Best CPU Cooler – AM3 Review

Page : 1 2 3 4 5 6ALL



We have a new king. The Noctua NH-D14. We weren’t expecting this at all. We expected to see the Venomous X steal the crown for Thermalright once again. Perhaps our perception of Noctua as a top brand representing noise to performance ratio was wrong to start off with. Whatever Noctua has done, they did it well. We were rather pessimistic about taking the stock fans off and using just one (albeit a top 120x38mm) fan, defeating the design Noctua was aiming for. None-the-less, it still beat the other two top coolers.

The question is, would we recommend it? If you want the very best cooler for air, the D14 is king. However, at approx £70 it’s rather expensive. Fair play, it does come with all platform mounting hardware and two top (120mm & 140mm) fans installed. Not to mention both the mounting kit and fans are pre-assembled for your ease and comfort.

The problem is that the Venomous X from Thermalright costs £47 right now. Even with the price of a fan, it puts it at £57 approx. If you refer to our results, it’s only within 1.C of the D14 too. So with that in mind, is it really worth (D14) – a good £15 more? There is no doubt that they have both beaten the previous king to the side, so either cooler would be a great choice, especially considering the Mega Shadow costs roughly £60 and doesn’t include a £10 decent fan.


Overclockers Tech is happy to recommend the Thermalright Venomous X, which gets not only our Gold Award, but our Editors Choice Award. We gave it a 9.5/10. It’s a great price even factoring a decent fan. It’s within 1°C of the new king of air cooling (the D14), and beating the previous king of cooling, the Mega Shadow from Prolimatech. The things letting it down are its lack of an AMD mounting kit out of the box and the time it takes to install.

The Noctua NH-D14 also receives Gold and 9/10. It comes with two top fans, all platform mounting kits and all pre-assembled. It’s the new king of air, and you can mount three fans for the ultimate solution to air cooling. It misses out on our Editors Choice Award due to its cost. As previously mentioned, the Venomous X, even adding a decent fan, is a good £15 (maybe more) cheaper than the NH-D14 from Noctua. Is it worth up to £20 more for 1°C better temperatures? We don’t think so.

The Mega Shadow was overshadowed today and is given a high Bronze Award. Looking at overclocked load temperatures with one high RPM San Ace, it’s 3°C higher than the D14 and 2°C more than the Venomous X. That’s not to say it isn’t a decent cooler; it is. Comparing it to the other two coolers today, it looks bad, but before they came to the market, it was king and is still a top cooler. Unfortunately, at £60 plus a £10 fan, it weighs in at £70, the same price as the D14 – which isn’t great for Prolimatech. We would advise you to get the standard version at a cheaper £40 which makes it all the more worth it, even with a 1°C higher temperature (if that, looking at other reviews). However, the AMD mounting was the best out of the three – quick, simple and effective. This reviewer has never come across such an easy mounting kit that is also very strong! We give it 7/10.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Share them all in our forums!


We would like to thank Armand from Thermalright, Jakob from Noctua, and Prolimatech for sending the 3 coolers for review! A special mention to Colin at Artic Silver for providing us with some ArctiClean Thermal Material Remover & Thermal Surface Purifier to help obtain better, more accurate results.

Be Sociable, Share!