Well the time has come that you probably expect us to choose a winner, but what fun would that be? Honestly each cooler brought something to the table that makes it a winner in its own right - I know, that sounds like a cop-out.
Overall each cooler had its pros and cons. The Noctua unit was by far the most difficult to deal with given its massive size and weight, while the Thermaltake Silent 1156 was the easiest to get mounted based on the stock Intel cooler mounting pin system. The Zalman unit was by far the quietest of the bunch, while the Thermaltake unit tied its own hands behind its back in terms of cooling performance with an undersized fan and only two heatpipes.
Highly Recommended - Noctua and Cooler Master:
The Noctua NH-D14 and the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ both earn the Bigbruin.com "Highly Recommended" award. The NH-D14 earns it for it being the top performer in terms of cooling ability, while the Hyper 212+ earns it for doing quite well for a fraction of the price.
Recommended - Zalman, Thermalright, Zaward, and Thermaltake:
While only two of the cooler's grabbed our attention as being "Highly Recommended", all of the others are definitely worth consideration for building a high performance, low noise socket 1156 system. The Zalman CNPS10X Quiet, Thermalright MUX-120, Zaward Vapor 120, and Thermaltake Silent 1156 are all worthy of the Bigbruin.com "Recommended" award.
Good Value - Cooler Master:
Getting back to the Cooler Master Hyper 212+'s price, it definitely offers the best bang for the buck and therefore also earns the Bigbruin.com "Good Value" award.
Great Idea - Zaward:
The Zaward Vapor120 incorporated some interesting design twists not included on the other coolers (like the "Golf Ball Technology"), and it no doubt helped it to compete with the other coolers on hand. For that, it earns the Bigbruin.com "Great Idea" award.
Whisper Quiet - Zalman:
While all of the coolers were low noise, the Zalman CNPS10X Quiet was the quietest unit tested, and it pulls down the Bigbruin.com "Whisper Quiet" award.
Thanks to Zalman
, Cooler Master
, and Zaward
for participting in our first ever cooler shootout!
Please drop by the Bigbruin.com Forum and feel free to post any comments or questions