Best CPU Cooler for Core i9 9900K [Air and AIO Liquid Coolers]

Intel Core i9 9900K currently holds the title of the world’s fastest gaming processor. It is also one of the fastest desktop processors in the market, when it comes to consumer level mainstream CPUs. This is the flagship CPU in the Intel 9th generation core series processors and is built on 14nm manufacturing process. Intel Core i9 9900K is an octa-core processor (8 cores) with 16 threads and comes with 16MB cache in total. It has got base clock speed of 3.6 GHz and Turbo Boost Frequency of 5 GHz. However, this Turbo boost of 5 GHz is only for two cores while remaining cores operate at lesser turbo boost clock speeds, which is 4.8 GHz for other two cores and 4.7 GHz for remaining four cores. This processor uses the LGA 1151 Socket and has got TDP of 95W, but it can exceed this number by a good margin during overclocking. Below, you can check out the major specifications of this CPU.

Intel Core i9-9900K Processor Specifications
Clock Speed 3.6 GHz / 5.0 GHz (Base / Turbo)
Cores / Threads 8 Cores / 16 Threads
Cache Memory 16 MB
Socket Type LGA 1151
Integrated Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 630
Hyper-Threading Yes
TDP 95W

This processor is really a beast and it beats Ryzen 7 2700X by a fair margin, which is the flagship processor of AMD in its consumer desktop processors lineup. Apart from gaming, Core i9 9900K is also a great CPU for workstation tasks that involves working with multi-threaded applications, and performing heavy-duty CPU intensive tasks such as video editing, video rendering, streaming etc. The main problem with this processor is that it runs very hot and needs a good CPU Cooler, even for running at stock speeds. The T Junction or Tj Max temperature for it is 100°C, which is the maximum temperature that this processor can tolerate. However, you need to keep it below 80°C to be on the safer side, even when you overclock it, as to save it from any kind of damage in the long run and also to prevent it from throttling down. The higher the temperature, the lesser its life will be and if it gets too hot then it will throttle down to lower clock speeds to prevent itself from any damage. For overclocking it beyond 5 GHz or running it at all core 5 GHz frequency, you need a high performance Air Cooler, AIO cooler or custom water-cooling loop with 360mm radiator. So, to help to choose the best CPU cooler for i9 9900K, I am going to list down the best Air and Liquid CPU Coolers (AIO) that can handle this beast and keep it cool.

Note: You should always use a good thermal paste with Core i9 9900K to have better thermals during stock speeds and also during overclocking. The stock thermal paste that comes with aftermarket CPU Coolers is just average to above average in quality, and it is better to use liquid metal thermal paste or a high performance carbon based thermal compound for such hot CPUs. Also, you must have good airflow in your computer case with proper intake and exhaust fans installed. The best way to achieve is to use high static pressure fans as intake (at front) and high airflow fans at rear or top exhaust.

Best CPU Air Coolers for Core i9 9900K

Below are the best CPU Air Coolers for Core i9 9900K processor.

Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler

[One of the Best CPU Air Coolers in the Market]

When it comes to best CPU Air coolers, then the one name that you will always hear is Noctua NH-D15. It is a dual tower CPU cooler and is quite a big CPU Cooler. This CPU Air cooler is so good that it defeats some of the good 240mm or 360mm AIO liquid coolers easily. This twin tower CPU Cooler comes with six heatpipes and two 140mm fans (Noctua NF-A15), one at the side and one in the middle in push pull configuration for better cooling performance. The CPU cooler is also on the quieter side with maximum noise level rating of 24.6 dBA. Also, the anti-vibration pads on all the four corners of the fans minimizes the noise to a great extent.

Noctua-NH-D15-CPU-Cooler

Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler can run Core i9 9900K on stock speeds easily with temperatures well under control, even at full load. You can also overclock the Core i9 9900K to 4.9 GHz or 5 GHz on all 8 cores, and the cooler is capable enough to keep the temperature under 80°C or 85°C at those frequencies, if you have good airflow in the PC case with intake and exhaust 120mm / 140mm fans installed. The only drawback of this CPU Cooler is that it is quite wide and you cannot use RAM with tall heat spreaders with it, as the RAM clearance is not generous, and you are much better off with low profile RAM with this CPU Cooler. Also, this CPU Cooler falls in the looks department too, because it is not the prettiest looking CPU Cooler. However, it offers great cooling performance, and is very reliable and durable.

Note: If you want better RAM clearance or want to showcase your RGB RAM in full glory, then you can get Noctua NH-D15S, which is as good as the Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler. Noctua NH-D15S features asymmetrical design and comes with single 140mm fan at the middle of the two heatsinks (twin tower heatsinks). You can check out both Noctua NH-D15 and Noctua NH-D15S CPU Coolers from the links given below.

Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler Specifications
CPU Socket Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 & AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ (backplate required), AM4 with NM-AM4
Fan Size 140mm x 2
Fan Speed 300 – 1500 RPM
Bearing Type SSO2 Bearing
Heat Pipes 6 Copper Heatpipes
Noise Level 24.6 dBA
Cooler Height 165mm

Buy Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler

Buy Noctua NH-D15S CPU Cooler

Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT

[Ultra Quiet, Great Performance, Affordable, 300W TDP]

If you are a looking for CPU Air cooler for Core i9 9900K that is as good as the Noctua NH-D15, but is good looking, quieter and offers better RAM clearance then Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT is the one to go for. This is a very well-designed CPU Cooler that comes with a large heatsink with seven copper heatpipes, and a 140mm quiet fan that has maximum noise rating of 20dBA only. The offset design of heatsink allows for better RAM clearance and compatibility. The top of the cooler has black anodized plate that gives this cooler an elegant look.

Thermalright-Le-Grand-Macho-RT-CPU-Cooler

On this CPU Cooler, you can easily run Core i9 9900K at stocks speeds comfortably. You can also overclock it to all core 5 GHz speed, and still this CPU cooler can keep it under control. Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT performs similar to Noctua NH-D15, and sometimes a little better, with being quieter too. The CPU Cooler has TDP of 300W, which is great and it can handle any top of the line flagship processor quite easily. The only thing that this CPU Cooler lack is that it does not support dual fans. However, with one fan only, it offers great performance that a NH-D15 can provide with two fans. Also, it is cheaper than the Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler and offers great value for the money. So, if you are looking for a quiet, relatively cheaper and high-performance CPU Cooler for i9 9900K, then I highly recommend Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT.

Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT Specifications
CPU Socket Intel 775 / 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011 / 2011-3 / 2066 and AMD AM2 / AM2+ / AM3 / AM3+ / FM1 / AM4
Fan Size 140mm x 1
Fan Speed 300 – 1300 RPM
Bearing Type Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB)
Heat Pipes 7 Copper Heatpipes
Noise Level 20 dBA
Cooler Height 159mm

Buy Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT

Noctua NH-U12A CPU Cooler

[Compact, Great Performance for the Size, Good RAM Clearance]

If you are looking for a compact CPU Cooler that can handle the Core i9 9900K without breaking a sweat then Noctua NH-U12A is the perfect CPU Cooler. This is only a 120mm CPU Cooler but offers performance of a good 140mm CPU Cooler, and can beat most of the 240mm AIOs too. It has got seven copper heatpipes that are soldered to the heatsink fins for better contact, and thus has better heat dissipation. It comes with two 120mm fans that placed on the sides in push pull setup. The Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM 120mm fans are pretty quiet and are rated for maximum noise level rating of 22.6dBA.

Noctua-NH-U12A-CPU-Cooler

This small form factor CPU Cooler can run Core i9 9900K on stock speeds without any fuss, and you can also perform modest amount of overclocking too, which is in 4.7 GHz to 4.8 GHz range, without worrying about the temperatures. However, you should also have good airflow and ventilation inside your PC case to keep temperatures in check. When it comes to performance, then Noctua NH-U12A even beats the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4, which is a 250W TDP flagship CPU Cooler from be quiet! with twin tower heatsink design. Noctua NH-U12A is pretty slim compared to other beefy CPU coolers and offers great RAM clearance and compatibility that allows you to use RAM with taller heat spreaders with fancy RGB lighting on them. The only little thing that goes against Noctua NH-U12A is that it is a little on the expensive side, and is even costlier than the Noctua NH-D15. However, it will never disappoint you on performance and if you have clearance issues with your case or motherboard then this cooler is a life saver.         

Noctua NH-U12A CPU Cooler Specifications
CPU Socket Intel LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA2011, LGA2066 and AMD AM4, AM3(+), AM2(+), FM1, FM2(+)
Fan Size 120mm x 2
Fan Speed 450 – 2000 RPM
Bearing Type SSO2 Bearing
Heat Pipes 7 Copper Heatpipes
Noise Level 22.6 dBA
Cooler Height 158mm

Buy Noctua NH-U12A CPU Cooler

Other Good CPU Air Coolers

Here are some other high-performance CPU Air Coolers for Core i9-9900K that are worth checking out.

Best AIO Liquid CPU Coolers for Core i9 9900K

For Core i9 9900K, it is better to go for a bigger AIO i.e. with 280mm or 360mm radiator, because a 240mm AIO is not worth getting for it, because a good CPU Air cooler will perform better than an AIO with 240mm Radiator, and will cost less too. So, here are some of the best 280mm and 360mm AIO Liquid CPU Coolers for the Core i9 9900K.

EVGA CLC 280mm AIO RGB LED CPU Liquid Cooler

[One of the Best AIOs for Core i9 9900K]

EVGA is mainly known for its high quality Nvidia graphics cards, but it does also have some good AIO CPU Coolers under its belt, and one such AIO is EVGA CLC 280mm All-In-One RGB LED CPU Liquid Cooler. The 280mm AIO comes with two 140mm fans that generate high static pressure of whopping 4.20 mmH2O. The fans are pretty quiet when operating at normal speeds during average workload, but can get loud at full speed (39.5 dBA max). The water block has got copper base and also features RGB LED that can be fully controlled by the EVGA software. The tubes of this AIO are sleeved for extra protection and ruggedness.   

