Best CPU Coolers for i9-9900K/9900KS in 2021

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Noctua-NH-D15 best cooler for i9 9900k

The intel core i9-9900K is one of the fastest and most extreme CPUs available for PC builders in 2020 and is the processor to opt for (on Intel’s side) if building a top-of-the-range PC rig, with impressive performance. It’s important to get the most out of the processor, and this can be achieved by overclocking it further and pushing its capabilities, and also providing the absolute best cooling (air or liquid) for the i9-9900K and 9900KS to help keep temperatures cool and frame rates high.

In this guide, we will show you our top recommended air and liquid CPU coolers for i9-9900K builds that will be suitable for this type of high-end PC build. Enjoy!

Before we begin, we will (shamelessly) plug our series of guides for i9-9900k builders that you may be interested in, such as the our recommended power supplies for the i9-9900K, as well as the best motherboards to pair with the i9-9900K.


Our Recommendations

AwardDesignModelRetailer
Best Air Cooler for i9-9900KNoctua-NH-D15 best cooler for i9 9900kNoctua NH-D15price check
Runner Upbe quiet dark rock pro 4Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4price check
Best AIO/Liquid Cooler for i9-9900KCorsair-H150I-i9-9900KCorsair H150i Proprice check
Best Low Profile Cooler for i9-9900K SFF Buildsnoctua_nh_c14-for-i9-9900KNoctua NH-C14price check

Noctua NH-D15 – Best Air Cooler for i9-9900K & i9-9900KS

Noctua-NH-D15 best cooler for i9 9900k

The most popular CPU cooler pairing with the i9-9900K right now with PC builders is the Noctua NH-D15, and with good reason. This particular CPU cooler is extremely quiet under load and has impressive cooling performance without water. In fact, the NH-D15’s cooling is so impressive that its performance is on par with a 280mm AIO cooler, and even close in performance to a custom water cooled loop. The NH-D15 is hands down the best air cooler for the 9900KS.

Many users have overclocked the 9900K to 4.8GHz at 1.245V and have reported temperatures of around high 50’s to low 60’s when gaming, and when overclocked to 5GHz temperatures were around mid 70s.

We recommend that you upgrade the stock fans on the NH-D15 to the NF-A12s to get a immediate drop in temperatures by a few degrees, on top of the already impressive performance of the Noctua NH-D15.

The NH-D15 won’t however be able to fit in some systems, and if you’re planning to do a build where there isn’t enough clearance for the Noctua NH-D15, we recommend going for the NH-D15s which provides a little bit more compatibility for builds where the NH-D15 doesn’t fit.


Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4

be quiet dark rock pro 4

Another great option, this time from Be Quiet!, with similar performance to the NH-D15 is the Dark Rock Pro 4 – and many consider it to be the best air cooler on the market. It will be a bit quieter (depending on case thermals and other variables) than the D15 if you’re looking to OC the 9900K past 5Ghz, and will provide fantastic cooling performance – although not as good as the Noctua NH-D15. Did we mention the sleek, understated design – it would certainly look great in any rig.

So, depending on which one you can find cheaper, or whether noise or performance is more important for your next 9900K build – the Dark Rock Pro 4 is a great air cooler for the i9-9900K.


Corsair H150i Pro – Best AIO/Liquid Cooler for i9-9900K & i9-9900KS

Corsair-H150I-i9-9900K

If air cooling isn’t sufficient for your i9-9900K build, and prefer opting for an AIO liquid cooling system – then we recommend the enthusiast-grade Corsair H150i Pro. A stock cooler would be sufficient (in most situations) for those not looking to overclock the i9-9900k past 5GHz, but if you are then the H150i is a great cooler option. In push/pull fan setup, users have experienced OC to 5.1GHz at 1.27V with all core AVC workloads below 80 degrees. It varies from case to case, setup to setup but in general, the H150i does a very impressive job of keeping the notoriously hot i9-9900k temperatures down.


Noctua NH-C14 – Best i9-990K cooler for SFF/ITX builds

noctua_nh_c14-for-i9-9900K

In smaller PC builds, such as Mini-ITX or SFFPC builds (<20L volume capacity), internal space is limited and how you use this space becomes especially important, as well as how you manage the airflow as well. Many high performing and well-recommended CPU coolers, in general, won’t fit in smaller PC cases and this means you often have to look at alternatives in terms of CPU cooling. Likewise, very small PC builds such as with the NCASE M1 or Dan Cases A4-SFX will not have enough internal capacity to easily allow for an AIO or water-cooled cooling setup – thus for SFFPC build with the i9-9900K it is advised to go for a well-performing air cooler – and for the i9-9900K or i9-9900KS, where temperatures are known to be high, we recommend no other cooler than the Noctua NH-C14.

The Noctua NH-C14 is the best in class low-profile cooler that has won countless awards (TweakTown Editors Choice Award, KitGuru Must Have) and this is down to its impressive performance and quiet performance under load, thanks to its six heatpipe ‘C-type’ design and included dual Noctua NF-P14 140mm fans supplied with ‘Ultra Low Noise Adaptors’. This CPU cooler is low in profile, measuring only 105mm in height, which allows for plenty of clearance and space in smaller PC enclosures – a trend that is becoming more popular going into 2020.

There have been known availability issues with the NH-C14 due to high demand, so if you find one in stock – count yourself lucky. If you’re struggling to find an NH-C14 in stock and looking to build an SFFPC with this cooler and the i9-9900K, we also recommend the NH-C14S with a 140mm fan and use an SFX PSU (in ATX mode).

Should you build with the i9-9900K in an SFF system, here is our guide to the top mini-ITX cases that would best offer the best performance for ITX 9900K builds in 2021.


Summary

AwardDesignModelRetailer
Best Air Cooler for i9-9900KNoctua-NH-D15 best cooler for i9 9900kNoctua NH-D15price check
Runner Upbe quiet dark rock pro 4Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4price check
Best AIO/Liquid Cooler for i9-9900KCorsair-H150I-i9-9900KCorsair H150i Proprice check
Best Low Profile Cooler for i9-9900K SFF Buildsnoctua_nh_c14-for-i9-9900KNoctua NH-C14price check
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