AMD’s third generation Ryzen 5 3600 CPU has been quite the popular processing unit, and for good reason. With its 6 cores and 12 threads it’ll easily run the most demanding of games, while also having enough power to be used as a workstation for designing or editing projects. Not only that, but it also comes at a great price-range of just $180, so its easily one of the smartest options for a mid-end CPU, currently available for purchase in 2020.
Despite its low price, it does still include a cooling device… though it’s not the greatest. And when we say it’s not the greatest, we mean it’s pretty terrible. The CPU comes with AMD’s Wraith Stealth, which was tested by the fine folks over at Techspot, finding it reached temperatures as high as 87 degrees Celsius when overclocking the Ryzen 5 2600. Having your PCU’s temperatures rise over 70 degrees for prolonged periods of time is not recommended, as it will cause damage to your processor, and will, therefore, not allow you to use its overclocking power consistently.
The good news is that there are some great coolers in the market for very reasonable prices, both for ATX cases, as well as low-profile builds. Here, we will list the best coolers you can find on a budget, for low-profile cases, best gaming (RGB) coolers, as well as the best overall cooler for your Ryzen 5 3600 processor.
Best CPU Coolers for the Ryzen 5 3600 – My Recommendations
Best Budget Cooler for Ryzen 5 3600
If you don’t care much about constantly overclocking your CPU, the looks inside your case, or don’t worry too much about futureproofing your build, then what you’re going want is a cooler that will do its job at a low cost. For that, we’ve chosen the Arctic Freezer 7X.
The Arctic Freezer 7X comes with a 92mm fan, two double-sided, direct-touch, copper heatpipes, a pre-applied Arctic MX-2 thermal compound, and a six-year warranty. When put up against the Wraith Stealth, in benchmarks run by ponchato, we see that the Arctic Freezer 7X will run at temperatures up to almost 20 degrees less than the AMD Wraith Stealth at 1.35V. In fact, at 40 dB noise-levels, the Arctic Freezer 7X ran at 44.5 degrees, whereas the AMD Wraith Stealth ran at 65.3 degrees; this time an over 20-degree difference. To sum things up, this cooler is much better than the stock cooler provided with the Ryzen 5 3600, and despite its smaller size and price, it will give you the opportunity to overclock your CPU when you need to, and keep temperatures low on a regular basis. Now you may be wondering, all this is great, but at what cost?
Well, currently you can find the Arctic Freezer 7X for just under $20, which is an amazing price-point for its overall performance and quality. If you’re looking to replace the stock cooler on a budget, this is the choice for you.
Best Gaming/RGB CPU Cooler for Ryzen 5 3600
If you’re a gaming enthusiast, and enjoy panoramic light-shows emanating from your computer case, then you’re going to want a CPU cooler that will provide some of that visual RGB beauty. For this case, we have the perfect option: the Corsair H100i RGB Platinum AIO CPU Cooler.
We all know and love the Corsair ML Pro fans, as they are both visually appealing, and produce good amounts of air flow. Not only that, but with their magnetic levitation ball bearings, resulting noise levels are low, while their endurance is high. Now two of these fans, paired with dual 240mm radiators included in this cooler, means high levels of cooling performance whilst maintaining the most stylish visual appeal.
Speaking of style, these fans have 16 individually addressable RGB LED’s split between two light loops (middle and outer rings), as well as an RGB display on the face of the pump head. The pump itself has a thermally optimized cold plate and a low-noise pump design – though the noise levels can reach upwards of 40 dB, so if you’re looking for a quiet build, AIO coolers may not be the best for you. Beauty does come with a price, not only due to the aforementioned noise levels, but also in its actual money cost.
The Corsair H100i RGB Platinum AIO cooler is currently valued at $160, which may seem quite expensive for a CPU cooler, but it will keep your Ryzen 5 3600’s temperatures low, and provide you with a glamorous light-show you can enjoy around the clock.
Best Low Profile CPU Cooler for Ryzen 5 3600 ITX Builds
Given that the Ryzen 5 3600’s included Wraith Stealth cooler is not optimized for an SFF case, you will want a low-profile cooler that will do the job, and there is none better than the Noctua NH-L12S.
Measuring only 70mm tall, the Noctua NH-L12S is as small, as it is silent. Featuring a Low-Noise Adaptor with automatic speed controls means that it outputs only 21.4 dB of sound at low loads, making it the quietest low-profile CPU available.
In regards to cooling, it uses an NF-A12x15 slim 120mm fan, which can be mounted either on top, or under, the fin stack, to match the airflow direction of the case it is installed in. In addition, it comes with Noctua’s top-of-the-line NT-H1 thermal compound. As a total package, it easily outperforms similarly priced low-profile coolers, even when overclocking the CPU.
Of course, Noctua does not recommend overclocking your CPU with this cooler, but given that OptimumTech was able to test this cooler using an overclocked 95W i7-8700K at 4.8GHz (1.3V) for 15 minutes, and the cooler was still able to maintain a 73.2 degree temperature, it should be able to easily handle overclocking a 65W Ryzen 5 3600.
You can currently find the Noctua NH-L12S for a modest $50, including an incredible 6-year warranty.
Best Overall (Price/Performance) CPU Cooler for Ryzen 5 3600
Now, for the best overall, regularly sized, cooler which not only features enough cooling power to handle overclocking AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600, but also comes at a reasonable price, and maintains incredibly silent noise-levels while doing so.
The best airflow, dual-fan, CPU cooler money can buy, the Noctua NH-D15 comes with a six-heatpipe design which features two 140mm NF-A15 fans that include low-noise adaptors and PWM support. This means that these fans have automatic speed control so they will only run when necessary, resulting in much quieter operation. In fact, the Noctua NH-D15, as measured by benchmarks run at Tweaktown, is the quietest cooler of all 27 coolers tested, operating at only 24 dB with 7.5V supplied (1100 RPM), and only 35 dB at 12V supplied. This cooler is barely audible, even on high loads.
The design of the Noctua NH-D15 is what ultimately provides the best cooling available for its price. As with the aforementioned benchmarks, it was able to maintain temperatures that only a few, double-priced, AIO coolers were able to maintain. The increased surface area, provided by the six-heatpipe design, allows for better heat-distribution, and heat-dissipation. This design, paired with the two, top-of-the-line, 144mm A15s Noctua fans which chill this dissipated heat, makes the cooling produced by the NH-D15 more than enough to keep your Ryzen 5 3600’s temperatures low, even at high loads and overclocking.
Currently, the Noctua NH-D15 is priced at $89, and though it may seem steep, it is well worth its price for the quality, and performance, of this cooler. Remember, that even if you decide to upgrade your CPU you will still be able to keep this cooler, meaning you will also be futureproofing your setup with this purchase. If you believe this fan to be overkill for your needs, check out the single-120mm fan Noctua NH-U12S which will only cost you $64.99.