Best CPU Coolers for AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs (Review Roundup)

CG Director Author Alex Glawion  by Alex Glawion   ⋮   ⋮   36 comments
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Best CPU Coolers for AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs (Review Roundup)

AMD’s Threadripper CPUs were designed to deliver incredible performance at shockingly cheap prices.

To be able to do this though, they absolutely need a powerful and reliable cooling solution. That’s especially true if you’re using the CPU for multi-core optimized tasks, such as rendering, as you’ll be running the processor at full capacity for extended periods of time.

As such, the last thing you want is an inefficient cooler that causes your CPU to exceed its thermal boundaries, which would ultimately throttle your processor and make it under-perform.

In this article we’re going to help you pick the best cooler for your Threadripper CPU, and answer all your questions about whether to go for an HSF or AIO cooler, and if fan sizes matter.

HSF Coolers or AIO liquid coolers?

HSF (HeatSink and Fan) coolers rely on (usually) copper heatpipes to draw the heat away from the processor and into the aluminium fins of the heatsink, which warms up the surrounding air.

Best CPU Coolers for AMD Threadripper - HSF or Liquid Aio

Image Source: Arctic, Thermaltake

One or more fans attached to the heatsink push this hot air away, cooling the entire apparatus.

As the name suggests, AIO (All-In-One) liquid coolers rely on the circulation of a liquid (generally a blend of distilled water and a thermally conductive fluid) to carry away the heat from the CPU to a radiator with fans.

The fans dissipate the heat and the cooled liquid travels back to the pump at the CPU.

AIO means that the entire setup (pump, tubing, radiator, fluid, fans) comes factory-assembled, with the goal of making installation quick and easy.

When it comes to AMD’s Threadripper CPUs, HSF coolers hold a number of benefits over AIO liquid coolers.

They’re usually cheaper (with prices ranging from $40 to $120), have fewer moving parts (and thus fewer points of failure), and as we’ll see, the best ones on our list even outperform most AIO coolers.

The situation with Threadripper-compatible AIO liquid coolers is a little more complex.

Due to its large size, the Threadripper CPU package requires a specially-designed base plate to provide full coverage of the processor’s IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader).

While the HSF coolers on our list all come with extended base plates to ensure maximum contact with the IHS, most AIO coolers haven’t made that step yet, and still use circular cold plates that leave the edges of the IHS exposed.

AIO coolers available for Threadripper CPUs therefore aren’t cooling as efficiently as they could, allowing the HSF coolers to match (and even exceed) their performance.

The only exception to this are Enermax Liqtech TR4 coolers, that do come with an extended cold plate, but as we’ll discuss below, the Enermax coolers have a number of issues that make a recommendation unlikely.

So why use AIO coolers at all?

If you’re using your PC for rendering, video encoding, and generally tasks that are highly multi-threaded and over long periods of time, AIO coolers can be instrumental in preventing throttling of the processor, while HSF coolers might suffer after a while.

The issue here is one of specific heat capacity. The heatpipes in an HSF are usually made of copper, while the heatsink is often aluminium.

Copper, while a wonderful conductor of heat, has a specific heat capacity ten times lower than water (source). Which means that on absorbing the same amount of heat, the temperature of copper will rise ten times more than that of water.

This isn’t an issue over a short period of time, as the fans on the heatsink quickly dissipate the heat, cooling the aluminium and the copper (and thus the CPU).

But when a CPU (especially an overclocked one) is dealing with extended load, the heat generated could overwhelm an HSF cooler eventually.

This is where the AIO shines.

Since water can absorb a lot more heat before its temperature rises significantly, an AIO allows the processor to run overclocked (both automatic and manual overclock) for longer durations without throttling.

Other benefits of AIO coolers include the fact that unlike HSF coolers, clearance issues with RAM slots and the first PCI-E slot are easy to avoid as the AIO radiator can be installed away from the motherboard (in a sufficiently large PC-Case).

Does Fan Size Matter?

The short answer is Yes.

