Whether you’re building a PC or simply upgrading to the latest version of Intel i7 9700k processor, keep the best CPU cooler in mind. This cooler should work well with the i7-9700k, as there are countless models on the market today.
However, you’re in luck as we’ve done all the tough work for you! If you’re in the market for the best CPU cooler for i7-9700k, then you’re in the right place. Let’s take a look!
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Why Intel Core i7 9700k Requires a Quality Cooler
The i7 9700k is a powerful beast, whether you’re using it for gaming or tasks related to your work or hobbies. Due to its incredible speed and capabilities yet lack of a fan or heatsink, it comes as no surprise that it needs a just-as-capable cooling solution.
High Turbo Boost clock rates offer strong single-threaded performance, while 8 cores perform at top-notch levels in parallelized workloads.
However, with a TDP of 95 W, it consumes a pretty substantial amount of power, which is a huge reason why high-quality cooling is necessary. If you’re wondering, "Do I need a CPU cooler for i7 9700k?" the answer is a resounding, "yes."
CPU Coolers For i7 9700k Compared
120 mm, 135 mm
Buying Guide: Choosing the Best CPU Cooler for i7-9700k
While the i7-9700k is potent hardware and difficult to utilize to its max potential for the average user, those running certain games, graphic design software, amongst other things, can really take up some serious CPU power.
This is where things start heating up – literally. Low-key CPU usage like browsing the internet, using Microsoft Office Suite, etc., isn’t likely to push it to its limits.
The thermal design power, or "TDP," is the max amount of heat generated by a CPU. This model generates up to 95 W of TDP, which essentially means it consumes a large amount of power. Due to this, it often leads to a pretty significant amount of heat generation, as well.
You may notice that there are both air coolers and liquid coolers. Air coolers do a great job of moving heat away from the CPU, which can help. However, this heat is also transferred into the case, which can raise the overall heat level.
Liquid coolers also relocate heat well, moving it completely outside of the system. Liquid cooling is typically quieter, as you won’t have fans constantly running at high speeds.
Material Build Quality
An effective heatpipe design within a heatsink is quite complex, and its performance is directly influenced by the material build quality, among other things. Copper heatpipes utilize both material phase changes and capillary action to cool microprocessors.
Aluminum and copper fins can help maximize surface area, and both materials are excellent for this purpose. Aluminum is budget-friendly, while copper is all-around the best material for heatsinks.
You’ll notice that there are 3-pin connectors or 4-pin connectors. A 3-pin is power, ground, and signal. The signal wire measures how rapidly the fan is operating without any controls. The 4-pin has an additional wire which controls and sends signals to the fan.
You can plug a 3-pin fan into a 4-pin socket without issue; the fan will simply operate at full speed. 4-pin fans are more effective at reducing and controlling fan speed.
Before you do anything else, you must figure out the socket type of your motherboard. Certain CPU coolers are compatible with the majority of socket types, while others only support one type. Most will be compatible with all sockets on Intel platforms, from our experience.
Remember that you’ll also need to consider the layout of the motherboard to determine whether the cooler will be compatible or not. For example, if there are a lot of heat pipes around the CPU, you may have issues, depending on the model.
Dimensions & Clearances
You may be wondering what size of CPU cooler you need. Generally speaking, the larger the heatsink, the more efficient it is. Large fans can move slowly while still driving a good amount of air and are going to be much quieter.
Potential chassis limitations include things like cooler height and radiator size.
Ease of Installation
You’ll find that CPU coolers will come with 1 of 2 types of mounting mechanisms. The first is one that utilizes plastic pushpins to trigger a locking mechanism behind the motherboard. This mechanism is typically found on the less expensive coolers.
The second type uses a metal bracket behind the motherboard, where 4 metal screws are connected. As most recent cases come with a cutout, this type is more convenient than it used to be as you don’t have to take the motherboard out of its case to mount it. Check out our tips for installation below.
Noise & Airflow
Airflow is related to the amount of air moved through the cooling fan at a specific interval, typically measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Noise level is usually measured in decibels (dB) or dB(A). A fan's blades and their angle, number of blades, and surface quality will help determine whether it produces a lot of noise.
