This post will guide you if you want to know about the best budget CPU coolers for overclocking.
As a PC enthusiast and someone who helps others to overclock their CPU, I often get asked about which CPU coolers are best for overclocking at a budget price.
In a hurry? Check out the #1 budget best cpu cooler.
So in this post, I’ve gathered the best budget CPU coolers based on different needs so that you don’t get confused and buy the wrong one.
These CPU coolers are tested against overclocked CPUs and provide stable and high performance.
Therefore read the post carefully to learn about the best budget CPU coolers for overclocking.
5 Best Budget CPU Coolers for Overclocking
|Rank||Award||CPU Cooler Name|
|1||Best premium AIO||NZXT Kraken Z63|
|2||Best affordable RGB AIO||MSI MAG CORELIQUID 240R|
|3||Best air cooler||Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black|
|4||Best low noise air cooler||be quiet! Dark Rock 4|
|5||Best cheap ARGB air cooler||ID-COOLING SE-224-XT ARGB V2|
Overclocking an unlocked CPU gets your gaming PC a lot of extra raw power. It comes in handy whether you want to game or do heavy tasks like video editing. However, overclocking a CPU increases the power draw (TDP) of the CPU. Hence it’s essential to buy a powerful CPU cooler to cool down the CPU and deliver a stable run adequately.
Luckily, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to buy a decent CPU cooler for your overclocked CPU. Some great budget options provide more than enough cooling, along with extra features like low noise level, addressable RGB lighting, high-quality fan, and more.
Read about our epic article about 9 best Aura Sync CPU Cooler.
9 Best Aura Sync CPU Cooler
Here are the top 5 best budget CPU coolers for overclocking:
1. NZXT Kraken Z63
The NZXT Kraken Z63 is one of the most premium AIO from NZXT.
Some notable features of the NZXT Kraken Z63:
- 280mm radiator liquid cooler
- 36″ customizable LCD panel on CPU block
- 2x Aer P 140mm PWM fans included
- latest 7th gen Asetek pump
Check Today's Price of NZXT Kraken Z63 ➜➜
The NZXT Kraken Z63 is a premium and gorgeous-looking AIO. The main highlight here is the 2.36″ customizable LCD over the CPU block. It is highly customizable, and you can put your photos or PC metrics for display here.
Since we’re talking about overclocking here, cooling is essential. And it aces here. It provides an outstanding cooling performance for its size as the latest 7th gen Asetek pump is highly improved over its predecessor. The radiator does a pretty solid job of heat dissipation.
Also, don’t forget to check out our best fanless CPU cooler for silently operating your PC.
Are you worried about noise?
You wouldn’t be disappointed here. The two included Aer P 140mm PWM fans don’t produce much noise and are barely audible most of the time.
You get to control the fan speed, LCD, and other aspects via the CAM software. The software is quite intuitive and easy to operate.
The only thing it misses is RGB lighting on the fans. But as it has a display on the CPU block, it doesn’t feel it lacks out by significant margins.
All in all, the NZXT Kraken Z63 is a top premium and high-quality choice as a 280mm liquid cooler.
- »LCD screen
- »enough quiet fans
- »high cooling capacity
- »CAM software integration
- »no RGB fans included
If you are looking for the best water cooling kits on the market, check our separate article where we list our top recommendations. Do check it out.
2. MSI MAG CORELIQUID 240R
If you want an AIO with RGB on the CPU block and fans, the MSI MAG CORELIQUID 240R is a solid option for you at an affordable price tag.
Notable features of the MSI MAG CORELIQUID 240R:
- 240mm radiator AIO
- rotatable block-head with RGB
- 2x 120mm RGB PWM fans
- radiator pump design
Check Today's Price of MSI MAG CORELIQUID 240R ➜➜
The AIO is very efficient with its three-phase motor on the pump and evaporation-free tubing. The 240mm radiator might seem small at first, but it is highly effective at dissipating heat.
The liquid cooling performance of this AIO is top-notch. It does an incredible job of keeping your overclocked CPU temperature low. You wouldn’t face any overheating issues on using the AIO.
Don’t forget to check out the list of the best cpu coolers for LGA 1200 socket compatibility.
Here’s the unique part:
The MSI MAG CORELIQUID 240R has a radiator-pump design. That means the pump is installed on the radiator instead of the CPU block. It makes the CPU block less bulky and the heat transfer process more rapid. You might notice some vibrations on the PC case, though you can solve it using some anti-vibration pads.