Best CPU Coolers for AMD Threadripper - Does Fan Size Matter

Image-Source: Arctic

A larger fan will push more air than a smaller one, which means that it could spin slower than a smaller fan and still dissipate the same amount of heat.

Thus a 140mm fan will usually be quieter than a comparable 120mm fan at same airflow-performance.

Do note, though,  that a larger fan in rare cases can lead to clearance issues with other components on the motherboard, as we’ll see with some of the fans below.

Best Air Coolers for Threadripper CPUs

Budget Recommendation—Arctic Freezer 33 TR

Coming in at under $50, the Freezer 33 TR is an absolute steal. It’s quiet, well-built, and comes with 10 years of warranty from Arctic.

As such, it’s a great choice if you need a cost-effective cooler to keep your CPU under the 68 degree Celsius threshold recommended by AMD.

The Freezer 33 TR comes with a 120mm PWM fan (200-1800 RPM) that attaches to the heatsink with a pair of snap mounts.

Best CPU Coolers for AMD Threadripper - Arctic Freezer 33 TR

Image-Source: Arctic

Arctic provides another pair of snap braces if you wish to add an optional second 120mm fan in a dual-fan push/pull configuration.

The heatsink consists of 4 copper heatpipes and aluminium fins.

Arctic has chosen to ditch the base plate and instead went with a direct-touch solution, where the heatpipes have been milled at the base to provide a flat contact surface with the CPU’s IHS.

Best CPU Coolers for AMD Threadripper - Arctic Freezer 33 TR Base

Image-Source: Arctic

On a 1920X clocked at 3.7 GHz (tested by Kitguru), the Freezer 33 TR was able to maintain impressive temperatures of 30°C at Idle and 50°C at full load on Cinebench R15, beating the Fractal Celsius S24, a 240mm AIO cooling solution.

That said, though, even a moderate overclock of 4.0 GHz on the 1920X resulted in the temperatures shooting to 73°C under full load, which is less than ideal.

In a Tech-Legend test of the 2950X clocked at 4.4 GHz, temperatures rose to 81°C, which shows that the Freezer 33 TR isn’t the right choice if you wish to overclock your CPU to any significant extent.

With noise levels at just 23 decibels with the fan at 100% (source), amidst the other sounds of your PC and the environment, it shouldn’t be audible at all.

One small caveat is that the installation guide doesn’t come bundled, and has to be downloaded off Arctic’s website.

It’s important to note that Arctic recommends this cooler for a TDP of up to 200 W, which means that it isn’t capable of handling 250W behemoths like the Threadripper 2970WX and 2990WX.

This is a great Budget pick, though, for 180W Threadripper CPU’s such as the 1900X, 1920X, 1950X, 2920X and the 2950X.

CGDirector Value Pick—Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3

The Noctua NH-U14S supports the entire range of Threadripper CPUs, and its 80$ price-tag makes it one of the best coolers you can go for today.

One thing to note, though,  is that at a height of 6.75 inches, it might have trouble fitting into smaller cases.

It consists of 6 nickel-plated copper heatpipes, a large aluminium heatsink, and a 140mm PWM fan (300-1500 RPM).

Best CPU Coolers for AMD Threadripper - Noctua NH-U14S

Image-Source: Noctua

Noctua provides additional mounting gear if you wish to install a second fan in push/pull configuration.

A nickel-plated smooth copper block serves as the contact surface.

Best CPU Coolers for AMD Threadripper - Noctua Base

Image-Source: Noctua

The installation is dead simple, as the mounting screws and brackets come pre-attached to the cooler.

The size of the heatsink means that the cooler often has clearance issues with the first PCI-E slot.

Thankfully, Noctua allows for offset mounting of the heatsink at 3mm or 6mm, which helps you avoid contact with your GPU in the first PCI-E slot.

The cooler is designed to not block RAM modules, but if you have high-profile DIMM, it is possible to slide the Fan up a bit, to make room for your high-profile RAM modules.