However, we should mention that the fan’s motor can also be a source of extra noise and is usually expressed as a humming sound. Motor bearings can also generate clanking noises. Ball bearings typically produce less sound and are more durable.
Price & Warranty
The goal here is to get a CPU cooler that gives you the biggest bang for your buck. You want a nice balance of quality, performance, and price. We recommend coming up with a realistic budget for yourself, so you don’t spend more than you'd intended.
However, if you do have the wiggle room to move up in price, you’ll likely get significantly longer life and boosted performance out of it.
6 Best CPU Coolers for Intel Core i7-9700k Reviewed
1. Corsair H115i
- 2 140mm ML PRO Series RGB magnetic levitation...
- 16 Individually controlled RGB LEDs light up...
- CORSAIR iCUE software allows you to control...
- Thermally optimized cold plate and low-noise...
Our Top Pick
Intel LGA 115x, 1366, 2011, 2011 3, 2066 and AMD FM1, FM2, AM2, AM3, AM4, TR4
To start things off, we have the model that’s often considered to be the best CPU cooler for Intel Core i7 9700k: the Corsair H115i. Not only that, but it’s also one of the best AIO coolers in the world! With full-coverage RGB accents in the form of double 140mm LED fans and backlighting for the block faceplate, it also looks very intriguing.
Corsair iCUE software lets you have full and flexible control over the beautiful RGB lighting, monitor CPU coolant temperatures, fan (from 400 to 2,400 RPM), and pump speeds. Made of aluminum, it’s nice and lightweight while remaining very durable. The thermally optimized cold plate helps to effectively dissipate heat, along with the liquid that we found very efficient.
The 280mm version comes with a bigger radiator and 140mm fans for extra cooling. The additional surface area and reduced noise from the larger fans are appealing and offer max speeds of up to an impressive 2000 RPM. In our experience, they were very quiet at regular operating speeds, and even at higher levels.
Thanks to the notably flexible tubing, installation and the actual routing of the tubes is much easier than expected. Mounting the fan and radiation also requires absolutely zero tools, which is actually simpler to install than the vast majority of both air and liquid coolers.
Moreover, they even throw in a pre-applied thermal paste! While mounting the fans to the radiator and case does require a screwdriver, it’s a logical and seamless process. The only real tricky part we ran into was cable management.
2. Noctua NH-D15
- State-of-the-art dual-tower design with 6...
- Successor of the classic NH-D14; more than...
- 2 highly optimised NF-A15 140mm fans with PWM...
- Includes high-end NT-H1 thermal paste and...
Best CPU Air Cooler for i7 9700k
Intel LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA2011, LGA2066 & AMD AM2(+), AM3(+) FM1, FM2(+) AM4
“Noctua’s flagship model is an elite-class dual tower cooler for the highest demands. Its expanded heatpipe layout and two premium grade NF-A15 140mm fans with PWM support for automatic speed control allow it to further improve award-winning efficiency," says Noctua themselves.
Many air coolers are saturating the market today, but if you want the best CPU cooler for Intel Core i7 9700k, it’s hard to compete with this monster.
Right away, you’ll notice the funky tan-and-brown color scheme, which the manufacturer has kind of become known for. It’ll give a unique character to your build, that's for sure!
Coming from a brand known for listening to their customers, this model is a significant upgrade to their previous one, which was known for having a lack of clearance for taller memory and needing to remove the cooler to replace memory.
The NH-D15 resolves those issues and comes with larger diameter fans with a wonderfully-engineered aerodynamic design and Flow Acceleration Channels. The 150mm fans you’ll see here deliver 140.2 cubic meters per hour of airflow and are rated at just 24.6 dBA. This means incredibly quiet operation, even when operating near max levels.
Their durable copper base plate arrives nickel-plated, along with 6 copper heatpipes soldered to said base. As every fin comes soldered straight to the heatpipes, efficiency is top-notch. The recessed lower fins also offer a 64mm clearance for taller memory heatsinks when you’re using just one fan.
