Peripherals

Best Aftermarket Cooler For Your i9-9900k In 2020

The Intel i9 9900K is undoubtedly one of the most powerful processors out there. With an impressively solid single-core performance, the i9 9900K is the go-to processor for gamers. It might not be as powerful as the next-gen i9 10900K and i7 10700K processors, but nonetheless it is a top-of-the-line CPU and a bit cheaper than the latest offerings from Intel.

Having a powerful processor like the i9 9900K at your disposal, it is extremely necessary to hook it up with a suitable top-notch cooling solution. However, it should be kept in mind that the i9 9900K doesn’t necessarily require an AIO cooler when overclocking, as air coolers have stepped up their game and provide the same level of performance at a lower price point.

Therefore, we have come up with a list of some of the best aftermarket coolers for your i9 9900k processor. We have included both AIO and air coolers to help you compare and decipher. Let’s take a look.

1. Nzxt Z73 Kraken

Best of The Best

  • Excellent thermal performance
  • Digital LCD
  • Easy to install
  • NZXT CAM software is very fluid
  • Expensive

Type: AIO Cooler | Intel Socket Compatibility: LGA 1200, 115x, 1366, 20xx | Fans: 3x 120mm | Fan(s) Speed: 2000+300RPM | Dimensions: 121 x 394 x 27mm | Weight: 1361g

Last Update on 2020-09-16 using Amazon Product Advertising API

The NZXT Kraken series is very popular among high-end PC builders, YouTubers and especially the overclocking enthusiasts exclusively due to its amazing performance, aesthetics and features however, it is pricey. The NZXT Kraken Z73 is a top of the line Kraken series AIO from NZXT. It is the bigger version of the 280mm Z63.

The Kraken Z73 comes with an all-black design from the radiator all the way to the water block. The rubber tubes are 400mm long and nylon braided for durability. The 360mm radiator is constructed out of aluminium. An interesting feature on the Kraken Z73 is the digital LCD on the water block which is customizable via the NZXT cam software and can be customized to display real-time CAM data for eg CPU temp or any custom image or gif. Moreover, you have a six-year warranty so no worries about the longevity of the product

The installation process of the Z73 is very simple as the proper mounting bracket whether for Intel or AMD can be easily installed owing to the twist-lock system. Moreover, it comes with pre-applied thermal paste. For installing it on an Intel based system particularly the i9-9900k you just have to put the backplate on the back of your motherboard, then install the 4 bolts in the given slots on the plate, lastly, place your waterblock and tighten the thumb nuts and you are good to go.

The 360mm radiator comes with 3 AER P120 fans that can run at a speed of 500 – 2000+300 RPM with a maximum noise of 36dBA. The motor speed of the pump is rated at 800 – 2800+300 RPM. NZXT CAM software allows custom fan curves and motor speeds.

In terms of performance, NZXT Kraken Z73 is probably the best you can get right now, it outperforms most AIO coolers and provides some unique features like the digital display. Using the Z73, you can rest assured about the temperatures of your i9-9900k even when overclocked.

In our testing, we were able to run i9-9900k at 5.1Ghz with a maximum temperature of 87 degrees under stress. Moreover, NZXT CAM is user-friendly and one of the most fluid software which makes the AIO cooler easy to customize.

On the whole, the NZXT Kraken Z73 is undoubtedly the best you can get if you have a whole lot of money to spend and want ultimate performance. The LCD display on the Z73’s waterblock is a feature you won’t find on every AIO cooler. You might also want to look out for the 360mm size for its compatibility with your chassis.

2. Noctua NH-D15 Chromax Black

Superior Performance

  • Super performance
  • Upgraded and better design than the previous one
  • Minimal noise level
  • Six-year warranty period
  • Pricey for an air cooler

Type: Air Cooler | Intel Socket Compatibility: LGA 1200, 115x, 20xx | Fans: 2x 140mm | Fan(s) Speed: 1500RPM | Dimensions: 165 x 150 x 161mm | Weight: 1320g

Last Update on 2020-09-16 using Amazon Product Advertising API


If you have ever been out on the hunt for a dedicated air cooler for your PC, then there is a high chance that you would have heard of Noctua. Noctua completely revolutionized the whole cooling scenario with the launch of its legendary NH-D14 air cooler. The NH-D15 is the updated version of the NH-D14: it is a powerful air cooler based on its predecessor, and features a timeless design along with exceptional performance.

Upon first impression, you instantly realize that the NH-D15 is one of the largest and bulkiest air coolers out there. With incredibly large dimensions and a weight of 1.3kg, the NH-D15 is certainly hefty. Therefore, it is advisable that you check if there is enough space to install the NH-D15 before actually buying it. Nonetheless, most modern casings are large enough for these type of air coolers, so it should not be that much of a big deal anyways.

