4 Best CPU Coolers for Micro ATX in 2021

Coolers for Micro ATX
Coolers for Micro ATX
(Image credit: Noctua)

A good CPU cooler is the one that allows you to enjoy every juice of performance out of your processor without causing you clearance issues. And like it’s known, a Micro ATX motherboard does limit your choices in terms of coolers’ selection due to its small form factor. But this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to see your processor performing at its maximum potential. With the list of CPU coolers for micro ATX that you are about to discover below, you will be able to enjoy a high-end cooling solution with noiseless operation while pushing your processor beyond its limits.

Model
Best Overall
Noctua NH-U9S
Runner-Up
ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports
Best Value
Be quiet! Pure Rock 2
Most Affordable
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black
Design
Noctua NH-U9S chromax.Black, 92mm Single-Tower CPU Cooler (Black)
ARCTIC Freezer 34 Esports - Tower CPU Cooler with BioniX P-Series case Fan, 120 mm PWM Fan, for Intel and AMD Socket - Grey;White
be quiet! Pure Rock 2 Black, BK007, 150W TDP, CPU Cooler, Elegant Black Surface, HDT Technology
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition CPU Air Coolor, Silencio FP120 Fan, Anodized Gun-Metal Black, Brushed Nickel Fins, 4 Copper Direct Contact Heat Pipes for AMD Ryzen/Intel LGA1151
Type
Air Cooler
Air Cooler
Air cooler
Air cooler
Fan Size
92mm
120mm
120mm
120mm
Bearing Type
SSO2
Fluid Dynamic Bearing
Rifle
Sleeve Bearing
Fan Speed
400 - 2000 RPM
200 - 2100 RPM
Up to 1500 RPM
600 - 2000 RPM
Noise Level
22 dB(A)
37 dB(A)
27 db(A)
26 dB(A)
Airflow
42 CFM
67.56 CFM
87 CFM
42 CFM
TDP (W)
140W
200W
150W
150 W
Socket Compatibility
Intel LGA2066/ 2011/ 1155/ 1156/ 1150 and AMD AM4/ AM3+/ AM3/ AM2+/ AM2/ FM1/ FM2(+)
Intel Socket: 2066, 2011(-3), 1155, 1151, 1150, 1200, AMD Socket: AM4
Intel Socket: 1150, 1151, 1155, 1200, 2011(-3), 2066, AMD AM3(+), AM4
Intel LGA 2066 / 2011-3 / 2011 / 1366 / 1200 / 1156 / 1155 / 1151 / 1150 AMD Socket AM4 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1
Dimensions
3.74 x 2.68 x 4.92 inches
3.46 x 4.88 x 6.18 inches
4.72 x 4.72 x 0.98 inches
4.7 x 3.1 x 6.3 inches
Color
Black
Available in Black, Grey, Grey & White, Red, White, and Yellow
Black
Black
RGB
No
No
No
No
Best Overall
Model
Noctua NH-U9S
Design
Noctua NH-U9S chromax.Black, 92mm Single-Tower CPU Cooler (Black)
Type
Air Cooler
Fan Size
92mm
Bearing Type
SSO2
Fan Speed
400 - 2000 RPM
Noise Level
22 dB(A)
Airflow
42 CFM
TDP (W)
140W
Socket Compatibility
Intel LGA2066/ 2011/ 1155/ 1156/ 1150 and AMD AM4/ AM3+/ AM3/ AM2+/ AM2/ FM1/ FM2(+)
Dimensions
3.74 x 2.68 x 4.92 inches
Color
Black
RGB
No
Runner-Up
Model
ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports
Design
ARCTIC Freezer 34 Esports - Tower CPU Cooler with BioniX P-Series case Fan, 120 mm PWM Fan, for Intel and AMD Socket - Grey;White
Type
Air Cooler
Fan Size
120mm
Bearing Type
Fluid Dynamic Bearing
Fan Speed
200 - 2100 RPM
Noise Level
37 dB(A)
Airflow
67.56 CFM
TDP (W)
200W
Socket Compatibility
Intel Socket: 2066, 2011(-3), 1155, 1151, 1150, 1200, AMD Socket: AM4
Dimensions
3.46 x 4.88 x 6.18 inches
Color
Available in Black, Grey, Grey & White, Red, White, and Yellow
RGB
No
Best Value
Model
Be quiet! Pure Rock 2
Design
be quiet! Pure Rock 2 Black, BK007, 150W TDP, CPU Cooler, Elegant Black Surface, HDT Technology
Type
Air cooler
Fan Size
120mm
Bearing Type
Rifle
Fan Speed
Up to 1500 RPM
Noise Level
27 db(A)
Airflow
87 CFM
TDP (W)
150W
Socket Compatibility
Intel Socket: 1150, 1151, 1155, 1200, 2011(-3), 2066, AMD AM3(+), AM4
Dimensions
4.72 x 4.72 x 0.98 inches
Color
Black
RGB
No
Most Affordable
Model
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black
Design
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition CPU Air Coolor, Silencio FP120 Fan, Anodized Gun-Metal Black, Brushed Nickel Fins, 4 Copper Direct Contact Heat Pipes for AMD Ryzen/Intel LGA1151
Type
Air cooler
Fan Size
120mm
Bearing Type
Sleeve Bearing
Fan Speed
600 - 2000 RPM
Noise Level
26 dB(A)
Airflow
42 CFM
TDP (W)
150 W
Socket Compatibility
Intel LGA 2066 / 2011-3 / 2011 / 1366 / 1200 / 1156 / 1155 / 1151 / 1150 AMD Socket AM4 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1
Dimensions
4.7 x 3.1 x 6.3 inches
Color
Black
RGB
No

