AMD’s Zen 2 Matisse Refresh CPUs are upon us, including the new Ryzen 5 3600XT. Now, unlike its bigger brothers, the Ryzen 7 3800XT and Ryzen 9 3900XT, the 3600XT still comes bundled with a stock Wraith cooler, the Spire v2. The included Wraith cooler is sufficient for the existing 3600X; thus, it should be perfectly suited for the 3600XT, seeing as it has the same 95W TDP (thermal design power). However, many DIY PC builders still opt to purchase aftermarket all-in-one liquid coolers or premium tower air coolers for the best thermal performance possible, and we suggest you do the same with the 3600XT. When it comes to electronics, heat kills, meaning the cooler (i.e., dust-free!), you manage to keep your components, the longer they’re generally going to last.
Furthermore, CPU boost/overclocking performance tends to scale directly with cooling capacity, and at some point, even the beefier Wraith coolers just aren’t going to cut it. Due to the maturity of AMD’s 7nm process, the 3600XT’s single-core boost frequency is 100MHz higher than the 3600X. Along with improved boost performance, we should at least see marginally better overclocking capabilities overall as well, and higher clocks mean more heat, hence our recommendation for a replacement cooling solution.
That said, today, we’re going to take a look at a handful of the best CPU cooling options available to help you decide what to buy for your new Ryzen 5 3600XT build.
Best Coolers for Ryzen 5 3600XT – Our Recommendations
|Best Liquid Cooler for Ryzen 5 3600XT||EVGA CLC 240||$120|
|Best Air Cooler for Ryzen 5 3600XT||Noctua NH-U12A||$100|
|Best Entry-Level Cooler for Ryzen 5 3600XT||Cooler Master Hyper 212 BlackEdition||$36 (Regularly $40)|
|Best Low-Profile Cooler for Ryzen 5 3600XT||Noctua NH-L12S||$50|
Best Liquid Cooler for the Ryzen 5 3600XT
For those of you willing to opt for closed-loop AIO coolers, we recommend the $120 EVGA CLC 240 RGB. EVGA is a renowned name in the GPU market, at least for US customers, but they’ve greatly expanded into other markets over the years, including CPU liquid coolers. The crucial elements of EVGA’s stellar reputation are their consistently high build quality, fantastic performance, extended warranties, and their exceptional customer service. All of these qualities extend to the CLC 240, making it one of the best-reviewed AIO coolers in direct competition with the mega-popular Corsair H100i Pro RGB ($140).
With its competitive $120 price point, the EVGA CLC 240 RGB sports a 240 x 12 x 27mm aluminum radiator, sleeved tubing, EVGA’s custom 120mm low-noise 2500RPM fans with Teflon bearings, and an RGB pump block. Now, you’re not going to want to run your fans anywhere near max RPM, because, despite the fact they’re “low-noise,” they can get exceptionally loud above ~2000RPM. However, at around 1250RPM (which measures about 40dBA), you can expect phenomenal thermal and noise performance on par with, or better than, the majority of other available 240mm AIOs. If you’re in search of a liquid cooling unit to pair with your 3600XT, it’ll be challenging to find a better price-to-performance value than EVGA’s CLC 240 RGB.
Best Air Cooler for the Ryzen 5 3600XT
For a large number of enthusiasts, the name Noctua means one thing: quality. Noctua has built itself a nearly unrivaled reputation compared to any other PC component manufacturer by consistently offering the best CPU air coolers and fans for many years. Whatever your opinion of Noctua’s, uhh, striking brown color scheme, you cannot deny the level of overall build quality, performance, and extraordinary design that they’ve offered the DIY PC market for such a long time. Better yet, they’ve recently been giving many of their products long-awaited black iterations with their Chromax series, except our pick for the best air cooler: The Noctua NH-U12A… At least so far.
It’s almost ironic that the sort of innovation and competition the U12A brings to the premium tower air cooler market comes from Noctua. It must truly take the best to rival the best because this 120mm single-tower cooler directly competes, within a few degrees, with not only the significantly larger Noctua NH-D15 140mm dual-tower cooler but even many 240mm AIO liquid coolers (with normalized noise levels). Of course, larger air and liquid coolers can brute force their way to better thermal results, but it comes at the cost of potentially unbearable fan noise.
The critical factors lending to the performance of the U12A are the included NF-A12x25 fans with Sterrox blades, and the seven heat pipes Noctua managed to cram through the cold plate and fin stack. Sterrox is a unique material developed by Noctua, which allows for the distinct curve of the fan blades, as well as their remarkable 0.5mm clearance from the frame. Thus, the NF-A12x25s can achieve higher RPMs at equivalent noise levels to other fans while moving more air over a larger surface area compared to similarly-sized heat sinks, giving the NH-U12A the ability to punch well above its weight class. If you’ve avoided more premium CPU tower coolers due to concerns with size and compatibility, the NH-U12A is an extremely compelling choice for your new Ryzen 5 3600XT build.
