern CPUs out there. This budget-oriented air cooler will have no problem running the latest Core i5 or i7 chips from Intel, or similar Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 processors from AMD. The Hyper 212 also offers decent overclocking headroom when paired with these CPUs but that will be dictated by the power draw of the CPU itself. The cooler is 159mm tall which should be a consideration when buying.
Another great thing about the Hyper 212 series has been their acoustic performance and the same holds true for the Hyper 212 Black Edition. The fan on this air cooler is surprisingly quiet, and peaks at 26 dB at 100% fan speed. This is a quiet and bearable sound level especially inside a closed chassis and that is another positive point for this cooler. Many other heatsinks in this price range have loud, whiny fans that can be annoying when the CPU is put under load but this is not the case with the Hyper 212 Black Edition.
Related Read: Best Passive Air Coolers
Aesthetically, the Black Edition of the Hyper 212 looks miles better than the standard Hyper 212. Not only does the fan look beautiful when painted in this matte black color, but the actual fins of the heatsink also look really good in black. Moreover, the top of the cooler looks beautiful and stealthy with the tops of heat pipes and the embossed Cooler Master logo printed on a black top plate. Sure it does not have any RGB lighting, but at this budget, we can’t really complain.
Overall, the Hyper 212 Black Edition is one of the best budget air coolers on the market right now. Combining great thermal and acoustic performance with beautiful aesthetics, you can’t really go wrong with this cooler from Cooler Master.
2. Cryorig H7
Best Performing Budget CPU Cooler
- Another Affordable Option
- Nice-Looking Fan with White Blades
- Good Thermal Performance
- Short Height
- Low Noise Levels
- Has Fewer Heatpipes Than Hyper 212
- Lack Of Lighting
Fans: 1 | Fan Connector: 4-pin PWM | Heatpipes: 3 | Height of Cooler: 145mm | Noise Level: 14 dB | Lighting: None
The Cryorig H7 is another great budget aftermarket cooler that can be considered for mid-range CPUs. This is a fairly decent alternative to the Hyper 212 Black Edition and does provide a lot of similar features. The Cryorig H7 also falls in a similar price bracket to the Hyper 212 so it is also similarly light on the wallet. You can also take a look at our Cryorig R5 CPU cooler review on a related note.
The H7 from Cryorig is a decent performer in terms of thermals. The cooler has 3 copper heat pipes that make direct contact with the CPU and take the heat to the heatsink for dissipation. While it does have one less heat pipe than the Hyper 212 Black Edition, the thermal performance of both of these coolers is very similar. The Cryorig H7 is also perfectly suited to Core i5s and i7s as well as Ryzen 5s and Ryzen 7s of today. Minor overclocking can also be done with this cooler although one should not expect really high all-core overclocks with the Core i7 and Ryzen 7 parts.
One of the best features of the Cryorig H7 is its acoustic performance. While it does perform similar to the Hyper 212 in terms of thermal performance, its noise levels are even lower than that of the Hyper 212. The Cryorig H7 measures in at 14 dB under load which is quite an impressive number for a budget air cooler. This noise level is one of the lowest we have seen for air coolers in this price category.
Full Review: Cryorig R1 Ultimate Dual Tower CPU Cooler Review
If we talk about the aesthetics of the Cryorig H7, there is not a lot that sets this cooler apart from the competition. The heatsink is silver like we have come to expect from most air coolers, and the fan is not particularly impressive either. Its white blades do have a distinct look to them and the white fan can be a good fit for white-themed builds on a budget. Overall, the Cryorig H7 does not have particularly extraordinary looks but that is one area where personal preference takes charge so it is good enough for us.
All in all, the Cryorig H7 is a great alternative to the legendary Hyper 212 Black Edition and can be considered the best performing budget CPU cooler. Not only does it perform similarly in terms of raw temperature numbers, but it also manages to beat the Hyper 212 in its acoustic performance. The aesthetics of this cooler are nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done really nicely on a budget.
3. DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX GT A-RGB
Best RGB Budget CPU Cooler
- Good Cooling Performance
- Nice RGB Lighting
- Black Top Cover
- Decent Acoustics
- A Bit More Expensive
- Only One Set of Fan Clips Included
- Quite Tall
Fans: 1 | Fan Connector: 4-pin PWM | Heatpipes: 4 | Height of Cooler: 155mm | Noise Level: 26 dB | Lighting: A-RGB
If you are looking for beautiful RGB lighting in a budget air cooler, then look no further than the DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX GT A-RGB. This is a really good cooler that can be paired ideally with mid-range CPUs while having that dash of RGB that your build craves. The GT A-RGB is a little bit more expensive than the Hyper 212 Black Edition or the Cryorig H7 but that can be worth it if you are looking for an improvement in terms of the aesthetics of the cooler.
More Deepcool Coolers: DeepCool Castle 360RGB V2 Review
Coming in at 155mm tall, the GT A-RGB is a tower cooler that can pose some problems for budget cases in terms of case clearance. Performance-wise the GT A-RGB is another excellent budget air cooler that can be used to keep mid-range processors cool while still offering a bit of overclocking headroom as well. This cooler performs just like the Hyper 212 Black Edition thanks to its 4 copper heat pipes that make direct contact with the CPU heat spreader. Acoustically, the cooler measures in at 26 dB which is a fairly quiet operating temperature for a tower heatsink such as the GT A-RGB.
The main feature of this cooler is definitely its A-RGB fan. The 120mm fan on the cooler uses the newer 5V 3-pin standard which is known as “aRGB” rather than the older 12V 4-pin standard called “RGB”. This newer standard allows the GT A-RGB to show an even wider spectrum of colors. The ARGB also means that the fan can display a lot of different lighting patterns and animations that can’t be possible with normal 12V RGB signaling.
In terms of aesthetics, the GT A-RGB definitely delivers on multiple grounds. Its 120mm RGB fan is a huge bonus especially with modern PCs being focused on personalization and aesthetics more than ever. This fan allows the user to have a bit of lighting inside their build that they can customize to their liking and can even match with the color scheme of their build. Apart from the fan, there is nothing really special about the cooler’s fin array as DEEPCOOL has opted for a standard silver fin stack. However, the top of the CPU cooler is black and that is a nice touch.
Related Read: Best Airflow Cases in 2021
The GAMMAXX GT A-RGB is one of the best budget air coolers out there due to its RGB implementation and good cooling performance, however its price is a bit higher too. It is up to the buyer to decide whether or not the extra premium is justified for some RGB lighting. It presents itself as the best RGB budget CPU cooler on our list.
4. Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
Best Value CPU Cooler
- Even More Affordable
- High Cooling Performance
- Great for Entry-Level Builds
- Decent Acoustics
- Not for Serious Overclocking
- Not Aesthetically Pleasing
- Tall Height
Fans: 1 | Fan Connector: 4-pin PWM | Heatpipes: 4 | Height of Cooler: 159mm | Noise Level: 36 dB | Lighting: None
The original Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is still a great option if you are looking for decent performance on a very tight budget. Sure, it does not have the slick looks of the Black Edition but it does perform very similarly and more importantly, is cheaper. These savings do become really crucial if you’re planning to build an entry-level or mid-range PC on a very tight budget and in those situations the Hyper 212 EVO might just be the cooler for you. The EVO is the best value CPU cooler on our list.
Also Read: Best Budget AM4 Motherboards
The Hyper 212 EVO performs nearly identically to the Hyper 212 Black Edition and this is simply because the core design of the fans and the heatsink is basically the same. The EVO also has 4 copper heat pipes that make direct contact with the CPU heat spreader in order to dissipate heat efficiently. The cooler is 159mm tall just like the Hyper 212 Black Edition. The fan is a bit louder under load and is rated at 36 dB which is audible but not too annoying when the cooler is mounted inside a PC case.
The major drawback of the Hyper 212 EVO is the look of the cooler. The fan seems flimsy with cheap-looking blades and a huge black housing frame, while the heatsink itself is also the standard silver you find on all other air coolers. The top of the Hyper 212 EVO does not look all that great itself and the cooler overall feels a bit less premium than the other coolers mentioned so far in this list. That is for a good reason though, since the Hyper 212 EVO can be had for quite a bit cheaper.
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All in all, the Hyper 212 EVO is still a great option for budget builds if you want decent performance for cheap, and you can live with its below-average looks. It still punches way above its weight in terms of its thermal and acoustic performance, and while it does fall short in the category of aesthetics, you can’t really go wrong with a Hyper 212 EVO at this price point.
5. DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX400
Best Entry-Level Budget CPU Cooler
- Cheap Barebones Option
- Has 4 Heatpipes
- Has Lighting
- Not for Overclockers
- Only Blue LED Lighting
- Average Acoustic Performance
- Tall Profile
Fans: 1 | Fan Connector: 4-pin PWM | Heatpipes: 4 | Height of Cooler: 154.5mm | Noise Level: 30 dB | Lighting: Blue
The DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX400 rounds off our list as the cheapest, most barebones option in our lineup and we recommend this cooler if you are looking for the most basic heatsink on the market for an entry-level chip, or one of the best APU options out there. This cooler will pair nicely with Core i3 and i5 processors if you do not wish to overclock. Similarly, Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 processors will stay under operating temperature limits at stock settings with this cooler.
