8 Best CPU Cooler for i9 9900K | The Ultimate Buying Guide

Coolers are often one of those things that might limit the potential of your rig. Should you opt for an air cooler or AIO? Would a particular product be enough to allow you to overclock it without overheating? How noisy is it? We’re here to answer that endless stream of questions. 

Hence, if you have an i9 9900K and wonder which cooler to get – this is the right place to be in. We’ll help you get the best CPU cooler for i9 9900K no matter your priority and purpose.

A powerful processor such as this requires some understanding of its requirements. In this article, you can find air coolers, AIOs, quiet coolers – you get the idea. So, get that CPU ready, for we will be giving you that sweet clock speed you’ve been yearning for.

Which Are the Best CPU Coolers for the i9 9900K?

You probably have a specific purpose and requirements in mind. Therefore, it would be quite tedious if you had to go through the whole article to find that one line that tells you which one is suitable for your workload. To make things short and simple, here’s a summary.

1. Best for Overall Air Cooling: Noctua NH-D15

There are no surprises here, as Noctua provides excellent performance while maintaining a lower noise profile. 

2. Best for Budget Air Cooling: Arctic Freezer 34 eSports Duo

For its competitive pricing, this air cooler provides you with a remarkable performance. 

3. Best for Silent Air Cooler: Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4

Keeping things quiet and peaceful – this air cooler will not be the cause of your headache. 

4. Best for Overclocking: Cooler Master V8 GTS

Thanks to its unique build and extended heat pipes, this cooler will provide you with the cooling you need for overclocking.

5. Best for Overall Liquid Cooling: Corsair Hydro H150i Pro

For the best liquid cooling performance, the H150i Pro is an excellent choice with three fans.

6. Best for Value for Money: NZXT Kraken X62

With its reinforced pump and extended tubing, this AIO provides your CPU with an excellent cooling solution.

7. Best for Budget AIO Overclocking: EVGA CLC 280mm AIO Cooler

If you don’t intend to spend much and still overclock your processor, this is a worthy choice.

8. Best for Easy AIO Installation: Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R

With its easy-to-control ARGB and an easy installation method, it’s an enticing choice.

Comparison Table

As we said, we intend to take the load off of your shoulders as much as possible. Hence, below is a comparison table that will help you look at the coolers’ most crucial bits to make the decision easier for you.

Cooler Type Fan Speed Dimensions Max Noise Level Best For
Noctua NH-D15 Air Cooler 300 – 1500 RPM 9.25 x 11 x 7.5 inches 24.6 dBA Overall Air Cooling
Arctic Freezer 34 eSports Duo Air Cooler 200 – 2100 RPM 4.84 x 4.06 x 5.91 inches 28 dBA Budget Air Cooling
Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 Air Cooler 1200 – 1500 RPM 5.7 x 5.35 x 6.40 inches 24.3 dBA Silent Air Cooler
Cooler Master V8 GTS Air Cooler 600 – 1600 RPM 6.6 x 5.9 x 6.1 inches 36.0 dBA Overclocking
Corsair Hydro Series H150i Pro Liquid Cooler 1600 RPM 18.66 x 5.75 x 7.28 inches 25.0 dBA Overall Liquid Cooling
NZXT Kraken X62 Liquid Cooler Liquid Cooler 1600 – 2800 RPM 13.66 x 6.1 x 8.23 inches 38 dBA Value for Money AIO
EVGA CLC AIO Cooler Liquid Cooler 600 – 2200 RPM 7 x 14 x 7.7 inches 39.5 dBA Budget AIO Overclocking
Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R Liquid Cooler 650 – 2000 RPM 10.9 x 4.71 x 1.06 inches 30.0 dBA Easy setup and modification

 

8 Best CPU Cooler For i9 9900K

For an unlocked CPU that is as powerful as the i9 9900K, you require a cooler with remarkable thermal efficiency. Below are the coolers that impressed us the most.

1. Best for Overall Air Cooling: Noctua NH-D15

Key Features

  • Dual-tower design
  • Six heat pipes in total
  • Two 140mm fans
  • Low noise profile
  • Four-pin power connector

Product Specs

Cooling Method Air Cooling
Fan Speed Up to 1500 RPM
Noise Level 24.6 dBA Max
Fan Size 140mm
Weight 1320 grams

As the overall choice, we have the renowned NH-D15 from Noctua. It’s a brand producing some of the best CPU coolers out there. Even the great Linus Torvalds uses their products and has nothing but praises for them. 

And arguably, one of the biggest reasons for that is their unique thermal solutions. These coolers can keep your processor cool while maintaining an impressively low noise floor. In this case, the highest noise is only 24.6 dBA, which is superb. 

