Low profile coolers are specially designed for small form-factor builds like mini ATX PCs. Such systems do not have much space, and they require special coolers that are smaller and lower in height. Hence the name “low profile coolers”.
While the coolers that come out of the box are fine, you can get much better thermals and hence better performance. Today, we will give some solid picks for the best low profile CPU coolers.
If you are interested in overclocking then that is another reason why you should change your cooler. You will have a hard time overclocking your CPU with the stock cooler, provided that your CPU came with one.
Furthermore, they are also not capable of sufficient airflow to reduce the heat of the CPU. So, in order to avoid this problem, low profile CPU coolers have been introduced.
Top Rated Low Profile CPU Coolers Comparison Table
Here are all the low profile CPU coolers that we are going to look into and some of the specifications that you might be interested in.
|CPU Cooler Name||RPM||Noise|
|Noctua NH-L9I||1800-2500||14 – 23 dBA||Check Price|
|be quiet! BK002||900-1450||19.9 dBA||Check Price|
|Cooler Master GeminII M4||500-1600||8 – 30 dBA||Check Price|
|Cryorig C7||600-2500||23 dBA||Check Price|
|Noctua NH-L12S||1200-1500||20 dBA||Check Price|
|ARCTIC Alpine 64 GT||1000-1500||25dBA||Check Price|
|Thermaltake Engine||1200-1600||15dBA||Check Price|
The Best Low Profile CPU Coolers in 2020
1. Noctua NH-L9i – Best Low Profile CPU Cooler
The Noctua NH-L9i is one of the greatest low profile CPU coolers on the market. The CPU cooler has plenty to offer keeping in mind that it is relatively inexpensive.
Noctua NH-L9i is the successor of the NH-L12 which was already a great cooler. This model makes things even better. If you are looking for a reasonably priced low profile cooler for your small form-factor PC build then this is a great option to consider.
What We Liked
- Height: The height of the cooler is 39mm which is ideal for small form-factor PC builds.
- Revised Version: The CPU cooler is actually the successor of the award-winning NH-L12 CPU cooler. It works perfectly with ITX and HTPCs systems.
- Highly Optimized Fan: The Noctua CPU cooler comes with an optimized NF-A12x14 120mm fan. The fan is slim and comes with a low-noise adapter. The low-noise adapter automatically reduces the noise of the cooler for an ultra-quiet operation.
- Thermal Compound: The award-winning NT-H1 thermal compound helps reduce the temperature of the CPU.
- Warranty: A 6-year manufacturer warranty shows that the company has a lot of confidence in the product.
2. be quiet! BK002 – Premium Low Profile CPU Air Cooler
As clearly mentioned from the name itself, the be quiet! BK002 is one of the quietest low profile CPU coolers available in 2018. Be quiet! products as known to be optimized for silent operation and this cooler is no exception.
What We Liked
- High Cooling Capacity: The cooler is rated to work up to 130 TDP.
- eat Pipes: Four 6mm heat pipes keep the CPU temperature in check.
- Silence-optimized Fan: The silence-optimized pure Wings 2 120mm PWM fan ensures silent operation.
3. Cooler Master GeminII M4 – Budget Low Profile Cooler
Cooler Master GeminII is no doubt one of the best-selling low profile CPU cooler on the market available. The cooler has a unique design and is specially made for compact PCs.
What We Liked
- Efficiency: The Cooler Master GeminII runs between 500-1600rpm which is more than enough to cool down the temperature of a CPU sufficiently. The PWM of the CPU cooler is about 10%.
- Height: The height of this CPU cooler is only 59mm which means it can easily fit most cases.
- Noise and Airflow Levels: Noise level is between 8-30 dBA depending on CPU load. The air flow range is17.4-58.4 CFM.
4. Cryorig C7
The Cryorig C7 CR-C7A is one of the most popular low profile CPU coolers that are available on the market right now and here we are going to look at the major features that this cooler has to offer.
What We Liked
- Height: The cooler is only 47mm and is able to fit small cases easily.
