The Intel Core i9 9900K was one of the most potent processor of 2019, with impressive performance for most of the latest AAA titles with a good graphics cards. Though when it comes to the best CPUs of 2021, this processor might not be the winner but still gets a great spot on the list. To get the most out of this processor, you need to get some powerful aftermarket cooler because this CPU lacks the bundled one. The heat produced by this processor is also much, which causes it to run at high temperatures especially if using some weak cooling solution. We’re here with a guide of best coolers for i9 9900K, which you can get for everyday use and serious overclocking the processor.
This processor’s general specifications are impressive as it comes with eight cores and sixteen threads, which are enough to max out any latest title at high resolutions. The base clock of this processor is 3.6 GHz, which is normal, but the 5 GHz of boost clock makes it compelling in front of enthusiasts, and the tremendous overclocking power makes it one of the best processors for casual gaming and high end builds.
Now there is a question that what cooler you need for this processor as there are two different options, i.e., air cooler and liquid cooler. There is a decade-old war that which cooler is best, and I’m not going to start support any one of that; instead, both have their advantages and disadvantages. Air coolers are good when considering the price and not willing to spend much on the cooler, while liquid coolers are good to get when you have to do overclocking, ignoring the limits. Some air coolers match the power of liquid coolers for less price, but again, they have their pros and cons, which we will discuss below as I’ve picked the top coolers of 2021.
|Best Premium CPU Cooler for i9 9900K||CHECK PRICE Read Customer Reviews|
|Best NH-D15 Alternative for i9 9900K||CHECK PRICE Read Customer Reviews|
|Best Silent Cooler for i9 9900K||CHECK PRICE Read Customer Reviews|
|Best Editor's Pick CPU Cooler for i9 9900K||CHECK PRICE Read Customer Reviews|
|Best Value CPU Cooler for i9 9900K||CHECK PRICE Read Customer Reviews|
|Best AIO Cooler for i9 9900K||CHECK PRICE Read Customer Reviews|
|Best Premium Liquid Cooler for i9 9900K||CHECK PRICE Read Customer Reviews|
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What cooler is best for i9 9900K?
Before getting started with the list, there is a common question that most of the users think that should they need to go with air coolers or AIOs? Comparing them both, the answer is straightforward; you can go with the one that is offering you more performance and value. Air coolers are good to get when you are low on budget or build a PC that doesn’t support AIOs. Simultaneously, liquid coolers are best for serious OCers or looking for low noise with pleasing aesthetics in your build. Overall they have their advantages and disadvantages, and we can’t compare the performance of them.
Some premium air coolers like Noctua NH D15 or Deep Cool Assassins III can easily beat 240mm radiator liquid coolers in performance and cost a lot less than that. While if you compare them with 120mm AIOs, they’re slightly expensive but offer much better performance. If you’re willing to overclock your processor above 5GHz, you need some high-end liquid cooler because their air coolers can’t do the job done. So I’ve mentioned a couple of air coolers and liquid coolers, and you can select the one you think can do its job perfectly in your PC and don’t exceed your budget.
Best CPU Cooler For i9 9900K Reviews
Best Premium CPU Cooler for i9 9900K
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.
Best NH-D15 Alternative for i9 9900K
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.
Best Silent Cooler for i9 9900K
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.
Best Editor's Pick CPU Cooler for i9 9900K
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.
Best Value CPU Cooler for i9 9900K
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.
Best AIO Cooler for i9 9900K
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.
Best Premium Liquid Cooler for i9 9900K
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.
End up with the coolers list, and there is a small note on each of the cooler above you; if you are in a hurry, you can easily get what cooler is best for you without reading the review of each of them.
Noctua NH-D15: When you are looking for premium performance ignoring the price, Noctua NH-D15 strands top of this list as this cooler doesn’t care that what processor you are using, and it can easily overclock most of the high-end processors without any sweat.
Zalman CNPS20X: In case if you were unable to find NH-D15 or looking for some RGB cooler that performs the same as the aforementioned cooler, you are good to go with the Zalman CNPS20X as this cooler can perform somewhere equals to that, but the RGB effects and slightly lower price gives it an advantage over it.
Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4: Pairing an air cooler with some high-end processor makes your PC produce some weird noise, while when you consider Be Quiet in such case, you are not going to listen to that as it’s one of the most silent working cooler in this list.
Deep Cool Assassin III: Overclocking an i9 9900K with an air cooler is slightly challenging, but not with Deep Cooler Assassins III. This cooler can easily handle flagship processor heat and allows you to overclock the processor to a great extent.
Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT: All of the above-mentioned coolers are expensive, and not everyone can afford that, so there is the cheapest choice which you can consider if you can compromise a little bit on the performance as this cooler is not like them but still one of best for its price. Corsair iCUE H100i: Slightly expensive liquid cooler as compared to its competitors, but when it comes to performance, aesthetics, or noise level, there might be no one that that can beat it, and it can easily take your i9 9900K to boost frequency.
Corsair Hydro H150i Pro RGB: Almost same as the iCUE H100i but slightly better in performance while the aesthetics and looks are pretty identical; 360 mm radiator cooler is pretty good in performance, but you are willing to take the clocks of your processor to 5 GHz.
Frequently Asked Questions
What CPU Cooler will be best for i9 9900K?
You can either get air or a liquid cooler for i9 9900K as both of them works well with this processor, but the thing is, don’t spend all of your money on the cooler. As you might already know, Liquid coolers are extremely expensive but getting some cheap air cooler with similar performance would be much better.
Can we overclock i9 9900K with Air Coolers?
Yes, Intel Core i9 9900K is overclockable with air coolers but of course not with the entry-level coolers, and you might need some premium option like the Noctua NH-D15 or Deepcool Assassin III. Air Coolers are much preferred when you have to build a system under some budget, while getting them doesn’t mean that you are compromising the performance because they are powerful enough.
What’s the boost clock of i9 9900K you can achieve?
Entry-level Intel processors are not overclockable, but they support overclocking to a great extent when it comes to the high-end stuff. If we take Intel Core i9 9900K in general, this processor can be easily overclocked up to 5 GHz with some budget AIO or premium air cooler. Of course, you must need a powerful motherboard with a Z390 chipset as budget chipset boards will not do this job.