Best CPU Coolers For the Intel Core i9-11900K

Do you have a shiny new Core i9-11900K and looking for the best air or liquid cooler to keep it frosty? We might just have something that would pique your interest. This time we’ve put together a list of CPU coolers for the Intel Core i9-11900K. We will guide you through what watercoolers are available, where to find them and which ones we’d recommend for different budgets and uses.

What is interesting about this chip is that it needs a very good cooler as with one of those babies under stress it can reach very some of the best CPU coolers on the market from various price points, from affordable all-rounders to flagship water cooling gear. We’ll be recommending some of the best air coolers that are currently available on the market, but this time we won’t stop at just air-based solutions.

Make sure you check out our quick guide on things to consider when buying a CPU cooler.

1) What is the Intel Core i9-11900K?

The Core i9-11900K, codenamed product code: BX80684I99900K, or just simply i9-9900K is the flagship mainstream CPU for this generation by Intel. It’s based on the same Coffee Lake platform as all other 8th Gen Core CPUs. What separates it from the rest is that HyperThreading was enabled for a total of 16 logical processors, and thanks to microarchitecture improvements performance per clock have been increased by 1%.

2) What should I get in a cooler? Should I buy an AIO or custom loop liquid cooling system?

In this article, we’re going to focus only on on-air coolers and a couple of water cooling kits. AIOs with a 360mm radiator are too big for normal cases, but there are compact 240mm AIOs that might work well in most PC cases, depending on your case’s dimensions.

3) Where can I find more information about heat pipes and copper vs aluminum baseplates?

You can find more information about heat pipes here, and about copper vs aluminum baseplates in our CPU Cooler Buying Guide.

4) Should I get an RGB CPU cooler? What is the effect of having LEDs on heat distribution? Which LED colors are best for my needs? Can I change the LED colors at a later point?

You don’t need RGB CPU coolers. Some people like them, some don’t, but there’s no real effect on heat distribution for either metal (aluminum) or copper-based designs. The best thing you can do is to choose the light color that matches your case and general theme or mood. You should also consider whether or not you want to be able to change the LEDs in the future, as not all kits are user-addressable.

5) How much wattage do I need?

We suggest going with a TDP of 95W for air coolers and 360mm AIOs, and a 120W TDP for 240mm AIOs. You can go lower, but you will have to make compromises in terms of the noise level as well as cooling performance. If possible try to aim for a TDP rating close to your cooler’s.

To give an answer as general as possible: For air coolers, we strongly suggest going with a TDP of 95W or lower if possible. You can go higher than that but you will have to make compromises in noise level and cooling performance as the heat load goes up. For compact AIOs such as 240mm AIOs, aim for a TDP rating close to 120W; larger AIOs such as 360mm AIOs can go a little bit higher. In general, the fewer fans your cooler has, the less heat it will dissipate for a given TDP. The more heat it has to dissipate, the more cooling performance you need. So if possible aim for a lower TDP and get a better cooler.

Top 4 Best CPU Coolers

There are different price points, form factors, and TDP values to consider, but in general, you need a good cooler for the i9-9900K if you want to achieve decent overclocks. With out-of-the-box clock speeds of up to 5 GHz and perhaps even more with better cooling, the Intel Core i9-9900K is a very power-hungry chip. Also, because Intel has chosen to increase the core count on mainstream CPUs with a single die as opposed to designing a larger socket for a higher transistor count and increased power consumption, you need better cooling if you want to reach higher overclocking results.

In this price range (~$100-$140) there is a small selection of cooler and you should focus on aluminum heat sinks with direct contact heat pipes, at least 95W TDP, good mounting systems, and low-noise fans.

NZXT Kraken Z73

NZXT Kraken Z73 360mm

  • With a bright, 2.36” LCD screen 
  • Included Aer P radiator fans
  • 50 x 15 x 20 cm; 2.21 Kilograms
  • Threadripper Bracket not Included

This is my favorite low-profile 280mm all-in-one water cooling kit, which offers good performance at a reasonable NZXT has been a leading brand in the PC gaming industry since 2004, and their latest product is no exception. The NZXT Kraken Z73 360mm AIO Liquid Cooler with LCD Display is one of the best liquid coolers on the market today.

This cooler can be mounted on any 120mm fan slot, features RGB lighting for customization and supports up to 240 mm radiators. With this sleek design, you won’t have to worry about cable management or locating space for your system. Whether you are looking for an affordable option or something that will keep your computer running smoothly during intense gaming sessions, the NZXT Kraken Z73 360mm AIO Liquid Cooler with LCD Display is sure to meet all of your expectations

NZXT Kraken X62

NZXT Kraken X62 CAM

  • Advanced Lighting Modes
  • All-new Radiator Fans
  • Industry-leading 6-year Warranty
  • ‎Kraken Liquid Cooling System

My favorite is the NZXT Kraken X62, which is a 280mm all-in-one water cooling kit with two high-performance 140 mm fans and an aluminum radiator of dimensions of 315 x 143 x 30 mm. The pump and cold plate both use copper for maximum heat transfer and it uses an extremely quiet magnetic levitation bearing fan that will keep your CPU cool under all conditions.

Noctua NH-D15

Noctua NH-D15 CPU Air

  • Noctua NH-D15 CPU Air Cooler with 6 Heatpipe dual
  • Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating
  • 140x150x25 (with 120mm mounting holes),
  • Intel LGA2066, LGA2011-0 & LGA2011-3 (Square ILM), LGA1200, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151, LGA1150 I AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+

If you don’t want to go with an AIO cooler, Noctua’s popular dual tower cooler in its sixth iteration is pretty much the best that you can get. It has a TDP of 250W and it comes pre-assembled for easy installation which makes it easy to get started. It uses 6 heat pipes with dual towers, including 4 Ø6 mm heat pipes and 2 Ø8mm ones, which are nickel-plated for better thermal transfer. The aluminum fin stack is also larger than older versions for better heat dissipation.

CRYORIG C1

Cryorig C1 CR-C1A

  • Patented DirectCompress
  • 6 Pure Copper Heatpipes Including 4 double TDP U-Type Heatpipes
  • One XT140 140mm Slim Profile PWM fan with our HPLNTM-bearing for optimum airflow and noise ratio is included
  • Support Processors INTEL LGA2066/1151/1150/1155/1156 AMD FM1/FM2/AM4

The CRYORIG C1 is an affordable option with a TDP of 150W, designed for compact cases and low-profile memory modules. The heatsink has two 50 mm fans that are sufficiently quiet under normal conditions; however, you can use it with one fan as well if you want to reduce the noise level.