Incredibly Cheap Paper Mod Tames Intel's Noisy Stock Alder Lake Cooler

intel laminar rm1
Just about anyone who builds PCs is well aware of the shortcomings of stock coolers. They're functional enough, but they don't always cool particularly well and they can be irritatingly-noisy while attempting to do it.

Intel revised its stock cooler design for Alder Lake; by all accounts, the redesign was an improvement in cooling and particularly in looks, but they still aren't quiet when running full throttle. If you're the sort of person who prefers to have absolute silence, you really should dole out the dosh for a proper aftermarket cooler. You can improve on the Intel design in both cooling capability and noise output for under $30 USD.

alder lake cooler paper mod

Still, if you don't have $30 USD to spend on an extra cooler, or if you simply don't feel comfortable installing an aftermarket cooling solution on your brand-new CPU, maybe try this easy paper mod. Retro and tabletop game developer Patrick Bene was tired of his whiny Alder Lake stock cooler, so he did something about it.

The mod really is as simple as it looks: use a strip of paper, taped together, to create a cooling shroud. Bene tested various heights of paper cowl, from 1" to over 3," and found that while a short cowl of just 1" almost completely reduced the fan's noise compared to his environment, it also had deleterious effects on the heatsink's ability cool the CPU.

intel cooler paper mod table

The happy middle ground that he found was in the 1.4-1.7" range. At that length, cooling performance is barely impacted, while noise is still significantly reduced. It's less about the actual volume and more about changing the character of the sound from a shrill whine to more of a wooshy noise.

Bene has audio samples at his website, so you can head over there to check those out. Not bad results for a few minutes of work and a strip of paper.