One of the most crucial bits about an air cooler is, of course, the fan speed. You get up to 1500 Revolutions Per Minute on this product, which efficiently keeps your rig cool. Moreover, not going too high plays a role in its quiet performance. 

There are six heat pipes in total, which are of excellent quality. They ensure that the high temperature that the processor produces is absorbed right away. And as you know, copper is one of the best materials to get that job done. 

You also get two high-quality fans with this cooler, each of them being 140mm. These are the manufacturer’s optimized NF-A15 fans that feature PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) support along with the low-noise adaptors. These keep the fans silent with automatic speed control.

Something that many coolers don’t come with is a thermal paste. Granted that it’s not that big a deal, but you don’t have to go through the extra hassle if it came out of the box. And this cooler does, so props to them.

It also comes with the SecuFirm2 mounting system that allows for easy installation. And it can even handle overclocking, making it worthy of being the best cooler for i9 9900K.

2. Best for Budget Air Cooling: Arctic Freezer 34 eSports Duo

Key Features

  • Direct-touch heat pipes
  • Well-optimized heatsink design
  • 54 cooling-fin design
  • Easy installation process
  • Push-pull-style airflow

Product Specs

Cooling Method Air Cooling
Fan Speed Up to 2100 RPM
Noise Level 28 dBA Max
Fan Size 120 mm
Weight 764 grams

You might have noticed that users generally need to shell out a significant amount of money to cool their CPUs, especially if they have a higher-end one. Our second pick is one of the exceptions to that rule, coming at an affordable price.

And don’t let its budget-friendly price tag fool you because it can handle serious workloads. And an eight-core sixteen-thread processor like the 9900K is not a tedious chore for this processor – it can cool even mightier products.

Now, let’s talk about its heat dissipation, as that’s the most crucial function here. It features some high-quality direct-touch heat pipes that will take the excess heat away from your processor without any delay.

And then you get the heatsink to accompany those bits. In this case, you get a heatsink with 54 cooling fins that dissipate the heat in a flash. Even if you are under a constant heavy load, these do well to keep the processor cool. 

Let’s move on to the parts that ensure proper airflow for your 9900K – the fans. There are two 120mm BioniX P-fans on this product, which works in a push-pull method – one pushes the hot air away, while the other pulls cool air in. 

Another thing we appreciate about this product is the ease of installation. You can set its backplate up with competitive ease. They also ensure quiet operation – the maximum noise goes only up to 28 dBA.

The fans go up to 2100 Revolutions Per Minute, which means they pull in and push out plenty of air. Given these facts, it’s safe to say that this is the best air cooler for i9 9900K if you’re on a budget.

3. Best for Silent Air Cooler: Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4

Key Features

  • The highest noise level is only 24.3 dBA
  • Airflow-optimized cooling fins
  • Front fan’s funnel-shaped frame provides high airflow
  • Cutouts ensure RAM clearance
  • Easy-to-install

Product Specs

Cooling Method Air Cooling
Fan Speed Up to 1500 RPM
Noise Level 24.3 dBA Max
Fan Size 120 mm
Weight 1130 grams

At this point, we have a product from the brand Be Quiet! – which is enough to tell you how loud it is going to be (spoiler – it’s not). This product’s clever design makes it worthy of being a contender as the best CPU cooler for i9 processors. 

So, first, let’s talk about the noise profile of this product. Even at the highest speed, it only goes up to 24.3 dBA – which is quite remarkable. And the fans go up to 1500 Revolutions Per Minute in terms of speed. 

There are seven heat pipes here, all of which use copper. And as you might know, this material does exceptionally well when it comes to heat absorption. These heat pipes provide remarkable performance by taking the heat away from the CPU.

Moreover, you get some impressive airflow-optimized cooling fins (you might also know them as the heatsinks). These fins allow the heat to get out of the processor’s way even faster so that it always remains cool.

And when it comes to the heatsinks, many people face clearance issues where they cannot put their RAM without the CPU cooler coming in the way. This product features some clever cutouts that will avoid that even if you have high-profile RAMs.

Additionally, many users find the installation of coolers somewhat daunting. This cooler comes with an installation kit to help you get through that process comparatively quickly.

There are two 120mm fans here, which unsurprisingly work without creating much noise. Furthermore, the front fan’s funnel-shaped frame will provide higher air pressure, making it a worthy choice for your 9900K. 

