Connect with us

PC

9 Best CPU Coolers in 2020- From Air Cooling to Reliable AIO Coolers

Avatar

Published

on

NZXT Kraken Z3

To get the best out of your CPU, you must make sure that you maintain its temperatures at a considerable level. That is why you’d want to get one of the best CPU coolers in 2020 to ensure that you make that a reality.

You see, modern CPUs often have boost algorithms that increase their clock speeds without manually overclocking the chip. In order for them to boost indefinitely, the CPU has to remain relatively cool so that it won’t damage any of its internal components.

A reliable CPU cooler is needed if you want to eke every last bit of performance that the chip can offer and if you are looking for one, you’ve come to the right place. But before that, I will provide you with some tips before you go ahead and buy one for yourself.

Before You Buy

1.Are You Running an Intel or an AMD Ryzen-powered PC?

This is important because both Intel and AMD produce very different processors. If you are buying an overclockable Intel Processor, for example, you will not receive any CPU cooler in the box because the company presupposes that you are going to buy an aftermarket cooler. If that is the case, you will need a beefy cooler at that.

If you are buying any AMD Ryzen CPU (other than the Threadripper line or the 3950x), you will not receive any coolers in the box and you will also need to get yourself a reliable aftermarket cooler.

However, for more modest CPUs like the AMD Ryzen 3300x, you can get away with just using the stock cooler as it is okay enough for most people.

2.Check the Dimensions

Whether you are buying an AIO (All-in-one) liquid cooler or one of those hefty air coolers, you have to make sure that you have enough clearance to install it.

Some of the Noctua coolers, for instance, are quite big and heavy, so you have to take your PC case and RAM clearance into account.

Fortunately for you, the official product pages of the coolers that I’ve mentioned in this article will provide exact dimensions so that all you have to do is to research about your particular case and RAM kit to ensure that everything will fit right in.

3.Do You Value Absolute Performance or Silence?

This is more of a preference thing as you need to think about which one you value more: A powerful PC or one that performs silently?

Even if you opt for an AIO cooler, there are some included fans that, when fully ramped up, can be really noisy at that. This isn’t a huge consideration but it is important to take note nonetheless.

4.Check for Socket Support

If you have a relatively modern CPU, you need not worry about this part since most CPU coolers should support it. However, if you are running a CPU from 5 years ago, check to see if the cooler that you fancy can support the CPU’s socket on your motherboard just to ensure that it will fit.

5.How Much Are You Willing to Spend?

Of course, a guide about CPU coolers will not be complete without taking your budget into consideration.

Typically, air coolers are cheaper than AIOs and the flasher the cooling unit is, the more expensive it will be.

Best CPU Coolers

1.Noctua NH-D15

Price: $90

Noctua NH-D15

Linus Sebastian said that if you are going to buy a CPU cooler, you need not invest in an expensive AIO because, for the most part, a reliable air cooler would suffice.

In that sense, the best air cooling that you can buy for your processor is the Noctua NH-D15. This is a pretty hefty cooler with a large heatsink that can accommodate two cooling fans (one pulling air in and one pushing air out).

If you are into overclocking and you do not want to get an AIO, this is the one that you should get, provided that you have the PC case and RAM clearance to support it.

Now, the regular NH-D15 has that familiar beige look but if you do not like its appearance, you can get the Chromax version instead which is the same cooler except that it has an all-black aesthetic.

2.NZXT Kraken Z3

Price: $250

NZXT Kraken Z3

If you want the top-of-the-line AIO cooling solution, look no further than the NZXT Kraken Z3. Among all of the AIO coolers out there, the NZXT Kraken Z3 consistently tops the charts in terms of cooling performance.

The included fans remain relatively quiet and I am surprised that you can overclock your CPU just by setting its operating mode to the balanced preset.

What’s interesting about this cooler (aside from its performance) is the fact that the pump has a nifty screen that you can use to post the temperature of your different components or you can even put your own custom GIF on it if you want.