The GAMMAXX400 is 154.5mm tall which is fairly reasonable for a cooler like this and it should fit into a lot more cases than the other options we have mentioned before. In terms of thermal performance, this cooler is a bit better than stock coolers you might find with newer Ryzen processors from AMD. It does have 4 copper heat pipes and it can be used to cool mid-range CPUs at stock settings fairly well, however, we will advise against CPU overclocking with this cooler. The acoustic performance of the fan is also average which measures at 30 dB under load.
Speaking of the fan, the 120mm fan on the DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX400 has blue LED lighting which is more of a negative point than a positive one. The lighting looks very uneven and harsh, and the only option available is blue which might clash with a lot of PC build themes. Safe to say that the aesthetics are not really the focus of the GAMMAXX400.
Related Read: How to Lower CPU Temperatures
The biggest advantage of this cooler is its really cheap price. Cheap does not have to be of poor quality as proven by the GAMMAXX400. Its thermal performance rivals many of the more expensive options in this lineup which makes it a great value for PC builders looking to build an entry-level or mid-range PC build and are looking to maximize the value for their money. The GAMMAXX400 may not be the most aesthetically pleasing of the bunch but it gets the job done and that is all that is needed at this price point. It is quite simply, the best entry-level CPU cooler on our list.
How To Buy The Best Budget CPU Cooler
Budget CPU coolers are often the way to go when you want to lower your CPU’s temperatures without completely breaking the bank. In a reasonable budget under $50, you would not be able to find any fancy AiO water coolers like beQuiet! Pure Loop 240mm AiO, but that is fine since plenty of good air coolers can be found in this space. For this reason, you should take a look at some of the factors that you should consider in order to purchase the best budget CPU cooler for your build.
The first one is pretty obvious. You have to judge the thermal performance and capability of the cooler in question. This can be done in a couple of ways. Reading professional reviews online is a pretty surefire way to judge the performance of a CPU cooler, and this can give you plenty of benchmark data as well. In addition to this, you can take a look at user reviews for the particular cooler that you’re looking at. Be sure to search for the performance of that cooler with the CPU that you plan to run with it since every CPU puts out different amounts of heat in real life.
Value For Money
Of course, being budget CPU coolers, you have to judge the value proposition as well. Before pulling the trigger on a purchase, be sure to check out other CPU cooler options that cost a bit more or a bit less than the one you picked. It is often the case that a better-performing CPU cooler can be found for not a lot more money, and it would make sense to purchase that cooler to maximize your bang for the buck instead. In this segment, staying away from frills like RGB lighting would be beneficial, since those features often come with a caveat.
And so concludes our guide for the best budget CPU cooler options you should consider. The market for budget CPU coolers has come a long way over the past few years, and you are sure to find a good option for your particular build with a bit of research and value hunting.
Best Budget CPU Cooler - FAQs
The Intel stock cooler is essentially one of the most basic cooling solutions out there for CPU cooling. While it may be usable for some mid-range CPUs at stock settings, it even has a hard time running high-end CPUs without any overclocking whatsoever. The stock cooler should be replaced by a decent aftermarket CPU cooler as soon as feasible because anything is bound to be an upgrade over the Intel stock cooler.
While CPU cooling does not necessarily have a direct impact on performance, it can’t be said that there is no effect of better cooling whatsoever. You can definitely see an increase in your FPS number if you use the aftermarket CPU cooler as a means to cool down an overclocked CPU. Overclocking increases the heat output of the CPU so, in order to take advantage of the extra performance, you should be using an aftermarket cooler to keep temperatures in check.
CPU coolers can vary widely in terms of pricing but a value-oriented air cooler should generally cost around $30-50, a premium air cooler around $80-100, and good quality 240mm AiO Water Cooler around $100-150. This pricing is not set in stone, however, as many companies such as Noctua often charge premium pricing for their products due to their pedigree and popularity in the market of CPU cooling.
Typically, premium water coolers and premium Air Coolers perform very similarly in terms of raw thermal performance. A high-end air cooler such as the Noctua NH-D15 can even outperform similarly priced AiOs in certain situations, so it is just a choice based on preference. Air coolers do have a bit of an advantage in terms of longevity and reliability, while AiO water coolers typically have the upper hand in terms of aesthetics.