Okay, I can admit it, I might love Small Form Factor builds a little more than I should. But I have yet to find the perfect setup, the smaller they get the harder it is to pack all of the hardware need into them, especially for a gaming-focused LAN rig. When I did my original SFF Ryzen cooler testing last year I realized some a few hard truths (okay I knew them, but it cemented them). No matter what you do, a larger cooler is going to perform better and if you can wedge water cooling in a SFF build that will work even better. But to get the really small and portable rigs those aren’t an option. For cases like the GEEEK A30 or the In Win Chopin you really only have a few options and even the Wraith Stealth isn’t possible in some cases. So the Cryorig C7 and the Noctua L9 series have been the main options. Noctua has been bringing out new options including an AM4 specific model that I recently reviewed, but Cryorig hasn’t been leaving things alone as well. They have the C7 Cu, Cu is the periodic table symbol for copper. That is because they have taken the already popular and powerful C7 design and made the same cooler out of the much more efficient material. So today I’m going to put it through the same tests as before and see just how well the new cooler performs. You guys ready? Cu after the page break…
Product Name: Cryorig C7 Cu
Review Sample Provided by: Cryorig
Written by: Wes Compton
Pictures by: Wes Compton
Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE
So the box for the C7 Cu is the same size and shape as the original C7 box, but it looks completely different. The original was black with a color picture of the cooler on the front with Cryorig’s RGB stripe along the bottom. The Cu, on the other hand, comes in a cardboard finished box. A drawing of the cooler is on the front with the fan in white and with a copper finish for the actual copper heatsink portion. One side has the periodic table icon for Copper along with a description talking about copper being 160% more thermally conductive than aluminum. The back of the box has all of the compatible CPU sockets listed as well as the coolers dimensions, weight, and TDP in a simple specification listing.
When you get inside the box everything is packed up just like it was before. The heatsink comes wrapped up in another cardboard box with just the fan exposed. There are tabs holding the fan in place and up under everything, you will find all of the included accessories.
So this is everything that comes in the box. The documentation and warranty information is tucked into the C7 itself. Then up under that, you have a small bag with the hold down nuts. There are four plastic washers to be used in some ITX builds were the rear mounting plate doesn’t clear. Then you have a full tube of thermal paste and a socket driver that fits the mounting nuts.
Photos and Fitment
With the Cryorig C7 Cu out of the box, I wanted to take a look at the cooler before getting it installed in our test rig. If you have seen the original C7 there isn’t too much different here, everything metal that was aluminum before is now copper. The copper finish looks amazing, it really catches your eye. The other big change is with the fan, the shroud that was black previously is bright white.
So if you haven’t seen the C7 before, this is a heatsink designed for extremely compact builds where you might not even have the height clearance to be taller than your memory. The C7 and the C7 Cu come in at 47mm tall, this is close to what the Noctua NH-L9 series heatsinks are at, but those have a thinner fan design and are a little shorter overall, 10mm in total. The extra height helps fit the four heatpipes on the C7, there are two going out each side and as you can see in the picture below the heatpipes are in a copper baseplate that touches the CPU. They mostly help pull the heat out into the outer sections of the cooler, not as much of a vertical pull like tower heatsinks. The 92mm fan has a shroud designed around it specifically for the C7, the shroud hooks right on to the heatsink keeping the overall height low. The fan shroud also has cuts in the sides, these are helpful in tight builds when the fan is up against a side panel or something else, the fan can still pull some air in.
I’m a little torn on if the white shroud is the best way to complement the copper heatsink. The original black shroud would look good as well and might go better in some builds. That fan design was flipped with a black shroud and a white fan blade though. I think I would prefer an all-black version with the copper heatsink. The fan also has its cable sleeved in bright white and they went as far as to make sure the connector is white and the shrink wrapping as well.
So the bottom of the C7 Cu is all copper, the original design had a polished silver finish even on the underside so this is a big change. But beyond the material, none of the design has changed. The bracket design is low profile and mounts directly to the motherboard, you don’t install a bracket and then mount the heatsink to the bracket like larger heatsinks. That design would take up too much space. So there are just four brackets that bolt to the C7 Cu. They each attach with two screws and there are a total of 12 screw holes in the heatsink. This is because the Intel mounting uses the inside design and AMD sockets use the outside. The brackets themselves also get rotated in 45 degrees for the AMD sockets. Cryorig included the newer bracket design that covers AM4 with this kit, last year the socket was new and those brackets had to be ordered.
Now the overall finish of the contact surface could use some work. I think you could edge out a little more performance by polishing this. The surface is flat, but the finish on it doesn’t show any reflection, just a shadow.
For my photos, I test fit the cooler on the newer B450 ITX board from Gigabyte/Aorus that just came in. But for my testing, I used our original B350 board. Oddly enough the new B450 board is a lot tighter for heatsink clearance so this actually worked better to show how much space you might have. For starters there isn’t any worry about memory interference, this cooler doesn’t hang over them at all. Now this board was tighter than the B350 board with the memory though, you can see that the B450 board has the wiring connections tucked in next to the memory pushing those closer to the CPU socket. There was still a little room left on the I/O side, but I was originally worried that the lip at the bottom of the motherboard's heatsink would cause issues with this low profile of a cooler, but it didn’t.