This means it’s compatible with the vast majority of high-end RAM modules out there, obviously including the i7 9700k! The mounting system is one of the easiest we’ve had to deal with, making it all the nicer.
To top everything off, you get a generous 6-year warranty so you can rest easy knowing that it will work wonderfully for many years to come.
3. Scythe Mugen 5
- Quiet 120mm Kaze Flex fan (Fluid Dynamic...
- RAM modules with tall heatsink are no problem...
- Secure and easy-to-install spring loaded...
- 6 x 6mm heatpipes and copper plate base...
Best CPU Cooler for Overclocking i7 9700k
INTEL LGA 775 / 1150/1151/1155/1156 / 1366 / 2011(V3) Square ILM / 2066 Square ILM & AMD AM4 / AM3(+) / AM2(+) / FM2(+) / FM1
If you need a good CPU cooler for i7 9700k overclocking, we highly recommend checking out the Scythe Mugen 5. Perfect for those looking to lower noise production in their setup, it’s affordable and very convenient. While it doesn’t offer max cooling capabilities, it is sufficient enough to keep the i7 9700k operating at healthy temperatures.
When it lands on your doorstep, you’ll find the heatsink, a 120mm stock fan, mounting brackets, a screwdriver, thermal paste, and a manual. What else could you possibly need?
As far as looks go, the all-silver finish and matte black Kaze Flex fan (Fluid Dynamic Bearing) looks very sleek and goes with anything. Capable of reaching up to 1200RPM, you can also utilize the additional fan clip for a push-pull configuration for even more cooling power.
6 heatpipes support the copper plate, while the nicely spaced-out sections in the heatsink allow for adequate airflow. The spring-loaded design ensures secure and evenly distributed pressure to the CPU.
It works so well that it can handle overclocking with ease. We found the brackets intuitive and relatively quick to install, thanks to the help of the included long screwdriver. The integrity is there to assure you they’re sturdy enough to last quite a while.
Our only “complaint” here would be that the warranty is a bit short, at just 2 years.
4. Scythe Big Shuriken 3
- 69mm tall perfectly fits Small Form Factor...
- Included Kaze Flex 120 slim PWM fan (Sealed...
- Copper base and 5 heatpipe design, the...
- HPMS III spring loaded mounting system is...
Best Low Profile CPU Cooler for i7 9700k
INTEL LGA 775, 1150/1151/1155/1156, 1366, 2011(V3) Square ILM, 2066 Square ILM & AMD AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4, FM1, FM2(+)
Next up, we have another Scythe cooler for you; this time, the Big Shuriken 3. One of the best low-profile offerings around, it packs big performance into a compact space. At just 69mm tall, you won’t have issues fitting it into any case. Asymmetric and offset, the design offers excellent compatibility to avoid collisions with the motherboard’s I/O shields.
The appearance of this model is very attractive, as is the norm with all Scythe products. The matte black aluminum shroud around the fin stack is stunning, letting the branding really stand out in a particularly aesthetic way.
A solid build design consists of aluminum and copper-based assembly, with five 6mm diameter sintered heat pipes that draw heat from the nickel-plated, copper base. This heat is then ventilated through the 68 aluminum fins.
Included is a slim version of the Kaze Flex fan, which is just 17mm thick, reaching up to 1800 RPM. The rubber corners help keep noise production low, even at top speeds.
Installation isn’t a difficult process, though it can be a bit more tedious than the others we’ve covered on our guide so far. The spring-loaded mounting kit complete with thermal paste does, however, ensure secure installation.
You’re also getting a 2-year warranty here, which we would've liked to have seen extended, but aside from that, we were delighted with the overall performance of the Big Shuriken 3.
Also Recommended: Best Low Profile CPU Coolers
5. Dark Rock Pro 4 BK022
- Two virtually inaudible silent Wings PWM fans
- Funnel-shaped frame of the front fan for high...
- Achieves only 24.3Db(a) at maximum fan speed
- Seven high-performance copper heat pipes....
