Intel has done it again with the release of its Raptor Lake architecture processors, and it looks like the market share will be in favour of Intel this time. Intel Core i9-13900K is the best processor of the generation, and it is the first Core i9 processor that comes with twenty-four cores. Which is why, you need a motherboard upgrade to get the most out of it. All of these cores do not share the same design; else, it would have been impossible to handle the heat output of the processor. Eight of these cores are performance cores, while sixteen are efficient cores. The performance cores have a Turbo clock frequency of 5.8 GHz, while the efficient cores have a Turbo clock frequency of 4.3 GHz. This article will review the best CPU cooler for i9 13900K.
The raw performance of the Core i9-13900K surpasses that of the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X, and that too at a much lower MSRP, which is why Core i9-13900K is the best processor for gaming right now. The single-core performance of the i9-13900K is roughly 10% better, but due to the lower performance of efficient cores, this gap mitigates in the multi-core performance, where i9-13900K barely beats the Ryzen 9 7950X. Hence, you need faster RAM to minimize that gap as much as possible. However, the processor’s power consumption is much higher than the Ryzen 9 7950X, so buying a quality CPU cooler should be your top priority when using this processor.
|Editor's Pick CORSAIR iCUE H170i ELITE LCD Read More||See On Amazon|
|Best Looking AIO Cooler ASUS ROG Ryujin II 360 Read More||See On Amazon|
|Best Overall CPU Cooler Lian Li Galahad 360 ARGB Read More||See On Amazon|
|Best AIO Cooler NZXT Kraken X73 RGB Read More||See On Amazon|
|MSI MEG CORELIQUID S360 Read More||See On Amazon|
|Best Air Cooler Noctua NH-D15S Read More||See On Amazon|
|Best RGB AIO Cooler DeepCool LS720 Read More||See On Amazon|
|Best Quiet Air Cooler DeepCool Assassin III Read More||See On Amazon|
A processor like Core i9-13900K would make little to use an air cooler, although some high-end air coolers perform as well as some of the best AIO liquid coolers. Yet most people prefer using an AIO liquid cooler with a high-end processor like this, as it is aesthetically pleasing, and the overclocking results are better.
There are many quality CPU coolers on the market right now, with CORSAIR, THERMALTAKE, NZXT, and COOLER MASTER at the top. We recommend using a 360mm or a 280mm AIO liquid cooler for Core i9-13900K, as it would require quite a powerful cooling solution and a graphics card to cool a processor like as well as keep it an all rounder.
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Best CPU Cooler for i9 13900K Reviews
CORSAIR iCUE H170i ELITE LCD is one of the few biggest AIOs released for consumers to take advantage of and fill in their spacious chassis with its RGB goodness and liquid cooling performance. The AIO is available for 310$ which seems quite a lot for a cooler, however, it’s not entirely for just the brand name but rather the characteristics it has as well as the premium warranty support of 5 years.
The iCUE H170i ELITE LCD has a 420mm body dimension, which implies a need for a bigger chassis. Corsair has used 3x 140mm ML Elite series fans which is another reason behind the massive size of AIO. Each fan has 8x RGB LEDs which are addressable to leave a neat RGB impression all over the AIO, also the fans can run at a maximum speed of 1600RPM to keep a balance between performance and noise level.
Not to mention, it comes with a 2.1” IPS LCD display which can be personalized from A to Z and display the content at a 30Hz refresh rate that too with colors and not in black and white, additionally, there’s a ring LED also been implemented over the pump which further boosts the visuals. Besides that, low-permeation rubber is used as source material for its cooling tubes and is covered in black sleeves for aesthetic reasons.
Aside from the aesthetical aspect of the cooler, let’s move on to the real thing which is its cooling performance. For the test, we picked an i9 11900k OC’ed to 4.9GHz all cores at 315 Watts to get an image of how it would perform with the i9 13900k. And the results are pretty reassuring as the AIO manages to keep the i9 11900k OC’ed at 77C with the fans being left at auto to also get appreciable acoustic results which were found to be at 35dB.
