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quiet cpu cooler

10 Best Quiet CPU Coolers in 2021

The ideal CPU cooler makes no compromise on silence or performance.

Nobody wants their processor operating at higher temps than it needs to be, however, the same can be said about loud, distracting fan noises running 24/7.

Those with poorly designed components installed will know how just how annoying that can be!

In this post, we will cover the best CPU coolers that achieve an excellent performance-to-noise ratio.


3 Quietest AIO coolers
5 Quietest air coolers
2 Passive coolers

What is the quietest CPU cooler?

Best Quiet AIO CPU Cooler

3. Li Galahad AIO 360         

Radiator Sizes: 240mm, 360mm
Fan Speed: 800~1900 RPM
Max Volume: 32 dBA
Thickness: 1.1”

Those after a elegent AIO cooler that looks like it was developed by the folks at Apple, will love the Galahad by Lian Li. Available in white or black, it stands out for its modern, triple chamber design that exchanges heat far more efficiently than other similar products.

The high static pressure fans are capable of between 800 and 1900 PWM while putting out 72 CFM of maximum airflow. All of that cooling power doesn’t mean the inside of your case is going to sound like a tornado, though. Even at the highest speeds possible, they only crank out 32 dBA.

At just 20 decibels, the low pump noise is also very competitive. A unique thing about this pump is that it comes with two removable, magnetic metal caps. As a result, you can easily switch them over to match the interior of your setup.

Thanks to the native software, it’s possible to sync the RGB lighting to your motherboard. Getting the lights dialed-in in takes no time at all and can be done with just a couple of quick configurations. Alternatively, choose from several preset profiles, ranging from static colors to rainbow effects.

Not only does the Lian Li Galahad look great, but the sound levels from the pump and fans are also dead quiet.

2. Cooler Master MasterLiquid

Radiator Sizes: 120mm, 240mm, 360mm
Fan Speed: 650~2000 RPM
Max Volume: 30 dBA
Thickness: 1.1”

It should surprise no one that Cooler Master manufacturer such an efficient AIO cooler like the MasterLiquid. The company has been producing quality cooling components for years, taking advantage of the dual dissipation and low-profile chamber pumps that they helped to pioneer.

When running at top speed, these fans can produce 66.7 CFM of airflow (pumping out 2.34 mm of air pressure as well). Impressively, the max decibel levels hover at around 30 dB or so. Therefore, you won’t ever have to worry about your PC sounding like a jet engine when they are spending up.

As far as the RGB lighting is concerned, you can either synchronize the lights with your motherboard to work alongside any other RGB hardware you have, or customize the lighting profile yourself. The included software gives you the “keys to the castle” for it to look just the way you like.

All in all, if a moderately quiet PC build is important to you, the MasterLiquid performs just fine under a light load.

1. Thermaltake Floe Triple Riing

Radiator Sizes: 120mm, 240mm, 280mm, 360mm
Fan Speed: 500~1400 RPM
Max Volume: 24.7 dBA
Thickness: 1.1”

The Floe Triple Riing combines RGB configurability, great cooling, and low noise. Like most Thermaltake products, the top-tier components and cooling technology on show is some of the best in the business. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s the quietest AIO coolers that money can buy.

The high-static pressure fans run at speeds between 500 RPM and 1400 RPM. Although this isn’t necessarily the fastest fan-speeds, it still moves plenty of air to keep things cold. More importantly, the slower fan speeds facilitate quieter operation, maxing out at around 25 dB or so.

With this hardware, you’ll have almost unlimited freedom to customize the RGB lighting. The patented Ring Plus software allows you to change modes like the colors, speeds, and brightness. You can even use voice commands from your iOS or Android devices to change these settings instantly.

Overall, those wanting to water-cool their setup won’t find a quieter AIO CPU cooler than the Floe Triple Riing!

