We learned pretty quickly that the Core i7 Extreme 3960X is one hot CPU, especially when overclocked. It’s not out of the ordinary for it to pull over 400W at the wall under load. So it should come as no surprise that Intel launched a liquid cooling solution to go along with it for around $100.
But what about silent PC enthusiasts? While the liquid cooler does a good enough job of keeping the CPU cool, it can get quite loud under load. For silent operations, you are going to need a cooler that is more substantial – a LOT of air going through a LOT of surface area. For that, we are looking at the NH-D14 SE2011, which is designed specifically for the Sandy Bridge-E chip, from silent cooling specialists Noctua.
This 2.6 lb monster boasts some impressive specs, all of which can be found here. Most importantly, it supports two fans (one 14cm and one 12cm) that spin at just 1200/1300 RPM respectively, and generate under 20 dB each. Sitting on 16x14x13cm of aluminum radiators with six heatpipes, this should be enough to keep a Core i7 Extreme cool, and do it quietly.