The Best CPU Cooler for i9 9900K: Air Coolers vs. AIO Liquid Coolers

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Best Cpu Coolers For I9 9900k
Best Cpu Coolers For I9 9900k

The Intel Core i9 9900K is already a couple of years old, but it remains one of the fastest consumer-grade processors available on the market. It is often the choice of users who are building high-end gaming rigs or workstations due to its efficient configuration and remarkable features. However, the processor can get quite hot under heavy load, especially when overclocked to push its capabilities and maximize performance. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to preventing this problem: effective cooling. 

In this comprehensive guide, we go over some of the best air and liquid coolers for the i9 9900K to help you achieve high frame rates while maintaining manageable temperatures. Towards the end of this article, we also highlight a few of the factors you need to consider so you can make an informed decision.

The 5 Best CPU Air Coolers for i9 9900K

be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4

Overall Best Cpu Cooler for i9 9900K

Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4

Fan Size 1 x 135 mm
1 x 120 mm
Maximum Fan Speed 1500 RPM
Maximum Noise Level 24 dBA
Maximum TDP 250 W
Cooler Height 163 mm
Weight 1130 g
Pros
  • Excellent cooling ability
  • Pleasing design
  • Silent operation

Cons
  • Large and heavy

The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 delivers some of the most reliable cooling and elegant aesthetics in a highly competitive air cooling market. It features a no-nonsense deep-black design that can easily fit any build color scheme and a temperature performance worthy of your serious consideration. 

The Dark Rock Pro 4 was developed for power users and overclockers seeking to push their mighty processors to the limit. It contains seven copper heat pipes that offload heat into the massive twin cooling towers. 

The Dark Rock Pro 4 comes with a couple of SilentWings fans to help facilitate airflow through the cooling-fin towers. These fans operate at remarkably low noise levels, making them ideal for quiet builds. The cooling-fin towers feature an open structure to accommodate as much air as possible and let heat escape through all sides of the cooler. 

If you’re a competitive gamer who travels often, the Dark Rock Pro 4 can prove to be a challenge because of its sheer size and weight, posing potential damage to your other components if not appropriately handled. Moreover, it obstructs the DIMM slots, so you may want to check out other alternatives if you wish to showcase your RGB RAM modules. 

Noctua NH-D15

Best Low-Noise Air Cooler for i9 9900K

Noctua Nh D15

Fan Size 2 x 140 mm
Maximum Fan Speed 1500 RPM
Maximum Noise Level 24.6 dBA
Maximum TDP 220 W
Cooler Height 165 mm
Weight 1320 g
Pros
  • Excellent cooling ability
  • Silent operation
Cons
  • Polarizing design
  • Large and heavy

The Noctua NH-D15 has been around for several years, but it continues to impress enthusiasts with its outstanding cooling performance. This product oozes with quality and features a design that has been proven to stand the test of time.

The NH-D15 has a solid copper base and six copper heat pipes in a dual-tower design with wide aluminum fin-stacks. It is polished to a smooth finish before being nickel-plated and comes with two Noctua NF-A15 fans that perform at remarkably noise levels while effectively facilitating airflow. 

The NH-D15 features a brown and beige colorway that sticks out like a sore thumb and can be difficult to match with other components. If you value the overall aesthetics of your build, you may want to look at other options or find parts that fit well with the cooler’s color scheme.

The size of the NH-D15 is undoubtedly its most significant downside. It is one of the largest air coolers on the market and covers roughly the footprint of an entire Mini-ITX motherboard. That means you have to be extra cautious about clearance to ensure it doesn’t interfere with the other components in your build. 

Overall, the NH-D15 remains a dominant figure in the air cooling market and is suitable for some of the fastest processors commercially available. It performs exceptionally well, doesn’t require complicated software installation, and keeps quiet under load.

Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition

Best Budget Air Cooler for i9 9900K

Cooler Master Hyper 212

Fan Size 1 x 120 mm
Maximum Fan Speed 2000 RPM
Maximum Noise Level 30 dBA
Maximum TDP 150 W
Cooler Height 160 mm
Weight 565 g
Pros
  • Outstanding performance-value margins
  • Elegant design
  • High-speed fan
Cons
  • Unsuitable for overclocking

The Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition is an affordable air cooler that offers some of the best performance-value margins on the market. While it doesn’t perform on par with the more expensive options on this list, it is adequate for users who don’t plan on overclocking their processors. 

The Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition comes with a single nine-blade Cooler Master MasterFan SF120R with a maximum speed of 2000 RPM. You also have the option of installing an additional fan to make the cooler operate in a push-pull configuration. 

