Intel Core i9-9900K was the first i9 processor by Intel, and it was the first mainstream processor to provide eight cores and sixteen threads. The best thing about this processor is that it can deliver high performance even after releasing two generations after its generation. Since it was the first processor to come with eight cores and sixteen threads, this processor is just hot. Even though it has a low TDP of 95 watts, you will see power consumption above 150 watts once overclocked.
Most people use an AIO cooler for this beast of a processor, but many high-end air coolers are capable of handling this processor. It is important to note that a processor like this must not be coupled with a mid-range air cooler or even an AIO cooler because we have witnessed temperatures going north of 80 degrees with a 360 mm AIO on this processor once it was running at around 5 GHz mark.
In this article, we will look at some of the best CPU coolers for Intel Core i9-9900K that will maximize the potential of this beast.
Selecting a CPU cooler for such a high-end processor is no easy task, and one must look at many factors before finalizing a product. Following are some of the most significant factors that must be checked before buying a CPU cooler for Intel Core i9-9900K.
Air Cooler or AIO Cooler: The AIO coolers have gained huge popularity in the past few years due to their pleasing aesthetics and high performance. However, some people are not ready to risk their hardware components, as there is always a risk of leakage in AIO coolers. That is why many manufacturers have designed high-end air coolers as good as AIO coolers, if not better. So, if you are interested in better looks and have a high budget, you can go for an AIO cooler, but if you do not want a risk in your system or have a low budget, you can go for an air cooler.
Size of Heat Sink and The Number of Heat Pipes: When it comes to air cooler, the performance of an air cooler is highly dependent on the size of the heat sink. The larger the heat sink is, the better the thermal performance will be. Similarly, heat pipes are large metal pipes that transfer heat from the processor IHS to the heat sink. High-end air coolers come with more heat pipes than cheaper air coolers, as high as eight heat pipes.
The Size of the Radiator: The AIO coolers do not use heat pipes or heat sinks but instead use large-sized radiators in which fluid flows. The larger the radiator size is, the better the performance. Low-end AIO coolers come with 120 mm or 140 mm radiators, while high-end coolers come with 240 mm, 280 mm, or 360 mm radiators. Before purchasing a high-end AIO cooler, please ensure that your casing has enough space to host such a large-sized radiator.
The Number of Fans: The number of fans is one thing that is common in both air and AIO coolers. Most CPU coolers use 120 mm or 140 mm fans. Larger fans reduce the noise of the cooler while having an equal airflow. High-end air coolers come with two or more fans, while AIO coolers can use many fans because fans can be attached on either side of the radiator.
The NH-D15 doesn’t care with what processor you’ve paired it because it can give enough performance to overclock any high-end latest processor without any sweat. Also, I’ve not seen any other air cooler offering better performance than this one, as the DeepCool Assassin III is also slightly lower than it. They have their advantages like Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 4 does its job silently, but it’s better in performance.
The thermal performance of this cooler is the same as of some of the 280mm AIOs, but as it’s priced at such a low cost, it’s good to consider for mid-range builds. One thing that disappoints some of the users is its bulkier size which makes sense because of the great performance, but that confuses users about the clearance and installing of the cooler.
The NH-D15 comes in a dual tower design where both of the heatsinks are connected through six heatsink pipes that connect the CPU block. This gives proper heat dissipation throughout the cooler, and there two fans where one is located at the front side while the other is sandwich between the heatsinks and gives exceptional airflow between the heatsink fans.
The bulkier design of this cooler asks you to get at least a mid-tower case and an ATX motherboard so that you can easily install it. One thing that confuses many users about this cooler is the RAM clearance because of its size. You don’t need to worry about that because this cooler can be installed on ITX motherboards while ATX and m-ATX boards don’t have any problem as far as you don’t have tall memory sticks.