However, if we set the fan speeds to 100% then we can expect a further 4-5C reduction in temperatures but at the cost of a bit more noise. In the end, all I can say is that if you have the money to spend and want the RGB goodness at a bigger scale then for sure get this one but in terms of performance it’s nothing innovative.
The ASUS ROG Ryugin II 360 is an unusual CPU cooler. The main things that make it unique are its one-of-a-kind design and a similar price tag of $380 (and we thought Corsair was ripping its customers off). The Ryugin II performs barely as well as most other LCS coolers. The main highlight and unique design feature of this cooler is its large 3.5" LCD on top of the pump unit, which is highly customizable and is likely to be the main reason for its over-inflated price. The cooler also comes with a 6-year warranty, which should be expected for such an expensive LCS cooler.
The cooler’s thermal performance was gauged using AIDA64, free software that can benchmark a processor’s thermal performance under a highly computationally-intensive workload. We recorded the maximum stable idle and load (with AIDA64) temperatures. The operation was then repeated with our i9-13900K overclocked to 5GHz. We kept ambient temperatures at ~25C.
At default settings, the idle temperatures stabilized at 32C, while on running AIDA64, they became stable at 81C. When we overclocked our processor, the idle temperatures remained roughly at the same level at 34C while the load temperatures climbed to 90C, which is rather high, even for a liquid cooler.
In terms of noise, too, the performance of this cooler is alright. At full fan speed, the loudness levels reached 53dB, which is unacceptably loud. That said, fan speed and noise levels can be reduced to 40dB without appreciable performance compromise.
So, what are our closing thoughts on the ASUS ROG Ryugin II 360? Well, we would be the first to admit that there are better coolers for the i9-13900K, and the main reason for this is its monumental price of $380, one at which even high-end processors can be bought. At least, for most buyers, this is unacceptable, especially when it does not justify itself with a similar performance improvement. Still, even then, a CPU cooler can only be priced so high, no matter how well it performs.
Lian Li Galahad 360 comes from a very reputable brand and thrives to deliver a seamless and not so hot experience at an engaging price of 175$ and is available in both black and white colors to provide variety and leave it to the consumers on how they want their builds to look. On the surety side of things, Lian Li offers a 5-year manufacturer warranty for the pump and radiator and 2-year warranty for the Fans and RGB lighting.
The cooler itself is made with aluminum and bits of plastic, as for the fans it comes with three of them with each fan having a size of 120mm to make up for the 360mm radiator size. Lian Li has used its fans with high static pressure to keep the airflow going and can run from 800 to all the way up to 1900RPM as per the situation. Besides that, the RGB on these fans and the water pump are fully addressable and can be controlled via the included controller or any 3rd party software. Also, the replaceable pump head makes up for the lack of an LCD display. Although, it’s not practical like the mini LCD but it does help out in terms of aesthetics.
Even though the cooler doesn’t come with any dedicated LCD, however, the performance on this one is quite impressive for the price. During the stress test, with a Ryzen 9 5900X at 4.6GHz all cores, the cooler was able to maintain the temperatures at around 69C and these results are enough to judge its cooling capabilities and it will be able to handle the i9 13900k fairly well considering its cost is only around 175$.
The NZXT Kraken X73 RGB comes with an MSRP of $185. It is a fancy-looking LCS cooler featuring RGB fans on its fans, unlike its predecessor. There is a wide range of speeds at which both the pump (800-2800 RPM) and fans (500-1500 RPM) can operate. NZXT claims a peak noise level of 33dB, and we are here to test the integrity of this claim. The fan life is rated at 60000 hours (roughly 6 years), and NZXT backs it up with a 6-year warranty.
We didn’t measure idle temperatures and noise levels as they are meaningless for high-end LCS coolers mounted on high-end processors. We conducted three tests and used i9-13900K as our processor and AIDA64 as the benchmarking tool.
The first test checked the maximum noise when fans ran at full speed. The second test was two-part and recorded maximum temperatures at the maximum fan and pump speeds for default clock settings and overclocked settings. The third test was also two-part: recording max temperatures at inaudible fan noise in both default and overclocked modes.