Best Quiet Air CPU Cooler

5. be quiet! Shadow Rock 3 BK004

Dimensions (LxWxH):‎ 6.5 x 5.75 x 8 inches
Fan Speed: 1600 RPM
Max Volume: 24.4 dBA
TDP: 190 W

The Shadow Rock 3 offers impressive air performance at a quiet operation. It’s compatible with chipsets from Intel and AMD and works with all popular motherboards. Moreover, the asymmetrical design makes it easy to fit into any space without blocking the memory slots.

Operating at 1600 RPM, the high-speed fans produce effortless cooling power. The fans pitch creates lower air resistance levels, improving cooling capabilities without adding a lot of noise. What’s great is that the fan can run at maximum power and it will still only produce 24.4 dB of sound.

The nickel-plated copper heat pipes help absorb heat directly from the CPU as well as efficiently remove heat from the case. This results is an impressive cooling performance of up to (190W TDP). Overall, the Shadow Rock 3 is a quiet and effective solution for most medium-powered CPUs.

4. be quiet! Dark Rock BK022

Dimensions (LxWxH):‎ 5.7 x 5.35 x 6.40 inches
Fan Speed: 1500 RPM
Max Volume: 24.3 dBA
TDP: 210 W

Shaped like a funnel, the Dark Rock BK022 utilizes two 120mm Wings PWM fans to move heat efficiently through (and out of) the heatsink. Although it may appear a bit blocky, the cooling fins are air-optimized, and the asymmetrical design guarantees enough chip memory clearance.

Two high air pressure fans handle the temperature control by creating extra air pressure. Both fans only produce 24.3 dB running at full power and operate even quieter at normal speeds. To improve cooling efficiency further, the fans work alongside 6mm copper heat pipes.

Gamers are going to love the Dark Rock CPU cooler. The twin fans maintain fridge-like temperatures even when the CPU starts to spike. Together they can handle a TDP of about 200-210 W. However, by adding a third fan it’s possible to achieve the max 250 TDP marketed range.

That’s great news for CPU-intensive games, multitasking, and any other applications that require multiple cores to be active.

3. Noctua NH D9L Premium Cooler

Dimensions (LxWxH):‎ 3.74 x 3.74 x 4.33 inches
Fan Speed: 2000 RPM
Max Volume: 22.8 dBA
TDP: 105 W

The Noctua NH D9L is a premium CPU cooler that operates at quiet temperatures with or without any fans. Specifically engineered for ITX, HTPC, and SFF builds, the dual-tower design does not overhang the RAM or PCIe slots. This makes it a versatile choice for a wide range of systems.

A single, NF-A9 92mm fan is included with the unit and slots between the heatsink to keep things extra cool. Operating noise levels can be anywhere between 5 – 10 dB. At peak performance, though, the fan can reach 22 dB. Apart from that, there is no noise coming from the heatsink itself.

Those with mini-PCs, compact builds, and home servers will like this cooler the most. Measuring 3.74 x 3.74 x 4.33 inches, it’s not quite optimized for larger builds. Instead, compact PCs built to replace gaming consoles or entertainment centers will be able to utilize this cooler the most.

The Noctua NH D9L offers 105 watts of TDP dissipation and is compatible with both Intel/ AMD CPUs (and their motherboards).

2. Noctua NH-U12S Chromax

Dimensions (LxWxH):‎ 2.8 x 4.92 x 6.22 inches
Fan Speed: 1500 RPM
Max Volume: 19 dBA
TDP: 105 W

This quiet CPU cooler by Noctua is a real looker! Minimalist, featuring a lot of nickel and chrome, it fits perfectly in any case design and configuration. Combine that with the numerous customizable color-heatsink covers and it’s effortless to match this cooler to your build.

At just 6.2 inches tall, the NH-U12S sits low enough to fit inside most ATX or m-ATX cases without any headroom issues. A 120mm cooling fan moves air efficiently through the box without adding a lot of noise, too. This is thanks to the fans’ “focused flow technology” that eliminates static pressure.

Gamers, looking to get the most out of their computer will love the NH-U12S. The automatic speed controls kick in promptly before approaching maximum temperatures. That keeps your components nice and frosty, stopping heat degradation before it can do any damage.