I am just a bit disappointed that the included fans are not RGB because its $250 asking price is just too steep not to include the company’s patented AER RGB fans on this one.

It is also worth mentioning that this is a 360mm AIO which means that you need to have ample room to place this inside your chassis. ITX builds, sadly, are not supported.

3.Deepcool Assassin III

Price: $93

Deepcool Assassin III

Another competent cooler is the Deepcool GamerStorm Assassin III. This massive cooler has a total of seven heat pipes that are cooled down by two 140mm fans. As you can already imagine, this cooler is huge so you will definitely need to take into account your PC case and RAM clearance if you ever wish to install this one.

Even if the fans are set to run at their max speed, the cooler remained relatively quiet and it was able to tame even the Intel Core i9-10900K that is overclocked to 5.2GHz. That is truly impressive!

If I were to nitpick here, it would have been nice if the company had added some RGB bling on this one, but I know that there are some people that want a more subtle look and this one should fit right in.

4.Corsair H115i RGB Platinum

Price: $170

Corsair H115i RGB Platinum

If your chassis only has room for a 280mm AIO, then I can wholeheartedly recommend the Corsair H115i RGB Platinum. This is the newest version of Corsair’s premium cooling solutions and it definitely warrants the high asking price.

What made this quite popular is that it not only cools even the hottest CPUs out there, but you also get to choose between the white or black version which means that this should fit any design aesthetic that you want. Do you want an all-white build? This is the one that you should consider getting for sure.

I am also pleased that the company added two of its patented RGB fans in the package and the pump also has some RGB illumination as well. In fact, the water block is one of the better RGB implementations I’ve seen on an AIO and that is really saying something.

Controlling this thing can be done using the company’s own software and people will surely know their way because the menus are intuitive and easy to understand.

While it does support modern CPUs without any hitch, you should take into account your old processor if you are still running that one.

5.Cooler Master MasterAir MA410M

Price: $64

Cooler Master MasterAir MA410M

If you want a good-sized air cooler that still has some RGB bling baked in, the Cooler Master MasterAir MA410M is a really nice option.

This CPU cooler should fit most ATX cases without a problem and despite its mid-tower height and size, it can still tame an overclocked CPU relatively well.

It has addressable RGB lighting which you can control using your motherboard software.

If you are going to buy this thing, there is just one caveat: This thing can be a bit challenging to install. It is mainly because of the screw’s placements and how you screw everything down. You may need some help from Youtubers who have installed this thing and take their advice.

6.Noctua NH-L9

Price: $40

Noctua NH-L9

If you are thinking of building a complete system inside an ITX chassis, you will need a fan that can fit right in. The Noctua NH-L9 is one of the perfect candidates for such a build thanks to its low-profile form factor.

This ultra-compact air cooler is very easy to install and all of the mounting brackets that you need are included in the package (well, except for AM4 brackets though).

If you are using an AM4 motherboard, you can request an AM4 bracket from the company free of charge.

While it can certainly cool down a lot of CPUs on the market, just don’t expect too much since it only has a 92mm fan. Still, this is easy to recommend because, despite its small fan, its performance is admirable yet remains relatively quiet during operation under full load.

7.EVGA CLC 240

Price: $105

EVGA CLC 240

Most people are using a standard ATX chassis that is relatively more compact than others. If that is what you are using and the only AIO cooling solution that can be installed in your case is a 240mm one, then the EVGA CLC 240 should definitely be considered.

This is one of the most powerful 240mm AIOs on the market as its performance can rival some of its 280mm AIO counterparts in full-load tests.

Although this thing doesn’t have RGB fans, it does have some RGB illumination on the water block which still provides some aesthetic appeal.

At just 40 dBa at max speeds, the EVGA CLC 240 is also one of the most quiet yet efficient AIO coolers on the market.

8.Noctua NH-U14S

Price: $80

Noctua NH-U14S

If the Noctua NH-D15 is just too big for your chassis because of its dual fan configuration, then its smaller brother might be more compatible with your unit.

