If this article was a benchmark on build quality, I would put the ZEROtherm Nirvana NV120 Premium near the top of the list. Unfortunately build quality is not the only measurement of a good CPU cooler and that leads us to the shortcomings of the NV120.
The first thing most consumers look at when considering a CPU cooler is price. This doesn't play well with the Nirvana since it costs more than the ZEROtherm ZEN 120 before the rebate and the Sunbeamtech Core Contact Freezer; our 40 Dollar performance leader.
Performance wise, you can't go wrong with the Nirvana NV120 Premium, but that can be said about a couple of coolers in this price range. The extras, such as the fan controller and premium thermal paste help sway us to ZEROtherm, but if it were my money it would go for the ZEN and not the Nirvana.
Speaking of fan controllers, you are going to want to play around with yours after installing the Nirvana NV120. The fan is capable of dishing out a hum that you can hear across the room when run at full speed. Luckily, motherboards onboard sensors and fan adjustments are getting better, so as long as you set your BIOS up properly you can pass on using the fan controller and turn full fan speed control over to your motherboard.
The ZEROtherm Nirvana NV120 Premium is a mixed bag. Good cooling performance vs. poor acoustics vs. a little higher cost. The 40-50 Dollar market is filled with several great coolers that will satisfy most enthusiasts' needs. Recommending the Nirvana NV120 over the ZEN 120 or Core-Contact Cooler is just not an option unless it comes down to availability. The NV120 is a really good cooler, but there are better available.
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