Many CPUs come with a CPU cooler that you can use to keep your CPU cool, but is that CPU cooler that comes with the CPU any good?
Stock CPU coolers do the job if you use them at stock settings with no overclocking. It will allow you to do light gaming at low temperatures and moderate to heavy gaming at moderate temperatures. However, if you are looking to overclock with a stock cooler you risk overheating and are better off using an aftermarket cooler.
You should also keep in mind that there are different types of stock coolers some being better than others. So it is best to know what type of cooler you are getting and how good it is before you. start putting stress on the CPU.
Is The Included CPU Cooler Any Good?
To know if the included stock CPU cooler is any good, you first have to figure out which cooler you are using.
If you are using Intel they are always releasing different stock coolers with their different CPUs, but most of the fall in the low to the mid-quality range.
If you are using AMD’s Ryzen CPUs then you have one out of these 3 coolers. The Wraith STEALTH, Wraith SPIRE, and Wraith Prism.
The Wraith STEALTH cooler is a very cheap cooler. This cooler is usually provided when you buy a Ryzen 3 and even some Ryzen 5 CPUs.
It is a low-budget CPU cooler meant for low-budget builds and is also comparable to Intel’s low-budget CPU coolers as well.
With the Wraith STEALTH, you will only be able to do some light gaming if you want your CPU to stay at low temperatures. However, if you do start doing some heavy gaming on your PC you will see increased temperatures that are higher than normal.
For most builds, this won’t be a problem because even at higher moderate temperatures your CPU will still be cool enough to run without becoming damaged.
With the Wraith SPIRE, you will be seeing the same cooling performance as the Wraith STEALTH in a medium-budget build.
Wraith SPIRE CPU coolers are usually paired with most Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 CPUs. Although this cooler is better than the Wraith STEALTH it is paired with a better CPU that produces more heat.
Therefore, it will keep the temperatures about the same as the Wraith STEALTH during light to moderate gaming sessions.
Most people tell you that the Wraith SPIRE cooler is not able to overclock without your CPU overheating.
However, I used to use a Wraith SPIRE CPU cooler with a Ryzen 7 CPU. I was able to do some light overclocking with it before the temperatures raised to an unstable rate.
I think it is fine to do light overclocking with this cooler as long as you don’t mind a noisy computer.
Next, we have the Wraith PRISM. This CPU cooler is on par with certain aftermarket coolers.
The Wraith PRISM will allow you to do some light overclocking and keep your CPU very cool while using it during light or heavy gaming sessions.
This stock CPU cooler also allows for light to moderate overclocking, but be aware that you might experience a lot of noise coming from this cooler if you do so because the fan will be working extra hard in order to keep your CPU cool.
Should You Use a Stock Cooler?
If you are not looking to do heavy overclocking and aren’t going to place a heavy load on your CPU, then using a stock cooler will do its job.
Most of the time these stock coolers are made very budgeted unless you are using something like the Wraith PRISM, but if you are looking to build a high-quality computer and purchase a high-quality CPU that this cooler comes with.
Then you are most likely already able to afford your own aftermarket CPU cooler, so in most cases stock coolers like the Wraith PRISM are irrelevant.
However, if you are making a more budget computer then the stock cooler you will get with your CPU will be enough to get by and will allow you to play games and do tasks that don’t require overclocking just fine.
Therefore, if you are using a stock cooler you will be fine as long as you don’t overclock your CPU.
Is Using an Aftermarket Cooler The Best Option For You?
Most of the time if you are using a stock CPU cooler you will be just fine, but there are certain scenarios where you will be better off buying and using an aftermarket CPU cooler.
If you are looking to overclock then using an aftermarket cooler is your best option. The reason for this is that even with your CPU overclocked, using an aftermarket cooler will keep the CPU temperatures low.
If you are looking to do some heavy overclocking then consider even upgrading to liquid cooling which will allow you to keep your CPU very cool and prevent it from overheating even when you are doing very heavy overclocks on your PC
Learn more about Why Managing Your CPU Heat Matters.
Another reason why an aftermarket cooler might be the best option is if you are building a really powerful and expensive computer.
The reason for this is that you will be buying more powerful parts that work harder and produce more heat.
Under heavy loads, your stock CPU cooler might not be able to keep up, and for this reason, you should try to get an aftermarket cooler.
Even a cheap aftermarket cooler like the Cooler Master Evo 212. Will be a better choice than a stock CPU cooler.
How To Know If The Stock Cooler Is Not Doing Its Job
Most of the time a stock cooler will work just fine under low to moderate loads, but there are a few things to look out for to make sure the cooler is doing its job right. You will know if the stock cooler is not doing its job if the temperatures increase in the high 70 or 80 degrees celsius.
This means that your CPU is going to overheat and you either need to lighten the load or buy an aftermarket cooler.
Another thing to look out for is the noise. If your stock cooler is making a lot of noise that either means it is broking or working really hard to keep your computer at a moderate temperature.
If you don’t like the noise it is making then you might have to resort to buying an aftermarket cooler because odds are your stock cooler is making that much noise just so it can keep up with the performance of your PC.