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6 Best CPU Coolers For i9 9900k: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

Although your CPU is just one component in your computer, it is without a shadow of a doubt, the most important component when it comes to your computer’s ability to undertake demanding tasks. Your CPU is the brain of your computer, and it makes thousands of decisions every single second—the stronger your CPU, the smarter the brain.

One of the strongest consumer CPU’s currently on the market is the i9 9900K, made by Intel, the company that has led the charge in developing the components for this new technological revolution. When people are looking to build a computer that is as powerful as possible, this is most likely the chip they will use as their centerpiece.

Why Proper Cooling Is Essential for Intel Core i9 9900k

Just like your brain, making decisions and performing functions requires a lot of energy. By the laws of thermodynamics, this ultimately creates a lot of heat. Unfortunately, a bi-product of being one of the most powerful CPU’s you can buy is a large output of heat. The i9 9900K runs hot, hotter than almost any other desktop processor.

When you are forking out the cash for the best processor on the market, you don’t want to run into problems like thermal throttling, which is when the processor reduces its power output to protect itself from its own heat output.

Cooler components also last a lot longer, so keeping your CPU cool in a high-powered computer becomes a crucial aspect of the build process.

The best way to do this is to invest in a high-quality CPU cooler, which is essentially a cooling system dedicated solely to your CPU. Every computer has a cooling system, usually either airflow powered or liquid-cooled, that keeps everything cool. A CPU cooler is essentially the same thing, and only it focuses solely on keeping your CPU cool.


Choosing the Best CPU Cooler for i9-9900k

CPU Usage

The first thing you should be looking at is what you are actually going to use your CPU for. Different tasks require different components to take charge. Playing AAAA+ video games at the highest frame rate and resolution with a fast refresh rate is going to require a strong CPU, but the graphics card is going to take the brunt of the work.

Deep learning and Artificial Intelligence processes place a low demand on your graphics card; instead, they will almost solely rely on your CPU, meaning it is going to be working extremely hard.

Figuring out how hard your CPU will be working most of the time will give you a good indicator on what qualities and features it will need.

TDP Rating

TDP stands for Thermal Design Power and is a rating used to measure the heat that your CPU will output during use. A TDP of 110W, for example, means that you should expect your CPU to output 110W worth of heat when it's being used.

The higher the TDP, the higher the level of cooling capability you will need to install to keep your component cool enough not to throttle, or worse, burn out.

Cooling Solution

There are two types of CPU cooling systems: Air coolers and Liquid Coolers.

Air coolers work by drawing the heat that your CPU is creating away from the chip and dispersing it into the rest of the computer case. It is then the job of the case cooling system to move that heat out of the case, via fans and airflow systems.

Liquid coolers are essentially a pipe system that surrounds your CPU. By constantly pumping cooler liquid in and pumping hot liquid out and cooling it before being pumped back around in a circuit, they keep your CPU cool.

The 9900k already produces some serious heat, so if you are considering overclocking, we highly recommend going for a liquid-cooled system as they are better. They do, however, cost a lot more.

Material Build Quality

If you have already decided to build a system with an i9-9900K, you are already deciding to use one of the best components on the market. This means you should also be looking for the best supporting components. Make sure the build quality and the materials that are used.

Compatibility

Computers can often be seen as similar to cars. Just as you wouldn’t be able to put a Ferrari engine inside a Ford, certain coolers are not compatible with other parts, mainly the motherboard.

Checking the compatibility of your coolers is crucial, so make sure to do your research, or you may risk installing a component, only to find out it doesn’t work. You will find it a lot harder to return afterward if it has already been installed as well.

Dimensions & Clearances

The size of your build also matters massively; larger coolers can have a big profile, which can mean they stick out quite far. Many computer builders forget to allow for this only to find they cannot fit their chosen cooler into their build when it comes to putting everything together.

Ensure you check the dimensions of any cooler before purchasing it and make sure you have the clearance inside your case to install it.

Ease of Installation

PC components can be unforgiving during the installation process, easy to break pieces, confusing instructions, and expensive parts make for an explosive mix. Obviously, the easier to install your component is, the better and the best CPU coolers come with the right tools and instructions to make installation nice and easy.

Price & Warranty

As these are all coolers for a 9900k, we can assume that price is not as much of an issue to you. You are already buying a costly CPU, so you should already have a good budget for a CPU cooler.