When it comes to casings, you can nearly fit this cooler in any casing available in the market but make sure you are not going with ITX casings. The installation of this cooler is not easy at all, and I would recommend looking at some tutorials first so that you will be able to install it efficiently. If you’ve never installed an air cooler before, you may face some problems while installing it; check out its manual guide.
The installation of this cooler is not a big problem because the price of this cooler is a thing that makes users consider some other option. However, when we look at the performance of this cooler, that justifies its price. Of course, its way cheaper than AIOs but offering the same performance while some other options come cheaper, but they don’t offer the same performance as it.
The high price and the straightforward aesthetics of the Noctua NH-D15 make the users consider the other options as most users prefer looks over the performance. Though that’s not recommended as we’ve to go for the performance first but still if you are willing to get it, there is Zalman CNPS20X which offers the same performance as the cooler mentioned above but has great aesthetics and a slightly low price.
The heat sink of this cooler has unfinished touch, but the plastic body is colored in black, and there are RGB fans which makes it appealing because of this black and silver color scheme. Still, the looks of this cooler are a little straightforward, but if you are an RGB fan, you will found it much better than NH-D15. The lights on this cooler can be configured with any third-party RGB lights control software.
Like all other premium coolers, this one also comes with two large-sized tower heat sinks that connect each other and the CPU block with the help of six heat sink pipes. They also help in the great dissipation of heat, resulting in better cooling and great overclocking potential. There are two fans on this cooler which gives great performance and lightning effects and goes a bit loud under high loads.
However, that noise issue is little common in most coolers, which can be overcome if you own some casing that’s closed from all sides. When you are overclocking some processors like Intel Core i9 9900K, you need a large-sized cooler to dissipate the heat produced by the CPU while overclocking, and CNPS20X is enough to OC such a flagship CPU at its full potential, so at least you can hit 5 GHz with it.
The installation process of this cooler is easy, but if you are installing an air cooler for the first time, you may face problems because of its bulkier size. It comes with all accessories that you need to install an air cooler, and the manual guide that comes with it gives proper information on installing it. I would recommend you first check out YouTube videos to know how to install a CPU cooler.
The memory clearance of this cooler is adequate, and you are not going to face any compatibility issues unless you have some tall memory kit installed. Even if you have, there are many chances that it will fit properly because it’s designed in such a way. Overall it’s a great cooler to consider, but also take care of the price as it’s slightly more expensive than any mid-range cooler on the market.
Mostly air coolers manage to give great cooling performance even with processors like Intel i9 9900K, but they still lack a thing. Quiet fans are hardly available in any gaming cooler except the Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 as the fan’s noise goes loud when the processor starts running high on loads. As the name suggests, this cooler is the quietest one in the market offers the same performance as Noctua NH-D15.
Firstly the low noise doesn’t mean that you need to compromise the cooler’s performance as it still performance excellent for the price but not like Deepcool Assassins 3. Still, it allows you to overclock most of the flagship processors without having any problem. However, we’ve compared this cooler with its prior version and found that one offers better performance but a slight difference only.
The bundled fans that come with this cooler are 120mm, but luckily there is support for 135mm fans too, and you can easily install them. The fan on the first tower blows air inside the heatsink vents while the second fan, which is a sandwich between two heatsinks, passes that air stream to the second heatsink, and this makes them cooler down and allows the users to overclock their CPUs at full potential.
The open design of this cooler allows the hot air to escape from all sides of the heatsink, which makes the cooling process more effective. The installation process of a dual tower cooler is always difficult. Still, the great thing about this cooler is that it comes with all the accessories you need to install, including the screwdriver and mounting plates. All you need is a little knowledge of how to install a CPU cooler.
The dual-tower design of this cooler is enough for maximum heat dissipation while overclocking the processor, and six heatsink pipes connect them. This cooler lacks RGB lights, but still, without them, it looks appealing because of its black color. Unlike the other coolers, it comes with finished touch on the heatsink, and the whole body is painted in black.
