OCC 2013 Products of the YearBosco , ccokeman , Wesstron -
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OCC 2013 CPU Cooler of the Year:
Winner: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2
When it comes to investing in CPU cooling, what most people look at is cooling performance. A better way to go would be to find the sweet spot where great performance meets reasonable cost. The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 meets the criteria needed to be considered a heavy hitter in terms of cooling performance, while its $98 price tag will not blow up the budget. This dual tower design cooler is a great looking, all-black themed device that screams quality with its capped heat pipes and top cover plate. The engineering involved in producing the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 can be seen in the heat pipe and fin array configuration, but it also translates into impressive numbers in terms of cooling performance. The Dark Rock Pro 2's 220W capacity allowed this cooler to deliver great cooling while keeping a low noise profile, coming close to the performance of some high end self-contained liquid cooling solutions. Installation of the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 is straight forward and the clever mounting design allows for great stability. The SilentWings PWM fans are easily clipped to the towers and feature a unique wave pattern contributing in the dead silent operation of the cooler.
The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 is an all-round product that will look great through a case’s window and delivers great cooling performance without breaking the bank too much.
Noctua is a major player in the CPU air cooling arena, bringing to the market some of the most recommended products by the enthusiast community. The Noctua NHU12S did not fall far from that tree and this 45mm single tower cooler performed great for its $69 price tag. On top of the cooling performance, this new product from Noctua has one of the best mounting systems on the market, namely the SecuFirm2. It is also compatible with most memory modules and there was no clearance issue with taller heat sinks simply because there was no overlapping over the slots. The included NF-F12 Focused Flow fan contributed greatly to the performance and low noise profile. Adding a second fan will improve the performance; this will take the NHU12S out of its actual price range, knowing what a Noctua fan costs!
This cooler comes also with no less than a six-year warranty, which makes the Noctua NHU12S a solid choice for those looking for a mid-range cooler.
This dual-tower air cooler from DEEPCOOL was a good surprise and we can see it on the parts list for a builder on a budget looking for solid performance. It doesn’t look as good as the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2, but it managed to deliver good cooling performance while staying relatively quiet during operation. The Neptwin costs $50.99, has excellent heat dissipation under load, and the fans were pretty quiet even when cranked to 100% speed. The styling might not appeal to everyone and there might be clearance issues with taller memory modules, but the DEEPCOOL Neptwin gets the job done nonetheless.