Last update on 2021-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1-Noctua NH-U9S

As a gamer, you might be worried about your CPU getting warmed during an intensive gaming day, which is completely normal. But what people tend to ignore is that gaming all day isn’t an issue at all when having the right CPU cooler. And what else could you choose for this task other than the great Noctua NH-U9S?

This cooler consists of a compact black heatsink with stacked fins. It also comes with a black 92mm fan that dissipates the heat amazingly well.

You might be skeptical about the fan being too small for your power-hungry CPU. However, I can guarantee you that regardless of how powerful your processor is, this air cooler won’t have an issue maintaining your processor under low temperatures.

What is cool with the Noctua NH-U9S is the fact that we didn’t face any clearance issues when putting it in place. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about your tall RAM modules interfering with the CPU cooler.

Ok, until now, everything looks good. But how this CPU cooler really performs in the real world? To give you a better idea, during our test, we scored an average temperature of 65-67C on an overclocked Ryzen 7 3700X paired with Noctua NH-U9S.

Not satisfied with the cooling performance? Then why not add a second fan? As the Noctua NH-U9S includes an extra bracket and Y-splitter, installing a second fan is possible and straightforward to do.

What could have been better?

If you would like to save some cash but still want to purchase this cooler then we recommend getting the original version. The only drawback with the original Noctua NH-U9S is that you might not be pleased with its aesthetics.

Pros
  • Excellent thermal performance
  • Easy to install
  • Include award-winning thermal compound
  • Quiet operation
Cons
  • The original version of the Noctua NH-U9S isn’t aesthetically appealing

Check it Out Here on Amazon

2-ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports

A neat CPU cooler is a must for a great-looking gaming rig. And when this cooler also offers outstanding cooling performance, then it will be a clear waste of money to turn your back on it. That’s why the Arctic Freezer 34 is and will always be a wonderful option.

Available in 4 different models and 6 designs, the ARCTIC Freezer 34 is the primary option for people looking to ditch their noisy stock cooler and get an eye-catching one.

What is cool with the ARCTIC Freezer 34 is the fact that it can fit small form factor gaming rigs without any problem, including its dual fan “DUO” model.

When tested with the Ryzen 5 3600, we scored an average temperature of 53C in gaming which is way better than the stock cooler.

The ARCTIC Freezer 34 performed amazingly well while offering a quiet operation. It indeed did generate a small amount of noise when running at maximum RPM, but for most cases, you won’t need to run this cooler at its maximum speed.

In terms of price/performance ratio, you are clearly making a huge bargain. Its eye-appealing design, amazing cooling performance, and inaudible operation make it really difficult to beat. And on top of that, you won’t need to leave your wallet emptier to get it.

