AMD Ryzen 5 & 7 CPU Cooler Round Up
Published: 25th April 2017 | Source: OC3D Internal testing | Price: |
While we may have already discussed the various aspects that need considering with Ryzen, it is only fair that each cooler that we have tested gets their own dedicated discussion, even if only briefly.
The Cryorig H7 occupies a strange position in this review, being more than adequate to cool any AMD Ryzen 5 or 7 CPU at stock settings but at the same time struggles to keep up with even the quad-core 1500X when overclocked.
At stock it is hard to recommend replacing AMD's stock cooling solutions if they are available, as they are more than enough to keep Ryzen cool and quiet under load, taking away the need for an affordable aftermarket cooler for anything other than aesthetic reasons unless you are overclocking.
With the Cryorig H7 you will only be able to keep up with an overclocked Ryzen 5 1500X, though even then you will need to keep the fans running at high speeds to stay away from Ryzen's 70 degree, which is not exactly silent.
Anyone who plans to overclock any Ryzen CPU with this cooler will need to be careful, keeping their core and SoC voltages a low as they can and keeping an eye on thermals while stability testing. While it is not impossible to run an overclocked Ryzen 5 with this cooler, the thermal limitations will lower your max overclock, presenting too many issues for this cooler to be worth recommending.
Higher-end cooler offerings will no doubt fair better, though in our tests we can clearly see the limit of air-based cooling solutions.
Corsair H100i V2
Moving to Corsair's H100i, we can see that Ryzen can greatly benefit from water cooling, especially when overclocking. The H100i has for a long time been a staple of CPU overclockers worldwide, and that does not change with Ryzen, easily being able to keep our R7 1800X-based system cool and quiet while running at 4GHz with 3200MHz memory.
The H100i was able to keep our R7 1800X at under 62 degrees during our 4GHz testing (with 7v fans), making it one of the best performing 240mm AIO liquid coolers that we have tested. Yes, the NZXT X52 did beat this cooler, but it must be remembered that that cooler is almost £35 more expensive.
With Ryzen our H100i offered some solid performance and comes at a reasonable price, making it an easy candidate for a Performance Award.
Corsair H115i V2
Not much needs to be said about the Corsair H115i V2, it is our graph topper in our overclocking tests for the Ryzen 7 1800X and comes with nowhere near the highest pricing of our tested coolers.
With a price of around £125, this water cooling all-in-one comes in at around one-third of the price of an R7 1700X and a quarter of the price of an R7 1800X. This is a fair price when considering this heatsink's cooling potential under heavy loads.
We clearly have more thermal headroom to attempt a higher overclock with this cooler, making the H115i more than worthy of consideration.
The £20 price increase for the H115i V2 is easy to justify if you plan on heavily overclocking your Ryzen CPU, with the only concern being if your chassis will support such a large radiator.
Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240
The Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240 is one of the newest liquid coolers to hit the market, coming at an attractive price of £79.99 and offering some very impressive performance results considering its sub-£100 price point.
This is the only cooler that we have tested that did not require an aftermarket AM4 mounting kit to support Ryzen, making it an easy choice for those that do not want to apply for and then wait for upgrade kits to ship from manufacturers.
With a price that is only £10 more expensive than the NH-D15S, and over £25 cheaper than the Corsair H100i V2, the results of this cooler were always going to be interesting, with this cooler easily keeping our overclocked R7 1800X under 65 degrees under heavy load, even when running with low-speed fans.
When overclocking, this cooler easily offers the best value for money out of all the heatsinks that we have tested and is the easiest to use thanks to the cooler's out-of-the-box AM4 support. While this cooler is not a performance leader, it is certainly more than good enough for Ryzen overclocking and offers a value proposition that is hard to beat.
The Noctua NH-D15S is a tricky one, as while it did pass our thermal tests while overclocked, it only did so while the fans were running at full speeds with our R7 1800X. The Noctua NH-D15S failed our overclocked tests when running its fans at 7V, which means that this cooler is indeed sitting on the edge of what can be called overclocking ready for Ryzen 7.
In our overclocking tests, the NH-D15S was running at 100% fan speeds, which is not exactly what we would call silent, another downside for using this cooler with an overclocked Ryzen 7 chip.
While versions of this cooler are available with an additional 140mm fan for extra cooling potential, it must be remembered that this will add extra cost to the cooler, with Noctua's AM4-ready NH-D15 (includes extra 140mm fan) coming at £79.95. This is the same price as Cooler Master's MasterLiquid 240, making the AIO liquid cooler the obvious choice when it comes to performance alone.
The simple fact of the day is that the NH-D15S was not enough to run out Ryzen 7 1800X at 4GHz with reduced fan speeds, making this cooler unsuitable for a "silent" overclocked Ryzen 7 based PCs.
Moving down to AMD's Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X we found that the Noctua NH-D15S performed much better than on AMD's Ryzen 7 lineup, providing pleasing results at both stock and when our CPUs were overclocked.
With Ryzen 5 we can easily recommend the NH-D15S, even when running the fans silently at 7V, making this cooler more than worthy of consideration for a Ryzen 5 based system.
We have decided to give the NH-D15S the OC3D Approved award, but stress that this cooler is not quite enough for Ryzen 7 overclocking, so we recommend only using this cooler with AMD's lower-end Ryzen 5 lineup.
The NZXT X52 may be the most expensive 240mm AIO that we have tested, but it is also the best performing 240mm AIO in our cooling lineup.
It is clear that the extra money spent on this cooler has yielded greater performance than both the Corsair H100i V2 and the Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240, though end users will need to count the costs to determine whether this price increase is worthwhile.
Alongside that is the fact that this CPU cooler comes with a more premium design aesthetic, with RGB lighting and top that has a mirror finish.
The new X-2 series of Kraken coolers from NZXT offer users with a classy aesthetic, which is something that will satisfy anyone who enjoys showing off their high-end gaming PC. This is a cooler that could certainly make some people go weak-kneed and excited in the trouser department depending on their design preferences.
The NZXT X62 is the most expensive cooler that was included in this review, coming towards the top of our performance graphs, clearly marking itself and other 280mm radiator-based liquid coolers as the best cooling solutions for AMD's Ryzen 7 lineup.
With this cooler's fans running at 7V our 4GHz Ryzen 7 1800X was able to run at 80 degrees or under consistently, keeping the CPU far away from our 90-degree thermal limit. With faster-running fans the CPU temps under load drop further to 78 degrees, marking this cooler as one of the best cooling solutions that we have tested so far.
Like most of the Coolers that we have tested today, the NZXT X-series of coolers will require a mounting kit upgrade to be fitted onto modern AM4 motherboards.