So, onto the first test. We changed the BIOS settings so that the fans ran only at maximum speed, irrespective of the load. The peak fan noise turned out to be 49 dB, which is a bit loud. The temperatures recorded in the non-overclocked mode turned out to be 60C, which is quite acceptable, while in the overclocked mode (5GHz), it stabilized at 84C. 84C is pretty good, too, as you rarely push your CPU to upper limits. In the third test, when fan speeds were adjusted to produce a maximum noise of 40dB, the peak temperatures were 63C and 88C for default and OC modes.
So, should you buy the NZXT Kraken X73? This LCS performs fairly well in the thermal and acoustics departments while providing excellent middle-ground. Pricing is a bit high, which might be off-putting for some buyers. However, in higher price brackets, aesthetics become more important than pure performance numbers, and if money is not an issue for you, this is one of the best coolers for i9-13900K that you can buy.
The MSI MEG CORELIQUID S360 can be bought for around 280$, which is a bit expensive compared to other offerings from different companies. However, the cooler does have some unique features to offer; it’s one of the main highlights is its 2.4” LCD panel on top of the water pump which can be used for multiple purposes.
The cooler seems like a great pick in the case of high-end processors due to its 360mm build design that accommodates three MSI MEG SILENTGALE P12 PWM fans with noise-reducing padding. These fans are capable of running at 2000RPM which is sufficient to keep the air flowing through the radiator and keep the processor as cool as possible. Although, there’s a downside of these fans, which is their non-RGB nature; this won’t affect the cooling performance but certainly matters in a build full of RGB lighting.
As for the cooling tube, MSI has used black rubber and mesh in terms of material and incorporated it in a 3-layer pattern to minimize the chances of leakage and any kind of water evaporation. That aside, the AIO also has a small 60mm fan which is practical and contributes to the cooling of VRMs, NVMe drive, and other motherboard components.
Now let’s move over to the main selling point of this cooler; its IPS LCD display which is fully customizable through the MSI center to display PC temps, live weather forecasting, videos, and gifs. Moving over to some testing at ~24-25C ambient temperature, we were able to see 58C max in CineBench R23 on the Ryzen 9 5950x at 4.45GHz manual OC. This setup gives us a rough estimate of how things gonna be with the i9 13900k. And it is safe to claim that we would be under safe limits using this AIO with that behemoth.
The Noctua NH-D15S is one of the few air coolers with the best of (almost) everything. It comes at an MSRP of $100, the same as its rival, the DeepCool Assassin III. At such a reasonable price, the fan provides excellent thermals and acoustics, a decent look, and a 6-years warranty. Unlike most other air coolers, RAM and PCIe slot clearances were also considered during this model’s design, resulting in an asymmetric look. It features six heat pipes and a single 140mm PWM fan, a break from the NH-D15’s dual-fan design.
To test the thermals and acoustic performance, we used our i9-13900K test system and ran AIDA64 Extreme. Like most high-end coolers we review, we only tested the performance for extreme conditions like the highest noise generation and stable temperatures at different fan speeds and processor frequencies. After running each test for 20 minutes, readings were taken to ensure we got values close to real-world scenarios.
In the first test, we disabled the PWM control and made the fan run at its max rotational speed of 1500 RPM. The noise output was 47dB, slightly lower than the DeepCool Assassin III. Temperature-wise, the maximum temperature at full fan speed was recorded at 64C in the non-overclocked mode and 88C when the i9 was overclocked to 5GHz. The fan speed was then lowered to roughly ~900 RPM so that our sound meter recorded a noise of ~40dB, which is unnoticeable for most users.
At this speed, in the non-OC mode, the processor-die temperature stabilized at 66C, while in the OC mode, it stabilized at 92C. These results indicate excellent performance, especially in the tradeoff between the thermals and acoustics at 40 dB.
So, what’s our verdict regarding the NH-D15S? As we said earlier, packing the best of everything, the NH-D15S makes one think if Noctua designed this cooler by putting themselves in the shoes of customers and resolving their frustrations, such as RAM clearance, as best as they could. We believe the NH-D15S is one of the best CPU coolers for i9 13900K, provided you don’t overclock your processor too liberally.