What could have been better?

Even though it’s not really a big disadvantage, it’s still worth to be mentioned. The lack of RGB lighting on the ARCTIC Freezer 34 might not please everyone. It indeed has a stylish design, but once installed in your case, you will need some illumination in order to showcase its beauty.

However, there is something that we didn’t appreciate with the ARCTIC Freezer 34, and it is the lack of an instruction manual.

Unlike other CPU coolers, the ARCTIC Freezer 34 comes with a tiny piece of QR that redirects you to their online page, where you can download the instruction manual.

Pros
  • Amazing cooling performance
  • Quiet operation
  • Available in different sizes & designs
  • Reasonably priced
Cons
  • Lack of RGB lighting
  • Lack of an instruction manual

Check it Out Here on Amazon

3-Be quiet! Pure Rock 2

Worried about clearance issues inside your SFF case? Search no more. We have the solution for you. If you have a power-hungry CPU but can’t get a bulky air cooler to maintain it under low temps, then why not the Pure Rock 2. This CPU cooler is tiny, can fit most cases, and on top of that, it won’t interfere with the rest of your components.

Just like the Noctua NH-U9S, the Pure Rock 2 consists of a black heatsink with stacked fins paired with a high-quality noiseless 120mm fan. For better heat transfer, the Pure Rock 2’s fins are made of aluminum while the 4 heat pipes are from copper.

When paired with a Ryzen 7 2700X, the Pure Rock 2 blew our minds with its cooling capabilities. It didn’t just manage to outperform the stock cooler but also allowed us to get extra performance juice by enabling the PBO feature.

That’s right, even when PBO was enabled, we didn’t face any overheating issues. The average temperature we scored when using the Pure Rock 2 on a Ryzen 7 2700X was 63C.

Therefore, despite its small form factor, the Pure Rock 2 is a solid air cooler that you can rely on to cool your processor. Also, regardless of how energy-consuming your CPU is, this cooler will handle it since it supports up to 150W TDP, which is quite outstanding.

What could have been better?

The Pure Rock 2’s mounting brackets are slightly difficult to attach.

Pros
  • Noiseless
  • Affordable
  • Great cooling performance
  • Sleek black design
Cons
  • The mounting brackets are slightly difficult to attach
  • No RGB lighting

Check it Out Here on Amazon

4-Cooler Master Hyper 212

Even when having a tight budget, you still can enjoy a high-end cooling performance while being gentle toward your wallet. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it’s possible with the Cooler Master Hyper 212.

The Cooler Master Hyper 212 consist of 4 heat pipe that has direct contact with the base which transfer the heat amazingly well. Despite its affordable price, this air cooler does offer a mind-blowing performance allowing you to get rid of your noisy old stock cooler once and for all.

Besides, its black edition version is really eye-appealing. It comes with a black fan and a black-coated heatsink. And hence, if you are building a black-themed gaming rig, then this cooler is the last piece of the puzzle.

The installation process of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 was done in a short period of time. And we believe that you should experience the same thing regardless of your previous experience with PC building.

If you are an LED lover and would like to enjoy some customizable RGB effects, then you can choose the Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB version. It’s like few dollars more and can heavily enhance the beauty of your gaming rig.

Lastly, unless you have a real power-hungry CPU that you are looking to overclock, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 should be more than adequate for most case scenarios.

What could have been better?

The Cooler Master Hyper 212 won’t be adequate for overclocking if you have a power-hungry CPU or poor airflow.

PS: If you have come this far, and none of the air coolers mentioned above has caught your attention, then we recommend taking a look at our best 280mm AIO coolers if your PC chassis does support this type of liquid coolers

Pros
  • Budget-friendly
  • Great cooling performance
  • Aesthetically appealing
Cons
  • It might not be adequate for overclocking enthusiasts

Check it Out Here on Amazon

Conclusion

We hope that we have helped you decide which cooler to purchase for your micro ATX gaming PC. We will highly appreciate it if you let us know which cooler you have chosen in the comment section below.

And if you think that we have missed one cooler that you believe is worth being listed above, then you can tell us which one, and we will try to review it as quickly as possible.

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