Hardware

ID-Cooling IS-60 CPU Cooler Review

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Even though it is a software development blog, we will have a quick look at the ID-Cooling IS-60 CPU Low Profile Cooler.

This is only my personal experience but I would like to share this anyway after I was desperately searching for a powerful low profile CPU cooler. In May I switched from Intels i7-6700 to the new (shiny) Ryzen 7 1700 CPU. Hence, I had to switch the CPU Cooler as well, which seems to be a very tricky task. There are many low profile coolers out there, couple of them support AM4 socket. BUT! Low profile is not always low profile. My HTPC case is only ~70 mm high. It is pretty clear that I can not install a cooler with a height of 65mm (which the most LP coolers are). Usually the fan can not pull enough air, plus, it's loud to have a fan so close to the case (air flow). And I am a friend of silence.

So I started to watch out for a cooler which would have a heatsink of a maximum height of 40mm and a slim fan (15mm instead of the 25mm). My first decision was the Cryorig C7 (at this time I had to buy, send the bill to the manufacturer and then received my mounting kit for AM4). To be honest with you, the cooler is not bad at all. Its size is limiting it if you would like to cool down a 65W TDP CPU, especially in a "no-space-environment" like a HTPC. I ended up running my Linux (Manjaro) at a dangling temprature between 58 °C and 70 °C. Around 75 the fan reached it's highest RPM. Those temperature are acceptable for a CPU, but it was not for me, since the fan was running constantly at high RPM. Furthermore, there is no space left to clock your CPU a bit higher.

My next adventure started when I saw the ID-Cooling cooler. This was exactly what I wanted from the beginning. A big amount of heatpipes and a clever design to keep the cooler as low as possible. I ordered it from china, waited for around two weeks and was excited when it arrived with the whole AM4 mounting kit already packaged inside. After installation the temperature dropped slightly to 56 °C - 64 °C with the default fan. Not a huge improvement, but still. The fan was much quieter, this was already a win. The explanation is simple if you look at the design of the C7 and IS-60. The C7, installed in a HTPC has all of its fins very close to the CPU (and it's ok to save space). But in this setup there is no room to dispatch the heat, it stays close to the CPU. On the other hand the IS-60 has a spacious small heatsink to dispatch the heat. The cooling fins are placed above. This gives a bit of space for the air to move between the CPU and the fins. (This is my personal explanation for the improvement).

To improve the results and reach my final setup I started to experiment with different fans. Long story short, I ended up with the NOCTUA NF-A12 x 15 PWM. The price is high but so is the quality of this fan. The pressure is high, it rotates slower and is still more powerful than the default IS-60 fan. I reached a temperature drop to 48 °C - 58 °C which makes the cooler operate in an almost not hearable mode.

The whole journey took a lot of time and experiments to find out which would be the best combination. In the end I am very happy with the combination of ID-Coolings IS-60 with a Noctua fan on top. I think it's hard to find a better solution on the market out of the box. If you find one, let me know in the comment area below.