In testing by Kitguru on a 1950X clocked at 3.4 GHz, the NH-U14S gave idle and full load temperature deltas of 6.6°C and 37.7°C respectively (the ambient temperature of the testing environment is subtracted from the CPU temperature readings to calculate temperature deltas).

At an overclock of 4.0 GHz, the temperature deltas climbed to 8.3°C and 64.3°C, indicating superb cooling performance for moderate overclocking.

At a 4.4 GHz overclock on a 2950X (tested by Tech-Legend), the temperatures at full load touched 74°C.

As such, if you’re running your CPU at a high overclock, or are using the beefier 2970WX or 2990WX models, Noctua recommends adding a second fan to keep temperatures down.

At a reported noise level of 24.8 dBA (by Tom’s Hardware) at 1m distance with the fan at 100%, this cooler can barely be heard.

Apart from the size of the cooler, there’s little to complain about here, though the brown & beige colour scheme might not appeal to everyone.

No-Questions-Asked Performance Pick—be quiet! Dark Rock Pro TR4

The Dark Rock Pro TR4 is the best performing HSF cooler available in the market today. It’s powerful yet silent, boasts of great build quality, and supports all the Threadripper CPUs.

The $90 price tag is high but justified for a product leading the competition.

Best CPU Coolers for AMD Threadripper - Be quiet Dark Rock Pro 4

Image-Source: beQuiet

The cooler features 7 copper heatpipes and two PWM fans—a 120mm fan (up to 1200 RPM) at the front, and a 135mm fan (up to 1400 RPM) at the centre of the heatsink in a push/pull configuration.

The brushed-aluminium base plate provides an excellent contact surface with the IHS.

Installation is easy if you follow the provided manual, though the cooler might have clearance issues with tall DIMMs, which can be circumvented by moving the first fan up a bit.

Best CPU Coolers for AMD Threadripper - Be quiet base

Image-Source: beQuiet

At a Guru3D conducted test on the 2990WX at 4.0 GHz, the cooler gave incredibly impressive readings of 34°C and 64°C at idle and full load respectively.

Kitguru tested the Dark Rock Pro TR4 on a 1950X at 4.0 GHz, where it returned temperature deltas of 7.3°C at idle and 62.6°C at full load on Prime 95, even beating the scores of the Noctua NH-U14S.

In a noise level test by Tom’s Hardware, the cooler even turned out to be quieter than Noctua’s, with a dBA of merely 22.8 from a 1m distance at max fan-speed.

The Dark Rock Pro TR4 not only outperforms most AIOs when it comes to raw numbers, but also gives your CPU decent overclocking headroom.

The only minor complaint we have about this cooler is the 3 year warranty, which is the lowest of the HSF coolers on this list.

Best AiO Liquid Coolers for Threadripper CPUs

Budget Recommendation—Fractal Design Celsius S36

The Celsius S36 is a $118, 360mm AIO cooler that supports the entire range of Threadripper CPUs, and delivers respectable performance for the price.

TechPowerUp states the build quality to be good and the product comes with a 5 year warranty.

Best CPU Coolers for AMD Threadripper - Fractal Design Celsius S36

Image-Source: Fractal Design

It features three 120mm PWM fans (500-2000 RPM), rubber tubing in a nylon-braided sleeve, and an aluminium radiator.

The circular copper cold plate doesn’t cover the entire Threadripper IHS, but does cover all the dies in the CPU.

Testing by B2G on a 1950X at a clock of 3.4 GHz gives a reading of 36°C at idle and 74°C at full load.

At a dbA of 36 at full load (as measured by Guru3D), the Celsius S36 is louder than the HSF coolers on this list, but still quiet enough to not be bothersome.

Best CPU Coolers for AMD Threadripper - Fractal Celsius Base

Image-Source: Fractal Design

Since living room noise levels are generally pegged at 40dBA, you shouldn’t be able to hear this cooler during day-to-day use.

The radiator is quite large, meaning that you’ll probably need a full tower to accommodate it.

If you’re looking for a cheap yet well-performing AIO solution, the Celsius S36 checks all those boxes.