One thing that most Noctua customers usually complain about is the lack of color options for their products. Although black is the most common color for an air cooler, it was not offered in any of Noctua’s products up until 2019, when Noctua finally launched a matte black version of the NH-D15 upon public appeal. Each and every component is given a matte black texture, and it gives the NH-D15 a cleaner and stealthier look.

The NH-D15 features a dual-tower design and is equipped with a pair of NF-A15 PWM fans. The fan has a maximum RPM of 1500. The noise level of this cooler is incredibly low. The NH-D15 does its work without making too much noise; in fact it is one of the most stealthy air coolers out there.

As for performance, the NH-D15 is an excellent cooler that does a great job at handling a powerful CPU such as the Intel i9 9900k. Even when overclocked, the NH-D15 puts up pretty well and does not disappoint. Therefore, the NH-D15 might just be the ultimate cooling solution for overclocking enthusiasts. Durability should also not be an issue, thanks to its sophisticated design and excellent build quality.

At this point, it all comes down to the price-to-performance ratio of this product: should you invest this much on an air cooler when you can buy a liquid cooler at this price segment? Well, the catch here is that the NH-D15 is currently one of the best in the business and outperforms most liquid coolers on the market. The durability of this product is further reinforced by the fact that the NH-D15 comes with an extensive six-year warranty period. Hence, be assured that the NH-D15 will surely last you a couple of years on solid performance.

That being said, it is quite obvious that the NH-D15 is a worthy investment. Although it is expensive for an air cooler, it excels in delivering peak performance at great efficiency. It is much quieter, cheaper and more powerful than some liquid coolers, and that is the hallmark of this product.

3. ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240

The All-Rounder

  • Cheaper than most AIO coolers
  • Price to performance is fantastic
  • Additional 40mm fan in pump for cooler vrms
  • 300W TDP
  • Lacks RGB

Type: AIO Cooler | Intel Socket Compatibility: LGA 115x, 2011-3*, 2066* | Fans: 2x 120mm | Fan(s) Speed: 1800RPM | Dimensions: 277 x 120 x 38mm | Weight: 1191g

Last Update on 2020-09-16 using Amazon Product Advertising API


Next up, we have the Liquid Freezer II 240 all-in-one cooler coming from Arctic. This liquid cooler comes with a variety of features and its top-notch performance makes it one of the best liquid coolers available on the market. As for the cherry on the top, it does not come with an insanely enormous price tag, and therefore provides a balanced price-to-performance ratio.

Starting off with the design, the Liquid Freezer II 240 features a clean look and comes in an all-black finish. To give it a tidier look, Arctic has included braided cables in fully sleeved tubes. It helps to remove cable clutter and makes the installation process a bit easier. One noticeable design feature is that this cooler does not have RGB lighting, and some people might just not be in favor of that.

Moving on to the internals, Arctic has installed PWM-controlled pumps into their Liquid Freezer II 240. As the name suggests, the Liquid Freezer II 240 makes use of two 120mm PWM fans that can reach speeds of up to 1800RPM. Moreover, Arctic has also equipped this cooler with a 40mm fan into the pump setup which keeps the motherboard vrms cool.

Another awesome feature of the Liquid Freezer II 240 is that it comes equipped with a dedicated motherboard VRM cooling fan. Although it might be a gimmick for some, it is certainly a nice feature that most AIO coolers omit.

The performance of this cooler is simply stunning. The Liquid Freezer II 240 can handle extreme overclocking and provides excellent benchmarks on different testing platforms. The solid pump design combines optimal performance with low noise levels resulting in peak efficiency. Arctic claims that this cooler can dissipate heat up to 300 W TDP; that is an impressive number if you ask me.

Overall, the Liquid Cooler II 240 from Arctic is a solid AIO cooler that is well suited for processors like the Intel i9 9900k. It offers a ton of features at a considerably modest price range which makes it a great bang for your buck.

4. Corsair H115i RGB Platinum

Form Over Function

  • Attractive and stylish design
  • Splendid aesthetics
  • Easy installation
  • Great customizability
  • Average performance

Type: AIO Cooler | Intel Socket Compatibility: LGA 1200, 115x, 1366, 2011, 2066 | Fans: 2x 140mm | Fan(s) Speed: 2000 RPM | Dimensions: 322 x 137 x 27mm | Weight: 830g

Last Update on 2020-09-16 using Amazon Product Advertising API

Corsair has been a constant recurring name when it comes to gaming peripherals and PC components. The American giant’s products have proven to be quite popular among gamers as they are known for their solid build quality and exquisite aesthetics.