Overall, it’s a great cooler to consider for i9 9900K, but the high price makes users consider some other options. Those who are looking for a silent cooler can still justify its cost because of Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 performance. There is no support for Threadripper CPUs, as some coolers come with their mounting brackets too and fells into the cons of this CPU Cooler.
Deep Cool got a great reputation in the CPU coolers and PSU industry as they are giving excellent products for a reasonable price. The Deep Cool Assassins III is a great competitor to the Noctua NH-D15. This cooler provides great overclocking performance to high-end processors like the Intel Core i9 9900K for a reasonable price while not compromising on the looks of the fan’s noise as mostly coolers go down for them.
The performance of this cooler might not be the same as the Noctua NH-D15, but it stands somewhere equals to it, and we can compare both of them at the same price bracket. The D15 has a significant advantage over it because it runs on zero noise levels while this one goes a bit loud, especially when running high on loads, but it feels only when the side of the case is opened or it’s not well packed.
There are two tower heatsinks on this cooler connected with the help of six heatsink pipes, and it has a large CPU block that helps in great heat dissipation. There are two fans on this cooler where one is installed on the front while the second one is sandwiched between the heatsinks that help in great airflow between the vents and cool down in no time.
This cooler’s performance is no different from any 280mm AIO, which is way cheaper and can easily overclock some of the flagship processors, which makes it more appealing. You may not be able to take your Intel Core i9 9900K at 5 GHz with this cooler, but still, it allows you to OC it to a great extent. This will enable you to enjoy the CPU performance and gives a great FPS boost in the latest titles.
The looks of this cooler are pretty straightforward as it has unfinished color on the heatsink, but the black-colored fans with silver-colored heatsink still look good. There are no RGB lights and nothing fancy on this cooler, but all it has is the performance that matters the most. Though some users still prefer the looks of components over their performance, I don’t recommend you, at least in gaming builds.
The installation process of this cooler is quite challenging, especially for those who are installing an air cooler for the first time. This is because of their large size, which is not easy to hold and fit on the CPU socket. But luckily there are all accessories which you need to install it, and this makes the process slightly easier. Overall it’s a great cooler to consider, but we also need to look at the price, which is somewhat expensive for mid-range builds.
The aforementioned coolers are slightly expensive for a mid-range build, so I’ve researched a bit more and got the cheapest option that you can also pair up with the i9 9900K without compromising on the overclocking. Le Grand Macho RT from Thermalright is one of the cheapest coolers for high-end processors and offers excellent performance and noise dumping. This cooler has a large heatsink and a single non-RGB fan that comes pre-installed on it.
This cooler’s heatsink is connected with the CPU block with seven heatsink pipes, which also helps take away heat from the lower section to the upper one. Then a 140mm fan blows air on the heatsink vents to make it cool down, and this makes an excellent and efficient cooling process that allows you to overclock your processor. The compatibility of this cooler is excellent enough. You can put it on any Intel or AMD socket, but the installation is a bit challenging because of its bulkier size. When it comes to RAM clearance, you will not face any problem unless you do not use tall memory sticks, but the expansion slot clearance could be much better. There are several variants of this cooler, as you can get it with fans or without fans or get two pre-installed fans with it, so it’s good that you can get it according to the budget and needs.
The downside of this cooler is that the expansion slot clearance is not as good as it needs to be because of the large-sized heatsink, and while installing or removing it can damage the graphics card; it’s good to remove the GPU first before removing it. Also, the manufacturers are giving only 1-year of warranty while we’ve seen other manufacturers giving up to 10-years of warranty.
When you are considering an AIO, most users look for two things: the premium performance and the other is the aesthetics. Corsair gives both of them at the same place with their iCUE H100i, where you are likely to see the decent performance while overclocking high-end processors and RGB lights make this cooler pleasing in builds. The fans’ noise is not compromised because this cooler is one of the most silent working on among the competitors. Comparing it with other alternatives in the market, you may feel a slight performance difference, but it leads the game to the noise level of fans.
