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KITGURU SHORTLISTS: THE BEST COOLER OF 2021

Last updated on April 6th, 2021 at 01:33 pm

Gone are the days when a cooler’s only requirement was to keep your CPU at a safe temperature. With the advent of liquid cooling, RGB and advanced control systems, coolers can be a thing of beauty.

NZXT Kraken X73 RGB

It was difficult to see how NZXT could improve the original X-3 AIO series but the addition of RGB fans has certainly covered all bases now, especially for hardcore RGB enthusiasts looking for the full RGB effect. Even with lower fan speed, the Kraken X73 RGB is still a top performer for cooling high-end overclocked CPUs.

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Zalman CNPS20X and CNPS17X

We have two coolers from Zalman that share the designation CNPS which stands for Computer Noise Prevention System. The cheaper Zalman CNPS17X is rated at 200W and employs a single 140mm fan, while the Zalman CNPS20X is rated at 300W and uses a dual tower design with two 140mm fans. The fans are PWM items that are rated to 1,500rpm with Fluid Dynamic Bearings and they also include Digital 5V RGB lighting.

 

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Deepcool Castle 280EX

Taken as a whole, the Castle 280EX is an excellent all-round package. The combination of the minimalistic appearance to the fan design and the hint of RGB lighting works really well, I would certainly recommend adding the Castle 280EX to your CPU cooler shortlist for future system builds, especially for those with a tight budget but looking for maximum thermal performance.

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DeepCool AS500 Plus

We were particularly impressed by the DeepCool AS500 Plus. Its U-type heatpipe design that traverses the AMD chip in a preferential direction proved effective for delivering strong all-out performance and excellent 40dBA results. Plus, the cooler was easy to work with, gives plenty of RAM clearance, and ships at a reasonable £65.

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Arctic Liquid Freezer II

The Liquid Freezer II is a follow up to Arctic's original Liquid Freezer range of AIO coolers. With some interesting features on show, the Liquid Freezer II will attempt to knock our current best performing all-in-one cooler, the Deepcool Castle 240EX off its throne when we put it through its paces on our test bench later.

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