The Noctua NH-U14S has the same-sized heatsink to that of the D15 except that it only comes with one 140mm fan. Despite having only one fan, it still can tame even the hottest processors out there.

You will still need to take RAM clearance into account because this is still a massive cooler but I am pretty sure that you can fit this thing right in, especially if you are using a standard ATX chassis.

This thing has all of the necessary mounting brackets. There is even a bracket to help you mount this on a Ryzen Threadripper CPU which is insane.

9.Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280

Price: $110

Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280

If you browse for CPU coolers at Amazon, you will find that the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280 CLC cooler is always in the top 5. The reason is that it is one of the most inexpensive 280mm AIO coolers out there and its performance still tops the charts.

It has a nifty gimmick in that it has a small fan that can help cool your motherboard’s VRMs. In my testing, it did drop the VRM’s temperatures but only by about 3 degrees which is still negligible (but should give you a bit more confidence when running your system at full capacity).

This AIO cooling solution is tame when it comes to the aesthetics department but if you want the best cooling performance offered at a relatively low price, you can never go wrong with the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Gaming

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500

Avatar

Published

on

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review

Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.

Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.

Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively. 

Design

Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.

The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.

Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.

It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.

I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.

The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.

For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.

The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.

Display

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review 2020

The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.

You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.

Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.

However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.

It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.

I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.

Performance

Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.

Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.

How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.

It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.

This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.

Acer Nitro XV340CK

Verdict

With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.

The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.

Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.

Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.

Continue Reading

Gaming

HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

Avatar

Published

on

HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review

As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.

In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.

Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.

Design

The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.

I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.

Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.

There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.

This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup. 

While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.

All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.

The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.

Audio Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review 2020

There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.

Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.

That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.

I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.

Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.

As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.

Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.

Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.

Microphone Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.

Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.

The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.

Verdict

For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.

I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.

I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.

Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.

Continue Reading

Gaming

Best VR Headsets in 2020- Experience the Thrill of Virtual Reality Gaming

Avatar

Published

on

HTC Vive Cosmos Elite

A lot of people have said that the interest in virtual reality gaming has waned and although there is some truth to that, I think that the interest in this industry is just going to get better for the years to come.

Today, I am going to go over some of the best VR headsets in 2020. So, if you’re interested to feel the thrill of virtual reality gaming, then read ahead to find out my recommendations.

Why VR?

Back then, there was a huge interest in VR. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be immersed in the games that you play?

Unfortunately, it was quite challenging to make virtual reality work, at least, for the hardware that was available at the time.

The good thing is that the components that you can get today are so powerful that I think the interest in virtual reality, as a whole, will just increase further and further.

Keep in mind that not all VR headsets are created equal. There are standalone VR headsets that do not require any cables to be plugged into a game console or a computer, while there are those that would need to be tethered to a machine to get things started.

It is also worth noting that while there are so many inexpensive options out there, if you want the best possible experience, you will need to prepare yourself to spend quite a lot of money as those that are considered worthwhile investments are, well, investments.

They may not be cheap but rest assured that the headsets that I am going to be recommending to you are all worth it.

Best VR Headsets in 2020

1.Valve Index

Price: $1,599

Valve Index

If you want the best of the best without taking into consideration the cost, the Valve Index is one VR headset that is considered a worthwhile investment.

It has got everything that you can ask for in a virtual reality headset. It has a pretty nice AMOLED display with a resolution of 2880 x 1600. It has a refresh rate of 120Hz for a smooth and immersive gaming experience. And, it can be connected using a Displayport to your gaming PC as well.

The headset is also quite comfortable thanks to the choice of materials that are used in the construction of this product. I have to say that the weight distribution is also superb since you will never feel that the VR headset is on your noggin even if you are using it for hours and hours.

This thing has excellent per-finger tracking and its audio output is definitely something that is worth noting as well.

Seriously, the only issue here is that the price is over $1,500. If you are willing to spend this much, I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with the Valve Index.