With all these great features, this cooler’s price is slightly higher than the competitors, at least the MSRP, but you can get it for cheap at some deal if looking for a silent AIO. Also, this cooler’s overclocking performance for i9 9900K makes its price understandable and makes it a worthwhile deal for this build. There is iCUE software that comes bundled with this cooler, and it helps you produce different RGB effects from the RGB lights on it and change the thermal performance of this cooler according to how much you are willing to overclock your processor. We’ve tested some temperature tests in this cooler, and they might probably help you while deciding the cooler. The boost clock of i9 9900K can be easily achieved with this AIO, and you are not going to listen to fan noise even at that frequency.
This cooler’s price might be slightly higher than others, but with all of these features, it’s understandable, and it will be a worthwhile deal for i9 9900K. The iCUE software allows you to manage the cooler lights and thermal controls, and you don’t need to go with some third party software for it. When i9 9900K is overclocked to 5 GHz, this cooler’s temperature goes to 82 degrees Celsius, while at full loads and stock clocks, it doesn’t go over 74 Celsius. The idle temperature of this cooler is 38, which is pretty impressive for a flagship processor. This cooler’s major downside is the extreme price, while a few users feel it awkward to see small screws securing the fans at the radiator.
The aforementioned cooler was not that good in terms of performance. Still, if you are looking for something similar to the better performance, we’ve got another consideration for you from the same manufacturer. There is Hydro H150i Pro RGB from Corsair that’s the same as this cooler mentioned above in term of aesthetics and noise level but offers better performance than that, which gives it an advantage for the same price, and you can consider it if looking for more thermal performance to overclocking your i9 9900K at some great extent.
This cooler comes with two RGB fans, which produces excellent effects while spinning, and you can customize the RGB lights to make them match the impact of other RGB lights on the build. The CPU block of this cooler also comes with RGB lights, and the build quality of it is impressive, which most of us expect from Corsair as it’s a well-reputed brand. The most exciting this about this cooler is it comes in three different variants, which vary the radiator size, and you can select the one that fits best under your budget and your needs. The fans of this cooler run at the max speed of 1600 RPM but still don’t make any noise, and we need this speed usually when the CPU is overclocked or running at full load. If you are looking for a budget cooler, it’s not for you because of its high price. Long story short, it’s a great cooler that you can consider for your gaming build that allows you to do some serious overclocking with your processor.
Intel Core i9-9900K is surely getting old, but the performance of this processor is fantastic nonetheless. There are not many processors that can match the performance of this processor, and the release of newer-generation processors has greatly reduced the price of this processor. When it comes to cooling a high-end processor like this, there are only a handful of solutions. You can either buy a high-end air cooler or a high-end AIO cooler for this processor.
The air coolers are slightly on the cheaper side but are risk-free, while the AIO coolers provide better looks and performance but have a risk of fluid leakage. If you want to get the best of the best, you should get a NOCTUA NH-D15 air cooler or CORSAIR Hydro H150i PRO RGB if you are leaning towards AIO coolers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best air cooler for Intel Core i9-9900K?
Noctua NH-D15 is one of the best air coolers globally, and its performance matches the largest AIO coolers. It sure is pricier than other air coolers or even some of the high-end AIO coolers as well, but NOCTUA has left no opportunity to maximize the performance of this CPU cooler.
What is the best AIO cooler for Intel Core i9-9900K?
The best AIO cooler for Intel Core i9-9900K is CORSAIR Hydro H150i Pro RGB. This AIO cooler keeps the processor under 75 degrees at full load when overclocked, which is really impressive. This is one of the most expensive AIO coolers as well, which is why if you are unable to afford it, you can go for CORSAIR iCUE H100i Elite Capellix.
What is the cheapest suitable cooler for Intel Core i9-9900K?
Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT is a fantastic air cooler for i9-9900K, and with seven heat pipes, you are getting amazing thermal performance while the price of this air cooler is lower than the likes of NOCTUA NH-D15.
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