The fourth generation of Zen desktop CPUs is due to release before year’s end, so no one expected AMD to rock any boats until then. Much like the Spanish inquisition, several new CPUs have burst onto the scene in the meantime. The 5800X3D is already tearing it up, and the three other 5000-series chips are eager to slot into their own niches. Even the humblest of them would benefit from better heat management, so here are the best cooler for Ryzen 5 5500 candidates you should consider.
The 5500 is a thermal lightweight, so the stock cooler is all you need if you aren’t concerned with temperatures. A meager investment in an aftermarket cooling solution could give you peace of mind and yield temperature drops well into double-digit degree territory. Going for one won’t even make a dent in your budget, and you’ll be better off for it down the line.
Best Coolers for Ryzen 5 5500
- Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO V2 – Breathing new life into an old favorite
- be quiet! Pure Rock 2 – Quieter than rustling leaves
- Thermalright TA120 EX – The (almost) perfect comeback
- ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports – Lean mean cooling machine
- Vetroo V5 – Budget RGB cooling goodness
- Deep Cool Gammaxx 400 V2 – The cheapest viable stock replacement cooler
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO V2
Fan RPM: 650 – 1,800 | Fan CFM: 62 | Has RGB: No
Readers who were putting their rigs together during the tail end of the 00s surely remember how tech sites sang the original Hyper 212’s praises. Deservedly so, as the cooler was both efficient and cheap. Installing it was a pain even the EVO version didn’t manage to fix. It took a while, but Cooler Master finally released a model a few years ago whose setup excellence matches its other specs.
The EVO v2 has deceptively little going on in the looks department. Both the heatsink and pipes lack a paint layer. A holographic sticker is the only visually unique bit on the fan. Still, the ensemble is put together well, the heatpipes being perfectly flush with the base, for example.
A more thorough examination uncovers lots of details that aid in performance. The base is now a torsion bar and comes with chunky saw teeth that increase its surface area and help with heat radiation. The stack’s fins are slightly angled for better air agitation. They have a slight central dip that lets air blasted from the fan pick up speed before crashing into the heatsink.
The fan is a new SickleFlow 120 design, the same as on Cooler Master’s affordable yet effective 240mm AIO. Its seven blades have no discernible markings or enhancements. Yet, they can transfer 62 cubic feet of air per minute through the heatsink.
No More Installation Woes
The Hyper 212 EVO would have been the ideal first custom cooler were it not for the complicated installation. You can now safely make its successor part of your PC DIY project as installing it is a breeze. The accompanying backplate comes with AM4 and Intel holes, so the most complicated part is making sure you’re putting screws & clips into the appropriate socket position. It’s smooth sailing after that since the crossbar base lets you install the rest like you would any other modern cooler.
This is one of the more expensive coolers on the list, which is reflected in its performance. The EVO v2 can easily put up with a fully-taxed Ryzen 5 5500 while running silently. It’s an excellent investment should you want to go with a 5600X or even a non-overclocked 5800X down the line as well. The only thing to note is RAM clearance, as super tall sticks like Corsair’s won’t fit.
be quiet! Pure Rock 2
Fan RPM: 200 – 1,500 | Fan CFM: 51 | Has RGB: No
What’s more important in a CPU cooler to you, performance or stealth? Choosing the Pure Rock 2 makes the preference moot as it delivers on both fronts. The cooler makes its company name proud, maxing out at “noise” levels even librarians would approve. Efficiency doesn’t suffer for it, and neither will your bank account.
Looks are subjective, and we believe that the Pure Rock 2 is the best-looking cooler in the guide! The devil is in the details, like the aluminum heatpipe caps or the be quiet! logo on the topmost fin. The fin stack is a trove of design info in general. It combines elements from the eSports and EVO, providing an inset middle with adjacent sawtooth parts that can rile air up properly.
Every single advantage is welcome since the fan is built for whisper-quiet operation above all else. It’s the famous Pure Wings 2 with its signature wavy blades. The fan has low min and max speeds with a correspondingly mediocre CFM of 51. That’s where the ribbed blades come into play as the first step towards a topsy-turvy journey through the heatsink.
Whispers in the Wind
The base’s design is another combination of elements encountered on other coolers. It has two rows of thick saw teeth for radiation purposes. The area between them is reserved for the crossbar you slide in during installation. Four heatpipes exit the base more or less in parallel. Rather than going straight up, they’re shifted towards the back to make RAM clearance a non-issue.
