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Bottom line: Stock CPU coolers rarely get recruited for serious enthusiast PC builds. In the event they do end up mounted to a motherboard, it’s often only for a short period until the budget allows for a proper aftermarket replacement. Should you find yourself in this situation with Intel’s new batch of coolers for select Alder Lake CPUs, you may be surprised to learn that they are quite capable.
Chinese publication NetEase recently got their hands on Intel’s RM1 heatsink, its solution for mid-range CPUs. For reference, RS1 heatsinks are meant for low-end applications while the RH1 cooler is designed for more powerful chips.
Load testing with a Core i5-12400 processor under an ambient room temperature of 20 C (68 F) resulted in temps of around 73 C (163.4 F) at a fan speed of 3,100 RPM. Under normal conditions, the fan spins at closer to 1,300 RPM and is said to be very quiet.
If you’re dealing with a higher-powered, overclocking-friendly K-series part, this should be a moot point as Intel typically doesn’t ship stock coolers with these chips. For that, you’ll want something from a reputable third-party provider.
I’m partial to massive air-cooled heatsinks with slow-spinning fans that require virtually vero maintenance like those sold by Noctua, but as Rob highlighted in his recent build log, closed-loop liquid cooling kits are an excellent alternative.
Intel is expected to debut non-K series Alder Lake CPUs during its digital CES event next week.