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Best CPU Coolers for Core i5-11600K: Air & AIO Options

February 19, 2022 0

Best CPU Coolers for Core i5-11600K: Air & AIO Options

Rocket lake CPUs have been around for a while now, and the one that sits below this lineup is the Core i5-11600K.

Intel’s single-core performance, as always, remains strong. The Core i5-11600K scored impressively in many single-core tests while offering a much better price point compared to the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X.

The Core i5-11600K is a six-core, 12 thread CPU that comes clocked at 3.9 GHz out of the box, and can reach up to 4.9 GHz. It’s unlocked so you can push even further if needed. Pairing this CPU with a decent graphics card will definitely run any modern games you throw at it with ease. In addition, the Core i5-11600K integrated graphics almost doubled the iGPU performance of the previous generation 10600K, which is a nice improvement.

Another thing that is worth noting is that 400 and 500 series motherboards will still work well on the Core i5-11600K. As a result, if you want to move from the previous model, there’s a good chance you won’t need to buy a new motherboard.

The downside is that it doesn’t come with a bundled CPU cooler, so you’ll need to pick that up separately. There are countless air and liquid CPU coolers on the market today, however, not all of them support the LGA 1200 that Core i5-11600K uses. So, we’ve compiled the best compatible aftermarket coolers for the Core i5-11600K.

List of Our Top Core i5-11600K Aftermarket Coolers

NH-U12S chromax.BlackNoctua NH-U12S chromax.Black

  • Size: 2.8 x 4.92 x 6.22 inches
  • Type: Air Cooler
  • Brand: Noctua
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Fuma 2Scythe Fuma 2

  • Size: 5.16 x 6.08 x 5.39 inches
  • Type: Air Cooler
  • Brand: Scythe
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V240Vetroo V240

  • Size: 10.7 x 4.7 x 2.1 inches
  • Type: AIO
  • Brand: Vetroo
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NH-U12A chromax.BlackNoctua NH-U12A chromax.Black

  • Size: 4.92 x 4.41 x 6.22 inches
  • Type: Air Cooler
  • Brand: Noctua
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NH D15 chromax blackNoctua NH-D15 chromax.Black

  • Size: 6.33 x 5.9 x 6.49 inches
  • Type: Air Cooler
  • Brand: Noctua
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iCUE H100i Elite CapellixCorsair iCUE H100i Elite Capellix

  • Size: 10.91 x 4.92 x 4.71 inches
  • Type: AIO
  • Brand: Corsair
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280 D-RGB EK-AIO 280 D-RGB

  • Size: 5.35 x 8.5 x 12.99 inches
  • Type: AIO
  • Brand: EK
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NH-L9iNoctua NH-L9i

  • Size: 3.74 x 1.46 x 3.74 inches
  • Type: Air Cooler
  • Brand: Noctua
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Noctua NH-U12S chromax.Black – Entry Level CPU Cooler

Noctua NH-U12S chromax.Black

The Noctua NH-U12S isn’t that expensive, yet still a premium CPU cooler from Noctua.

It features a 120mm Single-Tower design providing decent surface area, resulting in optimal heat dissipation. The five high-performance heat pipes have been nickel plated and are soldered to the heat-spreader.

The NH-U12S also comes with a single NF-F12 120mm fan that features an advanced aerodynamic design allowing for reduced noise levels, improved cooling performance, and better static pressure. The fan is excellent and has many great features. It is a PWM fan, so it can be controlled automatically to ensure the best noise and cooling performance possible. Additionally, the fan comes with a Low-Noise Adaptor for even quieter operation.

Noctua also includes their high-end NT-H1 thermal paste, which is one of the best performing pastes on the market. It provides great heat transfer and is extremely durable. Finally, the SecuFirm2 mounting system makes installation a breeze on most sockets, including the new LGA 1200.

In terms of PCIe and RAM compatibility, the NH-U12S is excellent with its slim design, having only 45mm fin depth, making it ideal for setups with limited space.

The NH-U12S is indeed a great entry-level CPU cooler for the Core i5-11600K. It has premium-grade materials and construction, excellent performance, superb value for money, great compatibility, and a flexible mounting system.

Scythe Fuma 2 – Budget Type Cooler

Scythe Fuma 2

The Scythe Fuma 2 is our budget but decent air cooler recommendation for the Core i5-11600K. It can deal with high temp CPUs, and its performance is quite impressive at this budget.

