If you’re looking to create a mini-ITX gaming system (or any other small-form-factor rig) because of space restrictions, a lower-profile cooler is your best option. Finding the low profile CPU cooler that meets your demands is a time-consuming process. There are so many options in the market, and it is really tricky to choose best Low Profile CPU Coolers from the thousands of items.
You have to ensure that the cooler you buy offers the best cooling performance you had hoped. Here are the 7 best low profile CPU coolers (both AIO and air), that we have tested personally on different levels like overclocking, quality test, price /performance ratio, and a lot more. So rest assured that only the best ones will reach you. Let’s begin now.
Best Low Profile CPU Cooler | A Quick Glance
|Ranking||Best Low Profile CPU Coolers||Reviews|
|1.||Noctua NH-L9a-AM4||5 out of 5|
|2.||Noctua NH-L9i||5 out of 5|
|3.||Cooler Master MasterAir G100M RGB||4 out of 5|
|4.||SilverStone NT08-115XP||4 out of 5|
|5.||Be Quiet! Dark Rock TF||4 out of 5|
|6.||Cryorig C7-47mm||4 out of 5|
|7.||NZXT Kraken M22||4 out of 5|
Best Low Profile CPU Cooler | A Detailed Review
1. Noctua NH-L9a-AM4
- Simple to Mount
- Low 37mm Profile
- Exceptional Cooling Capacity
- Only AM4 Socket
- Weird Color Theme
Naturally, it’s impossible to talk about CPU coolers and not mention Noctua. The NH-L9i cooler you’ll find here is the exact thing you’d imagine from a Noctua item: high-quality, efficient, quiet, and, unfortunately, a little expensive.
The Noctua NNH-L9a-AM4 is one of the easy CPU coolers to install and takes just 37mm space, including fans and heat sinks, which enables it to fit in any compact case. Did we forget to mention that it has stunning and low-cost fans?
Its TDP is 60 watts and offers 100% compatibility with any RAM module on the market. Its footprint is so small that it doesn’t restrict PCIe cards. This helps you get cool PCIe cards and RAMs that are crucial in all tightly packed components.
We came across a few downsides of this low profile cooler such as low TDP. We know that many people aren’t a fan of the strange color themes; however, the quality, performance, and material make people want it more and more.
This Noctua cooler uses only top-quality parts and has installed an NF-A9x14 premium PWM fan in the heat sink. So, if you’re looking for the best CPU cooler then trust us, you won’t find a compact, silent, and lightweight pick than Noctua.
2. Noctua NH-L9i
- Works Silently
- 600 – 2,500 RPM
- Compact and Lightweight
- High Price Tag
- Limited Supply
- Not for Overclocking
And we’re mentioning Noctua once again, but we are helpless because it always keeps coming with premium low profile coolers earning a solid reputation for PC cooling equipment. Their PC fans and air coolers are regularly rated as the top of the line on the market and Noctua NHC-L9i is no exception.
The NH-L9i costs less than $50 and is 37mm tall, making it the slimmest CPU cooler in our review guide. The NH-9i is 100% compatible with AMD and Intel processors too. However, to use it with an AM4 motherboard and processor, you’ll have to choose the same version of the cooler.
The only issue with the NH-L9i we observed is its typical color scheme. Some might like it, and some might not. But, Noctua has just released black versions of their well-famous fans. If you’re interested in the best cooling that Noctua offers but don’t like their brown-tan colors, you can always go with the black model of the NH-L9i.
If aesthetics do not interest you much, or you are working with a windowless mini-ITX case, then the original color code of Noctua NH-L9i should be a problem for you. All in all, if you want an affordable low profile cooler that delivers powerful performance and operates silently, then Noctua NH-9i should be your first-ever choice.
3. Cooler Master MasterAir G100M RGB
- Extremely Slim
- Work Silently at 100%
- Included RGB Lighting
- Overhang Design
- Not For Overclocking
- Installation is Difficult
If you desperately want the best low profile CPU cooler but do not love the common design that most of the compact coolers offer, then you might want to get your hands on Cooler Master’s MasterAir G100M RGB. Let’s tell you why we love this item.
With its unique design like a space UFO, it surely attracts many customers. When we first looked at it, we immediately fell in love with the manufacturers’ efforts in the design itself. And guess what? You get an RGB as well.
When it comes to performance, the MasterAir G100M is a beast. Similar to its predecessor, the NH-L9i, this CPU cooler comes with a 92mm-wide fan. But it can easily work with all processors having 13W TDP. Impressive, is not it?
