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Are Intel CPU Stock Coolers Good? (Gaming/Work/Regular use)

Intel sells many of its CPUs with a stock cooler. There are also aftermarket coolers available that many people use. So, you might be wondering what the deal is with Intel CPUs and whether the stock coolers are any good.

Intel CPU stock coolers are good. The one exception is if you’re going to overclock your CPU. This causes a CPU to run much hotter than what the stock cooler is designed for so you need an aftermarket cooler. Otherwise, you can damage your CPU.

The stock coolers that Intel provides have a heat sink, and a fan. Aftermarket coolers also have a heat sink and fan but they are much larger and provide a lot more cooling. Today, I will explain whether a stock cooler is good if you just use your PC normally if the stock cooler will work for gaming, photo and video editing, and Autocad. As well as, if Intel’s stock cooler limits its performance.

Is Intel’s Stock Cooler Good for Regular PC Use?

Intel stock cooler

Aftermarket CPU coolers provide additional cooling, much more than a stock cooler can provide. During regular PC use there is not much demand put on the CPU, so here’s whether an Intel stock cooler is fine for regular PC use.

Intel’s stock coolers are good for regular PC use. They provide more than enough cooling to keep your CPU at the temperature range it should be. When placing a demand on your CPU that it can handle it won’t trigger ‘throttling’ which will slow down your CPUs performance.

Throttling is a safety feature built into Intel CPUs. There are safety features that are built into Intel CPUs. One is to shut down the CPU which turns your computer off. The other is dynamic throttling. This is where the performance of the CPU is automatically decreased when it gets too hot. This cools down the CPU to stop it from getting damaged.

In regular PC usage throttling is virtually never triggered. The reason is that regular usage doesn’t place much demand on the CPU. Processes that can trigger throttling:

  • Having many browser tabs open with high graphics videos
  • Having many programs open at once, these generally never need to be left open
  • Video rendering, Photoshop type program rendering

Can You Use Intel’s Stock Cooler for Gaming?

Gaming generally puts more demand on a CPU. Because of that the CPU can get hotter and needs to be cooled more. Here’s whether an Intel stock cooler is fine for gaming.

Generally, an Intel stock cooler is fine for gaming. But, this does require the game’s graphics to be set at an appropriate setting for the CPU you have. For example, an Intel Core i3 is only capable of playing the latest games on the lowest graphics setting.

The latest computer games have a high demand for performance. Such as Dota 2, CS: GO (Counter-strike), Fallout, Fortnite, and Call of Duty. These generally require a dedicated graphics card.

A dedicated graphics card takes the performance demand from the CPU. This leaves more performance left for the CPU which allows the game to load much faster, and play much smoother.

There are different Intel CPUs such as the i3, i5, and i7. Each has better or worse performance depending on which CPU it is, and what generation of CPU it is. Intel brings out new CPUs each year. I explained how well each of the Intel CPUs is for gaming in this article about whether the Intel i7 is good for gaming.

Can You Use Intel’s Stock Cooler for Photo/Video Editing?

Photo and video editing are done using programs that do use quite a bit of CPU power. Simple photo editing generally does not use that much CPU power compared to video editing except when mass editing a group of images.

Due to the higher demands for CPU power, below is an explanation of whether Intel’s stock cooler can handle complex and high-quality photo and video editing.

Overall, an Intel stock cooler can be used for photo video editing. But, it needs to be an Intel CPU that is powerful enough for the demands of the photo or video editing program. Or, you need a high-end dedicated graphics card (GPU).

Adobe Premiere Pro is one of the most popular video editing software. Generally, video editing has much more performance demand than photo editing. The minimum requirements for the newest version of Adobe Premiere Pro (2021+) are an Intel 6th generation or higher. 

Intel 6th generation CPUs came out in 2015. Therefore, these CPUs are quite old and aren’t nearly as fast as the Intel CPUs that have come out since then. And if you get an Intel CPU that is newer than 5 years old it will be more than capable of doing video and photo editing using the most performance-intensive software like Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro.

For photo and video editing you also need a dedicated graphics card due to the performance demands. As an example, Adobe Premiere Pro needs a dedicated 2GB graphics card (GPU). A 2GB graphics card somewhere costs in the range of under $100. Such as the GE Force GT730 which costs around $80.00.

But, most Intel CPUs come with an integrated graphics card that is either 2GB or 4GB. These are built into the CPU, and you don’t need a dedicated graphics card if your Intel CPU has an integrated graphics card.

Can You Use Intel’s Stock Cooler for AutoCAD?

AutoCAD is used in many industries to produce extremely accurate 2D and 3D models that can be used in the real world. They do require a fair bit of computer performance. So, I thought I’d explain whether the stock cooler that Intel CPUs come with is good enough to run AutoCAD.

In general, Intel’s stock cooler is fine to run AutoCAD. The newer versions (2021+) of AutoCAD require an Intel CPU with a 2.5–2.9 GHz processor but recommend a CPU that is 3+ GHz. Provided your CPU has these specs, the stock cooler will be able to cool your CPU perfectly.

The full list of the specs a PC needs to have is available here. If your CPU has specs that are below these the CPU will need to use more power which can cause your CPU to overheat.

This will trigger throttling which will lower the performance of your PC to cool down the CPU. Which is very undesirable. If your CPU is below these specs you can overclock your CPU to make it perform faster and not throttle.

But, this will void the warranty on your CPU. This also does require an aftermarket cooler because overclocking a CPU causes it to run much hotter than it is designed to. I explained this in more detail in this article about aftermarket CPU coolers, and if you need one.

Does Intel’s Stock Cooler Limit the CPU Performance?

Components on computers will improve their performance such as the RAM, and graphics card (GPU). Since there are aftermarket coolers a good question would be whether an aftermarket cooler improves a CPU performance and whether the stock cooler limits how fast a CPU can perform.

Intel’s stock cooler does not limit the CPU performance. But, there is a safety feature on Intel CPUs called throttling that does limit CPU performance. Throttling is triggered when too much demand is placed on the CPU overheats. So, you need to match the CPU to your performance requirements.

Related to this is overclocking CPUs. Overclocking can get a CPU to function much faster. But, this is pushing it beyond the limits it is designed for. Therefore, you need an aftermarket fan.

Because overclocking pushes the limits of a CPU an aftermarket fan is required to stop it from overheating. However, overclocking voids the warranty of most CPUs because manufacturers can’t sign off pushing the CPU past what it was designed to do.

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I started building and fixing PCs in high school. After a couple of years of offering consultancy to a PC repair shop, I became the goto guy for all my acquaintances for PC/Laptop related buying advice or troubleshooting.