2.HTC Vive Cosmos Elite

Price: $550

HTC Vive Cosmos Elite

The second iteration of products usually fix the issues that were present in the first version and that is what the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite is trying to achieve.

In this new version, you are getting a much higher resolution display at 2880 x 1700 and the screen has a refresh rate of 90Hz as well.

You could say that it is nearly identical to the original version except that the different faceplate means that you are sacrificing inside-out tracking for a much-improved accuracy across the board.

This headset was introduced mainly as a means for people to enjoy Half-Life: Alyx, but with the free annual subscription to the HTC Viveport, the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite is one that you should consider getting, especially now since the price has dropped considerably.

3.Oculus Rift S

Price: $399

Oculus Rift S

The Oculus Rift S is certainly one of the best VR headsets on the market mainly because it is one of the most comfortable out there and its vast library of games (via the Oculus Store) makes it even more appealing to the average consumer.

I love the fact that its touch controllers provide an even more immersive experience thanks to its touch response and haptic feedback.

Its display resolution is 1280 x 1440 and while it is lower than the previous VR headsets, it is quite okay in most of the games that you can play in Oculus’ portfolio. And oh, the screen also has an 80Hz refresh rate as well.

One of the things that will really entice people to get this one is its impressive library of games. Some of the most popular titles include Job Simulator, Beat Saber, and a whole host of others.

The only thing that you need to take note of here is that you will need to have a pretty powerful PC for this one to work flawlessly. I suggest that you start investing in a powerful processor, as well as a high-end graphics card that can handle the graphical load.

To me, this is the one to get for most people, especially considering that its price won’t break the bank.

4.Samsung Odyssey+

Price: $630

Samsung Odyssey+

Considered as one of Windows’ Mixed Reality headsets, do not be fooled as this is still a bonafide VR headset at the end of the day. The only reason why it is included in the product stack is that Microsoft originally wanted to incorporate the HoloLens into this thing, but the project was canceled at the last minute.

Anyway, this headset has an AMOLED display with a rich pixel density and a resolution of 2880 x 1600 and a screen refresh rate of 90Hz.

If you do not want to experience the dreaded ‘screen-door’ effect that is usually present in most VR headsets, then this is the one that you should get. The reason why it can prevent such a thing is that Samsung makes use of a proprietary technology that will make the screen-door effect virtually non-existent.

It should also go without saying that the Samsung Odyssey+ also has excellent inside-out tracking as well.

5.Oculus Go

Price: $150

Oculus Go

If you just want to experience virtual reality gaming and you do not want to spend hundreds of dollars just to get a really good headset, then the Oculus Go is for you.

Unlike other VR headsets that require you to have them connected either to the PC or on game consoles, the Oculus Go is actually a standalone product, which means that it can handle things on its own.

It is equipped with a Snapdragon 821 chipset and its 2560 x 1440 resolution LCD display is quite good enough in most cases.

Since Facebook has bought the rights to Oculus, that means that you can virtually use the headset in any VR application that you can find. Perhaps getting immersed inside the Oculus Rooms app is a good start?

6.Playstation VR

Price: $250

Playstation VR

If you own a Playstation console and you want to use that as a means of experiencing virtual reality gaming, then I highly recommend that you check the Playstation VR headset out.

It currently supports the Playstation 4 and Playstation 4 Pro, but according to Sony’s representatives, this particular headset will also support the new Playstation 5 as well.

Anyway, you have a fairly massive library of games to choose from. Some of the most notable ones are Batman: Arkham VR, Star Wars Battlefront: Rogue One X-Wing Mission, and so much more.

It doesn’t quite deliver the experience much the same as the Valve Index or Oculus Rift S mentioned above, but in most cases, it should be more than adequate for most users.

The good thing is that you not only have the ability to use this thing in games but if you want to get an immersive experience while watching some Blu-ray content, then you are okay to do that too.

I think that Sony will be releasing the second version of this headset a few months after the release of its upcoming game console, but if you cannot wait, then the Playstation VR headset is really good, especially for the price.