4. Best for Overclocking: Cooler Master V8 GTS

Key Features

  • Horizontal vapor chamber
  • High-airflow PWM fans
  • Control for speed and noise
    • Polyoxymethylene (POM) bearing ensures longevity
  • Red LEDs

 

Product Specs

Cooling Method Air Cooling
Fan Speed Up to 1600 RPM
Noise Level 36 dBA Max
Fan Size 140 mm
Weight 1406 grams

It’s time for a hefty cooler to provide you with all the boost clock and overclocking capabilities you need. The V8 GTS from Cooler Master is one of our favorites when it comes to extending the headroom. 

We would first like to discuss the customizability in terms of performance with this cooler. The chances are that you will not have it running at full speed all the time. In that case, you can fine-tune the fan speed to keep the sound down. 

When it’s running at full speed, the noise level is about 36.0 decibels. While that number isn’t half bad, it’s not the best either. But you can easily keep it down, thanks to the extensive controllability of this product. 

What makes it unique is the new horizontal vapor chamber design from the manufacturer. Essentially, this design allows the product to minimize any hotspots and enables the heat to spread evenly to allow for better dissipation. 

There are also two high-quality fans to help with that bit. These PWM fans ensure impressive airflow for the processor (the number is around 82 CFM, which is quite remarkable). But there’s one more thing that makes it more unique. 

It features the manufacturer’s fourth-generation Polyoxymethylene (POM) bearing. In short, it drastically increases the lifetime of the product, which Cooler Master claims to be around 160000 hours (now, we can’t test it for that long, can we?).

Moreover, it features a universal mounting system for compatibility over various processors and sockets. Lastly, the triple-tower heatsink with a total of eight heat pipes makes it all the more suitable for your powerful CPU. 

5. Best for Overall Liquid Cooling: Corsair Hydro H150i Pro

Key Features

  • Customizable RGB backlight
  • Magnetic levitation PWM fan
  • Granular control with iCUE software
  • Zero RPM mode
  • High airflow fans

Product Specs

Cooling Method Liquid Cooling
Fan Speed Up to 1600 RPM
Noise Level 25 dBA Max
Fan Size 120 mm
Weight 960 grams

It’s time that we move into the world of All In One or liquid coolers. And for the first pick from that category, we have the H150i Pro – a CPU cooler with triple fans and surprisingly granular software control.

Let’s get the fans out of the way first. There are three fans mounted to this cooler’s radiator, which are powered by magnetic levitation. This bearing design is quite impressive in every way you look at it. 

Firstly, it ditches the traditional mechanical bearings, and the usage of magnetic levitation allows for a lower noise profile to some extent. But what’s even better is that the life expectancy of these fans also goes up.

And since they can go up to 2400 RPM, there’s no doubt about their capability either. But there is another exceptional feat about them – the zero RPM mode. That means you can essentially turn the fans entirely off if you want to. 

This feature can come in handy if it’s already at a low temperature and you want total silence. Furthermore, this cooler will only go up to 25.0 decibels, which is surprisingly silent.

Of course, the pricing is slightly higher here, but you certainly get all your money’s worth. For instance, the customizable RGB backlight pump head can customize the LEDs to match your setup, which is sleek.

Moreover, Corsair’s iCUE software allows for extensive control with software, including individual fan speeds. And these features indeed play their parts to turn it into the best overall cooler for your 9900K.

6. Best for Value for Money: NZXT Kraken X62

Key Features

  • Advanced lighting modes
  • Outstanding cooling with low noise
  • Easy monitoring with CAM
  • Aer P radiator fans
  • The fans go up to 2800 RPM

Product Specs

Cooling Method Liquid Cooling
Fan Speed Up to 2800 RPM
Noise Level 38 dBA Max
Fan Size 140 mm
Weight 1290 grams

The best liquid cooler for i9 9900K warrants an efficient cooling mechanism without a doubt. Our sixth pick, the NZXT Kraken X62, provides you with that thanks to its extended tubing and impressive radiator fan design. 

As you go slightly up in the price list with these products, you certainly get more features. For instance, one of the highlights in this cooler is its advanced lighting mode that features what is essentially an infinity mirror. 

And that’s something you need to see to realize how sleek it looks. Furthermore, you can completely customize it. But let’s move on to a more critical part now – the unique radiator fans.

This cooler comes with the unique 140mm Aer P radiator fans, specifically designed to provide you with an excellent performance with liquid cooling. These fans can go up to 2800 RPM, with the highest noise level being 38 dBA.

That amount of noise is somewhat decent, and considering the speed, it’s fair enough. And the whole experience gets even better with their monitoring software CAM, allowing you to look at every little change.

