Intel's upcoming Alder Lake stock cooler gets tested

Intel 12th Gen boxed cooler runnning on an Asrock Steel Legend motherboard
(Image credit: NetEase)

We’ve been singing the praises of Intel’s 12th Gen CPUs since they launched, but right now, only the high end 125W K SKUs are available for purchase. Since Intel assumes that buyers of the i9 12900K, i7 12700K and i5 12600K will buy aftermarket coolers, they don’t come bundled with one. That’s all bound to change next week, as Intel is set to launch a large number of 12th Gen models at CES, including many with a 65W TDP. These models should all come bundled with coolers. But are they any good? Chinese news site NetEase via Tom's Hardware tested one of the new coolers with an upcoming i5 12400 and reported the results. The new cooler seems to be a good step up from older boxed coolers. 

Your next upgrade

(Image credit: Future)

Best CPU for gaming: the top chips from Intel and AMD
Best graphics card: your perfect pixel-pusher awaits
Best SSD for gaming: get into the game ahead of the rest

The tested cooler looks impressive, with the metal heatsink and plastic shroud surrounded by a blue ring at the top. It gives an impression that it's 'cool' with its kind of black ice vibe. A copper core insert sits atop the CPU. Copper is a more effective heat conductor than the aluminium used by low end Intel coolers of the past.

The cooler was tested with the upcoming Core i5 12400, which is a CPU we are excited about as it should offer amazing value and gaming performance.  And if these temperatures turn out to be accurate, then it looks like a cool running CPU too. An AIDA64 stress test resulted in a temperature of 73C at a 20C ambient temperature. A 3100 RPM fan speed is a bit concerning, as that's probably quite noisy, but remember that an AIDA64 stress test presents a worst case scenario, so under a gaming load, it shouldn't be too intrusive. 

Intel Alder Lake boxed CPU cooler

(Image credit: Intel)

Also interesting was the peak power consumption of 80W. That's very impressive. If the 12400 turns out to be the budget gaming king we think it may turn out to be, then it's unlikely to require anything beyond a mid range air cooler, even if you don't use the bundled one.

Intel's 65W CPUs are due to be announced next week, So we can expect these coolers to arrive at the same time.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.