• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

Noob Question: How to choose CPU Cooler?

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.

GreatUSA

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2016
Sorry to be creating a thread here as I'm sure there are many more serious problems that people are dealing with!

This is the first time I'm overclocking a CPU and it's the first time I'm buying a CPU cooler. This is the CPU for my main PC.

The CPU is a Q9400.

I want to spend extra on this CPU cooler because I want to use this CPU cooler when I upgrade my CPU like to a CPU that will be released in the future for a socket that hasn't be released as yet. How can I make sure the CPU cooler I buy now will work with a socket that Intel hasn't made as yet?

Since the CPU is so old how can I make sure the CPU cooler will work with Q9400?

I know that companies have a list of which motherboard sockets are supported, but wouldn't I need to buy a mounting bracket or something so it'll fit on my Q9400 and also fit onto future Intel/AMD sockets?

Thank you!
 

Mjolnir

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2009
Location
Sydney, Australia
It's probably best you keep your question around cooling/your overclock on your other thread as it's related rather than creating a new one :).

Your board is LGA 775, so just check that for compatibility. A Cooler Master 212 Evo or something along those lines should suit you fine.
 
OP
G

GreatUSA

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2016
Thanks, but I thought this deserved its own thread because it's about a CPU cooler.

I've never installed a CPU cooler before so if the CPU cooler says it's compatible with motherboard sockets 775/1156/2011-3 then it will definitely fit onto all of these? How is this possible? Wouldn't I need to buy mounting brackets or something?
 
OP
G

GreatUSA

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2016
Thanks! I'm reading that now.

I still don't understand how a CPU cooler will be compatible with my very old socket 775 CPU and ALSO work with a new generation CPU...?
 
Last edited:

inVain

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2011
check the mfg. website for a heatsink compatibily list.

downloading the manual should give you a better insight of how a heatsink should be mounted on a paticular system.
viewing the contents of a heatsink package on a review would also be a good idea.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Thanks! I'm reading that now.

I still don't understand how a CPU cooler will be compatible with my very old socket 775 CPU and ALSO work with a new generation CPU...?

Because they ship with more than one bracket.
 

Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Location
Go Blue!
Welcome to the forum GreatUSA! All manufacturers will list what sockets are compatible as others have mentioned. Most coolers will include any needed mounting hardware to use with a variety of sockets. There is no way of knowing how the next socket will be laid out so unfortunately there no way to future proof for that. MJolnir recommeded the Cooler Master 212 Evo and it is a fine cooler, but they have since updated this cooler and are getting better results with their new 212x and is only a few dollars more. Don't waste you money on the dual fan version though as you'll only see about a 1c difference if any. Here's a link to it.

Also make sure that you have room in your case for these tower coolers. The 212x has a height of 158mm. Most case manufactures list the cooler clearance available.


EDIT: Ninja'd by ATMINSIDE once again. LOL
 

Mjolnir

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2009
Location
Sydney, Australia
I keep forgetting about the 212X despite owning/installing one in my brothers computer a while ago.. Haha.

But yes I don't really personally recommend any higher than that, and yes they come with all different brackets for the different sockets :)
 
OP
G

GreatUSA

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2016
Does anyone know if it's possible for me buy a CPU cooler that'll work with a CPU socket that hasn't been released by Intel as yet? I know the 2011-3 socket is current, but what about future sockets?
 

Mjolnir

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2009
Location
Sydney, Australia
I think you're getting ahead of yourself. You're on LGA 775 for one.

The LGA 115x platform has used the same mounting bracket since gen one i7, and 2011 and 2011-3 use the same as well. There's no way for us to know, however, that they'll continue this trend if anything changes in the future that requires a complete socket overhaul.

What do you mean 'their side'? Your board is relatively flat, it shouldn't really impede on most coolers..
 

ehume

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2009
The last time I did a heatsink review was in February. I reference a number of heatsinks there. Your key is here: FumaA.png

Bottom line: if you are one a budget, go with one of the Scythe products. No budget, get a Noctua NH-D15 or an NH-D15S.
 
OP
G

GreatUSA

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2016
I think you're getting ahead of yourself. You're on LGA 775 for one.

The LGA 115x platform has used the same mounting bracket since gen one i7, and 2011 and 2011-3 use the same as well. There's no way for us to know, however, that they'll continue this trend if anything changes in the future that requires a complete socket overhaul.

What do you mean 'their side'? Your board is relatively flat, it shouldn't really impede on most coolers..

Thanks for your reply.

This is a picture of what I mean. See how the CPU fan is pointed down and you can see the Intel sticker? My current CPU cooler is pointed in this direction, but most of the CPU coolers I've seen are horizontal.

SSPX0002.jpg
 

Mjolnir

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2009
Location
Sydney, Australia
Yes, the intel stock cooler is a top-down style cooler.

Most 'tower' based coolers flow sideways or up/down depending on your installation orientation/board.

It doesn't really matter in most cases.

Your case looks like an Antec P series case, so it'll likely fit most standard tower coolers shorter than 160mm.
 
OP
G

GreatUSA

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2016
The problem with the CPU cooler being horizontal is that I'm worried it'll be too big for my motherboard and that it won't fit...

Sorry that's not my PC, but that's what my motherboard and CPU cooler look like at the moment. I just linked that pic to give you a better idea of what I meant.
 
OP
G

GreatUSA

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2016
Thanks so much!

I'm trying to put a list together so that I can hear people's opinions on which CPU cooler I should buy.