In a nutshell: Noctua's thermal paste guard mounts around the IHS of AM5 CPUs to prevent thermal paste from accumulating in the small cutouts. This should make it easier to clean the processor when remounting or replacing the CPU cooler.
If you want to push your CPU to the point where it begs for mercy, you're going to need a good cooler. Like most PC components, there are different options for those with different wants and needs. We've rounded up what we believe are the best in each category by taking into account performance, price, noise levels, and design.
There isn't a one solution fits all product when it comes to CPU coolers. Folks with spacious full tower PCs might favor massive tower style coolers, but even if you have the space, some prefer to prioritize volume over temperatures... and if air cooling comes off as unadventurous, an all-in-one liquid cooler may be your best bet.
Recently we compared 10 of the best CPU air coolers and while we didn't think twice about stamping the NH-U14S with our Outstanding Award, we've since wondered how it would fare against a basic water cooling setup. On paper, closed loop systems simplify the process of diving into water cooling, being about as safe and easy to work with as air cooling while delivering much of the performance you'd expect from an elaborate custom loop at a fraction of the cost.
An often overlooked but always important side of PC building, we must admit our knowledge on the latest aftermarket CPU cooler offerings was a little dated, so it felt like the perfect time for a roundup.
We test 10 of the best CPU coolers in the market including top units from Noctua, Thermalright, Xigmatek, Silverstone and Thermaltake.