Continue Reading

Trending Story

PC

9 Best CPU Coolers in 2020- From Air Cooling to Reliable AIO Coolers

Avatar

Published

on

NZXT Kraken Z3

To get the best out of your CPU, you must make sure that you maintain its temperatures at a considerable level. That is why you’d want to get one of the best CPU coolers in 2020 to ensure that you make that a reality.

You see, modern CPUs often have boost algorithms that increase their clock speeds without manually overclocking the chip. In order for them to boost indefinitely, the CPU has to remain relatively cool so that it won’t damage any of its internal components.

A reliable CPU cooler is needed if you want to eke every last bit of performance that the chip can offer and if you are looking for one, you’ve come to the right place. But before that, I will provide you with some tips before you go ahead and buy one for yourself.

Before You Buy

1.Are You Running an Intel or an AMD Ryzen-powered PC?

This is important because both Intel and AMD produce very different processors. If you are buying an overclockable Intel Processor, for example, you will not receive any CPU cooler in the box because the company presupposes that you are going to buy an aftermarket cooler. If that is the case, you will need a beefy cooler at that.

If you are buying any AMD Ryzen CPU (other than the Threadripper line or the 3950x), you will not receive any coolers in the box and you will also need to get yourself a reliable aftermarket cooler.

However, for more modest CPUs like the AMD Ryzen 3300x, you can get away with just using the stock cooler as it is okay enough for most people.

2.Check the Dimensions

Whether you are buying an AIO (All-in-one) liquid cooler or one of those hefty air coolers, you have to make sure that you have enough clearance to install it.

Some of the Noctua coolers, for instance, are quite big and heavy, so you have to take your PC case and RAM clearance into account.

Fortunately for you, the official product pages of the coolers that I’ve mentioned in this article will provide exact dimensions so that all you have to do is to research about your particular case and RAM kit to ensure that everything will fit right in.

3.Do You Value Absolute Performance or Silence?

This is more of a preference thing as you need to think about which one you value more: A powerful PC or one that performs silently?

Even if you opt for an AIO cooler, there are some included fans that, when fully ramped up, can be really noisy at that. This isn’t a huge consideration but it is important to take note nonetheless.

4.Check for Socket Support

If you have a relatively modern CPU, you need not worry about this part since most CPU coolers should support it. However, if you are running a CPU from 5 years ago, check to see if the cooler that you fancy can support the CPU’s socket on your motherboard just to ensure that it will fit.

5.How Much Are You Willing to Spend?

Of course, a guide about CPU coolers will not be complete without taking your budget into consideration.

Typically, air coolers are cheaper than AIOs and the flasher the cooling unit is, the more expensive it will be.

Best CPU Coolers

1.Noctua NH-D15

Price: $90

Noctua NH-D15

Linus Sebastian said that if you are going to buy a CPU cooler, you need not invest in an expensive AIO because, for the most part, a reliable air cooler would suffice.

In that sense, the best air cooling that you can buy for your processor is the Noctua NH-D15. This is a pretty hefty cooler with a large heatsink that can accommodate two cooling fans (one pulling air in and one pushing air out).

If you are into overclocking and you do not want to get an AIO, this is the one that you should get, provided that you have the PC case and RAM clearance to support it.

Now, the regular NH-D15 has that familiar beige look but if you do not like its appearance, you can get the Chromax version instead which is the same cooler except that it has an all-black aesthetic.

2.NZXT Kraken Z3

Price: $250

NZXT Kraken Z3

If you want the top-of-the-line AIO cooling solution, look no further than the NZXT Kraken Z3. Among all of the AIO coolers out there, the NZXT Kraken Z3 consistently tops the charts in terms of cooling performance.

The included fans remain relatively quiet and I am surprised that you can overclock your CPU just by setting its operating mode to the balanced preset.

What’s interesting about this cooler (aside from its performance) is the fact that the pump has a nifty screen that you can use to post the temperature of your different components or you can even put your own custom GIF on it if you want.