The DeepCool LS720 is an all-in-one liquid cooler with a reasonably affordable MSRP of $140. Like most other higher-end coolers, this one, too, features RGB LEDs and consists of 3x120mm radiator-mounted fans. The LS720 performs solidly where it matters; thermals, that is. However, our only quip is that it runs too loud at ~50dB at full-fan speed.
To test the thermal performance, we mounted our LS720 on our i9-13900K system and ran multiple tests, altering different settings. These involved checking temperatures in idle and stress modes, with overclocking enabled and disabled. The stress mode involves running AIDA64, the software of our choice for testing thermal performance, which is a CPU torture test, in simple terms. Each mode lasted 20 minutes to provide ample time for temperatures to reach their steady state.
The temperatures recorded in the non-overclocked settings came out to be 28C for idle mode and 59C for stress mode. When the processor was overclocked to 4.5GHz, the figures turned out 32C and 68C for idle and stress mode, respectively. Considering the amount of burden we are loading the CPU, the 68C temperature figure is quite remarkable.
The acoustic performance, measured only for stress mode (with and without overclock), is a mixed bag. In the overclocked settings, fans spun at their max speeds (2250 RPM) and were quite loud at 51dB, which is borderline irritable. However, under the non-OC stress test, noise levels took a huge dip to 40dB, which is nearly unnoticeable. Since most users’ workloads fall well below AIDA64 levels, noise is not something you should be too concerned about.
So, what’s our final word on the DeepCool LS720? We believe it is one of the best CPU coolers for i9-13900K, if not the best, based on its price and thermal performance. Even the much more expensive AIOs like the Corsair H150i Elite get loud if pushed to their limit. So, noise is not a uniquely DeepCool problem. Last but not the least, the 5-year warranty is the cherry on top of the cake should you run into any troubles with the LS720.
The DeepCool Assassin III is supposed to be the direct competitor of Noctua’s NH-D15, which seems to have found a lot of acceptance in the enthusiast segment of PC builders. It comes at an MSRP of $100, slightly higher than similar air coolers like the Dark Rock Pro 4. Design-wise, DeepCool kept things simple and elegant. It has a black-metallic finish features dual 140mm fans with PWM control capability. DeepCool claims a TDP of 280W for this model, while our processor has a max TDP of 253W. Let’s see how DeepCool’s claims hold up.
We mounted the cooler on our i9-13900K CPU. The mounting process was simple and easy, even for novices, and took roughly 20 minutes. Once everything was set up, we ran multiple stress tests on the Assassin III without our AIDA64 Extreme. These included measurement of maximum temperature, maximum noise level, and maximum temperature at 40dB noise level to see if there is a drastic tradeoff between acoustic and thermal performance.
The maximum fan noise turned out to be 48dB when the fans spun at their fastest 1400 RPM speed, which is loud but not too uncomfortable. The maximum stable temperatures at this noise level were recorded at 62C in the non-OC mode and 87C when the i9-13900K was overclocked to 5GHz.
When the speeds were reduced to achieve a noise level of 40dB, the temperature readings reached 65C in the non-OC mode and 91C in the OC mode. 91C lies in the dangerous territory of temperatures, and we don’t recommend pushing your processor too much, especially if you want low fan noise.
Based on these tests, we recommend this cooler if you want the maximum bang for your buck in elegance and performance. The i9-13900K is an extremely powerful processor, generating a lot of heat. It is not DeepCool’s fault that the temperatures crossed 91C; it is simply a matter of physics if you choose to go with air coolers. We believe it is one of the best air coolers for i9-13900K due to its reasonable price and great thermal performance at stock clock speed settings.
How to Buy a Cooler for i9 13900K
I9 13900K is a beast of a processor that absolutely beats anything in comparison: to stay on top of the charts. All this performance comes at the cost of a big chunk of power draw which also makes it a hot boy that generates heat while pulling out such a performance. Hence, excessive and maximum cooling is required to let this boy run at maximum clocks.