Cooler Master claims that you can use their G100M with more powerful CPUs or for low to moderate overclocking. This low profile cooler is priced moderately, and you can grab it at less than $50. Even though it might not suit those on an extremely tight budget, it is worth buying for a mid-range setup.
The MasterAir G100M is fully compatible with AMD and Intel systems which is why we love it. Overall, it is the best CPU cooler for you because it offers decent cooling, offers RGB lights, and has a stunning design enough to impress you.
4. SilverStone NT08-115XP
- Compact 1.34″ Height
- Intel Stock Cooler Alternative
- Lacks RGB
- Less Supply
- Overclocking Issues
We all hate when we are so dedicated to a small PC build and suddenly realize that our Intel stock cooler doesn’t fit into the chassis? In such a situation, Silverstone is here to rescue you.
Silverstone’s latest cooler within the Nitrogen series, NT08-115XP, is only 1.3″ (33 millimeters) tall and is the perfect size for super-compact constructions.
The fan comes with square-shaped support, whereas Intel opts for a round shape. It’s an excellent alternative for any stock cooler. The low price and compatibility with all Intel sockets make it an excellent option. We rate SilverStone NT08-115XP as our top low-cost CPU cooler that perfectly works with Intel CPUs.
The material used in this cooler’s fins is aluminum which we rarely see in other cooling solutions as they all are copper made. You cannot replace the fan because it’s 92mm. Coming to noise, it does produce some noticeable sound at maximum RPM, so we don’t recommend it for a CPU with high TDP. This is because you will hear annoying noise at 100%.
It can easily support a 65W TDP to Intel PCs and is ideal for HTPC and smaller cases. It weighs just 292g of weight as the heat fins are aluminum. You get tons of features like an easy installation process, lightweight, unique design, and many more. So we don’t want you to skip SilverStone NT08-115XP at any cost.
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5. Be Quiet! Dark Rock TF
- Decent Appearance
- Supreme Tier Build Quality
- Enhanced Mounting Mechanism
- Huge and Bulky
- Hangs over DIMM Slots
Be Quiet! Dark Rock TF offers you two different fin stacks along with two 135mm fans for exceptional heat distribution. Its funnel shape allows sufficient room for RAM. Want to know our most loved feature? It is the black-colored fin stacks and the copper piping which provide a stylish look without depending on any flashy RGB.
That’s all good and better, but now let’s come to some downsides we observed during our testing. The first is that it’s the most pricey processor on our list. The price is something very tough to swallow despite the premium features it offers you. Secondly, it’s a little bulky compared to other low profile CPU coolers.
With a height of 135mm, it’s barely considered low profile, even with its horizontal fan arrangement. So, we want you to be extremely careful to select that case only which has a spacious room. Do not squeeze it in forcefully if you feel it is too tight because you don’t want to press the fans to the panel blocking all airflow.
Like other low profile CPU coolers, Be Quiet! Dark Rock TF also offers you 100% compatibility with AMD and Intel processors. And the cherry on top is its low noise operation which allows you to play games or do demanding tasks with ultimate silence. So, should you buy it? Well, we don’t see any reason why you should not.
6. Cryorig C7-47mm
- 100W TDP
- Visually Pleasing
- Upclose Chassis Compatible
- Difficult Installation
- Limited Socket Support
- Lacks any Fan Replacement
If you have a decent budget to spend, it is worth considering the Cryorig C7 because the C7 costs just less than $100, but it offers premium features justifying its price instantly. And it has a max 100W TDP and a 92mm fan that’s in line with the Noctua NH-L9i.
The Cryorig C7 has a neutral black and white scheme, and we think it is more appealing cooler. The C7 stands at 47mm and still is among the smallest CPU coolers on the market. It’s also low enough that you can easily fit it into most of the cases.
The C7 also offers you 100% compatibility with AMD and Intel motherboards. However, if you want to use this CPU cooler with an AM4 build, just fill out a form on their main website Cryorig.com, and they’ll mail you an AM4 upgrade kit at no cost.
It’s a fantastic value-for-money product, but there are some negatives that you should consider before buying this product. It is impossible to replace the fan because it’s molded in the heatsink. This might disappoint you.
But you can completely ignore the fan replacement issue because it offers you a 5-year-long warranty. It proves that the company trusts Cryorig C7-47mm a lot and keeps you 100% secure for the next 5 years after you buy this best CPU cooler
7. NZXT Kraken M22
- Quick Installation
- Work Silently at 100%
- All-New Radiator Fans
- Limited Supply
- A Bit Expensive
- Limited Socket Support
If you’re building a tiny PC build, it does not mean that you cannot join the elite liquid cooling group. Most of the SFF cases have enough space to fit a 120mm radiator, and that’s all that NZXT Kraken M22 requires.