It uses dual heatsinks and fans that help to dissipate heat quickly and efficiently. This cooler has six heat pipes and a copper base plate, which helps to absorb heat from the CPU. There are actually 2 included Kaze Flex 120mm fans that are designed to be quiet and efficient. They use a Fluid Dynamic Bearing to reduce noise and vibration. This helps to keep the cooler silent while still providing excellent cooling performance. In addition, both of these fans are PWM, which means you can control the fan speed, and the motherboard will do it automatically. This helps to keep the noise down when the CPU is idle or lightly loaded.

The Scythe Fuma 2 is also designed with an attractive asymmetrical appearance that allows users to utilize any front RAM slot without restriction. This is fantastic because many coolers may obstruct the use of RAM slots. The cooler itself is only 155mm tall, so it will fit in most PC cases on the market.

For a budget-type cooler, the Scythe Fuma 2 surely does a fantastic job. It’s good for people who just want to get a decent cooler without spending too much.

Vetroo V240 – Affordable AIO Cooler

Vetroo V240

Vetroo might not be a well-known brand to many, but the company offers quality products at affordable prices. One of the best examples is the Vetroo V240, which provides excellent cooling performance for its price.

The V240 is an all-in-one liquid cooler that will definitely keep the Core i5-11600K running at optimal temperatures. It has a 240mm radiator with high-density aluminum fins that are intended to enhance heat dissipation and circulation. It also comes with dual PWM fans that can automatically adjust their speed to match the CPU’s temperature. This results in better airflow and lower noise operation. Furthermore, it must be configured in the BIOS to operate in PWM mode. In this case, the fans will run at full speed if the PWM setting isn’t changed.

Aesthetically wise, both the pump and fans come with addressable RGB lighting. It has a 5V 3pin connection that allows it to connect with the motherboard for uniform and rich illumination. There is also an included controller for easier control over the lighting and fan speed settings.

The Vetro V240 is a budget-friendly AIO that offers premium features you usually see on more expensive liquid coolers. If you prefer to have an AIO to pair with your Core i5-11600K without breaking the bank, this Vetro V240 is the way to go.

Noctua NH-U12A chromax.Black – Low Noise Yet Powerful

Noctua NH-U12A chromax.Black

If you want to achieve both soundless and great cooling performance, then the Noctua NH-U12A is your best choice.

It is a 120mm single-tower heatsink with 7 heat pipes that help to distribute the heat evenly, and with its increased fin surface area, it is able to dissipate more heat than a traditional cooler of the same size.

The fans that come with the Noctua NH-U12A chromax.Black are the NF-A12x25 120mm fans, which are known for their low noise yet great cooling performance. They come with Low-Noise Adaptors and PWM for automatic speed control, so you can get the full cooling performance under load while keeping the noise levels at a minimum. The NF-A12x25 120mm fans are able to achieve up to 102.1 m³/h of airflow, and with the Low-Noise Adaptors and PWM, you can keep the noise levels at a minimum (18 dB). Additionally, the MTTF of the NF-A12x25 120mm fans is over 150,000 hours, so you can be sure that they will last for a long time.

Similar to the Noctua NH-U12S that are mentioned above, it also comes with Noctua’s NT-H1 thermal paste and SecuFirm2 mounting system for easy installation with the LGA 1200 socket.

All of these features make the Noctua NH-U12A chromax.Black an easy choice for anyone who needs to get both silent operation and excellent cooling.

Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black – High-Performance Air Cooler

Noctua NH D15 chromax black

When it comes to air cooling, the Noctua NH-D15 still holds the crown for being the best. The 140mm dual-tower design makes this cooler one of the most impressive we have come across. This is probably why it’s able to match and even outperform many all-in-one water coolers available today.

The 6 heat pipes on the NH-D15 are nickel-plated copper, which not only looks great but also helps to optimize heat transfer. These heat pipes help to dissipate heat quickly and efficiently, making sure your CPU stays as cool as possible even under heavy load.

The NH-D15 comes with NF-A15 140mm fans capable of reaching a maximum speed of 1500 RPM. This means that they can move a lot of air very quickly. The Low-Noise Adaptors (LNA) and Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) allow you to fully customize how your cooler runs. You can choose to have the fans run as quietly as possible at all times, or set them to automatically adjust their speed depending on how much load is being placed on your CPU.

The downside is that it can be bulky and heavy, so you need to make sure your case is big enough to support it. Aside from that, the Noctua NH-D15 is a beast of a cooler to achieve exceptional cooling performance and is ideal for people who plan on overclocking the Core i5-11600K.

Corsair iCUE H100i Elite Capellix – Best 240mm AIO


For our best 240mm AIO cooler recommendation, we have the Corsair iCUE H100i Elite Capellix.