CGDirector Value Pick—EVGA CLC 280

As the name suggests, the EVGA CLC 280 is a 280mm AIO cooler.

Priced at $125, the performance of the CLC 280 blows most other AIOs out of the water, whether it’s Corsair, NZXT or be quiet! (source), and the product comes with 5 years of warranty.

Best CPU Coolers for AMD Threadripper - EVGA CLC 280

Image-Source: EVGA

The CLC 280 consists of two 140mm PWM fans (600-2200 RPM), a circular copper contact surface and an aluminum radiator.

The EVGA flow control software adjusts fan speeds based on CPU temperatures, and allows you to configure the cooler’s RGB lights to change colors depending on the temperature of the processor.

Best CPU Coolers for AMD Threadripper - EVGA base

Image-Source: EVGA

At 44 dBA of noise with fans at max speed (as reported by Tom’s Hardware), the CLC 280 is a bit noisier compared to its counterparts.

Lastly, as with the Fractal Celsius S36, the CLC 280 also requires a large cabinet to fit in. If space is not an issue, though,  the CLC 280 is a great performing AIO at its price point.

No-Questions-Asked Performance Pick—Thermaltake Water 3.0 Riing

Priced at $140, the Water 3.0 is a fantastic 360mm AIO cooler for the entire line-up of Threadripper CPUs.

The cooler features three 120mm PWM fans (800-1500 RPM), a copper cold plate with an aluminum radiator, and sleeved rubbed cables to extend the life of the tubing.

Best CPU Coolers for AMD Threadripper - Thermaltake Riing

Image-Source: Thermaltake

The Water 3.0 comes with a warranty of 3 years, which is a bit on the low-end.

Twelve addressable RGB LEDs spaced around the fans add to the aesthetics of the cooler, but might not be to everyone’s taste.

In a test by Phoronix on a 2990WX at 3.0 GHz, the Thermaltake Water 3.0 returned temperatures of 24.75°C at idle and 63.88°C at full load for over 2 hours of continuous benchmarking.

Note that this reflects an even higher performance than the Noctua NH-U14S HSF cooler in our list, which in turn gave readings of 26°C and 68.88°C at idle and full load in this test.

Best CPU Coolers for AMD Threadripper - Thermaltake Riing base

Image-Source: Thermaltake

The noise levels max out at 43.1 dBA for the cooler (as noted by Nikkitech), which should be low enough to not be an issue for most users.

Overall, the Thermaltake Water 3.0 is the best AIO cooler you can currently buy, and if your needs require liquid cooling, the $50+ premium it demands over the HSF coolers is well-justified.

The Cooler to Avoid

A note of caution on  the Enermax Liqtech TR4 AIO coolers.

The Liqtech coolers are the only AIO coolers in the market with a cold plate that completely covers the Threadripper IHS.

As such, their performance and cooling capability dwarfs every other cooler on this list.

Here’s the problem though: as a stroll through Newegg and Amazon reviews reveals, these coolers have been plagued with issues for years, ranging from corrosive cooling liquid that congeals into a gel and causes the cooler to malfunction, to fans that stop working after a few months.

Enermax made a post in September 2018 acknowledging these issues and claiming that they had been fixed in the latest batch of Liqtech TR4 coolers, but since then, negative reviews have continued pouring in. Thus we are currently recommending to stay away from this series of coolers.

 

That’s about it! What CPU Cooler and PC-Build are you thinking of buying? Let me know in the comments!

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Alex Glawion - post author

Hi, I’m Alex, a Freelance 3D Generalist, Motion Designer and Compositor.

I’ve built a multitude of Computers, Workstations and Renderfarms and love to optimize them as much as possible.

Feel free to comment and ask for suggestions on your PC-Build or 3D-related Problem, I’ll do my best to help out!