The CPU block is rotatable. It is a life-saver if you want to install it from a different angle. The CPU block has a dragon logo with RGB on it, which looks fantastic. The two PWM 120mm fans have RGB, so you get a complete RGB experience.
Check the best NZXT AIO coolers which you can buy in our separate article.
As the fans are PWM, they can adjust the rotation speeds accordingly. They can rotate at a maximum of 2000 RPM, providing high airflow when needed.
To sum up, the MSI MAG CORELIQUID 240R is an excellent affordable RGB AIO with high thermal performance suitable for overclocked CPUs.
- »high liquid cooling performance
- »quiet operation
- »gorgeous-looking with RGB
- »rotatable CPU block cover
- »can cause mild vibration on PC case
3. Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black
The Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black is one of the best air CPU coolers that compete against the top liquid CPU coolers.
Key features of the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black:
- 140mm dual tower air cooler
- 2x Noctua NF-A15 140mm PWM fans included
- SecuFirm2 mounting system
- NT-H1 thermal compound applied
- optional NA-HC3 and NA-HC4 heat sink covers for different color schemes
Check Today's Price of Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black ➜➜
The CPU cooler is massive with its twin tower design and a height of 160mm. So you’ve to make sure first the cooler fits in your PC case.
The vast size brings in a considerable performance gain. The six quality heat pipes can transfer a lot of heat to the dual tower heat sink, where it’s dissipated quickly, thanks to the larger surface area and powerful fans.
It is a highly efficient air cooler that can cool down an overclocked CPU relatively efficiently. It can compete directly with some of the best AIOs in the market in terms of thermal performance.
The CPU cooler looks nice too. It’s an all-black version of the Noctua NH-D15. The color scheme would go well with most PC builds, and it has an overall sleek vibe to it and feels premium.
About the fans:
The Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black comes with two NF-A15 140mm PWM fans. The fans are surprisingly quiet for their speeds and are highly optimized for maximum airflow and reduced vibration. PWM allows it to adjust its speed accordingly.
You can use it with either a single fan or with two. You get better memory clearance in single fan mode, up to 64mm. In dual fan mode, it reduces to 32mm. It’s easy to install due to Noctua’s SecuFirm2 mounting system.
Overall, the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black is one of the best CPU cooler for overclockers and enthusiasts for high thermal performance.
- »superb cooling performance
- »low noise levels
- »highly optimized
- »easy installation
- »premium build
- »clearance issue with tall memory kits in dual fan mode
4. be quiet! Dark Rock 4
The be quiet! Dark Rock 4 is one of the most silent CPU air coolers on the market.
Key features of the be quiet! Dark Rock 4:
- 135mm single tower CPU air cooler
- up to 200W TDP support
- 4 dB(A) maximum noise
- 1x Silent Wings 135mm PWM fan included
- six copper heat pipes
- and wave-contoured fins
- option to install an additional 120mm fan
Check Today's Price of Dark Rock 4 ➜➜
The main focus of this air cooler is to provide a high cooling performance at low noise. The be quiet! Dark Rock 4 produces a maximum of only 21.4dB(A) of sound at its full load. It can also handle a maximum of 200W TDP, making it a top option for overclocked CPUs.
It is a single tower air cooler with six optimized heat pipes and wave-contoured aluminum fins. In addition to that, there is ceramic particle coating on the surface for higher efficiency. All of this together plays a significant role in ensuring an increased cooling performance.
The be quiet! Dark Rock 4 includes a Silent Wings 135mm PWM fan. The fan has fluid dynamic bearings and six pole motors for silent cooling operation and reduced vibration.
Want more performance?
You can add a second 120mm fan to it. Though it’ll bump up the noise levels a bit, you’ll get more cooling out of it. It might be handy if you’re into serious overclocking.
My one minor complaint here is the mild hardship of installing the CPU cooler on the system. But if you are an experienced person, it won’t bother you.
All in all, the be quiet! Dark Rock 4 is a top-notch air cooler with outstanding cooling performance and an unmatched low noise operation.
- »excellent cooling performance
- »quiet operation
- »high TDP support
- »a bit hard to install
5. ID-COOLING SE-224-XT ARGB V2
The ID-COOLING SE-224-XT ARGB V2 is one of the most affordable ARGB CPU air coolers with high performance.
