Best low profile cooler for i7-12700 CPU

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What's the best low profile cooler for the i7-12700 CPU?

I'm looking for something less than 138mm tall in order to fit into an HTPC case (Silverstone GD09).
 
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I wouldn't want to try cooling i7 12700 with flat cooler. I know they claim low TDP wattage rating but they pull way more when working hard. I've heard 190w and more under heavy load. GD09 has 2x 120mm vents on each side, but no vent in top over CPU. To cool CPU like 12700 we need to keep cool intake airflow separate from cooler heated exhaust airflow. Best way to do that is with tower cooler drawing in one side of case and out another so air flows from intake fan to cooler, thru cooler, and on out of case thru exhaust vent with or without exhaust fan. Most of my builds only use intake fans because for air to flow into a case they has to be same amount of air flowing out. It's basic physics. With flat / low profile coolers it's much harder to keep heated exhaust air from mixing with cool intake air. Best way is vent directly above CPU / CPU cooler / fan on top of CPU cooler. Even if you can find a cooler that will keep your 12700 cool in GD09 case it will likely be making so much noise you won't be able to hear movie/TV. ;)

Short answer, I think you need to re-think your HTPC case and CPU choices and get something that's better suited to needs.
 
Soldato
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I wouldn't want to try cooling i7 12700 with flat cooler. I know they claim low TDP wattage rating but they pull way more when working hard. I've heard 190w and more under heavy load. GD09 has 2x 120mm vents on each side, but no vent in top over CPU. To cool CPU like 12700 we need to keep cool intake airflow separate from cooler heated exhaust airflow. Best way to do that is with tower cooler drawing in one side of case and out another so air flows from intake fan to cooler, thru cooler, and on out of case thru exhaust vent with or without exhaust fan. Most of my builds only use intake fans because for air to flow into a case they has to be same amount of air flowing out. It's basic physics. With flat / low profile coolers it's much harder to keep heated exhaust air from mixing with cool intake air. Best way is vent directly above CPU / CPU cooler / fan on top of CPU cooler. Even if you can find a cooler that will keep your 12700 cool in GD09 case it will likely be making so much noise you won't be able to hear movie/TV. ;)

Short answer, I think you need to re-think your HTPC case and CPU choices and get something that's better suited to needs.

With the turbo off, or mainly lightly threaded load, then I'd say it is possible. Not too expensive low profile coolers can handle up to 90 watts (..ish) in enclosed spaces, will be a bit loud though. Higher-end top-draft coolers like the Noctua NH-C14S and Dark Rock TF 2, I assume could do better than this? Unfortunately, I've never even considered installing one with a CPU this powerful, so can't recommend anything.
 
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I don't have space for a larger case so need to find a solution for the Silverstone GD09 and was looking to use the Noctua NH-C14S cooler as their website indicates it can handle a 12700.

Would I be better dropping down to the i5-12600 CPU instead?

I don't do any gaming but want the PC to be able to handle [email protected] video streaming and video editing as well as basic internet browsing / MS365 work.

I currently have a 7 year old i7-4790s and as I'm paying out to upgrade my PC I want to feel that I'm getting a definite upgrade in terms of performance. Would the 12600 still feel like an upgrade against what I have now even though I'm moving from an i7 down to an i5?
 
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I don't have space for a larger case so need to find a solution for the Silverstone GD09 and was looking to use the Noctua NH-C14S cooler as their website indicates it can handle a 12700.

Would I be better dropping down to the i5-12600 CPU instead?

I don't do any gaming but want the PC to be able to handle [email protected] video streaming and video editing as well as basic internet browsing / MS365 work.

I currently have a 7 year old i7-4790s and as I'm paying out to upgrade my PC I want to feel that I'm getting a definite upgrade in terms of performance. Would the 12600 still feel like an upgrade against what I have now even though I'm moving from an i7 down to an i5?

If you have a look at hardware unboxed's review of the 12700, keeping it power limited doesn't lose that much performance, but it depends on what you're doing with it. If those tasks use QuickSync at all, the i5-12500 and up have 2 codec engines (other CPUs only have 1). The 12600 (in comparison to the K, or the 12700) drops the e-cores, so it loses quite a bit of multi-threaded performance (even though it has a lower power budget), which might hurt your video editing. The 12500 or 12600 would be easier to cool than the 12600K and 12700 at full pelt. The 12400 is the easiest of the bunch, because it has a relatively low turbo clock, but you'd drop a codec engine and I'm not sure if that's a good idea for your workload.

If you got the 12600 it has a fairly high base clock (3.3 Ghz), so you could try running it there and see how it impacts performance, the 12600K has a 3.7 Ghz base clock.

