The new generation of Intel ‘Comet Lake‘ processors has recently come out, and with them comes the opportunity to build a brand-new PC. The i5-10600K, Intel’s mid-range option, offers up to 4.8 GHz of overclocking speeds, together with hyperthreading capabilities which are new to the i5 series. This makes the i5-10600K a top-notch gaming CPU, for it brings the increased framerates for existing gaming titles that Intel is known for, while its addition of hyperthreading should also it to accommodate the upcoming next-generation of games set to release towards the end of 2020.
With six cores and twelve threads, the i5-10600K is the most powerful i5 processor yet, though with this processing power comes an increased level of thermal demands. Indeed, this processor has a TDP of 125W; up from the 9th generation i5-9600K’s 95W. With the TDP-down feature, inherent to 10th generation Intel CPUs, this 125W TDP can decrease to 95W for better energy efficiency at smaller loads, but this will also throttle the base operating frequency of the i5-10600K from an impressive 4.1 GHz, to 3.8 GHz.
To counterbalance the increased TDP of the i5-10600K, in terms of increased thermal output, a proper CPU cooler will be an integral choice for regulating the increased cooling demands of a new setup featuring the 10th generation Intel processor. Given that the i5-10600K does not include a stock CPU cooler, then the expense is one that will be necessary, and a portion of the budget of the setup must be allocated to it. It is important to note that CPU coolers are one of the best investments to make, since they will outlast any CPU upgrades and can therefore be reused.
To help you find a CPU cooler that will sufficiently cool the increased thermal demand of the Intel i5-10600K, we have listed the best options available, depending on your needs. Below you will find the best budget CPU cooler, for those looking to spare some extra expense, the best SFF CPU cooler, for those wishing to build a small form factor setup, and the best all-around CPU cooler for the Intel Core i5-10600K.
Best CPU Coolers for i5-10600K – Our Recommendations
Best Airflow CPU Cooler for i5-10600K
Depending on your intended use, and your budget, then the choice here will differ. If you are planning to overclock regularly, or don’t mind spending a few extra dollars to futureproof your CPU cooler, then Noctua’s NH-D15 is the best option, but if you don’t plan on overclocking regularly, and would rather save some money from your CPU cooler purchase, then the NH-U12S will better suit your needs.
Noctua’s NH-D15 is the best air cooler available for the i5-10600K, both in terms of cooling performance, as well as in its incredibly low noise levels. It is slightly larger than the NH-U12S, for it has two 140mm fans: namely, the NF-A15 PWMs. These fans have SSO2 magnetic bearings, so the durability is definitely there, and they can output an impressive 1.51mm H2O of static pressure, which is the most important aspect when it comes to cooling the all-aluminum heatsink equipped with this CPU cooler. This heatsink cools the PCU via its six, nickel plated, direct contact heatpipes, and Noctua’s NT-H1 compounds cooling paste.
The less expensive NH-U12S uses one 120mm NF-F12 PWM fan, which is slightly louder than the NF-A15, but makes up for it with the increased static pressure of 2.61mm H2O. The fan can reach up to 1500 RPM, versus the 1200 RPM of the NF-A15, and also features similar SSO2 magnetic bearings for increased durability. The heatsink, heatpipes, and thermal paste are all identical in terms of quality; though the NH-U12S has a slightly smaller heatsink, and one less heatpipe.
Benchmarks from TweakTown for the NH-D15 and the NH-U12S show us that these CPU coolers can more than handle the task of cooling the CPU, even while overclocking, and at incredibly low noise levels. The NH-U12S can run a bit hot when overclocking, near 75 degrees according to the above benchmarks, though for casual overclocking it will work just fine.
Currently the difference in price is approximately $35, for the Noctua NH-D15 sells for $89, while the NH-U12S sells for $64. Depending on your needs and budget, these Noctua CPU cooler options are great choices to pair with Intel’s 10th generation i5-10600K.
Best Budget CPU Cooler for i5-10600K
Though 92mm fanned CPU coolers can rarely be recommended, due to the increased noise levels they output since the smaller fan needs to spin more to cool the CPU, this cooler, the Arctic Freezer 7X, is definitely an exception to the rule. The Freezer 7X’s fan uses a motor developed by Arctic which they claim will have coil temperatures be 20 degrees (Celsius) lower the conventional motors, and have it run less audibly, more efficiently (0.07A versus the 0.25A of Arctic’s similar Freezer 7 Pro), and more durably – which is guaranteed via Arctic’s 6 year limited warranty.
The fan itself is said to be inspired by Arctic’s P-series fans, with a high static pressure and broad RPM range, though exact values for these metrics are nowhere to be found. These fans do have PWM control for more silent operation, and have fluid dynamic bearings for increased durability. This fan cools a 44-finned heatsink which connects to the CPU via four direct touch heatpipes in contact with the CPU via pre-applied MX-2 thermal paste.
Benchmarks for the Arctic Freezer 7X run by Ponchato show us that this CPU cooler maintains great idle temperatures at around 29.2 degrees, reaching up to 41.7 degrees at 1.35V and max RPM during load. Though it may not be best for stably overclocking the i5-10600K for long stretches of time, casually overclocking is still possible despite its incredibly low price.
Speaking of its low price, you can currently find the Arctic Freezer 7X for only $19, an excellent deal for its overall performance and quality. If you’ve already allocated too much of your budget to the i5-10600K, and a new Z490 motherboard, then the Arctic Freezer 7X is the way to go.
Best Low Profile CPU Cooler for i5-10600K SFF Builds
Small form factor PCs are constantly gaining traction and for good reason. Having the power of a full-sized desktop at only a fraction of the size allows for both portability and aesthetic appeal. Scythe’s Big Shuriken 3 is only 69mm tall, with the use of its 15mm thick, 120mm Scythe Kaze Flex Slim PWM fan. This fan can reach up to 1200 RPM, with a static pressure of 1.05 mmH2O, and an airflow of 51.17 CFM. For increased durability, this fan uses sealed precision fluid bearings, providing it with a lifespan of at least 120,000 hours. The anti-vibration system and PWM connection allow for noise levels ranging from 14.5 to 24.9 dB.
What’s great about the Big Shuriken 3, is that it also allows you to switch this Kaze Flex Slim fan with other any other 120mm fan of your choosing, given that you have the extra space for the added thickness. A great example is the addition of Noctua’s NF-A12x25, which adds 10mm of thickness (from 69mm to 79mm), but also adds a significant amount of extra cooling (2.34 mmH2O static pressure and 60 CFM of airflow). Of course, adding an extra fan will add to the cost, but having the option to upgrade the CPU cooler is always great to have.
The aforementioned Scythe Kaze Flex Slim fan is placed onto an asymmetrical heatsink, which is designed this way in order to avoid interference with other hardware components such as the RAM. For SFF builds, this can be a lifesaver. The heatsink connects to the CPU via a copper base attached to five sintered heat pipes.
Benchmarks from OptimumTech show us that this cooler will keep your CPU between 53.8 and 63.4 degrees, reaching up to 77.2 degrees when overclocking, though overclocking is generally not advised for SFF builds. Still, casual overclocking the CPU is possible with the Scythe Big Shuriken 3, especially given that cooling can be enhanced by switching the fan. In terms of noise output, the cooler reached 41.4 dB at maximum RPM; a respectable result.
The Big Shuriken 3 currently sells for $46, which is a great price for its performance and versatility. For SFF builds using the i5-10600K, this cooler is definitely one of the best options yet.