The Intel Core i5-10400 and 10400F have undergone price cuts recently. These 6-core, 12-thread Intel CPUs are a direct competitor to AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600 but are available at around $150-$160 making them significantly cheaper. Both the i5-10400 and i5-10400F are 65W TDP CPUs and have identical performance to one another, but the F variant does not have integrated graphics so you’ll need a GPU to obtain video output. Whilst they perform similarly to the Ryzen 3600 in gaming and general tasks, there is one area the i5-10400 doesn’t quite live up to the Ryzen 5 offering: The supplied Intel stock cooler.
The Intel i5 non-K CPUs are supplied with a cooling solution, but it’s a basic and ugly block of extruded aluminum with a fan attached. It works, and it’s free, but that’s about all. If you’re counting every penny then you can use it as a stop-gap solution but an aftermarket CPU cooler for the i5-10400/F has a number of benefits:
- Lower noise: The supplied cooler has a small and inefficient fan, and uses solid aluminum to draw heat away from the CPU. This translates to high noise levels when under load. After-market solutions allow slower, larger fans and more effective heat transfer to bring the noise down.
- Cooler temperatures: Intel CPUs can sustain higher boost clocks for longer so long as they have thermal headroom to do so. With more effective cooling you keep temperatures lower and performance is improved especially in demanding situations like productivity.
- Better looks: With more and more cases having windows, and a large part of building a PC being creating a system you’re proud to look at as well as use, the aesthetic of the stock Intel CPU cooler is no longer acceptable. After-market CPUs offer a range of colors, styles, and even RGB lighting options to integrate into your build and provide a little wow factor.
So, let’s take a look at some best CPU coolers that retain the value of the i5-10400 and i5-10400F, but add features or performance to ensure you’re getting the build that meets your priorities.
Best CPU Coolers for i5-10400(F) – Our Recommendations
Best Value Cooler for Intel Core i5-10400(F)
Arctic has a fantastic range of value cooling components and this CPU cooler, the Freezer 7X, is no exception. At just $25 it’s a highly effective alternative to the stock CPU cooler. This is a simple tower cooler design with 2 ‘direct touch’ heat pipes and a 92mm fan, but Arctic has evolved this design keeping it relevant. The fan is PWM for finer control over a wider range of speeds, and lower noise when not under load. The compact dimensions with just 132mm overall height mean it fits well into almost any PC build in a standard or compact case. It comes with pre-applied thermal paste and a simple mounting mechanism. The plastic shroud gives it a discreet look that integrates well with most builds and Artic even offers a 6-year warranty with this cooler indicating their confidence in the design and manufacture.
Best Low Profile Cooler for Intel Core i5-10400(F)
The i5-10400(F) is an excellent choice for a small form factor build. With high performance and relatively low heat output, this cost-effective CPU lets you focus your budget on other components like the GPU or M.2 SSDs to optimize a small PC. However, you need a low-profile cooler to fit into the most popular SFF cases, with 48mm clearance in the Dan A4 and similar sandwich-style cases or 58mm in the Fractal Design Node 202. Noctua has two notable low profile offerings: The NH-L9i which is just 37mm tall including the slim fan, or the NH-L9x65 which is 65mm tall in total. These premium quality coolers use a compact heatsink with heat pipes and a slim 92mm fan blowing downwards to maximize cooling whilst minimizing noise. Both are suitable for the i5-10400’s 65W TDP and allow enhanced boost performance, although the NH L9x65 is the more capable cooler if you have room for it. The fan color scheme may be love-it or hate-it but Noctua’s reputation for reliability, low noise, and effective cooling is unsurpassed. Both come with a 6-year warranty. Pick the low-profile cooler that fits your choice of PC case for the i5-10400(F), and what CPU cooler size it supports.
Quietest CPU Cooler for Intel Core i5-10400(F)
This elegant black anodized CPU cooler, the Pure Rock 2, from be quiet! has a number of features to keep noise to a minimum. First, it uses a high-performance heat transfer design with 4 6mm heat pipes, a large fin stack, plus a large heatsink over the CPU which is itself finned for heat dissipation. The 120mm fan is PWM for more precise control and lower operating speeds and has fan blades specifically shaped to minimize turbulence and thus noise. This attention to detail results in a quoted noise level of just 26.8dB(A) at 100% fan speed, and a nearly inaudible 22dB(A) at 75% – that’s the equivalent of a whisper, or rustling leaves outside and won’t be heard over ambient noise and other case fans.
The quiet cooler for the i5-10400(F) is easy to fit with a simple retention mechanism and the design does not obstruct any RAM slots even with the fan installed. With a 150W cooling capacity, this CPU cooler has no problems keeping temperatures of the 65W i5-10400(F) in check and allows for minimum noise whilst it’s doing it.
Best AIO Cooler for Intel Core i5-10400(F)
All in one liquid coolers don’t offer the same value for money as less complex designs and tend to be louder too with the combination of a pump and multiple fans. However there’s no doubting their effectiveness in cooling and they allow for a clean, exciting aesthetic with RGB fans and attractive pump head designs. This Cooler Master ML240L RGB V2 hits the sweet spot of performance, features and at just $80 with RGB fans represents a good value too. The pump uses a modern design aimed to optimize cooling performance, and the pump head itself is aesthetically pleasing with a classic unfussy design and RGB ‘Cooler Master’ logo highlight. The fans are both PWM 4-pin models and use RGB that’s compatible with all the major motherboard manufacturers to minimize the software you need to install for control. Overall this AIO offers a compact, slick and effective design that will add some flair to your build at minimal cost, and ensure your i5-10400 is running to maximum effect.
Best All Round CPU Cooler for Intel Core i5-10400(F)
If you’re looking for the best balance of cost, temperatures, looks, and noise then the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition is a great choice for the Intel Core i5-10400(F). This air tower cooler has stood the test of time and undergone several revisions to keep it up to date. It’s a simple 4 heat pipe design with a 120mm fan optimized for low noise, and it uses a 4-pin PWM connector to allow for accurate speed control. Black anodizing gives a discrete aesthetic and has a 159mm total height so it will fit into most standard tower cases. At under $40, this cooler is the go-to option for a great all-rounder, and there’s an alternative with an RGB fan included if you want to add some extra light and sparkle to your build.