Kudos to be quiet! for making the installation as straightforward as they did. There’s already a layer of thermal compound on the base. All of the supporting components screw in tightly for a wobble-free installation. You don’t get a screwdriver with this kit, so you’ll want to have a long one at the ready. The fan is last to fall into place and comes with extra clips for another.
It’s hard to overestimate how silent the Pire Rock 2 actually is. Cranking it up to max puts the loudness at 25dB, far less than the sound made by HDDs and many of your other system fans. Good thing, too, since you’ll likely be running the cooler at max when gaming. Its default fan curve is lenient, which can lead to higher temperatures. Manual tweaking in a more aggressive direction results in better performance, on par with the Freezer 34 eSports.
Thermalright TA120 EX
Fan RPM: 600 – 1,850 | Fan CFM: 82 | Has RGB: No
We continue the list with another blast from the past! While the first two coolers had unbroken lineages to draw on, the TA120 EX is a new model from an old favorite. Thermalright used to wow users & reviewers alike 5-10 years ago, only to go silent for a while. Their newest products firmly align with modern standards and are an excellent showing of force.
It is unfortunate that we have to start the analysis off with disappointment. The TA120 EX is not much to look at if the uninspired colors of its fan are any indication. However, we’d take such a “flaw” over others any day! Besides, the cooler more than makes up for its design with the quality of its components.
We’re particularly fond of the dog bone-shaped heatsink. It comprises 48 brushed aluminum fins with central indents, the likes of which we’ve already encountered on the EVO V2. Each fin has a central cutout resembling the Thermalright logo that gives character and adds one more way for air to escape.
The base is much less interesting, but its design departs from the crossbars seen above. The central portion is made from two aluminum slabs with five pipes sandwiched between them. The pipes and base have a beautiful mirror-like nickel plating. The pipes exit the bottom at alternating angles, optimizing their radiation surface in the process.
Glad To Have You Back, Thermalright!
Dubbed TL-C12 PRO-G, the fan is this cooler’s most distinguished component. You wouldn’t know it from the blue-gray rubber vibration pads and light gray blades, but the fan approaches a whopping throughput of 82 CFM at just 1,850 rotations per minute. That’s almost enough to rival the likes of the NH-D15 and Deep Cool Assassin III.
Great CFM does not a great cooler make, at least not alone. The TA120 EX falls just short of being the best cooler for Ryzen 5 5500 on the price to performance front. It can bring the CPU down to lower temperatures than the EVO V2 but costs more and doesn’t come in different variants.
The TA120 EX is another ace in the hole to hold onto for potential future upgrades. It’s also a quiet performer on a list whose focus is already on stealth.
ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports
Fan RPM: 200 – 2,100 | Fan CFM: 68 | Has RGB: No
The fourth product vying for the title of best cooler for Ryzen 5 5500 also has a legacy to live up to. Arctic’s eSports line is the go-to if you’re looking to drastically step up from stock cooling while keeping your wallet intact. The slimmer form of its 34 eSports version is barely audible, straightforward to incorporate, and efficient enough to run rings around your processor.
Arctic’s cooler has nothing to fear on the aesthetic front as it graces us with something few in the price range do – options. Quite comprehensive ones at that! You can go the frugal route and get the barebones model, but it’s also possible to get ones clad entirely in black or even white. The latter is particularly interesting since components that match white cases so completely are hard to come by.
There’s a capable cooler hiding under all that veneer, starting with its sophisticated heatsink. It has 54 fins, the top one being thicker and integrating the Arctic logo. They’re closed off from the sides to promote directional airflow. Each fin also has a tiny sawtooth pattern on the front and back. This aids in turbulence and makes air exit out of the stack more forcefully.
Speaking of force, the Bionix P120 fan in the front is a powerhouse for the price. It has five blades with a pronounced curve capable of blowing close to 68 CFM of air through the heatsink. Its static pressure is high, meaning that air will still move unhindered even if the airflow inside the case prohibits this. The fan easily snaps into place via clips. You get an extra pair should you ever want to convert the cooler into the eSports Duo.
Bringing Polar Temps to Your PC
The base isn’t as sophisticated as the EVO v2’s, but it utilizes the same type of installation. It’s also the convergence point for four 6mm heatpipes. The contact point exposes their copper composition while providing an even surface for the CPU connection. Arctic includes a small tube of the excellent MX-4 thermal paste you mustn’t forget to apply to the IHS before dropping the cooler down on it.