Air vs Liquid Coolers
Now, this has been a tough choice for consumers ever since it got a variety of the type of cooling solutions that you can pick for your processor. No doubt that both types perform and scale fairly well in their own ways which in the end is a win-win for the consumer. Liquid cooler as in the name utilizes a special kind of coolant that runs through the pipes from the radiator to the pump and keeps the processor at minimum temperature levels.
While on the other side, air coolers are just fans and heatsink put together to cool down the processor. The powerful and effective air coolers use copper heat pipes to dissipate heat out of the processor and fans throw that away from the fin stack to make room for the next round and this process stays on as long as the processor is in working. Most air coolers lag behind in one thing which is compatibility with the memory sticks, due to their bulky design the coolers take over the memory slot area and leave quite less room for the memory sticks that are quite tall: memory with RGB integration to be precise.
Next on the list is issues that most people come across because of the lack of knowledge. Socket compatibility is an important factor to be considered and shouldn’t be neglected. As for the i9 13900K, you need a cooler with a support bracket for the LGA1700 socket. It’s quite common now, almost every cooler is coming with one of these and if somehow the one you have picked doesn’t come with one, then you can simply contact the cooler manufacturers to send over one to your place - also this is totally free of charge in many instances. The socket compatibility is always mentioned on the box or in the product description if you’re getting one from an online retailer.
Check Clearances Before Buying
If the cooler doesn’t fit inside your case then it’s of no use and you’ll be stuck until you replace one of them which seems like a hassle. But you can tackle this by taking precautionary measures like checking the compatibility list of both components to save the extra hassle. Most new gamers get components without checking the compatibility of those things with each other.
As for the cooler clearance issue, it could occur not only with air coolers but also with AIOs because of their radiator size. Many mATX chassis only support 360mm rad on the front and some even struggle to support it there implying that you’ll have to settle with either 240mm or a 280mm AIO.
More Fans = Better Cooling, But More Noise
When you have to make the airflow of your chassis a bit better, then adding more fans is the most feasible way to do so. The same could be done with the coolers - which is why many big coolers come with 2 or even 3 fans mounted over their heatsinks to throw heat away much faster. The AIOs also come in different fans configuration, AIOs with bigger radiators come with 2 or 3 fans of either 120 or 140mm size which creates an impact. However, you should be aware of the consequences too, and those are more noise levels if you’re going with a cooler that features more fans.
RGB or ARGB lighting only relates to the looks and aesthetics of the cooler and build and has no significant influence over thermal performance. But since people give attention to the looks of their builds now, this aspect much be covered. AIOs and air coolers both have models that feature RGB and ARGB lighting to enhance the overall aesthetics. However, it’s not the case in every situation, some components are purely made for builds that have no presence of RGB.
Final Words for Best CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
There’s absolutely no doubt about the capability of the i9 13900K, it’s a beast that could do anything you throw at it if given the right amount of cooling. And all the Air and Liquid Coolers that we reviewed above for the i9 13900K are quite powerful and can easily handle it whether you want to use it at stock or wanna go all the way to its maximum potential based on the capacity of the cooler that you’ve picked among the ones we suggested.
The AIOs from the upper premium side include ASUS ROG Ryujin II 360, Lian Li Galahad 360 ARGB, NZXT Kraken x73 RGB, MSI MEG CORELIQUID S360, and Corsair iCUE h170i ELITE LCD, these are some of the recommended high-end options that would keep the thermals down by quite a decent figure. And all of them except for the Lian Li Galahad features and LCD on the pump that could tell temperature readings of the components and could also be customized for some other use. In the AIO category, if you’re a bit short on the budget, you can go over with the DeepCool LS720 which performs excellently for what it costs. The AIO also has ARGB integration which makes it a more value-for-money product.
Moreover, in the air cooler section, DeepCool Assassin III and Noctua NH-D15S are the two capable options that can keep up with such a processor. Both coolers lack any kind of RGB or ARGB lighting which could be a letdown for some people but not for everyone. This is why we included many options in this list so it would benefit everyone and not a relatively small group of people that has a specific taste. That’s enough guidance for this one, now it is up to you which one you go for.