Testing Configuration and Procedures
Before getting into my testing, I did include the C7 Cu in with our past coolers tested just to show the height differences. I normally do this to put cooling results into perspective but I ended up having to redo my testing. I don’t know if it is a firmware update or just testing in our new office, but it was clear that there was a difference in my temperature tests. So rather than include a lot of results that I didn’t trust to compare, I cut our testing down to comparing the Cryorig C7 and the C7 Cu against each other. Our past results showed that the C7 was the best performing low profile cooler, even over the newer AM4 focused Noctua NH-L9a, so I just wanted to see if the copper design would give an improvement. Don’t worry I will be working on retesting our past coolers in the new office as well so I can compare those later.
So if you are new to my testing, all of the details are listed in the previous section. Including everything about the test rig. But the short version is I do the testing using AIDA64 using the CPU diode for temperature results. I test three different AM4 CPUs that cover the range of the Ryzen lineup and I test twice, once with the fan at 100% and again with the fan set to the stock profile. I did this using the AIDA64 FPU stress test because it is the most demanding, well beyond what you will normally see in real-world use. Now, this test is so demanding a lot of the heatsinks are pushed past their limits, especially with tiny heatsinks like these. When that happens it reaches 75c and then it starts downclocking the CPU. That is why the clock speeds are included. You can see that both with the 1800X and 1600X things are being downclocked. That said there is a noticeable difference in both CPUs results with the C7 Cu. The same goes for the 1200, but with that CPU we are well below being underclocked. The difference was ¾ degrees.
Now I do all of that testing again a second time, this time using the AIDA64 CPU stress test. This I have found is a lot more realistic to what you can expect for temperatures and all of your SFF fans can calm down. The Cryorig C7 Cu handled this testing really well, both coolers did really. The Cu ran a few degrees cooler in every test, averaging out the results I found that the C7 averaged 55.33 where the C7 Cu came in at 52.16 so three degrees cooler on average. That is an impressive performance jump with the same heatsink and fan design, just with a material swap.
For my last portion of testing, I did noise testing. Given the C7 and the C7 Cu have the same fan, only in different colors, I wasn’t expecting too much of a difference and I was right. I did, however, include our other coolers in this result, these results weren’t affected by our new office and or changes in our board's temperature reading. Overall the C7 design still isn’t the quietest, it was actually one of the loudest of the coolers tested. This is where the Noctua NH-L9a really pulled ahead. So be aware that better cooling performance will come at the cost of being able to hear the fan when it is running near 100% and that happens a lot more often in SFF builds.
Overall and Final Verdict
When you are building a small form factor build, it is easy to get excited about finding the right case, and all of the flashy hardware and forget that you have to keep everything cool. The Cryorig C7 helped a lot with that, you could basically know that in any case, you could get at least competent cooling, but there weren’t really any options that would perform better. So seeing Cryorig come out with the C7 Cu I was really excited to see just how well it would perform. Given it is the same design with the same fan, just made of copper I didn’t expect more than a degree or two, but I was happy to find that on average across all of our CPUs it performed 3 degrees cooler. Copper helped a lot there, but it also looks amazing and given the C7’s size it doesn’t add a lot of weight that you might have to worry about it damaging your motherboard later if you are transporting the system.
The big thing for me though, when compared to the Noctua NH-L9 coolers that I do like a lot, the C7 and C7 Cu both have support for AMD and Intel out of the box. Noctua sells those heatsinks as an Intel or AMD heatsink and you can get brackets to switch later but they don’t come with it. Now the NH-L9 coolers are 10mm thinner and much quieter. But if you need pure performance the C7 Cu is the way to go. You also get a full tube of thermal paste to use in the future. As for things I would like to see improved. I’m still a little unsure on the white fan shroud, it looks good with the copper but I think an all black fan might look better. Plus that would match more builds. I also think Cryorig could work on getting a more mirror-like finish on the contact surface, maybe they could edge out even more cooling performance with that. If nothing else, it would make the cooler feel more like the premium product that it is with that.
The other thing we need to take a look at is the overall price. The C7 Cu comes in with an MSRP of $49.95 and as of right now it is hit and miss on if you can find one to buy. They sell out quickly, or they raise the price up (right now someone is selling them for almost $70 on Amazon, its crazy). The normal C7 will cost you $29.99 and the Noctua NH-L9 coolers are around $39.90. So you are paying a premium for the all copper design, and that is to be expected as copper is expensive. Is it worth the higher price? Well, the way I look at it, you have cheaper options available with good cooling performance, but if you can’t fit a larger heatsink or water cooling and you need the best possible cooling $49.95 isn’t a bad price for that. That is of course if you can find one at that price.
Live Pricing: HERE