The Corsair h115i RGB Platinum cooler is no different. It might just be the most attractive and stylish cooler in our list. It features amazing aesthetics that are achieved by a sleek design combined with customizable RGB LED lighting at the pump head and fans.

You can customize the RGB using Corsair’s iCUE software and set it to match your setup. Not only that, you can even sync the RGB for various Corsair products as well as monitor fan speeds, pump RPM and install updates using the iCUE software suite.

Moving on to the installation, installing your Corsair h115i RGB Platinum couldn’t have been more easier. It comes with a pre-installed Intel mounting bracket, so it should snap onto your Intel i9 9900k pretty easily. It supports almost all types of AMD and Intel sockets, so it works with pretty much all kinds of CPU chipsets.

Under the hood, the Corsair h115i is equipped with a 280 radiator cooling field along with a pair of ML140 Pro RGB LED fans for smooth airflow. These fans work at a staggering 2000RPM at max settings. The cooler itself is quite bulky, but it should easily fit inside most modern casings.

With increased radiator size, you would expect the h115i to exceed expectations in the performance department. However, it is disappointing to say that the h115i provides an average performance – it does pretty well handling high-end CPUs like the 9900k, but do not expect mind-blowing performance out of it. It is also a bit noisier than, for example, the Noctua NH-D15 which is quite a bummer.

All in all, the Corsair h115i RGB Platinum is a decent AIO cooler with an eye-catching design and superb aesthetics. The exquisite RGB lighting is undoubtedly the best part about this cooler. There is a five year warranty package too. If you are going for looks and could compromise on performance, then the h115i is for you. However, if performance is your top priority, then we would suggest you to look for a more effective cooler at this price range.

5. Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4

Best Bang For Your Buck

  • Low cost
  • Neat and elegant look
  • Impressive heatsink
  • 250W TDP
  • Bulky

Type: Air Cooler | Intel Socket Compatibility: LGA 1200, 115x, 1366, 20xx | Fans: 1x 120mm 1x 135mm | Fan(s) Speed: 120mm @ 1500RPM, 135mm @ 1200RPM | Dimensions: 145.7 x 136 x 162.8mm | Weight: 1130g

Last Update on 2020-09-16 using Amazon Product Advertising API

To conclude our list, we have another premium air cooler which performs on par or even better than some AIOs, the Dark Rock Pro 4 from Be Quiet. This air cooler by Be Quiet was an answer to the Noctua NH-D15 however, the performance might be a little less than its competitor, but it comes at a cheaper price tag and can handle the i9 9900k with ease.

The Dark Rock Pro 4 boasts a neat look with black finishing throughout the cooler, even the heatsink. It features a brushed aluminium top cover with a diamond cut finish. The twin pair of beefy heatsink towers come with pre-installed fans with 120mm on the right side and a 135mm fastened between the cooling towers. It is equipped with seven 6mm copper heat pipes that are hooked to the shiny aluminium base which comes in direct contact with the processor.

It comes with an installation kit which includes mounting brackets for both AMD and intel, screws, washers, cross-bar mounting bracket, set of four wire fan mounts. For thermal conduction, a thermal compound is included as well. Other than that, a Y-splitter fan cable is included to connect two PWM fans to a single CPU PWM header. Lastly, you have a long-necked magnetic screwdriver for ease of installation and an installation guide in six different languages.

Just like its competitor, this cooler is also bulky and weighs in at 1.13kg which is just 170g shy of what the Noctua weighs. The dimensions of this cooler with fans mounted is 145.7 x 136 x 162.8mm (L x W x H) which makes it one of the biggest coolers out there but the performance of this thing justifies it all. However, it might not be easy to fit in every chassis.

The Dark Rock Pro 4 is rated to handle processors up to a 250W TDP which makes it a favorable choice for the i9-9900k which is rated at 95W TDP as you have high overclocking headroom.

It uses two Silent Wings PWM fans that are basically inaudible, even when the fan speed is maxed out it produces a minimal sound level of 24.3dB which can only be heard if the side panel is removed from the chassis. To further minimise the noise level, you can remove the 120mm fan however, you might notice a slight performance difference and 3-4 degrees higher temperature however, it is not recommended if you have overclocked your processor.

The Dark Rock Pro 4 is an excellent option considering the price and performance of this air cooler. The design of this thing is very minimal and sleek which can perfectly match any theme. It might be your go to option if you are on a tight budget and need a high performance air cooler that can handle a stock or an overclocked i9-9900k very well.

Mark Smith

Mark Smith is a hard working student with a great passion for writing. He likes to express his deep interest in tech gadgets and latest PC hardware through valuable writeups.

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