The Noctua NH-U12S is ideal for mid-range CPUs with moderate power e.g. the 6-core Ryzen 5 3600x or 8-core Ryzen 7 5800x.

1. Scythe Ninja 5 CPU Cooler

Dimensions (LxWxH):‎ 5.31 x 6.1 x 7.09 inches
Fan Speed: 800 RPM
Max Volume: 14 dBA
TDP: 95 W

The Scythe Ninja is a beasty CPU cooler geared for absolute silence. As you can see, the design features an oversized heatsink with dual 120mm fans stuck back to back. This creates a push/ pull kind of configuration that successfully keeps temps low without adding a lot of noise.

The Kaze Flex 120 PWM fans have maximum speeds of 800 RPM to produce whisper low noise levels of 4 – 14.5 dBA. Impressively, if your CPU does not require that much power, the oversized heatsink can manage to keep things cold on its own by running the cooler 100% fanless.

In terms of the design, the heatsink consists of six copper pipes and a huge copper base. The cut-out provides 2.1” of extra clearance under the heatsink so there’s no overhang above the memory slots. With the fans installed, the clearance stays the same because it’s possible to raise them up.

Overall, the Scythe Ninja is an extremely quiet CPU cooler that has no problems cooling an 8-core 5800x or below.

Best Passive Cooler

2. ARCTIC Alpine 12 Passive

Dimensions (LxWxH):‎ 3.74 x 3.74 x 2.72 inches
Max Volume: 0 dBA
TDP: 47 W

The ARCTIC Alpine 12 looks a bit like the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Chunky, minimalist, and built with function in mind first, this is a great “stock-cooler replacement” that keeps temps low. Keep in mind that it’s specific for Intel sockets (1200), meaning it won’t work with AMD.

Even though this passive cooler has no fans, it’s still capable of keeping Intel CPUs (up to 47 W) operating at sufficient temperatures. This is in part thanks to the optimized heat exchange that sits between the aluminum plates and the surrounding air. Thermal paste is also directly applied.

The beautiful thing about this passive cooler is that it requires zero maintenance whatsoever. It doesn’t have to be checked on, unplugged, or touched up. Instead, it just does its thing without any trouble. All while working 100% fanless for an inaudible operation.

1. Noctua NH P1 Passive CPU Cooler

Dimensions (LxWxH):‎ 5.98 x 6.06 x 6.22 inches
Max Volume: 0 dBA
TDP: 65 W

The NH P1 is Noctuas’ first passive CPU cooler. Everything about the design of this unit has been custom-engineered from the ground up. This includes the development of the massive heatsink, the compact heat exchanger, as well as the deliberately spaced-apart aluminum cooling fins.

Clearly, this is not your average heatsink. The thicker, more widely spaced cooling fins achieve extra thermal cooling mass while minimizing airflow and resistance. The result is effortless, natural, convection-cooling capabilities that have no problems keeping a CPU chilly.

To accommodate larger GPUs, RAM modules, and other hardware components, the NH P1 has an asymmetrical design. Not only does the form look awesome, but gamers will be able to squeeze their hardware into position, without worrying about this cooler blocking their upgrades.

In terms of performance, the NH P1 is suitable for processors with low to moderate heat dissipation. Although Noctua doesn’t rate it with a TDP, we’ve found it capable of cooling mainstream CPUs up to 65W TDP. It’s worth noting that like most passive coolers, it’s not intended for overclocking.

To enhance performance even further (or semi-passive setups that only fire up their fans when necessary), the NH-P1 can also accommodate an ultra-quiet 120mm fan. With the (1200-rpm) NF-A12x25 installed, the NH P1 can achieve an improved 100W TDP with as low as 12.1 dB of noise.

Overall, you won’t find a better quiet CPU cooler than this innovative passive option from Noctua.

We hope you found a quiet CPU cooler on this list.

Click here for the 10 best RGB AIO Coolers!

Click here for a list of the 10 best RGB Power Supplies!

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