Usually, 120 millimeters All in one (AIO) liquid coolers are always criticized in the market because they’re more expensive than mid-range air coolers but not better than their counterparts in cooling.
AIO cooling solutions need a larger radiator which demands more space in your room. The competition is slightly different in the SFF case. There’s not enough room for a massive fan stack or radiator; therefore, the 120mm is the better option if you are hunting for the most compact CPU cooler to overclock.
Coming to the price, the M22 is a bit expensive low profile cooler CPU as compared to others. But when you start using M22, you will ultimately justify its price because its features are impressive.
Apart from its exceptional cooling capabilities and quiet fan, it offers you many advanced lighting options. And you can use the CAM software to adjust its lighting settings which will give your PC a customized look. Pretty stylish, right?
Quick Shopping Tips to Buy Best Low Profile CPU Cooler
Let’s look at what you should consider when purchasing a low profile CPU cooler –
1. Socket Compatibility
When buying the CPU cooler, you need to think about the type of CPU you intend to utilize. AMD and Intel have different sockets, and you must ensure that whatever cooler you purchase includes the correct fixtures to allow it to connect correctly.
Latest AMD CPUs utilize an AM4 socket, whereas many new Intel CPUs are LGA1150, LGA1156, or LGA1151. LGA115x can support all of these. But always verify the specifications of the cooler you are planning to buy to ensure that it is compatible with your motherboard or CPU.
After that, you must think about the case you’ll use to house everything inside. Low profile CPU coolers can fit in big cases, but they’re not designed for larger cases. Usually, you purchase low profile CPU coolers for Mini-ITX cases and MicroATX cases.
Such Compact form factor cases need compact motherboards and can’t accommodate fin stacks or radiators. Read the case specifications thoroughly and determine how much space is available for your CPU cooler.
3. Base Height
It means your cooler’s height, from the top of your CPU socket to the top of your cooler. This is important for small-size (SFF) cases, also known as homes theatre PCs because they’re specifically designed for smaller-sized components.
It is Thermal design power which means how much heat your CPU cooler can blow out from the processor. It’s also referred to as the amount of heat your CPU generates. Well, all in all, it’s the same thing, so remember to have a higher TDP than your processor’s. If the difference is slightly more, you will get a lot of overclocking space.
Now comes the most important aspect before buying anything, i.e., price.
Consider what you would like in a CPU cooler. Does your case come with sides with glass that display amazing RGB? Do you want the best low profile CPU cooler for overclocking your processor? Are you planning to spend the huge cost and purchase an ultra-modern computer, or do you prefer to save money and put it to upgrading your GPU? Every use case differs, so in the end, it comes to you to pick the best one as per your needs.
Coolers have different visual enhancements which enhance the overall appearance of the product. The most popular option is using RGB. There are also different color schemes and materials that help you cooler stand out. If you have a transparent display on your PC case, these things matter. Today gamers love the style, and they want not only performance from their CPU but also a decent look.
Branding is another aspect that can attract you to one CPU cooler or another. While a brand does not mean that one cooler is superior to different, few brands are extremely good at delivering top-notch features and cooling.
8. Single vs. Dual Fan
Two styles are very popular for low profile coolers; Single and Dual fans. A single-fan cooler is smaller than dual-fan coolers in overall size and height. They are also more flexible since placing the fan on top beneath or underneath the heatsink and solving clearance issues.
On the other hand, a dual-fan cooler places the heatsink in between two fans. This is referred to as a push-pull design and can provide greater cooling efficiency as it regulates the pressure inside the case and reduces the resistance of the cooling fins.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is a Low Profile CPU Cooler?
The primary function of low profile coolers is to reduce space. To accomplish this, they typically place the fan horizontally over or below the radiator directly rather than vertically, which we usually see in traditional CPU Coolers.
This position helps make the whole cooler more compact, ideal for those who want to put everything in a compact enclosure.
Q2. Which Low Profile CPU Cooler is Best for Me?
If you’re building an extremely small PC, you won’t have the same options as larger cases with a form factor. But, there are plenty of great choices available that you can put for your small PC build.
You can read the low profile cooler comparison in detail above. These seven coolers reviewed by us are our favorite picks. So, if you want a low profile CPU cooler, then one of the picks above will meet your needs.
Some Ending Words
Our team spent many hours researching more than 30 of the most well-known brands for this best low profile coolers review guide. After comparing users’ data and online reviews, we narrowed down the list to the best 7 CPU coolers. Our proper research and testings add suggestions you can 100% trust.
We hope you’ve found the best CPU cooler for your gaming setup. Happy Gaming!