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Top Down Cooling

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Top-down CPU coolers are most commonly included with pre-built desktop PCs or included with retail boxed processors, but are becoming more popular as smaller form factors like mini-ITX continue to make headway into the living rooms of PC users. They also provide additional cooling benefits to supporting hardware through its unique design for maximum performance and thermal regulation.

Cooler Master focuses on a wide range of standard CPU cooler replacements, low profile applications, and more intriguing mid-end cooling with styling and functionality through the Vortex and GeminII series. We’ve designed this Cooler Master University article to help you best decide on the cooler that is right for you.

What are Top-Down CPU Coolers?



Much of the copper, nickel plated, or other aluminum base and heat pipes of a Top-down CPU cooler function similar to that of a traditional Tower CPU cooler. The cooler is placed on top of a heat source (processor) with a thin layer of thermal interface material (TIM) spread in between them to help facilitate the transfer of heat between surfaces. The liquid within the heat pipes changes phases to a gas and carries the heat up the pipes into the fins.

These fins dissipate heat passively into the air, but function far more effectively when a fan is attached to the fin structure. The amount of wattage in heat that is dissipated has an upper limit based on each cooler design. Fans help push the CPU cooler to dissipate more heat, more efficiently. Some top-down CPU coolers also have a secondary benefit of directing cooling airflow towards the motherboard and high-performance system memory which will always provide better motherboard temperatures than their tower counterparts.


Choosing a Top-down CPU cooler

If you’ve arrived at the point where you want to purchase a Top-down CPU cooler, you likely fit into one of three categories. The first category consists of those that simply need a standard CPU cooler or a replacement for one. The increase in performance and improvement in fan operating speeds are very clear from the get-go and installs in a literal snap.


Top down cooling is very effective for mini-ITX chassis like the Elite 130 to provide ample cooling to the motherboard in confined spaces.

The second includes those that require a smaller form factor cooler for limited space applications. These typically apply to home theater PCs (HTPC) and other small form factor computer chassis with Mini-ITX or m-ATX motherboards. The Cooler Master GeminII M4 is a highly compact Top-down CPU cooler that fits into most small system builds while also providing better cooling and style over standard CPU coolers.


The clearance space for performance memory modules is a huge benefit of the GeminII S524 v2

The third category involves those for which vertical space is not an issue and want to maximize performance while utilizing high-profile memory modules. As previous mentioned, top-down coolers like the GeminII S524 v2 provide constant airflow to improve performance and provide the necessary clearance to avoid compatibility issues, but still will not be usable in mini-ITX cases like the Elite 130.


Mini-ITX rigs should stick with the GeminII M4 as their top down solution

See the latest in Top Down Coolers from Cooler Master here.


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