Best Quiet Cooler for i7 9700k
120 mm, 135 mm
LGA 1150/ 1151/ 1155/ 1156/ 1366/ 2011(-3) square ILM/ 2066
While the other CPU coolers for i7 9700k we’ve taken a look at so far are also quiet, the Dark Rock Pro 4 BK022 takes things up a notch. The all-black cooler comes with a black installation kit and brushed aluminum top cover with a diamond-cut finish to create an elegant, beautiful design anyone would be happy to have in their rig.
With both 135mm and 120mm fans, the dual design is made to move air through the first tower, then stream through the second and out the rear of the cooler.
This is designed to create that push-pull airflow we briefly discussed earlier while keeping operation insanely quiet. This way, heat can ventilate through all sides of the cooler, as well. Moreover, you have 7 copper heatpipes to offload thermal energy into the twin cooling towers.
There’s quite a bit of hardware that comes with the package, including a long, magnetic Phillips screwdriver, which makes installation easier and is absolutely necessary to install the fans.
The included instruction manual goes through even the tiniest details, making it almost impossible to get it wrong. However, if you’re someone who moves PC cases frequently, keep in mind that this cooler is pretty robust and can be a hassle to keep moving around.
A 3-year warranty isn’t “bad” by any means, but it’s still a bit stingy in our opinion.
6. CORSAIR HYDRO H115i PRO
- Dynamic Multicolor RGB Lighting: Vibrant RGB...
- Powered by Magnetic Levitation: Three low...
- Powerful Software: CORSAIR iCue software...
- Zero RPM Mode: Zero RPM cooling profile in...
Best CPU Liquid Cooler for i7 9700k
Intel LGA 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011 3, 2066 and AMD AM2, AM3, AM4, FM1, FM2
We couldn’t leave the best liquid CPU cooler for i7 9700k off of our guide! The Corsair Hydro H115i Pro is wonderfully engineered, and also a very quiet option. Powered by magnetic levitation, you get 3 low-noise, 120mm ML series PWM fans. They deliver supreme airflow, but they also produce a mere 25 dB of noise when running at max speed.
Like we discussed with the other Corsair earlier in our reviews, this one also comes with the iCue software. The software lets you adjust RGB lighting, each fan’s speed, along with pump speed.
You can even monitor CPU and coolant temperatures with precision – all with one convenient interface. We appreciated the Zero RPM Mode, which shuts off fans entirely at low temperatures to get rid of all fan noise.
Going back to lighting, you get a vibrant RGB LED pump head, which you can adjust both colors and effects on to suit your taste and individual build. If you feel typical RGBs are too overwhelming or excessive, the lights on the cooling block are just enough to give your PC that “finished” look. The black looks great with any PC, too.
Installation was a breeze, and the coolant comes in a closed loop. All you have to do is install the backplate, standoff screws, position the cooler, and secure it.
Tips for Installing i7 9700k CPU Cooler
Knowing how to install the CPU cooler is kind of a big help when it comes to functionality. While the cooler will come with instructions, we will just give you a little refresher.
- 1Check for or apply thermal paste.
Your cooler cannot make direct contact with your CPU. You need a thin layer of thermal paste that gets rid of any gaps between the lid of your CPU and the base of your cooler. However, make sure you check because many models come with the paste already applied. If it does, you’re all set! If not, start by putting a pea-sized drop of it in the middle of the CPU lid. You can use a piece of cardboard or a credit card to spread it thinly and evenly over the surface. Here are some more useful tips!
- 2Set up any standoffs or install brackets behind the motherboard.
This will depend on the cooler, as well. Those on our guide didn’t require any extra installation hardware as we received everything we needed along with a screwdriver in some cases. If you have standoffs that screw through your motherboard or a bracket behind your motherboard, attach them now. If installing a water cooler, this is when you’d connect the radiator to your case.
- 3Line up your CPU cooler.
Hold the cooler over your CPU and line up the screws with the holes in your motherboard (or standoffs if applicable). Slowly lower it onto the CPU. In some cases, you may have to remove fans first.