Top highlights of the ID-COOLING SE-224-XT ARGB V2:
- 120mm single tower heat sink
- 1x 120mm ARGB PWM fan included
- ARGB lighting on the top cover
- wired RGB controller included
Check Today's Price of ID-COOLING SE-224-XT ➜➜
The ID-COOLING SE-224-XT ARGB V2 is one of the most affordable CPU coolers with high thermal performance and ARGB lighting. It makes the product a compelling choice for anyone looking to get some ARGB at a low price.
The cooling performance is decent here. It’s a single tower CPU cooler with four direct contact heat pipes. It allows the CPU cooler to transfer heat efficiently and quickly, which is vital for overclocked CPUs.
The 120mm PWM fan does a modest job in terms of acoustics. When idling, you won’t hear the fan. At its peak, the fan spins at a max fan speed of 2000RPM and produces a maximum of 31.5 dB(A). Some might consider it loud at this level.
Let’s talk about ARGB.
The top cover and the included fan have ARGB lighting. Suppose you don’t have an ARGB header on your motherboard, no problem, as it comes with a wired RGB controller. The ARGB lighting looks pretty decent. It certainly elevates the overall look of the build.
In terms of clearance, you don’t need to worry at all. The single tower CPU cooler is relatively compact and shouldn’t block ram modules or PCIe slots on most motherboards.
To sum up, the ID-COOLING SE-224-XT ARGB V2 is an ARGB CPU air cooler with decent silent performance. For the price tag, it’s quite an obvious choice if you need ARGB.
- »great looking ARGB lighting
- »decent cooling
- »near-silent for the most part
- »excellent clearance
- »can be loud at 100% fan speed
CPU Cooler Buyer’s Guide
A decent CPU cooler will go a long way to ensure you have a stable system; your CPU doesn’t overheat or reduce its longevity. Here are the factors you need to keep in mind while buying budget CPU coolers for overclocking:
There are mainly three types of CPU coolers: air coolers, AIO or closed-loop coolers, and open-loop coolers. Open-loop coolers are expensive, complicated, hard to install, and overkill for most people. So you would want to choose between AIO or closed-loop coolers and air coolers.
AIOs come with radiator, pump, fans: all in one package. The liquid coolant is pre-filled, so you just need to screw the liquid CPU cooler in your PC, and you’re good to go. They have more thermal performance than air coolers due to the use of liquid coolant and big radiators.
Air coolers feature a heatsink and fan(s). Typically, they have a lesser thermal capacity, but some excellent air coolers perform as well as AIO liquid coolers.
Between air coolers and AIOs, air coolers are cheaper. Though you get more cooling from the more expensive liquid coolers or AIOs, there are some excellent air coolers available that can get you adequate cooling at a reasonable price.
The very first thing you need to consider while buying a CPU cooler is clearance. You have to make sure the CPU cooler fits in your PC case and motherboard and doesn’t block any VRMs or PCIe slot. Also, make sure you can properly install your memory modules without any obstruction.
Ideally, you would want to have a CPU cooler with more TDP support than what your CPU is consuming. It’ll allow the CPU cooler to have a breathing room and perform more efficiently.
Nobody wants a CPU cooler that constantly bothers with a whirring noise. Decent CPU coolers have optimized pumps and fans with anti-vibration features and quality bearings. These all work together to make sure there is little noise, and it’s not bothersome.
Question: What is the best budget CPU cooler for overclocking?
Answer: The Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black is the best budget CPU cooler for overclocking. It offers top-notch cooling performance and is capable of handling an overclocked CPU without breaking the bank. It is a reliable CPU cooler praised by tech enthusiasts across the world.
Question: Is a stock cooler enough for overclocking?
Answer: Some stock CPU coolers like the AMD Wraith Stealth Cooler can handle a slight overclock, but overall you should avoid using stock coolers for overclocking. It’ll either cause damage to your CPU in the long run due to increased heat or result in an unstable system.
Question: Is liquid cooling better for overclocking?
Answer: Liquid coolers or AIOs generally provide more CPU cooling performance than air coolers, but they are also more expensive. If you have the budget, liquid cooling is the way to go; otherwise, sticking with a good quality air cooler will be wise.
From the list above, which CPU cooler suits your needs? I would take the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black any day due to its solid performance and reliability. The NZXT Kraken Z63 is also a top choice if I want a premium AIO liquid cooler with impressive design and looks.