Moreover, you can look at the pump speed or the cooling liquid’s temperature, which is handy. And speaking of the pump – the new pump design you get here has excellent fluid displacing speed and efficiency.

Compared to the higher-end coolers, this product has quite a reasonable pricing. And considering its impressive pump design with the extended tubing and P fans – this is a fantastic choice for the 9900K.

7. Best for Budget AIO Overclocking: EVGA CLC 280mm AIO Cooler

Key Features

  • Unique EVGA fan design
  • It includes a software suite
  • RGB with synchronization
  • Dynamic fan speed
  • 100% copper water block

Product Specs

Cooling Method Liquid Cooling
Fan Speed Up to 2200 RPM
Noise Level 39.5 dBA Max
Fan Size 140 mm
Weight 1179 grams

If you’re on a somewhat limited budget and you want an excellent liquid-cooled system, then our seventh pick will indeed have its appeal to you. This product will allow you to even overclock your CPU without any worries about overheating or throttling.

First, let’s talk about its radiator; the dimensions are 280 x 140 x 27 mm. It is entirely made of aluminum and feels pretty durable with two fans inside. The 140mm fans perform quite well.

Moreover, the fans use Teflon nano bearing, which allows for an efficient operation. In terms of the noise, the max level can go up to 39.5 dBA here. Realistically, this number certainly is not the most impressive. 

However, at a lower RPM, it should not bother you much. That said, how is the fan speed? Well, they can go as low as 600, while the highest is around 2200 RPM, which gives you plenty of air and keeps things cool.  

While these numbers are hard to measure (especially for us), EVGA claims that the lifespan for these is around 80000 hours, which is impressive. You also get a sleek RGB LED here.

What makes this product even unique is that you do not have to go through the tedious filling or custom tubing process. Simply connect the components to their place, and it should be ready to go.

Moreover, the clever wiring system allows you to have a much cleaner build without putting in too much work. Lastly, the base made of copper makes it an excellent choice for your processor with superb heat transfer.

8. Best for easy AIO installation: Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R

Key Features

  • 240 millimeters radiator
  • Controllable ARGB support
  • Removable pump cap
  • Low noise level
  • Sleeved FEP tubing

Product Specs

Cooling Method Liquid Cooling
Fan Speed Up to 2000 RPM
Noise Level 30 dBA Max
Fan Size 120 mm
Weight 1215 grams

One of the most significant issues with liquid coolers for many users is the setup process, which is understandable. You often need to go through quite a lot of work to get an AIO up and running. But our final pick will help avoid that. 

First of all, it has a removable pump cap. If you have seen beginners install an AIO, you’ll instantly realize why this is helpful. That’s because it will end your worries about ending up installing the pump upside down.

Furthermore, you don’t have to go through the trouble of custom looping, which many people find daunting. Not just that, you don’t have to worry about refilling the loop either – which beginners will appreciate.  

And for the rainbow fans, it comes with addressable RGB on both the pump and fans. You also have the Centimeter Plus software to control these LEDs without any issues. But not all motherboard supports LED customization. 

For those, it includes a wired RGB controller out of the box so that you can modify them even without a supported motherboard. Additionally, there are two quality fans here with the highest noise level of 30.0 decibels.

That number is rather remarkable, as most products fail to ensure such quiet performance at such an affordable price. These 120mm fans work in a push-pull mechanism to ensure an efficiently cooled system.

Another highlight about this cooler is the sleeved FEP (Fluorinated ethylene-propylene) tubing, which avoids any wrinkling and provides a sleek look. All in all, this product is a worthy choice for your CPU.

What to Look for Before You Buying A CPU Cooler for i9 9900K?

Buying a cooler for your CPU isn’t as simple as going out and just picking an expensive option and staying free of worries. You have to consider many factors, such as the size of your casing, the noise level, or thermal design.

We have compiled a shortlist to help you choose a suitable cooler for your requirements and purposes.

Air Cooling vs. Liquid Cooling

This comparison is something that baffles many users, and understandably so. There are lots of factors that come into play if you’re trying to decide between the two.

  • Cooling Abilities

Generally, you will find that a liquid cooler – also known as an AIO or all-in-one cooler – provides a better cooling solution. These products have a loop with a fluid traveling through and taking the heat away from the processor. . 

They also have a radiator in front, which ensures ample airflow to keep the whole thing from running hot. An air cooler is much more straightforward and generally relies on the fans, heatsinks, and heat pipes.

  • Price

This bit is where many people decide whether the best cooler for 9900K for them would be an AIO or air cooler. Liquid coolers are almost always going to be comparatively costlier due to their mechanism and material cost.