In terms of design, the Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition features rather subdued aesthetics. It has a direct-contact tower design with four heat pipes coated with dark chrome plating for a reflective gleam and a touch of dark shimmer. The only element that adds a bit of flair to the cooler is lighting from the narrow and elongated blades of the MasterFan SF120R RGB.

Overall, the Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition is an excellent air cooler for users who aren’t looking to push their octa-core processors to their limit. It is also a suitable choice for those looking for an affordable cooling solution for their high-end build while saving for something more fitting.

Cooler Master V8 GTS

Best High-Speed Air Cooler for i9 9900K

Cooler Master V8 Gts

Fan Size 2 x 140 mm
Maximum Fan Speed 1600 RPM
Maximum Noise Level 36 dBA
Maximum TDP 230 W
Cooler Height 166.5 mm
Weight 964 g
Pros
  • Flashy design
  • Excellent cooling ability
  • Firm and secure mount
Cons
  • Fans can get loud under load
  • Complicated mounting procedure

The Cooler Master V8 GTS is an air cooler with an aggressive design meant to inspire the look of an engine in your gaming rig. While its aesthetics alone can make it stand out, this cooler also delivers spectacular thermal performance for your beast of a processor. 

The V8 GTS comes with three towers with a staggering eight heat pipes and two proprietary fans for peak airflow. It features a Horizontal Vapor Chamber that allows all eight heat pipes to transfer heat from the cooler base.

One of the most exciting design elements of the V8 GTS is the large plastic shroud that conceals the three towers. Besides resembling the look of a car engine, it also holds the pair of fans positioned between the fin stacks. 

The two proprietary fans on the V8 GTS are capable of speeds of 600 to 1600 RPM to give you maximum control over the noise level. If you want to build a whisper-quiet rig, this cooler may not be ideal as it can get quite loud under load.

Another downside to the V8 GTS is the complicated mounting procedure, but it becomes worthwhile since you can be sure that the cooler is firmly secured to your motherboard.

All in all, the V8 GTS is an above-average air cooler with a flashy design that would look incredibly good, especially in a red and black themed build.

Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT

Best Semi-Passive Air Cooler for i9 9900K

Thermalright Le Grand Macho Rt

Fan Size 1 x 140 mm
Maximum Fan Speed 1300 RPM
Maximum Noise Level 20 dBA
Maximum TDP 280 W
Cooler Height 159 mm
Weight 1060 g
Pros
  • Impressive cooling ability
  • High maximum TDP
  • Silent fan

Cons
  • Large and heavy
  • Unstable mount

The Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT is a massive semi-passive air cooler that features a seven heat pipe design with thick aluminum fins and a single fan. It has a massive 280 W TDP, ensuring it can handle your eight-core processor. 

The Le Grand Macho RT has a convex copper cooler base, applying more pressure on the spreader for efficient heat draw. It features a two-part assembly and is nickel-plated to prevent oxidation. 

The Le Grand Macho RT comes with a seven-blade Thermalright TY-147B fan that is capable of a speed range between 300 to 1300 RPM. There are grooves cut around the fan frame, allowing it to draw air from every angle. The fan remains impressively silent even when under heavy load. 

Although the Le Grand Macho RT is relatively large, it permits proper clearance for your other components like your graphics card and memory modules. However, it isn’t the ideal cooler if you often travel with your chassis, as it tends to nudge around because of its size. Nonetheless, it is very efficient at what it is designed to do and is an excellent option for your powerful processor.

The 5 Best AIO CPU Coolers for i9 9900K

Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO RGB

Best AIO Liquid Cooler for i9 9900K

Corsair Hydro H150i Pro

Radiator Size 360 mm
Fan Size 3 x 120 mm
Maximum Fan Speed 1600 RPM
Maximum Pump Speed 2800 RPM
Maximum Noise Level 25 dBA
Pros
  • Silent fans
  • Intuitive and comprehensive software
Cons
  • Limited lighting

The Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO RGB is a sizeable liquid cooling solution that performs exceptionally well, especially when properly optimized using the Corsair LINK software suite. It comes with three silent fans to deliver whisper-quiet user experience while maintaining amenable thermals under load. 

The H150i PRO RGB comes with ML Series fans running at 1600 RPM to provide airflow to the radiator. You can control the fan speed either through Corsair LINK or your motherboard software. LINK also allows you to change the lighting effects on the pump and view relevant statistics like fan curves, temperature history graphing. Arguably the most useful lighting settings is the one that changes the color according to the thermals of your processor, motherboard, or coolant. 

The radiator used for the H150i PRO RGB is massive and requires elaborate planning and installation. It employs aluminum for the core and fins for efficient heat exchange. Ideally, the radiator should be mounted in the top mounting location of your chassis to let it exhaust warm air through the top vents. 

Overall, the H150i PRO RGB delivers excellent thermal performance while giving you a high degree of control over fan speeds and lighting. It is also easy to install, as long as you ensure your case is compatible beforehand.

