We know that Intel doesn’t package coolers with most of their CPUs and hasn’t in years. Unlike AMD, which occasionally faces criticism for not including coolers in some models, Intel is grateful for sparing metal. And that’s because the few coolers they provide barely work.
Intel’s Rocket Lake cooler, pictured above, has been in multiple iterations for about a decade. Intel occasionally varied the color and made it a little taller to give it a little better performance, or a little wider to be a little quieter, but it was never more than just adequate.
But now, perhaps to attack AMD, Intel is supposedly experimenting with new designs that could be bundled with Alder Lake processors (12th generation core) this year. Three of its first prototypes are depicted in a leaked slide.
The series is called Laminar. On the left is the RH1, which is designed to cool down i9 processors (and looks cool in doing so). It is quite tall, although the visible fins are not very dense. It has a considerable amount of RGB and premium material accents.
In the middle and to the right are the RM1 and RS1, which look like the same piece with an RGB ring nailed to the first, although the RS1 can also be reinforced with an aluminum core. The RM1 is for the i7, i5 and i3 parts, while the RS1 is for the Pentium and Celeron models.
The slide suggests that all three have a cooling capacity of 65W, which seems a bit incompatible with the products they cool, but it suits their abilities well.
Compared to the competition, the RH1 appears to be 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 will likely struggle to compete with the $20-30 coolers.
Despite their limited usefulness, standard coolers should generally be included with low-end and midrange CPUs, and Intel will get our approval if decent laminar coolers are included with Alder Lake.