36
Comments
Also check out our Forum for feedback from our Expert Community.

stickler

I really hate Noctua, their entire lineup is trash and they cost an arm and a leg. I have a tr system with one but at the time it was the only shitty cooler available for the setup. Now that I look at the tr lineup its looks completely shit, no age old easy fit cooling for tr you are completely boned because AMD had to produce such a massive processor. Yes technically you can go liquid cooling but then your not using open air. My biggest gripe about the tr is though not even the coolers, but rather the mobos. Their overpriced and designed like shit to eventually develop problems or fail at some point, I have two dead onboard sata connections completely unusable on my gigabyte board. Worse yet it has bios problems, which seems to be a normal thing on all tr lineups. Anytime you open your case your bios resets to default, a reddit page described a fix for the issue to swap out the proccesor and put it back for cold reset for the bios to pick up. Which in my opinion is so stupid makes you wonder what the manufacturing were thinking, I have heard even worse stories though the tr boards not utilizing the full amount of available physical ram so if say you had 128 gb the board only detected about 80 or 90 gb. This isn’t AMD’s fault its the shitty board manufacturing, and the cost hike for tr makes a lick of sense.

Chris

If I understand your comment, it’s essentially this:

You hate Noctua because they’re trash. You bought one because it was the only shit available. Now, their lineup is complete shit. Your biggest gripe about TR is that mobos are shit because you’ve had problems with yours. You’ve heard stories though about problems you haven’t had which add to them being shit.

So can you return to the actual subject of this article – coolers, and enunciate the problem you have with Noctua instead of rambling on about totally unrelated issues while offering not a single specific issue with Noctua?

Fisher

Hey Alex thanks for the very informative article!

I recently build myself a pc with AMD Ryzen R5 3600, motherboard ASUS B450-F. I’ve been getting 52°C idling with no programs open, and a constant 75~80s°C while gaming (automatically overclocked). Now I’m still new to the desktop rigs, but it seems too high for my liking while most people say its what happens with Ryzen, they get hot usually. I’m using the stock Wraith Stealth fan and 3 fans from the case

Recently I’m getting high temperature spikes like 94°C, which is persuading me to get a better cooler. I’ve been seeing a lot of recommendations for the CM Hyper 212, what would your take on this be? The overclocking sessions could be as long as 3~5 hours.

https://i.imgur.com/XDkFFWv.jpg This was the last straw seeing the fans running full on but still getting a huge spike.

Thanks in advance!

Muhammad Ahmed

Hi thanks for alot of Information.
I need some help. I studied this article and bought a ryzen 7 2700x and gtx 1060 for rendering in blender. I render 24/7 usually for weeks. But this ryzen 7 gets hot like while rendering 85C is always there in CPU. So do I need a AOI cooler or 2700x default wraith prism cooler is fine? Cz I usually render 24/7. So what do u suggest.

Thanks alot man

TPG

Hi there. I’m about to upgrade my aging PC and buy the ASUS Zenith II extreme alpha motherboard, with 128Gb Corsair RAM, and the AMD Gen3 3960X Ryzen Threadripper. I’m happy with the choice of motherboard, RAM, and CPU. Now I need to know what would be the best CPU cooler solution for the CPU based on the given components. First I’m favoring going down the air cooler route: I’ve been undecided for a while but I’m down to the Noctua or the Be Quiet Dark Pro TR4. On the flip side some are saying use custom water cooling solution or AIO cooler. If I go for an AIO cooler which one? Krazen K73? Or what about an EGVA AIO cooler? I’m going to be using the PC for development/coding type work and gaming not so much rendering or video encoding for example.

Bart

Hi gang. I’ve got 3960x cooled with Corsair Hydro 115i (AMD recommended cooler). While rendering with Arnold I constantly get somewhere around 87-91 celsius. These are not long renders – sth around up to 3 hours, then active work, look dev and render again.

Should I be worried with those? Shouldn’t I get much lower temp readings?

matt

Have you tried the alphacool eisbaer (RGB version includes TR4 bracket). I have been using these (360 version) inside 4U cases as they have one of the largest cold plates. The width provides full coverage and leaves about 7mm top and bottom visible of the IHS when mounted.