It comes with a high-performance pump design, with 33 ultra-bright CAPELLIX RGB LEDs. This will help your system look great while running better. Additionally, the split-flow design helps to further improve the cooling efficiency of the Corsair iCUE H100i Elite Capellix. There are also 128 micro-skived fins per inch that are present on the cold plate, which helps to provide optimal cooling for your system, ensuring that your CPU stays as cool as possible under load.

This cooler also comes with two 120mm CORSAIR ML RGB Magnetic Levitation PWM fans. These deliver powerful airflow for extreme CPU cooling performance with up to 2400 maximum RPM. Additionally, the eight RGB LEDs per fan help to make your system look great while it’s running. The Corsair iCUE H100i Elite Capellix also comes with ZERO RPM MODE. This allows the fans to stop entirely at low temperatures, eliminating fan noise. So you can keep your system running quietly and cool when you need it most.

The Corsair iCUE H100i Elite Capellix comes with the Corsair iCUE Commander CORE. This is a powerful piece of software that allows you to control the fan speeds and RGB lighting for the included fans. You can also use it to monitor the CPU and coolant temperatures. It’s undoubtedly a simpler interface to have, no matter what you’re doing.

With all of the features said above, the Corsair iCUE H100i Elite Capellix is definitely a great 240mm AIO that can be paired with any Core i5-11600K system.

EK-AIO 280 D-RGB – For Intensive Overclocking (280mm)


For enthusiasts who will perform intensive overclocking on the Core i5-11600K, the EK-AIO 280 D-RGB is a great choice. With its 280mm radiator, it surely provides a large margin for thermals. Plus, with the extra pump-reservoir combo, you get to keep your PC running cool and leak-free without having to constantly refill or mess with priming pumps.

The fans are definitely one of the best features of this CPU cooler. They are ultra-quiet and have customizable D-RGB lighting. This means that you can change the color of the fans to match your build, or set them to be in sync with other components in your system. With an RPM ranging between 500 and 2000, each fan can produce a maximum of 116 CFM so as far as performance is concerned, it’s extremely good.

The RGB lighting on the EK-AIO 280 D-RGB is very impressive. You can easily control the color and lighting effects of the cooler by using either your motherboard or an RGB controller. The diffuser on the CPU block gives a smooth and dynamic color display that will really make your build stand out.

In terms of the design, the EK AIO is pre-installed with reinforced and sleeved rubber tubing that has an aluminum cover to make it extremely long-lasting. The rubber tubing is quick and simple to install, thanks to its diamond-cut rotary fittings that have an extensive range of movement.

For enthusiasts who will overclock the Core i5-11600K, the EK-AIO 240 D-RGB is without a doubt a great choice to make.

Noctua NH-L9i – Best for Space Limited Build

Noctua NH L9i

Of course, we have an option for people with limited space on their PC case, and it is the Noctua NH-L9i. It only has 37mm of total height, which means it can be installed even in ultra-small cases. With a 95x95mm footprint, it will not interfere with the PCIe slot or the RAM you will pair with the Core i5-11600K.

Even though it features a slim design, this little CPU cooler can handle processors as powerful as the Core i5-11600K. It is a small but powerful cooler. It uses a high-performance NF-A9x14 PWM fan with a Low-Noise Adaptor for automatic speed control. The fan uses Noctua’s AAO frame, and premium grade SSO2 bearings in order to provide quiet cooling with an uptime of more than 150K hours.

The Noctua NH-L9i is the finest option for space-limited builds that will deliver enough cooling to keep your Core i5-11600K within normal temps even under heavy load.

CPU coolers for the Core i5-11600K Buyer’s Guide

LGA 1200 Compatibility

Before buying a cooler for your Core i5-11600K, you need to make sure that it supports the current socket of the CPU. In this case, it’s LGA 1200. Not all CPU coolers are compatible with LGA 1200, so be sure to check it before buying. However, all aftercoolers that are mentioned in this article are compatible with the LGA 1200 socket, so they will work out-of-the-box.

Air Cooler or AIO Cooler?

They both have advantages and drawbacks. Air coolers are cheap, easy to install, and do not make any noise. But they may not be as effective as an AIO Cooler does. Though there are air coolers out there that can match up the performance of an AIO, NH-D15 for example, still the majority of the air coolers do not stand a chance against the AIOs. An AIO cooler on the other hand is more expensive but it’s also completely silent and has better cooling performance.

We can say that choosing between air and AIO cooler is completely a matter of personal preferences.


As you can see, there is a wide range of CPU coolers on the market for Core i5-11600K. Whether your goal is to overclock or just want to achieve optimal cooling, there are many options available and this list should help you get started with choosing one that fits your needs best.

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