I am just a bit disappointed that the included fans are not RGB because its $250 asking price is just too steep not to include the company’s patented AER RGB fans on this one.

It is also worth mentioning that this is a 360mm AIO which means that you need to have ample room to place this inside your chassis. ITX builds, sadly, are not supported.

3.Deepcool Assassin III

Price: $93

Deepcool Assassin III

Another competent cooler is the Deepcool GamerStorm Assassin III. This massive cooler has a total of seven heat pipes that are cooled down by two 140mm fans. As you can already imagine, this cooler is huge so you will definitely need to take into account your PC case and RAM clearance if you ever wish to install this one.

Even if the fans are set to run at their max speed, the cooler remained relatively quiet and it was able to tame even the Intel Core i9-10900K that is overclocked to 5.2GHz. That is truly impressive!

If I were to nitpick here, it would have been nice if the company had added some RGB bling on this one, but I know that there are some people that want a more subtle look and this one should fit right in.

4.Corsair H115i RGB Platinum

Price: $170

Corsair H115i RGB Platinum

If your chassis only has room for a 280mm AIO, then I can wholeheartedly recommend the Corsair H115i RGB Platinum. This is the newest version of Corsair’s premium cooling solutions and it definitely warrants the high asking price.

What made this quite popular is that it not only cools even the hottest CPUs out there, but you also get to choose between the white or black version which means that this should fit any design aesthetic that you want. Do you want an all-white build? This is the one that you should consider getting for sure.

I am also pleased that the company added two of its patented RGB fans in the package and the pump also has some RGB illumination as well. In fact, the water block is one of the better RGB implementations I’ve seen on an AIO and that is really saying something.

Controlling this thing can be done using the company’s own software and people will surely know their way because the menus are intuitive and easy to understand.

While it does support modern CPUs without any hitch, you should take into account your old processor if you are still running that one.

5.Cooler Master MasterAir MA410M

Price: $64

Cooler Master MasterAir MA410M

If you want a good-sized air cooler that still has some RGB bling baked in, the Cooler Master MasterAir MA410M is a really nice option.

This CPU cooler should fit most ATX cases without a problem and despite its mid-tower height and size, it can still tame an overclocked CPU relatively well.

It has addressable RGB lighting which you can control using your motherboard software.

If you are going to buy this thing, there is just one caveat: This thing can be a bit challenging to install. It is mainly because of the screw’s placements and how you screw everything down. You may need some help from Youtubers who have installed this thing and take their advice.

6.Noctua NH-L9

Price: $40

Noctua NH-L9

If you are thinking of building a complete system inside an ITX chassis, you will need a fan that can fit right in. The Noctua NH-L9 is one of the perfect candidates for such a build thanks to its low-profile form factor.

This ultra-compact air cooler is very easy to install and all of the mounting brackets that you need are included in the package (well, except for AM4 brackets though).

If you are using an AM4 motherboard, you can request an AM4 bracket from the company free of charge.

While it can certainly cool down a lot of CPUs on the market, just don’t expect too much since it only has a 92mm fan. Still, this is easy to recommend because, despite its small fan, its performance is admirable yet remains relatively quiet during operation under full load.

7.EVGA CLC 240

Price: $105

EVGA CLC 240

Most people are using a standard ATX chassis that is relatively more compact than others. If that is what you are using and the only AIO cooling solution that can be installed in your case is a 240mm one, then the EVGA CLC 240 should definitely be considered.

This is one of the most powerful 240mm AIOs on the market as its performance can rival some of its 280mm AIO counterparts in full-load tests.

Although this thing doesn’t have RGB fans, it does have some RGB illumination on the water block which still provides some aesthetic appeal.

At just 40 dBa at max speeds, the EVGA CLC 240 is also one of the most quiet yet efficient AIO coolers on the market.

8.Noctua NH-U14S

Price: $80

Noctua NH-U14S

If the Noctua NH-D15 is just too big for your chassis because of its dual fan configuration, then its smaller brother might be more compatible with your unit.