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

Hey Matt,
I have tried the Alphacool Eisbaer with a Threadripper 3990X and it works nicely. The larger cold plate though doesn’t seem to impact performance all that much. The chiplets are fairly far from the edge of the outermost heatspreader area so that probably is why. The smaller cold plate aios like the corsair h150i performs well too even though it covers much less than the eisbaer.

Cheers,
Alex

Joe

I just received and immediately returned a Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 cooling fan. I don’t know why everyone is recommending them. Did you actually get your hands on one and install it onto an AMD TR4 Threadriper Ryzen? (Those were my search terms where I found your page.) It. Does. Not. Fit. Yet the Noctua site specifically states it is compatible with the TR4. The screws do not match the holes. This is all besides the fact that this fan is obscenely huge. It will not fit next to the GPU card. The card was there first. It’s not moving! It’s the fan that needs to be accommodating not the graphics card, that is staying in the first slot. period.

I have a dead Enermax all-in-one water cooler. The water coolers left me with a bad taste. I’m not getting one again. I don’t know what to get.

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

Hey Joe,
Sorry for the trouble you are having, though I’ve got a Noctua NH-U14S installed in a Threadripper 2950X System right now! That system has 4 GPUs and although it’s a bit tight, they all fit nicely.
I also have a bequiet dark rock pro 4 tr4 threadripper system here. The cooler is similarly sized, but I have no trouble placing any of the other components. What are the Motherboard and GPU you are using?

Cheers,
Alex

Joe

Hi Thanks for the quick answer. I have a Threadripper 1950X. The GPU is a Radeon 550.
I’ve all but decided on a Noctua NH9U or a NH U12S. I followed the Threadripper compatible links on Noctua’s web page, taking me to these items.

The NH U12S is in stock at Amazon and is reasonably priced, while the NH 9U says “ships from Italy.”

Your advice would be appreciated if you think I’m making a terrible mistake.

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

Hey Joe,
The NHu9 will most likely perform better with higher radiator mass and more heatpipes. It’s also a bit smaller giving you more room for other components.

This one here: https://amzn.to/2KOYezP, where does it say ships from italy?

Cheers,
Alex

Eric

I have the KrakenX72 on my 3970x right now, but constant software issues have me consulting this for alternatives. When looking into the TT 3.0 Riing based on your reviews, I came across a TR4 specific TT Aio (as seen here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RBR8BRW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

Would it be safe to say this is effectively the AIO youre recommending, but even better fitted for the Threadripper.? Or if not, is a worse AIO still better to get for its larger cold plate?

Kraken actually performs really well….when it performs. Randomly decides to stop increasing pump speeds with CPU temps

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

Hey Eric,
A 360mm aio like the Thermaltake Riing you linked is about as good as it gets for cooling Threadripper cpus. Many coolers don’t cover the entire heatspreader of the cpu, as it is so big, but tests have shown this isn’t all that bad, as the chiplets have quite some distance from the cpu-package-edges.

NZXT Kraken too is excellent for cooling Threadrippers and often shipped with Tthreadripper reviews samples directly from AMD.

Cheers,
Alex

Priyesh Udawat

Cooler master also offers Aio which covers complete area of threadripper. Model is Rgb ml360

Spikey

Yup noticed that full cover retrofit as well…. Need to see comparsions with the noctura

Hey Priyesh,

I agree – the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360 RGB TR4 Edition covers the whole Threadripper CPU. No reviews of this particular AIO at the moment but as soon as we have more info on this, especially something that also talks about its cooling performance in relation to the 3rd generation of Threadripper CPUs, we will definitely update this article.

Cheers,
Alex

Khalid Awid

Hi Alex,
Is Thermaltake confirm that Thermaltake Water 3.0 Riing able to cool the amount of wattage of Threadripper 3970X CPUs which has 280W TDP, Please advise. Thanks.

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

Hey Khalid,
Yes it is compatible and will cool it sufficiently. You can also check the official AMD recommended cooling solutions for Threadripper here:
https://www.amd.com/en/thermal-solutions-threadripper

Cheers,
Alex

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