Nofan CR-95C IcePipe Copper CPU Cooler Review

/ 4 years ago

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Quiet and Silent are just a couple of marketing buzz words that get thrown around a lot when it comes to CPU coolers. But if we actually think, what is truly quiet or silent? 0 dBA?

Taking the 0 dBA definition of silent, we know of only one CPU cooler on the market that provides total silence. Made by the aptly-named company “NoFan”, the CR-95C IcePipe Copper CPU cooler is an entirely passive CPU cooler. Passive cooling is something we’ll all be familiar with as many graphics cards run passively.

Yet consider that logics behind that – why do graphics cards (with higher TDPs than most processors) get passive cooling and processors have been all but neglected? We would love to see more cooling companies innovate with passive CPU coolers. But until that day arrives NoFan are leading the way on their own with enthusiast class passive CPU coolers.

The CR-95C IcePipe resembles a UFO more than it resembles a CPU cooler – but we’ve heard some great things about it and can’t wait to test it. We think it will probably struggle to keep our unlocked Ivy Bridge K processor at acceptable temperatures when overclocked – but for absolute silence you have to make some compromises right? Plus not every user will be overclocking, a stock i7 3770K with this cooler would make a beastly passive gaming system.

Before we delve into the realms of another review lets first check out the specifications of the NoFan CR-95C IcePipe CPU cooler to see exactly what you’re getting. It’s worth noting there are two versions available, but we are testing the lower cost Copper Version today, not the nickel plated Pearl version.

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  • There’s a joker in every pack. It’s a noble attempt but impractical.

    • I wouldn’t say it was impractical, it all depends on your circumstances. Granted it is not as Versatile as other solutions because you have to meet strict requirements and pre conditions, but if you meet those its awesome.

    • Bill

      Agree. Impractical. The silence you can get with air cooling (such as Dennis above with his Noctua fans spinning at 200rpm) is good enough for a quiet computer and you don’t have to make as many compromises. I myself have quiet air-cooling that I cannot hear over my air-conditioner noise. And this is an overclocked i7-3930K with 64GB and SLI 680’s. I went with Gigabyte 680’s because of their quieter triple-fan design. And I need 64GB memory for my development software, trust me, I use it all (just putting this in because I can imagine the trolling from idiots who don’t what they are talking about).

      The only thing I could imagine using a 100% passive cooler for is a media center computer in a very quiet environment.

      But then, you need a case that can physically fit this monstrosity. If you’re spending this much money on cooling for a media center, you’re probably going to want it to fit in with your amps and such. I know I would. Which is why I have the Silverstone LC16B, which simply will not fit this passive cooler.

      So will it fit in something like the Silverstone GD08? No.

      What about the Silverstone LC20B? No.

      Lian-Li PC-C60B? No.

      What does it fit in?

      • 148mm high, it will fit in any standard mid tower atx case because its big in width, so it covers the motherboard, and is only 148mm high (most tower heat sinks are 160mm) so it isn’t impractical at all. The only compatibility/practicality issues you’ll have are RAM clearance (fixed by getting low profile ram) and PCI Express blockage (you’ll lose the first PCI Express, normally X1, slot of most motherboards)

  • What happens if you have case fans that would pull the heat off it, or make a attachment to place a fan on it?

    • then it would perform better obviously.

    • Then you’re acually ruinening the peformance. In the beginning it would be better, but as the dust would set it self inside the case and on the cooler, then it would get worse. Nofan themself actually says that for the this cooler to work 100% the system needs to be 100% passive, othervise dust would get indside the case and worsen the situation in the long run.

      and i agree with them. And one has to remember that this isn’t a cooler for people who want performance. It’s for people who wants absolut silence! So it will cool a normal i5-3570K @ stock – but it wouldn’t @ OC.

      I have a Noctua NH-D14 with 2x NF-F12 fans running @ 200 RPM cooling my i7-2600K @ stock – and i can’t hear it (mission accomplished). So for me the silence is more important than performance.

      • Jonathan Anderson

        There has to be some exchange of air from the box, or you have really just made an oven of the box to cook all your components in. Sure, it takes some hours but you will probably see all of the box hit high temps without case fans. I think 100% passive should be perceived as “without a dedicated fan on this cooler”. You will need to brush the dust off you cooling fins once in a while. You can use dust filters for the air that goes inside the box to slow down the dust buildup.

  • For a Music Studio or any kind of sound recording studios, the quietness is a big deal, so a passive cooler is very nice to reduce the noise of a computer inside this environment. But you’ll need to deal with other computer components, such videocard, power supply and harddrive. All of these have silent alternatives (Fanless VGA, SSD instead HDD, Fanless power supply), but some of there cost a lot of money.