NZXT Kraken X72

Best Premium AIO Liquid Cooler for i9 9900K

Nzxt Kraken X72

Radiator Size 360 mm
Fan Size 3 x 120 mm
Maximum Fan Speed 2000 RPM
Maximum Pump Speed 2800 RPM
Maximum Noise Level 36 dBA
Weight 1290 g
Pros
  • Excellent cooling ability
  • Elegant design
  • Attractive lighting effects
  • Intuitive software
Cons
  • Security issues

The NZXT Kraken X72 is one of the few all-in-one coolers on the market that manages to combine effective liquid cooling, attractive lighting, and intuitive software. It is a product that needs little persuasion to get your attention. 

The Kraken X72 comes with an aluminum radiator and a stylish pump that delivers the cooling capabilities you would hope from a premium all-in-one cooler. Meanwhile, the NZXT CAM software gives you a comprehensive overview of your system, including memory usage, drive storage, and operational statistics of the cooler.

The Kraken X72 features an elegant cooling block module that houses the pump and displays the NZXT logo underneath an infinity mirror. Its base is made of finely milled circular copper with pre-applied thermal paste. The lighting effects of the logo and the ring around the infinity mirror can be customized through the CAM software. You can even set the lighting to change according to your processor’s thermal load or other feedback.

If you are wary about data collection on your computer, you may want to look elsewhere as running the NZXT CAM software will prompt you to send system information to a cloud-based database. On the other hand, you can always choose not to install the software or use a trusted third-party solution.

EVGA CLC 280

Best 280 AIO Liquid Cooler for i9 9900K

Evga Clc 280

Radiator Size 280 mm
Fan Size 2 x 140 mm
Maximum Fan Speed 2200 RPM
Maximum Pump Speed 3000 RPM
Maximum Noise Level 39.5 dBA
Pros
  • Excellent cooling ability
  • High-speed fans
Cons
  • High noise levels

The EVGA CLC 280 is an all-in-one liquid cooler designed for enthusiasts who don’t have the time or resources for a custom loop. It is particularly easy to install and is powerful enough to handle an overclocked processor. 

The CLC 280 features a copper water block that connects to the radiator through neatly sleeved tubing. The radiator is equipped with a couple of EVGA FX Teflon Nano Bearing fans that rated up to 2000 RPM and are attached in an intake configuration. These fans have a curved housing meant to improve airflow while limiting vibration. However, their noise levels are considerably higher than the other options on this list. 

Although the cooling block boasts an elegant transparent design with subtle lighting, it is likely to be obstructed by the naturally drooping position of the tubing. If you manage to work your way around this issue, you can configure the lighting effects and set it to respond to your processor’s temperature.

The EVGA Flow Control software gives you the ability to fine-tune the performance of the CLC 280 to your preferences. Using the utility, you can modify the fan curve and lighting effects of the cooler. 

Overall, the CLC 280 is an excellent closed-loop cooler that offers outstanding liquid-cooling performance and painless installation. 

Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R RGB

Best Performing AIO Liquid Cooler for i9 9900K

Cooler Master Masterliquid Ml360r

Radiator Size 360 mm
Fan Size 3 x 120 mm
Maximum Fan Speed 2000 RPM
Maximum Pump Speed 2400 RPM
Maximum Noise Level 30 dBA
Pros
  • Excellent cooling ability
  • Elegant design
  • Remarkable value for money
Cons
  • Requires plenty of cable management

The Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R RGB gives the competition in its class a run for their money, providing remarkable cooling performance in a very attractive design. This beast of an all-in-one liquid cooler can tame an overclocked processor with ease while maintaining tolerable noise levels. 

The ML360R RGB comes with a lighting control module that allows you to control the lighting effects through the software suite. That being said, you must be prepared to route the abundance of cables included in the package if you want to take full advantage of this cooler. 

In terms of lighting, few options on this list compare to the ML360R RGB. The round pump housing provides relatively discrete lighting, while the MasterFan MF120R ARGB PWM fans add some flair to the radiator. 

The ML360R RGB utilizes a copper base plate with linear grain milling that makes contact with your processor’s heat spreader. On the other end of the cooler, the aluminum radiator manages to combine good fin density and adequate airflow for the included fans. 

The only significant drawback of the ML360R RGB is the amount of cabling required to set it up. If cable management is important to you, be sure to make time before mounting this cooler to your rig.

Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 360 TT Premium Edition

Best RGB AIO Liquid Cooler for i9 9900K

Thermaltake Floe Triple Ring

Radiator Size 360 mm
Fan Size 3 x 120 mm
Maximum Fan Speed 1400 RPM
Maximum Pump Speed 3600 RPM
Maximum Noise Level 24.7 dBA
Weight 1610 g
Pros
  • Excellent cooling ability
  • Low noise levels
  • Mesmerizing lighting effects
Cons
  • Proprietary fan connectors

The Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 360 TT Premium Edition is a mouthful, but it is the premier cooling solution in terms of aesthetics and customizability in a sealed loop system. It comes with a five-device controller hub that lets you control fan speed and lighting for the pump and fans.

The Floe Riing RGB 360 TT Premium Edition features three proprietary fans that can run at speeds of up to 1400 RPM. These fans have nine curved blades and have rubber-padded frames to prevent vibration. 

One look at the Floe Riing RGB 360 TT Premium Edition, and it immediately becomes apparent that aesthetics are its strongest design elements. The lighting on both the head unit and the fans can significantly elevate the overall look of a build. The emphasis on design even carries over to the tubing, with braided sleeves that give the tubes a cleaner appearance.

If you want full control over your fan speeds and lighting effects, the software for the Floe Riing RGB 360 TT Premium Edition gives you that and more. Using the software, you can set different fan modes, enable or disable PWM, and choose from a wide variety of lighting modes.

Overall, the Floe Riing RGB 360 TT Premium Edition is a top-tier product that does an excellent job of delivering everything you could ask for from a premium all-in-one cooler.

How to Choose the Best CPU Cooler for i9 9900K

Intel Core i9 9900K Specifications
Socket Type LGA 1151
Core Count 8 Cores
Thread Count 16 Threads
Cache Memory 16 MB
Clock Speeds 3.6 GHz Base Frequency

5.0 GHz Turbo Frequency

Lithography 14 nm
TDP 95 W

The Intel Core i9 9900K is one of the fastest processors commercially available and is a popular option for high-end gaming rigs or workstations. One glance at its specifications sheet clarifies why it requires a robust cooling solution, especially when overclocked. However, looking for a suitable cooler for this processor isn’t as easy as it seems. There are several factors that you need to consider to ensure a smart purchase. 

Air Cooling vs. Liquid Cooling


When choosing a cooling solution for your brawny processor, you have two options: air coolers or liquid coolers. It is the belief of many that liquid coolers are better at managing the temperatures of your processor, but this isn’t always the case. Tests have shown that air coolers can keep up and even surpass liquid coolers when it comes to cooling performance. You must also consider physical compatibility and aesthetics aside from cooling ability. 

While all-in-one liquid coolers produce less clutter and give your build a more clean look, it has a glaring mechanical point of failure – the pump. On the other hand, air coolers are generally more reliable as they usually only consist of heat pipes, fins, and one or two fans. However, they occupy a large portion of the case, causing possible issues with clearance for your other components like memory modules or graphics cards. Thus, it is better to go with an all-in-one liquid cooler if you want a neat build.

Noise Levels

A cooler designed to tame a processor as powerful as the Intel Core i9 9900K is inclined to produce perceptible sound, so you must be mindful of a product’s noise level before purchase. Ideally, you want a cooler, air or liquid, to generate whisper-quiet noise of around 30 dBA. If you are interested in a particular cooler that exceeds this limit, such as the EVGA CLC 280 or the NZXT Kraken X72, you can pair it with a silent chassis for enhanced sound dampening.

Quick Recap

Top 5 Best CPU Air Coolers for i9 9900K

  1. be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4Overall Best Cpu Cooler for i9 9900K
  2. Noctua NH-D15Best Low-Noise Air Cooler for i9 9900K
  3. Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black EditionBest Budget Air Cooler for i9 9900K
  4. Cooler Master V8 GTSBest High-Speed Air Cooler for i9 9900K
  5. Thermalright Le Grand Macho RTBest Semi-Passive Air Cooler for i9 9900K

Top 5 Best AIO CPU Coolers for i9 9900K 

  1. Corsair Hydro Series H150i Pro RGBBest AIO Liquid Cooler for i9 9900K
  2. NZXT Kraken X72Best Premium AIO Liquid Cooler for i9 9900K
  3. EVGA CLC 280Best 280 AIO Liquid Cooler for i9 9900K
  4. Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R RGBBest Performing AIO Liquid Cooler for i9 9900K
  5. Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 360 TT Premium EditionBest RGB AIO Liquid Cooler for i9 9900K

Final Words

That sums up our list of the top choices for the best cpu cooler for i9 9900K. We hope this comprehensive guide has equipped you with the necessary information to make an informed purchase. 

Which cooler are you most inclined to acquire? Do you prefer a traditional air cooler or an all-in-one liquid cooler? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

I am a gaming enthusiast with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge in the world of technology. In addition to being a resident contributor to this website, I am currently pursuing a degree in political science while flipping gaming systems on the side.

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