And they’re not that bad!
Intel does not include coolers with most of their CPUs, and has not done so for many years. Unlike AMD, which is occasionally chastised for not including coolers with some models, Intel is praised for conserving metal. And this is due to the fact that the few coolers they do ship are barely working.
Intel’s Rocket Lake cooler, pictured above, has been around for about a decade in various variants. Intel has changed the colour and made it a little higher to perform a little better, or a little broader to be a little quieter, but it has never been more than adequate.
But now, perhaps to strike against AMD, Intel is reportedly experimenting with new designs that could be bundled with Alder Lake (12th-gen Core) processors this year. Three of their early prototypes are pictured in a leaked slide below.
Laminar is the name of the series. The RH1, on the left, is intended to cool i9 processors (and look cool doing it). It’s quite tall, despite the fact that the visible fins aren’t extremely dense. It features a lot of RGB and premium-material embellishments.
The RM1 and RS1 are in the middle and on the right, and they appear to be the same part with an RGB ring added onto the former, however the RS1 could possibly be gimped with an aluminium core. The RM1 is designed for i7, i5, and i3 processors, whereas the RS1 is designed for Pentium and Celeron CPUs.
According to the slide, all three have a 65 W cooling capacity, which appears to be a bit of a mismatch for the products they cool but a decent match for their skills.
Compared to the competition, the RH1 looks like it’s equivalent to the AMD Wraith Spire, while the RM1 and RS1 look comparable to the Wraith Stealth. But, like the Wraith coolers, the Laminar coolers are likely going to struggle to compete with $20-30 aftermarket coolers.
Despite their limited usefulness, stock coolers should generally be included with budget and midrange CPUs, and Intel will get a thumbs up from us if decent Laminar coolers are bundled with Alder Lake.