Rocket Lake is here! Pre-orders are flying out the door, and many consumers are eagerly awaiting their new CPU to send the performance of their gaming battle station to the moon. From all of Rocket Lake’s new series of processors, the i7-11700K stands out as an incredibly affordable enthusiast-level option that even outdoes its more expensive counterpart the i9-11900K in certain single-thread tests.
With so much power comes not responsibility but a ton of heat. This power-hungry CPU may sit at a semi-modest 125W TDP, but reviewers have put this beastly chip through its paces and have found that it can peak at a TDP of around 150W. With no included cooler out of the box, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of third-party options on the market. So many coolers may look the same and be sold at a much lower price than brand-name competitors, but not every cooler is created equal. Below, we’ve scoured the internet to bring you a selection of coolers that range from entry-level budget coolers to the quietest coolers that the market can offer.
The Best Coolers for the Rocket Lake i7-11700K – Our Recommendations
Best Value Cooler for the Rocket Lake i7-11700K – Scythe Mugen 5 Rev B
It is hard to beat the price for performance that you get from the budget-friendly Scythe Mugen 5 Rev B. This cooler was built with performance as well as compatibility in mind. It boasts 6 heat pipes and an offset fin design that allows it to be squeezed into tighter enclosures while not blocking any precious RAM slots. Its included 120mm Kaze Flex fan is rated for over 120,000 hours of near-silent operation, making it quite the steal at just $49.99 on Amazon.
Best Mid-Tier Budget Cooler for the Rocket Lake i7-11700K – Noctua NH-U12S
For those looking for a slight step up in price for quieter performance, the Noctua NH-U12S offers a similar slim design while remaining even quieter due to Noctua’s low-noise adapter options and speed controls. The Noctua brand prides itself in offering high-end fans and coolers at affordable price points, and this cooler is no exception. It retails right around $69 and includes high-end thermal paste and a snazzy case badge for the price. One can also pick up the Chromax black version of the cooler if the iconic brown and beige fan theme isn’t your cup of tea.
Best Air Cooler for the Rocket Lake i7-11700K – Noctua NH-D15/NH-D15S
Builders looking to push the i7-11700K to its limits while remaining far under peak temperatures need to look no further than the Noctua NH-D15S. This unwieldy cooler offers some of the best performance that you achieve without a dedicated AIO, though this air cooler has been shown to outperform similarly priced AIOs as well. You will need to pay extra attention to your case and clearance. This is a big CPU cooler, but it delivers the same no-compromise performance that many expect from Noctua. Its dual-tower can accommodate dual or single-fan modes. Those looking for dual-fans out of the box should look at the NH-D15 (no “s”) which is an identical cooler simply with both fans included, though this version is even more difficult to fit into tighter cases. Both coolers include all of these premium features at the reasonable MSRP of $99.95
Best Cooler for Overclocking the Rocket Lake i7-11700K – ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280
Nothing says premium build as much as a sleek AIO. Well, except for a custom water loop, but let’s be reasonable here. An AIO offers competitive cooling to the best air coolers out there while maintaining a clean, less-crowded design. Those looking to build an SFF PC or those who simply want to overclock and push the i7-11700K to its limits will want to take a nice long look at the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280.
This AIO stays true to its name and allows you to get the most out of your new CPU by keeping it at very low temps. The ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 boasts a 280mm radiator, two 140mm fans, sleeved fiber cable tubing, PWM fan controls, and a low-wattage 1-2.7W TDP that allows for more flexibility in the overall build. At an MSRP of $114, this AIO offers quality performance for only a slight markup over similarly classed air coolers.
Best 280mm AIO for the Rocket Lake i7-11700K – be quiet! Pure Loop 280
Those looking to get the most bang for your buck out of a 280mm AIO will find the be quiet! Pure Loop 280 to be a compelling choice. be quiet’s dual Pure Wing fans operate silently, rivaling the low noise levels of even Noctua’s fans. What truly delivers that near-silent performance that many enthusiasts strive for is the doubly decoupled pump that minimizes vibrations and allows for smooth, steady coolant flow for the life of the cooler. Another added benefit is that be quiet includes an extra bottle of coolant that can be poured directly into the easy-to-access porn on the side of the 27mm thick radiator. While most AIOs won’t need replacement coolant during a normal lifespan, the inclusion shows extra attention to detail from the be quiet team. You can get your hands on this high-quality AIO for as low as $104.
Best All-Round Cooler for the Rocket Late i7-11700K – Phanteks PH-TC14PE
Builders looking to get the most performance-per-dollar should turn to the Phanteks PH-TC14PE. This dual-tower cooler is similar to NH-D15S but comes in at a lower price point of just $79.99. This cooler also boasts a clean, unique white design and finish that many turn to when making themed builds or just want a modern-looking cooler to bring their build together. While these Maelstrom Vortex fans may not operate as silently as the other dual-tower configurations, these fans are capable of pushing a tremendous amount of air. This ensures steady airflow through most case designs and allows for low CPU temps during intense taks.
However, its noise rating of 19dB does mean it operates more silently than the vast majority of AIOs. This fact is true even for be quiet’s Pure Loop 280, which is rated at 38.1dB. With Phanteks PH-TC14PE’s low MSRP of $79.99, this CPU cooler offers a blend of great features while remaining an affordable value option for most consumers.