The Noctua NH-U14S has the same-sized heatsink to that of the D15 except that it only comes with one 140mm fan. Despite having only one fan, it still can tame even the hottest processors out there.

You will still need to take RAM clearance into account because this is still a massive cooler but I am pretty sure that you can fit this thing right in, especially if you are using a standard ATX chassis.

This thing has all of the necessary mounting brackets. There is even a bracket to help you mount this on a Ryzen Threadripper CPU which is insane.

9.Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280

Price: $110

Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280

If you browse for CPU coolers at Amazon, you will find that the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280 CLC cooler is always in the top 5. The reason is that it is one of the most inexpensive 280mm AIO coolers out there and its performance still tops the charts.

It has a nifty gimmick in that it has a small fan that can help cool your motherboard’s VRMs. In my testing, it did drop the VRM’s temperatures but only by about 3 degrees which is still negligible (but should give you a bit more confidence when running your system at full capacity).

This AIO cooling solution is tame when it comes to the aesthetics department but if you want the best cooling performance offered at a relatively low price, you can never go wrong with the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Gaming

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500

Avatar

Published

on

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review

Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.

Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.

Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively. 

Design

Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.

The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.

Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.

It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.

I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.

The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.

For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.

The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.

Display

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review 2020

The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.

You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.

Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.

However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.

It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.

I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.

Performance

Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.

Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.

How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.

It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.

This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.

Acer Nitro XV340CK

Verdict

With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.

The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.

Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.

Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.

Continue Reading

Gaming

HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

Avatar

Published

on

HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review

As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.

In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.

Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.

Design

The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.

I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.

Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.

There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.

This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup. 

While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.

All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.

The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.

Audio Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review 2020

There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.

Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.

That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.

I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.

Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.

As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.

Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.

Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.

Microphone Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.

Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.

The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.

Verdict

For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.

I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.

I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.

Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.

Continue Reading

Gaming

Best VR Headsets in 2020- Experience the Thrill of Virtual Reality Gaming

Avatar

Published

on

HTC Vive Cosmos Elite

A lot of people have said that the interest in virtual reality gaming has waned and although there is some truth to that, I think that the interest in this industry is just going to get better for the years to come.

Today, I am going to go over some of the best VR headsets in 2020. So, if you’re interested to feel the thrill of virtual reality gaming, then read ahead to find out my recommendations.

Why VR?

Back then, there was a huge interest in VR. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be immersed in the games that you play?

Unfortunately, it was quite challenging to make virtual reality work, at least, for the hardware that was available at the time.

The good thing is that the components that you can get today are so powerful that I think the interest in virtual reality, as a whole, will just increase further and further.

Keep in mind that not all VR headsets are created equal. There are standalone VR headsets that do not require any cables to be plugged into a game console or a computer, while there are those that would need to be tethered to a machine to get things started.

It is also worth noting that while there are so many inexpensive options out there, if you want the best possible experience, you will need to prepare yourself to spend quite a lot of money as those that are considered worthwhile investments are, well, investments.

They may not be cheap but rest assured that the headsets that I am going to be recommending to you are all worth it.

Best VR Headsets in 2020

1.Valve Index

Price: $1,599

Valve Index

If you want the best of the best without taking into consideration the cost, the Valve Index is one VR headset that is considered a worthwhile investment.

It has got everything that you can ask for in a virtual reality headset. It has a pretty nice AMOLED display with a resolution of 2880 x 1600. It has a refresh rate of 120Hz for a smooth and immersive gaming experience. And, it can be connected using a Displayport to your gaming PC as well.

The headset is also quite comfortable thanks to the choice of materials that are used in the construction of this product. I have to say that the weight distribution is also superb since you will never feel that the VR headset is on your noggin even if you are using it for hours and hours.

This thing has excellent per-finger tracking and its audio output is definitely something that is worth noting as well.

Seriously, the only issue here is that the price is over $1,500. If you are willing to spend this much, I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with the Valve Index.