In terms of performance, the eSports ns an excellent deal. It compares favorably to more expensive coolers and AIOs, placing in the middle when pitted against them. We’re also commending Arctic for the cooler’s silence. Even at 100% speed, the fan doesn’t approach the 35dB mark.
So, is there anything wrong with it? Not really. The only thing we could come up with was that the paint on the black & white versions was prone to chipping and scuffing. Careful handling makes that a non-issue, though.
Fan RPM: 800 – 1,800 | Fan CFM: 52 | Has RGB: Yes
Vetroo isn’t exactly a household name among CPU cooler enthusiasts. Still, the V5 has been taking the internet by storm due to lots of favorable reviews from customers and pros alike. We’re inclined to agree – it’s cheap, has RGB, and performs surprisingly well in testing. While the cooler could be quieter, we’re more than happy with what’s here already.
The RGB fan is the V5’s aesthetic saving grace, as the cooler would be dull without it. From the elaborate housing to the lights themselves, it’s a worthy addition to any case with a transparent side. Bonus points for making the LEDs ARGB, meaning each can shine a different color.
Note that your motherboard will need an ARGB header for this feature to work. There’s no controller, so you’ll have to adjust the lighting software side.
Other parts of the assembly aren’t as flashy. The heatsink is the plainest one so far, with a dense fin array that lacks significant alterations to fin shape. It’s very thin and adopts a wavy pattern on the sides that doesn’t do much other than look nice. Intel owners will get more use out of the heatsink since it has cutouts that let you place the assembly at 90-degree angles.
Every metal part, including the base and heatpipes, is colored either white or black. The base’s bottom is the only exposed bit, revealing a mix of aluminum and copper. This is another model with large gaps designed to augment heat transfer efficiency.
Believe the Hype
AMD users are in luck as the V5’s installation ease rivals the most straightforward on the market. You get a meager supply of thermal paste and need to apply it yourself. Besides that, all Ryzen users need to do is outfit their motherboard’s preexisting mounting bracket with the supplied standoffs and screw the cooler into place.
The V5 can hold its own against the best budget coolers performance wise. Its throughput isn’t noteworthy, but it’s coupled with a static pressure exceeding 3.6mmH2O. That’s enough to eject hot air out even if it would have difficulty moving inside the case otherwise.
While you should absolutely give the V5 a chance, its low price and excellent performance come at the cost of noise. You’ll likely never need to let it loose completely and experience loudness nearing the 45dB mark. Still, it’s more audible than most once you pass 50%.
Deep Cool Gammaxx 400 V2
Fan RPM: 500 – 1,650 | Fan CFM: 65 | Has RGB: Only blue
- Very affordable
- Comes with blue or red lighting
- Straightforward to install
- Could be quieter
Our journey ends with a bit of a marvel, a sub-$30 cooler that will drop your 5500’s temps by more than 10°C at load. The Gammaxx 400 V2 is the entry-level cooler to get if you plan on sticking with your CPU for a while. Stretching your budget by $10 may get you a better one, but Deep Cool’s model makes a compelling case for itself even so.
Unsurprisingly, Gammaxx 400 V2 is as barebones as it gets. Uncapped pipe ends, bare heatsink, and a thin-looking fan are par for the course at such rock-bottom prices. Even so, there’s an aesthetic ace up the cooler’s sleeve – an array of LEDs that coat the transparent blades a soothing blue when on. You can also opt for red to show support for your processor. Either way, it only uses a 4-pin power connector.
The heatsink is aluminum and largely straight. There are indents for mounting the fan wire clips, and a deep groove in the center lets you use a long screwdriver more easily to fasten the base to the mounting brackets.
By the looks of it, Deep Cool wanted to improve the base’s dissipation abilities and stopped mid-way. That leaves you with a sturdy mounting surface sporting a mostly decorative top pattern. Four 6mm pipes spread out from it, piercing the heatsinks at regular distances.
Bargain Bin Cooling with a Kick
The fan is transparent and has interesting design elements in the form of wavy blades with four cuts each. While not as elegant as the Pure Wings 2, the principle is the same. Additionally, Deep Cool’s fan can transfer close to 15 CFM more.
We’ve gone over the installation process for a few coolers before, so suffice it to say that the Gammaxx 400 V2 adopts a similarly straightforward one. Is it the best cooler for Ryzen 5 5500? Its place on the list provides only part of the answer.
Stress testing and gaming reveal the Gammaxx can keep up with slightly more expensive models and won’t throttle mid-range processors at stock. It’s somewhat less effective and louder than all but the V5, though.