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I am in the midst of building a computer and am deciding on various components. I am buying a mid-level CPU and am wondering how important (if it is important at all) that I buy an after-market cooling system vs. using the stock cooling system that ships with the CPU. I am not planning on overclocking the CPU and my primary uses of the CPU are programming and Internet with some very limited gaming.

My presumption is that the stock cooling system will be more than sufficient, but I thought I'd post this question here to see if there was a compelling reason to drop $50-$100 on an after-market cooling system.


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Shopping questions are off topic as per the FAQ. – Wuffers Apr 3 '11 at 4:01
@Mark: Is this really a "shopping recommendation" (i.e. "What should I buy?") or is it more of a "should I do this" recommendation (i.e. "Do I need this?")? – Mehrdad Apr 3 '11 at 4:25
I think this question is legit. – emgee Apr 3 '11 at 4:55
@Mark: I hope I'm not playing with words here, but I'd say it's more of a shopping question but not so much a shopping recommendation... it's not about choosing one brand over another or anything like that, which I think the FAQ was getting at. – Mehrdad Apr 3 '11 at 18:27
@Mark @Mehrdad: It wasn't intended to be a shopping recommendation or really a shopping question, but rather: "Should a PC have an after-market cooler if it's not going to be overclocked?" – Scott Mitchell Apr 4 '11 at 16:38
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Using a $50-$100 after-market cooling system seems to be overkill on a computer that is primarily gonna be used for programming|web surfing|mild gaming that's not overclocked. The stock cooling system (which I presume is the stock CPU cooler that came with the CPU) is absolutely sufficient for your current needs.

However, if you are really compelled to purchase an after-market cooler, I think that a $20 cpu cooler such as this one would be far better suited for your needs (instead of a crazy expensive $50 one).

I also recommend that you go the CPU Fans & Heatsink section of Newegg and look for other CPU coolers and stuff - you might find the perfect one for your computer over there.

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I'll second this - I've been using stock AMD cooling in my current PC for almost four years now with no problems. Once you build your PC, you can try using a program like Speedfan to monitor the CPU temperatures, and if it's unacceptably high, then do something about it - but you shouldn't need to buy any extra cooling hardware right away. – user55325 Apr 3 '11 at 3:32

If you're not planning on overclocking, then you should buy a third party cooler only if the stock cooler is noisy.

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I agree, although I'd add to this that sometimes space concerns require a 3rd party cooling system. – emgee Apr 3 '11 at 4:04
Yes, but in very rare cases. Stock coolers nowadays are among the smallest ones, they can usually fit inside the small PC cases. – Saša Ćetković Apr 3 '11 at 4:23
I agree. The only reason to buy something else in this case is if you want to minimize noise. – Nifle Apr 3 '11 at 9:32

If the cooling system came with the CPU, then it's required to be able to keep it cool in any case (excluding overclocking).
If it fails to do this, you can call in on the warranty, and get a new one, cause the problem will be at thier hands.

So my answer would be: If you want to be completely safe, yes, buy an after-market cooling system, but the stock one should be more than sufficient as you said. But be warned, I think that some warranties are even exceeded when you put a different cooling unit on the CPU. Not sure about this though.

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