Best Entry-Level Cooler for the Ryzen 5 3600XT
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 BlackEdition is an all-gunmetal black rendition of the legendary Hyper 212 EVO. Say what you will about some of their cases, Cooler Master has been the undeniable king of entry-level CPU coolers for ages since they released the Hyper 212 EVO. Now they’re offering the same incredible value in a much more visually pleasing package that competes with even the ultra-sleek looks of be quiet!’s Dark Rock line.
More specifically, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 BlackEdition’s thermal and noise performance are identical to that of the be quiet! BK024 Dark Rock Slim, while costing nearly half as much! The Hyper 212 Black is currently $36 (regularly priced at $40), where the Dark Rock Slim comes in at a whopping $65. That’s a rough price differential to try and justify when be quiet! can’t even claim better aesthetics in comparison anymore, especially when you consider the possibility of taking those savings and putting them towards an additional Cooler Master Silencio FP 120mm fan for even better CPU thermals.
With such a tried and true design getting such an excellent face-lift, it’s rough to try and justify any entry-level cooler over the Hyper 212 Black. If it fits in your case, and you’re only looking for a slight upgrade over a stock Wraith cooler, you cannot go wrong with the Hyper 212 Black Edition.
Best Low-Profile Cooler for the Ryzen 5 3600XT
For builders keen on downsizing their next rig to a small form factor (SFF) PC, we suggest the Noctua NH-L12S. Four heat pipes and Noctua’s NF-A12x15 slim 120mm fan translate to some of the best CPU cooling performance for extra-small PC builds on the market. One of the only ways to achieve superior air cooling with the same footprint as the NH-L12S is by slapping a Noctua NF-A12x25 on the Scythe Big Shuriken 3. However, the Scythe/Noctua combo only nets you a few extra degrees and brings your total cost up to about $77, where the L12S is only $50. When it comes to the ultimate in SFF air cooling out of the box for a 3600XT, you cannot beat the NH-L12S.
Speaking of the NH-L12S, we have an exciting twist to announce; Noctua has just launched a new version! This latest iteration has been custom-tailored for the LOUQE Ghost S1, which is terrific news for anyone who’s been eyeing (or already owns) the coveted enclosure but hasn’t wanted to risk bending the standard NH-L12S to get it to fit correctly. For the luxury of a guaranteed, hassle-free fit for the Ghost S1, the NH-L12 Ghost S1 Edition will only run you an additional $5, and you can also opt to replace the included NF-B9 fan with an NF-A9 for even better cooling. Whatever tiny SFF cases you want to build in, the NH-L12 is a powerhouse pick for even the most top-tier CPUs on the market.
The hits just keep on coming with AMD, and the new Matisse Refresh CPUs deal yet another blow to Intel as they continue scrambling to catch up. With the launch of the B550 chipset, the upcoming release of the more budget-oriented A520 chipset, and options like the Ryzen 5 3600XT, AMD continues its domination of the PC hardware market. Here’s hoping AMD can bring the same heat to NVIDIA with Big Navi/RDNA 2!
Best Liquid Cooler: EVGA CLC 240 RGB – EVGA extends its premium touch to the mid-range all-in-one liquid cooler market. With a five year warranty, competitive price, and outstanding performance, the CLC 240 is arguably the premier closed-loop CPU cooling solution on the market.
Best Air Cooler: Noctua NH-U12A – Noctua: A name that signifies rock-solid performance, simple but elegant design, and pure reliability for the vast majority of DIY PC enthusiasts. Never has this notion been proven more true than with the recent NH-U12A. Thanks to its seven heat pipes and the specially designed NF-A12x25 Sterrox fan blades (a material developed by Noctua), Noctua has brought serious competition to even their massive 140mm dual-tower, the NH-D15, with a 120mm model. If you’re looking for the ultimate thermal and noise performance in a reasonably sized air cooler, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better.
Best Entry-Level Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 BlackEdition – Cooler Master’s entry-level goliath, the Hyper 212 EVO, now has the option for a coat of gunmetal black paint! When it comes to affordable CPU air cooling, the Hyper 212 series is second only to Noctua in terms of reputation, popularity, performance, and reliability. The Hyper 212 Black Edition brings the tried and true performance of the 212 EVO with a level of sleek visual design that’s on par with even a company like be quiet! Additionally, if you’re looking for even better thermal performance with the 212 BE for a 3600XT, consider snagging an additional Cooler Master Silencio FP 120mm fan for a push/pull configuration!
Best Low-Profile Cooler: Noctua NH-L12S – If you want the best out of the box performance for SFF cases that can’t fit anything taller than 70mm, this is your best option. While you can achieve better CPU thermals by securing a Noctua NF-A12x25 fan on the Scythe Big Shuriken 3, doing so costs significantly more money while also completely wasting the stock Scythe fan. Additionally, Noctua has just released a new NH-L12 designed explicitly for the extremely popular LOUQE Ghost S1, so builders no longer have to bend the heat pipes on the original L12S.
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