Arctic’s fanless CPU cooler can help you build a silent PC

Alpine has released a couple of new coolers for builders who are trying to assemble a quiet or completely silent PC. The company's new Alpine 12 Passive and Alpine 12 AM4 are both passive coolers, meaning they don't come with a cooling fan, and between the two are compatible with modern sockets.

Bear in mind that these aren't for high power processors, like the Core i7-8700K or Ryzen 7 2700X. The thermal profiles of those and other similar chips are just too high. According to Alpine, its new passive coolers are powerful enough to cool compatible CPUs up to 47 watts. Intel's Core T series comes to mind, and AMD is rumored to be releasing a couple of 45W second generation Ryzen processors (Ryzen 5 2500E and Ryzen 7 2700E).

These new models have a sleek, black appearance that serves a functional purpose.

"The black anodization of the aluminum heat sink is not just an optical improvement: the heat dissipation of the heat sink is also increased through anodic oxidation," Arctic claims.

Apparently these coolers repel dust as well—Artic says dust doesn't settle on Alpine 12 Passive and AM4 coolers, so there is no maintenance involved. We'd still recommend giving them a visual inspection every so often, and blasting them with air if need be.

These coolers come pre-applied with MX-2 thermal compound. That's a high quality paste, though without a fan attached, higher temps are inevitable. According to Arctic's own testing, a Core i3-7300T hits 78C under a full load, versus 72C when using the stock cooler. Assuming that's accurate, you're trading 6C for silent operation on that particular chip.

There are other variables involved. Arctic came up with those numbers in a tower case with two 120mm fans. Your choice of case and other components will affect performance.

The Alpine 12 Passive and Alpine 12 AM4 Passive are available now in the US ($12.99 MSRP) and UK (£13.99 MSRP):

The AM4 version is not yet listed on Amazon in the UK, but should be soon. Arctic's 12 Passive is listed for slightly higher than than its £13.99 MSRP.

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Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).