In general desktop use, I doubt you'd notice a lot of difference between the CPUs (4790s and 12500, 12600, 12600K or 12700), but in something like video editing the difference in their theoretical performance is absolutely massive, it would save you a lot of time. Their single core performance is also much faster, so you might notice it is snappier and e.g. loads up some apps a lot quicker).
 
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NH-C14S might just fit in your in case (spec is 139mm) but will have top of finpack tight against top of case .. meaning only airflow will be out ends of finpack which is then mixing into / heating up air flowing to cooler .. so pre-heated air going to cooler fan.

Case just isn't designed for airflow needed to cool 12600 .. unless you have a vent fit into case top directly over CPU so cooler like C14S is exhausting heated air out top thru that vent / or pulling cool air into cooler thru top vent. But even NH-C14S is quite limited cooling compared to bigger 'U' shaped heatpipe towers. C14S has 6x 6mm single ended heatpipes (evap on one end and condense on other) while tower coolers with 6x 6mm heatpipes have evap in middle (bottom of U) and evap sections on both ends. "U" shaped heatpipes move almost twice as much heat from base to fins as flat / low profile coolers do.

Why not scale back to CPU more suited to HTPC? CPU with 4x/6x cores and 8x/12x threads instead of crazy 12 core 20 thead i7 12700. Their is no reason to have that kind of power for HTPC use.
 
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Thanks for the input.

I've been looking at scaling back and now considering the i5-12600. Looking at the benchmarks on cpubenchmark.net the i5-12600 has a CPU mark of 20883 and last years i7-11700 has mark at 20530.

Am I understanding these numbers correctly - does that mean that the 12th Gen i5 is slightly better than the 11th Gen i7?
 
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its actually a nightmare trying to find decent coolers for 12700 or above. ive been looking last few days and many places that do bundles for eg sell them with coolers that cant even cool them at full use. then you have the other issue of many companies dont even supply the 1700 fitting bracket with the cooler. so then you have to try and get that as well. cant see how its so hard when it should be so simple.
 
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Thanks for the input.

I've been looking at scaling back and now considering the i5-12600. Looking at the benchmarks on cpubenchmark.net the i5-12600 has a CPU mark of 20883 and last years i7-11700 has mark at 20530.

Am I understanding these numbers correctly - does that mean that the 12th Gen i5 is slightly better than the 11th Gen i7?

If you look at the review on techpowerup (of the 12600 non-k) the answer appears to be yes? But, always best to check benchmarks for what you actually do, because those numbers aren't completely reliable in every case (I wouldn't rely on them for gaming, for example, because that depends more on single-thread than productivity).
 
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NH-C14S might just fit in your in case (spec is 139mm) but will have top of finpack tight against top of case .. meaning only airflow will be out ends of finpack which is then mixing into / heating up air flowing to cooler .. so pre-heated air going to cooler fan.

Case just isn't designed for airflow needed to cool 12600 .. unless you have a vent fit into case top directly over CPU so cooler like C14S is exhausting heated air out top thru that vent / or pulling cool air into cooler thru top vent. But even NH-C14S is quite limited cooling compared to bigger 'U' shaped heatpipe towers. C14S has 6x 6mm single ended heatpipes (evap on one end and condense on other) while tower coolers with 6x 6mm heatpipes have evap in middle (bottom of U) and evap sections on both ends. "U" shaped heatpipes move almost twice as much heat from base to fins as flat / low profile coolers do.

Why not scale back to CPU more suited to HTPC? CPU with 4x/6x cores and 8x/12x threads instead of crazy 12 core 20 thead i7 12700. Their is no reason to have that kind of power for HTPC use.
I've been looking at this cooler to fit in this same case ( although with an AM4 system) and according to noctua it's only 115mm tall in low profile mode.
 
Soldato
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My bad, top of finpack is 115mm, top with fan on top is 142mm with fan mounting screws thru 25mm thick fan.
But even with fan mounted under finpack we need about 20mm minimum clearance (top of finpack to case) for airflow out of fins to have room to flow away from cooler unless there is a vent directly above fins.
Generally with flat coolers it's better to use cool air coming in vent directly above cooler finpack into fan / fins and down toward CPU because this air is room / ambient temp instead of being pre-heated while flowing from intake vent thru case to cooler.
 
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I think an AXP-140 would potentially be the best performer, but can run into compatibility issues on quite a few motherboards as the heatpipes emerge from two different directions.

I have one that fits in a Silverstone FTZ01-E, no problem, but can interfere with VRM coolers or possibly video cards depending on the sockets placement on a board.
 
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