Some perform better than others and cost more because they do so, and some that perform really well for their price tag. Factoring in your budget will ultimately guide your decision.

Warranty wise, you should always look for products that come with good warranties from reputable brands. If something goes wrong and you want to return a product, you don’t want there to be a problem.


6 Best CPU Coolers For i9-9900k Reviewed

1. Noctua NH-D15

On Sale Today
Noctua NH-D15, Premium CPU Cooler with 2X...
  • 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...
  • Easy-to-install SecuFirm2 multi-socket...

Our top pick!

Cooling Technology

Air

Fan Speed

1500 RPM

Fan Size

150 mm

Noise Level

24.6 dB

Socket Compatibility

Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1200, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required), AM4 (included since 2019, older coolers require NM-AM4)

Our top pick falls to the Noctua NH-D15, this air cooler comes from a strong lineage. After all, Noctua has always made top-shelf, high-performance cooling systems that operate at a whisper-quiet level.

You get anti-vibration pads, fan clips, and an extensive heat piping system, which is the pinnacle of innovation. With a huge range of copper heatsink pipes and a dual tower design, you even get low noise adapters and dampening equipment in the package.

You also get a great tube of Noctua’s own Famous NT-H1 thermal paste and a 6-year warranty. The only issue we can really find with the NH-D15 is the size. This is a big cooler. Sitting at 165mmx150mm, it's one of the biggest on the market. You do get the whole range of mounting plates and equipment, though, except for the thread ripper setup.

Anyone that follows the pc overclocking scene will know that Noctua is a brand that has been impressing the computing world with every single release. They have done so by mastering both active and passive cooling systems.

The fans are extremely powerful, and the heat pipes draw heat away in an efficient manner, they are also dustproof, which is essential in a build that includes a 9900K.

If you plan to use an air cooling system and simply want the absolute best that money can buy in terms of efficiency and power, you will want to buy a cooler Noctua. Our money would be spent on the NH-D15.

Good
  • Quiet
  • Efficient
  • Huge selection of mounts/clips/goodies
Bad
  • Huge

2. NZXT Kraken X72

NZXT Kraken X72 360mm - RL-KRX72-01 - AIO RGB...
  • ADVANCED LIGHTING MODES: With an infinity...
  • ENGINEERED FOR PERFORMANCE: Engineered to...
  • MASTER YOUR CONTROL: Using CAM, manage the...
  • ALL-NEW RADIATOR FANS: The Aer P radiator...

best liquid CPU cooler for i9 9900k

Cooling Technology

Liquid

Fan Speed

2000 RPM

Fan Size

360 mm

Noise Level

24 dB

Socket Compatibility

Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1200, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required), AM4 (included since 2019, older coolers require NM-AM4)

Another king of the overclocking and high-end market, NZXT, have been keeping us stocked with amazing cooling solutions that come with incredible RGB functionality for years. When you want to build a computer that glows and dazzles, you will probably opt for an NXT cooler.

The Kraken X72 360 is the best liquid-cooled CPU cooler on this list and uses a 360mm radiator, which enables it to shift vast amounts of heat away from your precious CPU. 

The X72 comes with every piece of mounting equipment that you might need to install it to all current chips by both Intel and AMD.

The X72 comes with 3 of the companies’ strongest fans installed, the Aer P120s. These fans are capable of running up to 2000 RPM and come with capabilities for NZXT CAM software if you want to use it.

This program gives an unmatched look into your computer's health and well-being and all of its components. It also gives you full control over the myriad of RGB settings you can mess around with.

The base of the entire module is made of heatsink copper and has pre-applied thermal paste, and this means you do not need to install additional paste at a later date. Surrounding the mounting holes are rubber dampening anti-vibe grommets, which seriously reduce noise levels.

This liquid-cooler features some of the most advanced technology currently available, you get a six-year warranty, and it looks absolutely awesome.

This is an AIO liquid cooling system for those that want the best, it comes with a hefty price tag and is monstrous in size, but if you want your i9900K to run as cool as possible no matter what load you put it under, the Kraken X72 is one of your best bets.

