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I am currently using the stock cooler for the i3-7100 and should have heeded the warnings that it is incredibly loud (it is seriously unbearable).

I am looking for the quietest cooler I can find. Not overclocking this and it's the lowest specced Kaby Lake i3 there is. My only limitation is the cooler height must not exceed 56mm.

  • in theory I could imagine, if you down-clock your i3 a little bit, that passive cooling (ie no fans, just a big heat-sink, I found a passive cooler suited for 47W TDP CPUs and yours has 51W) might work, however this is way too experimental as for me to post it as a proper answer... – SEJPM Jul 2 '17 at 13:19
  • It would be cool to do fanless, but that usually requires a very large heatsink, which won't fit my 56mm limitation. – Marty Jul 2 '17 at 21:06
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    You could try a combination of water cooling and passive fan setting to see if you can get the thermals of the core down so fan RPMs go down as well. Worst case scenario you're down a hundred bucks and have a computer that runs cooler. From a software standpoint you could also try fan speed software like speed fan. You'd need a mobo that supports it and 3 pin fan, however. – Bennett Yeo Jul 3 '17 at 7:07
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Noctua makes a range of low-profile and low-decibel coolers. A number of other companies do as well but in my experience Noctua has the best track record for performance.

This model might work for you:

Noctua Low-Profile Quiet CPU Cooler for Intel 115x Based Retail Cooling NH-L9I

Amazon Link:

https://www.amazon.com/Noctua-Low-Profile-Cooler-Retail-Cooling/dp/B009VCAJ7W

It's 37mm tall, it fits the socket for a kaby lake i3, and it's designed to dissipate ~65W of power draw (your CPU has a TDP of just under 60, since the higher specced i3-7530K runs a TDP of 61... benchmarks for the i3-7530K were easier to find). I can back up the reviews that say it is a virtually silent cooler, as I've used Noctua fans for years. They are excellent quality and barely audible, especially if you mount them using the included rubber stoppers (this will likely be the default installation method for the cooler, that bit more applies to case fans).

Should fulfill all of your requirements, and it's not even more expensive than options from Cooler Master and other manufacturers. Hope this helps.

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