EVGA-CLC-280mm-All-In-One-RGB-LED-CPU-Liquid-Cooler

Running you Core i9 9900K on stock settings is like a piece of cake on this AIO, and you can also perform decent amount of overclock too i.e. in 4.7 GHz to 4.8 GHz range or even all core 5 GHz without facing any throttling issues. This is definitely a powerful AIO Liquid CPU Cooler, and it also beats some of the bigger and popular 360mm AIOs in the competition e.g. Corsair H150i Pro RGB. You can monitor and adjust tweak various settings such as fan speed/curve, RGB lighting, Pump control, profiles and more using the EVGA Flow Control Software. The software is a little on the buggy side and you should keep it updated for various bug fixes. So, if you are looking for a heavy duty and reliable 280mm AIO for Core i9 9900K, then I highly recommend it.  

EVGA CLC 280mm AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler Specifications
CPU Socket Intel LGA2066/2011/2011-v3/1150/1151/1155/1156/1366 and AMD AM2/AM3/AM4/FM1/FM2/TR4
Radiator Size 280mm
Fan Size 140mm x 2
Fan Speed 600 – 2200 RPM
Features RGB LED on Water Block, Sleeved Tubing, EVGA Software support

Buy EVGA CLC 280mm AIO CPU Cooler

NZXT Kraken X62 AIO CPU Cooler

[Looks Great and Good Performance]

NZXT Kraken X62 is a very popular 280mm AIO that has proven its trustworthiness and capability several times. This is a high-performance Liquid CPU Cooler with 280mm Radiator and comes with two high static pressure Aer P140 fans. These fans are quieter at low speeds but can get loud when they run at maximum speed during heavy CPU workload. The CPU water block features RGB LED and has got full copper base plate for maximum heat transfer to the liquid. The RGB lighting and various other functions of AIO including monitoring can be done using the NXZT CAM software. For added protection, the tubing of this AIO are full sleeved (nylon sleeving).

NZXT-Kraken-X62-AIO-CPU-Cooler

This AIO can run Core i9 9900K at stock speeds comfortable and you may also overclock it to 5 GHz on all cores without facing throttling issues. The build quality of this AIO is superb and it also looks great in your system. It is a little pricier than the competition, but is totally worth it, and you can never wrong with this AIO.

NZXT Kraken X62 AIO CPU Cooler Specifications
CPU Socket Intel Socket 1151, 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066 and AMD SocketTR4, AM4, FM2+, FM2, FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2
Radiator Size 280mm
Fan Size 140mm x 2
Fan Speed 500 – 1800 RPM
Features RGB LED Lighting, CAM Software support, Sleeved Tubes

Buy NZXT Kraken X62 AIO CPU Cooler

NZXT Kraken X72 AIO CPU Cooler

[Probably the best 360mm AIO for Core i9 9900K]

According to me, the only 360mm AIO that works great with Core i9 9900K is NZXT Kraken X72. This is a high performance AIO that comes with a 360mm radiator with three Aer P120 high static pressure fans with maximum speed of 2000 RPM. The fans stay quiet at normal speeds, but can get loud at their maximum rated speed. Just like NZXT Kraken X62, NZXT Kraken X72 also comes with fully copper base CPU water block with RGB LEDs and sleeved tubings. The various settings and RGB lighting of the AIO can be controlled and customized to your liking using the NZXT CAM software, which is pretty intuitive to use.

NZXT-Kraken-X72-AIO-CPU-Cooler

NZXT Kraken X72 has no problems running the Core i9 9900K at stock speeds, even at full load. You can also overclock it at 5GHz on all cores without facing throttling issues. However, for better temperature, you must have good airflow and ventilation in your case along with good cable management. This is also a great looking AIO, and it looks even more stunning when RGB lighting is turned ON to all its full glory. This RGB CPU Cooler also complements the other RGB lighting components in your PC that include RGB RAM, RGB Fans and RGB LED Strips.

NZXT Kraken X72 AIO CPU Cooler Specifications
CPU Socket Intel Socket 1151, 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066 and AMD SocketTR4, AM4, FM2+, FM2, FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2
Radiator Size 360mm
Fan Size 120mm x 3
Fan Speed 500 – 2000 RPM
Features RGB LED Lighting, CAM Software support, Sleeved Tubes

Buy NZXT Kraken X72 AIO CPU Cooler

240mm AIO Recommendation

Frankly, I would not recommend a 240mm AIO for Core i9 9900K, but if I have to recommend one, then I would pick the CRYORIG A40 Ultimate Hybrid Liquid Cooler, which is a powerful 240mm AIO.

Final Words

Intel Core i9 9900K is one of the fastest processors that you can get. It packs great performance and also runs hotter than the other desktop processors, especially when overclocked. Not all CPU Coolers whether Air or Liquid can keep this beast cool, and you need a high performance CPU Cooler for it if you want to get the best out of it and don’t want to face throttling issues. The above mentioned CPU Coolers can tame this beast very well, and if you any kind of queries regarding them then please ask in the comment section below.

2 Comments

  1. Arnulfo Rivera August 18, 2019
    • Akshat Verma August 18, 2019

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