Good
  • Gorgeous Design
  • Efficient
  • Best cooling system on the market
Bad
  • Expensive
  • Requires some knowhow to fit

3. Corsair Hydro Series H150i

Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO RGB AIO Liquid...
  • Customizable RGB backlit pump head produces...
  • Powered by magnetic Levitation: three...
  • Powerful software: Corsair iCUE software...
  • Zero RPM mode: zero RPM cooling profiles...

top of the range

Cooling Technology

Liquid

Fan Speed

2400 RPM

Fan Size

360 mm

Noise Level

24 dB

Socket Compatibility

Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1200, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required), AM4 (included since 2019, older coolers require NM-AM4)

Corsair is one of the most prestigious and well-recognized brands in the computing world today. Starting with their famous memory and RAM, they have moved on to conquer almost every other computer component.

Our top of the range model, the one you should buy if money is no object, is the Corsair Hydro Series H150i and absolutely incredible liquid cooler that spares nothing when it comes to innovation and high build quality. With 16 different independent RGB control points, it is also one of the most beautiful coolers you can buy.

Performance-wise it scores top of the class in every field and has some fantastic added features, which really help it stand apart from the crowd. One of these functions is the Zero RPM mode, which keeps the noise almost at 0 when the CPU is not under load.

Then there is the thermally optimized heat sink plate that has pairs with the dampened low noise pump. With all of this, you expect it to be a hard card to install too.

Once again Corsair’s research and development team have hit the nail on the head here, with easy installation onto most modern sockets and an easy to control software, the H150i is a cooler that pairs sleek luxury stylings with liquid ice chilling performance.

Good
  • Amazing build quality
  • Mag-lev fan system
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Temp controlled RGB
Bad
  • Very expensive
  • Requires three 120mm fan mounts

4. be quiet! Dark Rock Pro4

be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4, BK022, 250W TDP,...
  • 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....

Quietest CPU cooler for i9 9900k

Cooling Technology

Air

Fan Speed

2000 RPM

Fan Size

120 mm

Noise Level

24 dB

Socket Compatibility

Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1200, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required), AM4 (included since 2019, older coolers require NM-AM4)

If you are on the market for a cooler that runs as silently as possible acoustically, our recommendation would be the Dark Rock Pro 4 by be quiet!

This stealth black cooler with its coated fins almost looks like one of those stealth planes that are undetectable by radar. The cooler is also exceptional, running very close to the levels produced by our top pick the D15.

Acoustically, as the name and brand suggest, this is one of the quietest coolers on the market, and the only one we would recommend when building a pc with an i9900k inside. Even after a heft overclocks, you would still struggle to hear this cooler under load, the installation is also extremely easy thanks to the new mounting system used by be quiet!

All new generation sockets are supported, and you get a good number of different mounts and fixings included in the box.

All in all, this isn’t the most efficient cooler on the list, but it is by far the quietest. If you are the type of soul who despises noise, this is the cooler for you. While it is whisper quiet, it is also still more than capable of handling the heat produced by your i9900k even after a decent overclock.

Good
  • Quietest cooler capable of running i9900k
  • Black stealth looks
  • 5 Year Warranty
Bad
  • Slightly less capable at cooling than others on the list

5. Le Grand Macho RT

Le Grand Macho RT (with Fan TY-147B)
  • Dimension: L150mm x W120mm x H159mm (Fin Area...
  • Heat pipes: 6mm heatpipe*7 units; Fin: T =...
  • Copper Base: C1100 Pure copper nickel plated
  • Motherboard to Fin: 36 8 = 44 mm 46 8=54 mm

Best budget option

Cooling Technology

Air

Fan Speed

1300 RPM

Fan Size

152 mm

Noise Level

20 dB

Socket Compatibility

Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1200, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required), AM4 (included since 2019, older coolers require NM-AM4)

For those who want the best budget option, this is an excellent choice. This is one of the quietest coolers on our list and comes in a rugged chassis that is easy to mount and assemble.

The base is designed to draw our heat through the nickel plating, and the black anodized fan tips move air around effectively and quietly.

This isn’t the best in class cooler, so you should expect a few pitfalls, mainly the weight. This cooler is very heavy and takes up a lot of room. The drop in price means that Thermalright could not use the smaller components of some of its competitors.

Besides the weight and the looks, though, this is a great budget-friendly cooler, one that can handle things nearly as well as the N15 from our top pick, just with a lot less class and a lot more weight.

Good
  • Amazing price
  • Easy to assemble
  • 5 Year Warranty
Bad
  • Heavy

6. EVGA CLC 400-HY-CL28-V1

On Sale Today
EVGA CLC 280mm All-In-One RGB LED CPU Liquid...
  • Compatible with Intel...
  • 280mm Dual Fan radiator. Radiator size: 312mm...
  • Rgb LED's, can be synced to other EVGA RGB...
  • Unique EVGA fan design for reducing noise...

best aIO cpu cooler for i9 9900k

Cooling Technology

Liquid

Fan Speed

2200 RPM

Fan Size

140 mm

Noise Level

16 dB

Socket Compatibility

Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1200, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required), AM4 (included since 2019, older coolers require NM-AM4)

EVGA is another brand that has captured the hearts of computer building enthusiasts around the world. Their graphics cards are found in a huge percentage of high-end gaming and video editing rigs, so they know the importance of cooling.

It is easy to see how they take the top spot for the best all in one sealed AIO cooler. The CLC 280 is a cooler that delivers incredible performance, comes with a 280mm radiator size, and has a new innovative static pressure fan designed to reduce noise.

It also has a new and improved cooling block that offers a better transfer service for sapping that heat from your CPU. As with most EVGA products, you get full control over a massive range of RGB lighting controls, and you can even save profiles to different firmware.

EVGA knows the importance of cable management, too; every tube is fully sleeved in insulative tubing from the radiator all the way to the CPU block. Combined with the new curved Teflon nano bearing fans, you get a lot more efficiency with a lot less noise.

Using the EVGA software, you get full control over all of the cooler settings. Control the fan speed the profiles for RGB lighting and even adjust the pump speed.

All in all, this is an incredibly well designed all in one cooler made for those that want to utilize liquid cooling but are not quite ready for a custom loop system.

The copper base is incredible at dispersing heat, the wiring system is well designed and thought out, and the fans are interchangeable, although they perform excellently as they are. With a 5-year warranty to boot, if you are on the market for an AIO cooler, this would be our suggestion.

Good
  • Easy liquid cooling for beginners
  • Easy to assemble
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • EVGA quality
Bad
  • Not as effective as custom liquid loop

Tips for Installing i9 9900k CPU Cooler

  • Make sure that your CPU cooler does not go straight onto your CPU. Always ensure that a thin layer of thermal paste is applied. If your cooler comes with paste already applied, do not apply another layer. Make sure you do your homework here.
  • Keep your build area extremely clean. A small amount of dust entering a closed system or static charge could cause you serious problems.
  • Look for tutorials, and almost every cooler had a YouTube video where someone shows you how to install it. Do not try and install a liquid cooler without some kind of instruction.

CPU Cooler Maintenance

When it comes to CPU maintenance, you should not have to do too much after installation. As long as your system is set up correctly, your cable management is good, and your system is dust-free, your CPU should not require much maintenance.

If you are into overclocking and running your rig at full power for extended periods, then you should look at replacing any thermal paste when necessary. After a number of hours running full load, this paste can start to wear away, leaving your processor open to overheating problems.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Is air cooling enough for i9-9900k, or does it need water cooling?

In our opinion, this depends on whether or not you plan to overclock your CPU. If you are planning to overclock, a liquid system is definitely advisable. If not, the air-powered coolers on this list are more than capable enough to handle the i9 9900K.

How hot should my i9 9900k get?

This is going to vary majorly depending on your use, your build, your cable management, airflow, and other components. During full load, you might expect to see around 65c-80c, depending on how intense a load you place on it.

How long should I expect a CPU air cooler for i9-9900k to last?

Most coolers come with a 5-6 year warranty. As such, we would expect them to last just as long as your CPU does before they need replacing.

Where is the best place to shop for a good CPU cooler for i9 9900k?

We always turn to Amazon for our electronics and computer components. They offer the best returns policies and quick delivery and are easy to deal with. They also competitively price match and offer a lot of different deals during the year that could save you big bucks.


Conclusion

The i9900K processor is one of the fastest on the market. It is an absolute beast, and we are jealous of anyone who can afford to run one in their system.

If you have decided to splash out and buy one, we hope the advice in this article and our suggestions have helped you with your choice. If you are still undecided, we suggest going for our top pick, the Noctua-N15.


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