On the other hand, you can find a bunch of surprisingly affordable options with air coolers. Furthermore, those products are by no means insufficient – you can achieve higher clock speeds with overclocking with them as well. It’s that AIOs are somewhat better at it.

  • Setting Up

Setting the cooler up is something many users find somewhat daunting. And if you are one of them, an AIO will probably end up causing you quite a bit of headache.

You need to set up the loop, pour in the liquid, keep things from spilling, and the list goes on. Furthermore, the cooling solution might need replacing after a while, which might be problematic for you.

In those terms, air coolers are much easier to set up. You can set up the bracket (which in many cases is the same for a lot of Intel and AMD products) and screw things in place. So, consider these facts and make your choice. 

Considering Your Workload

The workloads between various users will not be the same. For instance, one user might continuously keep pushing the limits of his/her processors with high-quality rendering tasks.

Or you can be a casual gamer who doesn’t utilize all the cores and threads, and your processor doesn’t get pushed as far. Considering these variables will help you determine the level of cooling you require.

Overclocking

If you overclock your processor, its heat production will generally go up to a certain degree. These days plenty of people are overclocking their PC components, that’s if the best cpu cooler for i9 9900k can’t even handle that, you can just throw it to the curb. 

Therefore, you need to consider whether overclocking is something you are interested in and buy a cooler accordingly. 

Noise Level

For many users, noise is one of the most crucial options in a cooler; for others, not really. But it is undeniable that you cannot ignore this bit. Therefore, take a look at the amount of noise your cooler will produce. 

You will find this in the product’s description expressed in decibels. The lower that number is, the quieter it will perform.

Clearance 

Depending on your rig’s case, the cooler’s dimensions can turn into quite a headache. For instance, if you have a small form factor build, it’s crucial to keep an eye on the cooler’s size.

  • Height

You will more likely face this issue with air coolers, as they often rely on large heatsinks and fans to dissipate heat. Liquid coolers, on the other hand, probably will not cause such problems for you.  

  • Clearance for RAM

For most high-end air coolers, the biggest issue is how much space they take sideways. And that can end up blocking the path for your DIMM slots. Unless you have low-profile memory kits, this can be a severe problem. 

CPU Socket

You probably know that different manufacturers use different styles of sockets for their CPUs. Therefore, the cooler has to be able to fit into that socket. Most manufacturers do that by providing different brackets to adapt to various processors.

And they generally try to make their products as versatile as possible, so you shouldn’t have a problem. But you should nevertheless pay heed to the cooler’s supported socket types before you go ahead and buy it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Due to the various mechanisms and designs of coolers, there tend to be a hefty number of questions regarding them. And these questions are crucial in helping you determine which product will suit you the most. 

1. Are liquid coolers better than air coolers?

Strictly speaking of cooling, they probably will perform better than air coolers. But you also have to consider factors like the chances of leakage, the higher cost, and difficulties of setting things up and maintenance. These can undoubtedly affect the user experience.

2. Can I overclock all Intel CPUs?

Unfortunately, no. Unlike AMD (which makes most of its processors unlocked), Intel allows overclocking only for their K series CPUs. For instance, the i9 9900K belongs to that series. Therefore, you can easily overclock it. There’s also the KF series, which you can overclock too.

3. How long will my All In One liquid cooler last?

Answering such a question is extremely difficult, as there are so many variables to consider, like your processor, the maintenance, and so on. However, if you want to be in the ballpark, many manufacturers rate their AIO pumps to last around 70000 hours. That said, your mileage may vary.

4. Can I use my CPU without adding thermal paste between it and its cooler?

Technically, you can. But should you? The answer is a big, fat no. The purpose of thermal paste is to bridge the gaps between your processor and the cooler’s heatsink. Without that, the two surfaces will not match completely, and you will face overheating issues.

5. How often do I need to replace my thermal paste?

Even moderately decent thermal paste can last you several years without needing any replacement (that number can even go beyond five years). However, if you ever reseat or even loosen your CPU for some reason, you will need to reapply the thermal paste as well.

Final Words

Owning a K series processor allows you to enjoy its ability to the fullest. But with great power comes the necessity of great cooling. And that’s where our list can come in handy to find you the best CPU cooler for i9 9900K

If we had to choose one as our pick, we would pick the Noctua NH-D15. The reason is that it provides you with a silent cooling solution with its dual fan setup. Moreover, it comes at a fairly reasonable price.

But of course, feel free to choose whichever cooler suits your purposes the most. Be it a sleek AIO or a beefy air cooler, make sure that it will fit your system’s case and provide sufficient cooling overall.

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