Does CPU Come With Coolers? And How to Properly Install Them

The CPU is the most important part of the computer, which retrieves and executes information for the whole system. Sometimes, when needed, we can overclock the CPU to reach a much higher performance. All those activities generate a huge amount of heat which is enough to make the whole system overload and may lead to a crash. Therefore, when purchasing a new CPU, we would always wonder if they come with coolers.

Does CPU come with Cooler? 

Fortunately, most of the CPUs shipped out from the manufacturers come with stocked fans or heatsinks. Some CPUs that can be overclocked, are shipped without a CPU fan or heatsink.

For instance, an unlocked processor from Intel doesn’t come with a cooler. With the AMD processors, only the models with the high-performance/boosted clock speed CPU do not come with a bundled cooler. 

In this article, we will show you which kind of CPU comes with a bundled cooler and which does not. We will also take about the importance of a CPU cooler and how to install one properly.

Do all CPUs need a CPU cooler to function? 

The answer is obviously yes. If you don’t want your computer case to become a toaster in just a blink of an eye, you definitely need to equip some kind of cooling system for the CPU.

Some might argue that there is a case in which the CPU doesn’t need a cooling system to fully operate. My answer to that argument is if you run your computer on Intel Atom or AMD Bobcat, then you don’t need a fan at all. In the end, all you have in hand is just a tiny mobile phone, not a fully powered CPU. As nowadays newer smartphone models are packed with more computing power than can rival a laptop CPU.

While operating, the CPU produces heat as a byproduct. When reaching a certain amount, heat can cause the system to slow down or even disable the dedicated electronics. In order to protect the device from that consequence and get the best performance out of your CPUs, you need to install a cooling system for your computer. 

There are so many ways for users to keep a CPU at a controllable temperature. It varies from liquid cooling to using airflow. These cooling systems can apply to many use cases, from a laptop to a PC.

How can heat affect the performance of the CPUs? 

To put it in a simple term, electricity is the main reason why your components get hot over time. Anything that runs on electricity will eventually witness the rise in the temperature, even a small LED. It is just that it is too small to generate enough heat for the user to feel.

The main task of the CPUs is to carry out algorithms. The harder the task the more heat it can generate. Reaching the alert level of heat, the motherboard will instruct components to shut down as a fail-safe. This safety mechanism, sometimes in extreme circumstances can cost the whole system to crash and heavily affect the lifespan of the components.

Does Intel CPUs come with their own cooler? 

As mentioned, not all Intel CPUs come with a stock cooler. Most of them do. But users will find it not working as a proper cooler should work. You can find out more about the stock cooler that comes with Intel CPUs with a review here. But in short, the stock cooler that Intel provides with the CPUs is not sufficient to carry the load, especially if the users want to run a heavy workload. 

Keep in mind that not all Intel CPUs come with a cooler. Intel’s pricey overclockable K-series does not come with a stock fan heatsink. Although they bulked up its bundled cooler for several Rocket Lake-S models, its improvement is not quite there yet when compared with its counterpart from AMD. 

Here’s a link for every intel CPU that doesn’t come with a bundled CPU cooler.

Does AMD CPUs come with their own cooler? 

The bundle cooler AMD equipped with its Ryzen 3000 processors is pretty sweet, especially compared to Intel one. When upgrading to Ryzen 5000 processors, users won’t find any bundled coolers because AMD decided that the increase in performance consolidates the lack of coolers and higher pricing. Indeed it was as many reviews from various tech outlets confirm this idea.

The table below shows a list of Intel CPUs that doesn’t come with a bundled cooler.

AMD Ryzen 9 5950XAM4Not Included
AMD Ryzen 9 5900XAM4Not Included
AMD Ryzen 7 5800XAM4Not Included
AMD Ryzen 9 3900XTAM4Not Included
AMD Ryzen 7 3800XTAM4Not Included
AMD Ryzen 9 3950XAM4Not Included
Source: AMD

There are 3 types of bundled coolers that are included in the box depending on the model you’re getting.  They are the Wraith Stealth, Wraith Spire & Wraith Prism with RGB LED.

We included a table below to show you which cooler you will get in the box together with the Ryzen CPU. 

ProcessorBundled Thermal Solution
AMD Ryzen™ 9 3900XAMD Wraith Prism
AMD Ryzen™ 7 3800XAMD Wraith Prism
AMD Ryzen™ 7 3700XAMD Wraith Prism
AMD Ryzen™ 7 2700XAMD Wraith Prism
AMD Ryzen™ 7 2700AMD Wraith Spire (RGB LED)
AMD Ryzen™ 7 1700AMD Wraith Spire (RGB LED)
AMD Ryzen™ 5 3600XAMD Wraith Spire Cooler
AMD Ryzen™ 5 3400GAMD Wraith Spire Cooler
AMD Ryzen™ 5 2600XAMD Wraith Spire Cooler
AMD Ryzen™ 5 1600AMD Wraith Spire Cooler
AMD Ryzen™ 5 1500XAMD Wraith Spire Cooler
AMD Ryzen™ 5 3600AMD Wraith Stealth Cooler
AMD Ryzen™ 5 2600AMD Wraith Stealth Cooler
AMD Ryzen™ 5 2400GAMD Wraith Stealth Cooler
AMD Ryzen™ 5 1400AMD Wraith Stealth Cooler
AMD Ryzen™ 3 3300XAMD Wraith Stealth Cooler
AMD Ryzen™ 3 3200GAMD Wraith Stealth Cooler
AMD Ryzen™ 3 3100AMD Wraith Stealth Cooler
AMD Ryzen™ 3 2200GAMD Wraith Stealth Cooler
AMD Ryzen™ 3 1300XAMD Wraith Stealth Cooler
AMD Ryzen™ 3 1200AMD Wraith Stealth Cooler
Source: AMD

How to properly install a CPU fan? 

Step 1: Check the thermal paste

There will be a thin layer of thermal paste applied onto your CPUs after attaching it to a motherboard. It also eliminates the space between the CPU and the CPU lid. Some CPU manufacturers will be kind enough to provide the thermal paste first hand so make sure to check it out first. If the thermal paste is not there, apply a small amount, like a dot, to the center of the CPUs and spread it evenly across the surface of the CPUs. 

Step 2: Install a standoff (screw) for the motherboard

Make sure when assembling a new PC, the motherboard is properly installed in a standoff rather than straight to the case. It will create space for airflow from the fan. Otherwise, there will be a bang, smoke and the motherboard is no longer there. Some cases will come with a pre-install standoff so make sure to check it out

Step 3: Install the cooler

Lineup the cooler above the CPU. Carefully lower it down and then screw it (or whatever type of connector it uses). Tight it loosely and then put on additional force to place it properly. Note: Using the X pattern when tight the connectors, don’t go square otherwise it will create unbalanced pressure. 

Step 4: Power it up 

Everything runs on electricity and so does the cooler. A simpler air cooler fan will have a specific connector on the motherboard to connect and give it power. 

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