- Heat Pipes: 4 heat pipes carry heat away from the CPU.
- Copper Base: The CPU cooler comes with a true copper base for better heat dissipation.
- Efficiency: Fan speed range is between 600-2500 RPM and is PWM controlled.
- Better Performance: 25% more efficient than stock CPU coolers.
Read also: Best Fan Controllers
5. Noctua NH-L12S
The Noctua NH-L12S CPU cooler is next on our list. Noctua is famous for making award-winning compact CPU coolers and this is one of the best coolers that the company has to offer.
What We Liked
- Height: Cooler height is only 70mm which is ideal for smaller PCs.
- Premium Fan: The highly optimized NF-A12x15 120mm fan runs between 1800-2500 RPM.
- Compatibility: Compatible with most of Intel and AMD sockets.
- Premium Thermal Compound: NT-H1 thermal compound helps keep CPU temperature in check.
6. ARCTIC Alpine 64 GT
ARCTIC Alpine 64 GT is a versatile low profile CPU cooler. Here we are going to look into what the cooler has to offer.
What We Liked
- Thermal Compound: MX-2 thermal compound is applied out of the box.
- Ultra-quiet: The ultra-quiet 80mm PWM fans reduce noise.
7. Thermaltake Engine
What We Liked
- Premium Fan: The 60mm fan provides ample airflow and cooling to the CPU cooler.
- Universal Compatibility: Support almost all Intel and AMD sockets
- Height: Thermaltake Engine 27 1U height is only 27mm. It can easily fit ITX and HTPCs.
- Noise Free: The noise level is only 13dBA.
Low Profile CPU Coolers Buyer’s Guide
If you need to buy a low profile CPU cooler then you might be tempted to get the cheapest option available on the market. That is not something that we can recommend. There are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind when buying a CPU cooler.
What are Low Profile CPU coolers?
Low Profile coolers are specially designed for small form-factor builds like mini ATX PCs. Such systems do not have much space and they require special coolers that are smaller and lower in height. Hence the name “low profile coolers”.
Things to Look Out for When Choosing a Low Profile CPU Cooler
There are certain things that you must keep in mind when in the market for a new low profile CPU cooler.
Modern CPUs come with a TDP rating that indicates how much heat a CPU dissipates. You need to match this to the cooler that you are going to buy. It is always a good idea to get a cooler that has better cooling than your CPUs rated TDP. If your CPU has a TDP of 90W then you should go for a CPU cooler that can cool 120 TDP. This is one way of being on the safe side. It is better to be safe than sorry later on.
We are talking about low profile coolers here so they are going to be shorter than your average cooler. In order to accommodate for that, these coolers are often wider. You will need to check for clearance with your RAM. Small form-factor cases do not have a lot of space and it is possible that you might have issues mounting your CPU cooler because the RAM comes in the way.
CPU coolers need fans in order to keep cool air coming in. Fans create noise. This is something that you might not notice if you play games with headphones on. If that is not the case then you should look into getting a cooler that is silent. Check the dB rating on the cooler to find out how much noise it makes. Anything around 20 dB or lower is near silent.
Things to Know about Low Profile CPU Coolers
Here are some of the factors that you need to keep in mind when in the market for a new CPU cooler.
There are all kinds of different fans but what you need to keep in mind is that faster fans will produce more noise. If a silent operation is a priority then you need to get a cooler that produces lower noise. A beefier cooler can work fine with a slower fan.
The thermal compound can have a major impact on CPU temperature and heat dissipation. Some coolers come with low quality thermal paste. Check the thermal paste before you buy your cooler.
Heat pipes move heat away from the CPU. Thicker heat pipes can dissipate heat much faster. Some coolers come with multiple heat pipes which makes heat dissipation even better.
Low profile CPU coolers are a necessity for compact PCs like ITX or HTPCs. We have recommended some of the best compact coolers that are available on the market right now but if you are confused regarding which one you should get then the following are our recommendations: