What Cooler is best for i5 9600K?

We’ve got two different options that we can consider for this cooler: air coolers that you can get if low on budget or don’t want to spend much on coolers.

While the other option is AIO, which will give you outstanding performance and aesthetics but costs slightly higher than air coolers, there is a decades-old war that which one is best. Still, simply both of them has their advantages and disadvantages as mentioned above.

There are a couple of premium air coolers like Noctua Nh-D15, which you know is one of the best because of its bulkier design that can handle any processor you want to install, while the downside of this cooler is its extreme price. Simultaneously, Hyper 212, one of the best cheapest coolers for years, manages to get a great spot in this list, best of the low price and mid-range performance.

In AIOs, we’ve got a couple of options with single and dual fans radiators, but we tried not to cross the hundred dollars budget because above that budget, all coolers will be overkill for this processor. Long story short, it all depends on whether you prefer budget or performance.

Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition

MANUFACTURER Cooler Master
MODEL Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition
FANS 1x, Option for secondary
HEATSINK PIPES 4x
RGB Yes

Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black is a reasonably priced cooler that you can consider for budget and mid-range builds. I wouldn't recommend this cooler for overclocking, but if you are looking to replace the continuously missing coolers of Intel mid-range processors, this one is an excellent option. It also allows the users to do a little bit of overclocking, but we are not expecting much for this price.

Cooler Master Hyper 212 was an old series with some of the most affordable coolers, but recently, at least a year ago, the company released two models. The first one is Hyper 212 Black, and as the name suggests, it's completely black in color, while the other is Hyper 212 Black RGB with is the same as the other but has RGB lights and gives great aesthetics and cooling performance for a budget-friendly price.

The price of both of these coolers is the same, but the RGB one is a little more expensive, which you can consider if you prefer looks in your build. However, it's completely optional as there is no performance difference between them, and you can also save that extra money for some other components. The looks of these coolers are identical to the Be Quiet Dark Rock series as both give ultra-sleek looks.

The price to performance ratio of this cooler will be apparent by comparing it with the competitors. The first one that I see is Be Quiet! Dark Rock Slim, where both of these coolers come with the same single tower heatsink with a fan and four heatsink pipes that connect the CPU block with the heatsink to dissipates heat. But the thing is the price difference between them as this one is way cheaper than that.

The thermal performance and the noise level of both of these coolers are also identical, but of course, you will need a completely closed casing to avoid some noise. The fan that comes pre-installed with this cooler is Cooler Master Silencio FP 120 fan. At the same time, there is space for another fan that you can easily install as it has pulled and push configuration, which makes the process much easier for newbies.

The overall installation process of this cooler is also more accessible than other coolers as some options like Noctua NH-D15 are very hard to install because of their bulkier size. With processors like Intel Core i5 9600K, this cooler is good to consider, but of course, it's a budget-friendly cooler, so don't expect much overclocking power from it, but for stock clocks or a little bit of overclocking, it's good to consider.

Scythe Mugen 5 Rev.B

MANUFACTURER Scythe
MODEL Mugen 5 Rev B
FANS 1x
HEATSINK PIPES 6x
RGB No

Sometimes users don’t even concern about overclocking their processors, but all they need while buying a cooler is cheap to install in place of the missing Intel bundled coolers so that they can use their build. Scythe Mugen 5 Rev.B is a great option that you can consider, which performs the same as the Cooler Master Hyper 212 or similar options but for an even lower price, making it more appealing.

Scythe Mugen 5 Rev.B is a single tower cooler that gives enough performance without making any noise as it has Kaze Flex 120mm fan, which comes pre-installed and does its job silently. The company’s primary focus is to give the best performance and noise levels without going up on a budget. It has rubbers on all sides of the fan, which reduces the noise level and vibrations simultaneously.

As per the reviews, the fan installed on this cooler works at minimal noise levels even at its full speed, which is a plus point for this cooler. Six nickel-plated copper heatsink pipes help the CPU block connect with the heatsink, and the primary purpose behind this is to transfer heat from the lower section to the upper one. Then the fan blows air on the heatsink vents, and this allows the users to get great thermals.

The compatibility of this cooler is excellent as it comes compatible with most of the Intel and AMD CPU sockets and works perfectly with ATX and m-ATX motherboards. Another thing is you don’t have to worry much about the memory and PCI slot clearance as it’s not that bulkier to have some issue. There are complete accessories in the box that help you install the cooler and the secondary fan.

One thing that pleases most of the users who gets this cooler is the bundled thermal paste which is quite good in performance, and you don’t need to buy some other paste for it. This cooler allows the users to overclock their Intel and Ryzen processors. Of course, due to its low price, you can’t get the CPU to its maximum overclock potential; however, stock clocks and a bit of overclocking are possible with it.

The only downside of this cooler is its moderate cooling performance which might disappoint some users, but for its price, it’s enough. It’s slightly cheaper than Hyper 212 EVO; however, on benchmarks, both performances almost the same. Overall it’s an excellent cooler, but only when you save much for some other components and don’t any concern with overclocking the processor.

Noctua NH-D15

MANUFACTURER Noctua
MODEL NH-D15
FANS 2x
HEATSINK PIPES 4x
RGB No

Sometimes you need more performance out of an air cooler, but the options mentioned above are not enough to give because they target budget-friendly builds. However, there are some premium coolers from which we've picked the Noctua NH-D15, which is one powerful we've ever seen. You don't need to care about what processor you are pairing because it can easily handle its thermals.

The performance of this cooler matches some of the 280mm AIOs but there one thing you need to know that it's way cheaper than them. One thing that disappoints most users about this cooler is the aesthetics as it comes in brown colors, which doesn't suit most modern RGB builds. When we put its performance in front of looks, you can compromise on it because it's giving excellent value.

This flagship cooler comes with two 140mm fans, commonly available in the market named NF-A15, and is equipped with SSO2 magnetic bearings for better support. You might already know that fan noise is a significant problem in CPU coolers, but this one works at minimal noise levels. The fans spin at max 1200 RPM and the output pressure of 1.50 mmH20, but still, we've never faced any noise problem.

There are bearing too, which also helps take the noise level of this cooler to its minimal and helps in effective cooling. This cooler comes in a dual tower heat sink design where the CPU block is connected with those heat sinks with the help of six heat sink pipes. The CPU block of this cooler is attached to the heatsink with six heatsink pipes, and two fans are used to cool down the heatsink vents.

One of the most remarkable things about this cooler is the bundled NT-H1 thermal compound pre-applied to the CPU block. This cooler's benchmarks are pretty great, and even while overclocking, this cooler doesn't exceed temperatures up to 70 degrees Celsius. Noctua NH-D15 is excellent in all aspects, but one thing that slightly disappoints me is its premium price, but of course, it appeals to me for all these features.

There are no RGB lights on this cooler, but the black variant of this cooler is a little more appealing than the brown one. Though when you are looking for performance, aesthetics would never be a problem for you. This cooler is a little expensive for this build, but because of the performance, I would say it's the best CPU Cooler for i5 9600K, at least in terms of thermals, but for silent cooler, I would recommend BE QUIET! Dark Rock Pro 4.

BE QUIET! Dark Rock Pro 4

MANUFACTURER Be Quiet
MODEL Dark Rock Pro 4
FANS 2x
HEATSINK PIPES 7x
RGB No

Sometimes we are looking for the cooler's performance and the noise level, and there we have got the Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4, and as its name suggest, this is one of the quietest coolers on the list. The price and performance of this cooler are somewhere similar to the Noctua NH-D15; though it's not the same but slightly lower, still the noise levels and great value makes it an appealing option for users.

Like any dual tower cooler, this one also comes with two fans installed at the front side while the other one got sandwiched between the heatsinks. This makes excellent airflow between the heatsink vents and makes them cooler down within no time. Be Quiet uses their best fans on this cooler which runs at 1500 RPM, and they claim that these are the quietest fans they've ever built so far.

Seven heatsink pipes connect both heatsinks with the CPU block and dissipate a lot of heat. All heatsink pipes are visible from the sides except the two because they are hidden inside the heatsink. The bulkier design of BE QUIET! Dark Rock Pro 4 gives enough power to overclock high-end processors like Intel Core i9 9900K or others as it supports those thermals and never disappoints the users.

The looks of this cooler are straightforward as it lacks the RGB lights, but luckily it comes in complete black color, which makes it appealing. The bulkier design of Dark Rock Pro 4 makes it a little hard to install on compact motherboards. If you've never installed an air cooler, this process may be challenging for you but going through the user manual makes it easy as it comes with all required accessories.

Some users get confused about the memory clearance of this cooler; if you are not using some tall memory sticks, you are good to go with it. Even with some slightly tall memory sticks, this cooler doesn’t have any problem. This cooler is compatible with most of the Intel and AMD sockets except the thread ripper CPUs as they need the different mounting tray doesn’t come with this cooler.

This cooler's high price makes users think about the other options like NH-D15 as that one gives much better performance. Though those who are considering this cooler for its low noise levels they can justify its price. The prior version of this cooler is a little inexpensive, but that also gives better cooling performance than this one, as seen on benchmarks, but overall, it's a good cooler for i5 9600K.

ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240

MANUFACTURER ARCTIC
MODEL Liquid Freezer II 240
RADIATOR 277mm
FAN SPEED 1800 RPM
RGB No

The Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240 is one of the best and cheapest AIO cooler that you can get for i5 9600K for normal use and overclocking. This cooler comes with two fans and a 280mm radiator while the fans run at 200-1800 RPM, which gives enough cooling to the radiator without making any noise. The fans of this cooler require a 4-pin converter, which comes fully covered along with the tube pipes and doesn’t affect the aesthetics. The reason why I’m putting this cooler there is it can easily handle a TDP of 300W, and you can overclock your i5 9600K at its full potential as this CPU supports significant overclocking levels. From appearance to performance, you will find everything in this liquid cooler, and I’m sure it will never disappoint you and worth the money.

This cooler is compatible with all of the current generation sockets, including the Intel 115x and AM4, and there are bundled trays for both Intel and AMD CPU sockets. The downside of this cooler is it doesn’t contain any RGB lights effects; while some users might be fair, a few users will get disappointed. The radiator’s weight is not that much, and you can easily install while another good thing is its fans don’t make any noise while spinning. Overall, if you are looking for performance in a cheap AIO cooler Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240, you can consider it an excellent option.

MASTER LIQUID ML120L RGB V2

MANUFACTURER Cooler Master
MODEL MASTER LIQUID ML120L RGB V2
RADIATOR 120mm
FAN SPEED 1800 RPM
RGB Yes

When you are considering performance for some mid-range processor overclocking but don’t want to spend much on the cooler, a 120mm radiator cooler would be best. The cheapest offering in this category is the Cooler Master Liquid ML120L RGB V2, which comes with a single fan that operates at 1800 RPM. The most exciting thing about this AIO cooler is the low operating noise level and the RGB lights on the fan, and the CPU block gives excellent aesthetics and makes it one of the compelling choices for budget and mid-range users.

This cooler is compatible with all of the known Intel and AMD sockets. You will not see any compatibility issue with it as there are CPU trays available for current-generation Intel and AMD sockets. The additional RGB controller that comes with this CPU cooler allows you to produce different effects.

MASTER LIQUID ML120L RGB V2 comes in two different variants where one comes with a single fan while the other has two fans, and you can select the one that can give you enough performance for your processor. For processors like i5 9600K, I would recommend you to get the 120mm cooler because it’s enough to overclock the processor, and you can save the additional money for some other component. The third generation of Dual Chamber Pump technology and AIO cooling features give exceptional performance in this cooler. The annoying thing in this cooler regarding the RGB lights is the RGB controller doesn’t control the RGB effects very well. Overall, this cooler’s performance is excellent enough, and if you are looking for a cheap AIO cooler, you can get it for your i5 9600K.