AMD may not be getting as much enthusiast love as it used to, but the company's APU range is still where it's at for home theater-style systems, so I didn't hesitate to pick one up for a new compact media-streaming box recently. Unfortunately, while the chip was a relatively powerful yet affordable solution for playing 1080p content, it was surprisingly loud -- we're talking enough noise that I thought something was wrong with my power supply. Upon inspection, it wasn't the PSU and nothing was wrong per se, the stock AMD cooler was just being obnoxious, especially for a living room setup.
I thought I could get away with slowing the CPU fan in the BIOS, but that caused a drastic temperature spike and left me seeking a more elaborate solution. It's one that proved to be relatively simple: the Xigmatek Janus, a small heatsink and fan combo for Mini-ITX systems.
Strangely enough, that very same day I found myself facing another CPU cooler problem while building a Sandy Bridge-E rig with my friend. Having bought all the parts, we discovered that the Core i7-3820 processor didn't come with a cooler. Instead, Intel sells its heatsink/fan separately for $30. Although I knew he'd need a cooler, I wasn't prepared to answer my buddy's question when he asked which model to purchase.
It had been years since our last CPU cooler roundup so my knowledge was a little dated.