2.HTC Vive Cosmos Elite

Price: $550

HTC Vive Cosmos Elite

The second iteration of products usually fix the issues that were present in the first version and that is what the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite is trying to achieve.

In this new version, you are getting a much higher resolution display at 2880 x 1700 and the screen has a refresh rate of 90Hz as well.

You could say that it is nearly identical to the original version except that the different faceplate means that you are sacrificing inside-out tracking for a much-improved accuracy across the board.

This headset was introduced mainly as a means for people to enjoy Half-Life: Alyx, but with the free annual subscription to the HTC Viveport, the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite is one that you should consider getting, especially now since the price has dropped considerably.

3.Oculus Rift S

Price: $399

Oculus Rift S

The Oculus Rift S is certainly one of the best VR headsets on the market mainly because it is one of the most comfortable out there and its vast library of games (via the Oculus Store) makes it even more appealing to the average consumer.

I love the fact that its touch controllers provide an even more immersive experience thanks to its touch response and haptic feedback.

Its display resolution is 1280 x 1440 and while it is lower than the previous VR headsets, it is quite okay in most of the games that you can play in Oculus’ portfolio. And oh, the screen also has an 80Hz refresh rate as well.

One of the things that will really entice people to get this one is its impressive library of games. Some of the most popular titles include Job Simulator, Beat Saber, and a whole host of others.

The only thing that you need to take note of here is that you will need to have a pretty powerful PC for this one to work flawlessly. I suggest that you start investing in a powerful processor, as well as a high-end graphics card that can handle the graphical load.

To me, this is the one to get for most people, especially considering that its price won’t break the bank.

4.Samsung Odyssey+

Price: $630

Samsung Odyssey+

Considered as one of Windows’ Mixed Reality headsets, do not be fooled as this is still a bonafide VR headset at the end of the day. The only reason why it is included in the product stack is that Microsoft originally wanted to incorporate the HoloLens into this thing, but the project was canceled at the last minute.

Anyway, this headset has an AMOLED display with a rich pixel density and a resolution of 2880 x 1600 and a screen refresh rate of 90Hz.

If you do not want to experience the dreaded ‘screen-door’ effect that is usually present in most VR headsets, then this is the one that you should get. The reason why it can prevent such a thing is that Samsung makes use of a proprietary technology that will make the screen-door effect virtually non-existent.

It should also go without saying that the Samsung Odyssey+ also has excellent inside-out tracking as well.

5.Oculus Go

Price: $150

Oculus Go

If you just want to experience virtual reality gaming and you do not want to spend hundreds of dollars just to get a really good headset, then the Oculus Go is for you.

Unlike other VR headsets that require you to have them connected either to the PC or on game consoles, the Oculus Go is actually a standalone product, which means that it can handle things on its own.

It is equipped with a Snapdragon 821 chipset and its 2560 x 1440 resolution LCD display is quite good enough in most cases.

Since Facebook has bought the rights to Oculus, that means that you can virtually use the headset in any VR application that you can find. Perhaps getting immersed inside the Oculus Rooms app is a good start?

6.Playstation VR

Price: $250

Playstation VR

If you own a Playstation console and you want to use that as a means of experiencing virtual reality gaming, then I highly recommend that you check the Playstation VR headset out.

It currently supports the Playstation 4 and Playstation 4 Pro, but according to Sony’s representatives, this particular headset will also support the new Playstation 5 as well.

Anyway, you have a fairly massive library of games to choose from. Some of the most notable ones are Batman: Arkham VR, Star Wars Battlefront: Rogue One X-Wing Mission, and so much more.

It doesn’t quite deliver the experience much the same as the Valve Index or Oculus Rift S mentioned above, but in most cases, it should be more than adequate for most users.

The good thing is that you not only have the ability to use this thing in games but if you want to get an immersive experience while watching some Blu-ray content, then you are okay to do that too.

I think that Sony will be releasing the second version of this headset a few months after the release of its upcoming game console, but if you cannot wait, then the Playstation VR headset is really good, especially for the price.

Continue Reading

Trending Story