- 4Attach the CPU cooler.
Once you have it positioned correctly, either screw or push in the connectors. It’s recommended that you do this in a crisscross or “X” pattern. Don’t tighten it up as hard as you can right away, as you need first to ensure everything is even.
- 5Attach fans (if necessary).
If you had removed fans earlier then now is when you should attach them. If using a water cooler, connect the radiator, coolant reservoirs, and water pump.
- 6Plug it all in!
Once those steps are all finished, and everything is adequately secured, simply power it all it, and you’re good to go!
CPU Cooler Maintenance
Maintaining your CPU cooler is essential if you want your system to perform to the best of its abilities, and also keep you and your rig safe.
- 1Dust the radiator.
Radiator fans can accumulate dust quite quickly, so make sure you’re dusting it off. You can use a can of compressed air, which is the easiest and often the most efficient method. You can also use a soft brush and brush the fins.
- 2Clean the Fans and Heatsink.
You’ll essentially use the same options here. You can clean the fans using a duster, a slightly moist tissue or soft cloth, or canned air. Wipe the base with a dry, lint-free tissue or, again, use canned air.
- 3Replace thermal paste.
High-quality paste should last you around four years or so. However, if you’re frequently overclocking, you may have to replace it every year. To remove old thermal paste, you’ll need a tube of thermal compound, a paper towel, and rubbing alcohol.
Get the paper towel slightly wet with rubbing alcohol and rub the CPU and heatsink with it, so the paste is slowly taken off. Apply new thermal paste by applying that same pea-sized amount right onto the CPU and spread again with your card. Make sure it’s applied evenly.
- 4Check for leaks.
If you have a liquid system, make sure you never have a leak. However, if you do, there’s no need to panic. Simply remove the cable to turn it off. Drain the water and make sure everything is completely dry before plugging anything back in. Make sure to take your time here.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How hot does the i7-9700k get?
It runs hot, with the ability to get up to 95W. You should never be running it above 85 degrees Celsius.
What is the best case for i7 9700k?
The NZXT H510 Elite is an excellent choice! It comes with a dual-tempered glass panel, front I/O USB Type-C port, vertical GPU mount, integrated RBG lighting, and much more.
What does CPU delidding mean? Is it worth it to delid an i7-9700k?
Delidding is made to reduce CPU core temperatures when the thermal interface between the silicon and headspreader aren’t operating as well as they should be.
In this case, you’d be removing the CPU’s integrated heat spreader (HIS). The HIS absorbs and disperses heat to keep the CPU cooler. Users occasionally will do this if they want to overclock their machine.
It’s definitely not worth it to delid it as it comes soldered and isn’t worth risking it. You likely wouldn’t need to do this, even if it wasn’t soldered.
Does the i7-9700k processor come with stock cooler?
No, it does not.
Which is better for an i7-9700k, air cooling or water cooling?
Either one will work great! However, as we mentioned earlier, water cooling will always be more efficient as water transfers heat better than air. Liquid is quieter, though it’s more dangerous as you always have the risk of leaks (though very small).
Is liquid cooling quieter than fans? How long will liquid cooling last?
Liquid cooling is quieter than fans! You can expect liquid cooling systems to last an average of around 5 years.
At this point, are you still wondering, "What is the best CPU cooler for i7 9700k?". If so, then allow us to reiterate how much we love the Corsair H115i. It’s the biggest bang for your buck, balancing cost and quality very well.
The build is made to last and backed by a generous 5-year warranty. On top of that, it looks beautiful with stunning RGB lighting and is very easy to install. No matter which you end up getting on our guide, know that you’re receiving one of the best CPU coolers for i7 9700k.
Holly Curell is a US-based freelance writer & editor extraordinaire. With over a decade of writing technical manuals, blog articles, & even company communications, Holly has a passion for providing value to readers on everything she knows about tech-related topics. When she’s not writing, Holly enjoys reading, hiking, wine, & wandering the aisles of Trader Joe’s. Holly is currently based out of North Carolina, where she lives with her husband Ken & their three children.