AMD’s Wraith cooler is as silent as they claim

CES 2016: Not much hype overdelivered upon

2015 AMD LogoAMD outed their Wraith cooler at CES and SemiAccurate can say that it really quiet. Most companies promise silence with their products and rarely come close but Wraith seems to live up to the hype.

The idea is simple, take a worst case scenario, that is the current AMD PiB fans running at full speed, as your starting point. These are not just loud, they are obnoxious when they run because of that shrill whine that datacenter denizens will know so well. In reality the sheer db levels aren’t really problematic but the quality of noise is. Bettering this is a pretty low bar for most acoustic engineers.

AMD Wraith cooler

The cooler and hints at a mystery CPU

That fan you see above is the Wraith, a shrouded, constant RPM device with lots of fins and heat pipes. AMD claims it has 24% more fin area, 34% more airflow, and generates 1/10th the noise of the old version. Officially it screams with 39dbA when in a case, the open case we saw at CES was inaudible over the minor background noise. Not only is it quiet but the quality of the sound is also not annoying. It isn’t shrill, it doesn’t drill into your consciousness, cats don’t run for cover, and you don’t regret turning the box on with a wraith inside.

If you are going to quibble with anything, you would probably start with the fact that it is a constant RPM device. SemiAccurate has lived through the pre-fan pre-heatsink era of computing up to the monstrosities of today. Early fans didn’t have variable speeds and society didn’t end, the fact that it may soon has nothing to do with the Wraith, so, well, anyone bitching about this is wrong. There is also one of our pet peeves, an LED without an off switch. This too is so dim it almost looks like paint, a good thing without an off switch. Again it is not a problem.

AMD will be launching the Wraith cooler soon bundled with an upcoming mystery CPU. We are not allowed to tell you what it is. If you look carefully at some of the reflections in the picture above, and your GIMP skills are up to date, you might be able to peel a few clues about the new part from our image. Hopefully AMD will either sell it as a stand-alone cooler or license it to one of the enthusiast brands, it is worth a few dollars more.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate