PC Components

8 Best CPU Coolers for Core i9-12900K (LGA 1700 Compatible)

January 8, 2022 0

8 Best CPU Coolers for Core i9-12900K (LGA 1700 Compatible)

It’s been a tough few years for Intel. They had their reign as the King of processors come to a humiliating end when AMD rose up and defeated them in battle after battle until finally besting them once again with new Alder Lake CPUs. Still, Intel soldiers on and indeed seem to have a new lease on life with their latest processor architectures. One such example is the Core i9-12900K.

Sitting at the top of the Alder Lake lineup, the Core i9-12900K is very much a modern enthusiast-level CPU. It packs a total of 16 cores and 24 threads. Similar to the other Alder Lake processors, the Core i9-12900K features the new hybrid design, where it divides the cores into two groups with one group optimized for high performance and the other group optimized for efficiency. In this case, the total CPU cores would be split into 8 highly-optimized performance cores and 8 efficient cores to give you a perfect blend of great performance per core and maximum efficiency.

The Core i9-12900K can operate at a top turbo frequency of 5.10 GHz (on P-Cores), which makes it the highest performing processor in terms of single-thread processing in existence today. With its fast clock speeds and high core count, it is likely to perform well even with demanding games and intensive applications.

However, the Core i9-12900K is not without its flaws as well, as is with every other CPU in existence. You’ll expect it to run quite hot especially under load with its 125W TDP. And since the Core i9-12900K doesn’t come with a stock cooler, you need to buy an aftermarket cooler. And a good cooler will go a long way in ensuring you get the better temperature and operational performance from your CPU.

For you to get the best cooling performance of your Core i9-12900K, we’ve listed some of the best coolers that work well with it. We have also included a buyer’s guide at the end of this article to help you make a better purchasing decision.


Core i9-12900K Aftermarket Coolers – Our Top Picks

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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TOUGHLIQUID 240Thermaltake TOUGHLIQUID 240 ARGB

  • Size: 17.87 x 11.22 x 5.83 inches
  • Type: AIO
  • Brand: Thermaltake
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NH-U9S chromax.BlackNoctua NH-U9S chromax.Black

  • Size: 3.74 x 2.68 x 4.92 inches
  • Type: Air Cooler
  • Brand: Noctua
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Dark Rock Pro 4be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4

  • Size: 5.3 x 5.7 x 6.4 inches
  • Type: Air Cooler
  • Brand: be quiet!
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NH D15 chromax blackNoctua NH-D15 chromax.Black

  • Size: 5.31 x 5.91 x 6.5 inches
  • Type: Air Cooler
  • Brand: Noctua
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ROG Strix LC II 240 ARGBASUS ROG Strix LC II 240 ARGB

  • Size: ‎13.9 x 9.17 x 5.51 inches
  • Type: AIO
  • Brand: ASUS
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MAG CORELIQUID 240RMSI MAG Core Liquid 240R

  • Size: 12.48 x 8.07 x 5.39 inches
  • Type: AIO
  • Brand: MSI
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AORUS WATERFORCE X 360

  • Size: 18.46 x 10.24 x 6.06 inches
  • Type: AIO
  • Brand: Gigabyte
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Noctua NH-U12S chromax.Black – Entry Level Air Cooler

Noctua NH-U12S chromax.Black

The Noctua NH-U12S is a good entry-level CPU cooler for the Intel Core i9-12900K. It’s slim 120mm size, combined with its renowned NF-F12 120mm fan with all chromax.Black design ensures optimal cooling while it fits in most modern cases and doesn’t overhang the RAM slots or block PCIe. The included Low-Noise-Adaptor (LNA) makes it even quieter on top of its already silent operation at idle, allowing you to get the best CPU temperatures while still maintaining a good noise level.

The NF-F12 120mm Focused Flow fan comes preinstalled, featuring Noctua’s exclusive AAO frame as well as sophisticated aerodynamic design measures such as Flow Acceleration Channels, which allows it to further improve the renowned efficiency of Noctua’s previous models and contributes to the NH-U12S’ superior cooling performance. The PWM version sports Noctua’s custom-designed NE-FD1 IC for fully automatic speed control via 4-pin fan headers and comes supplied with a Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.). Its superb running smoothness, reference-class SSO2 bearing and Noctua’s trusted premium quality make it an elite choice for users who strive to obtain the best possible performance from their CPU. So, if you’re looking for a decent cooler with the great build quality, there’s nothing stopping you from going with the Noctua NH-U12S.


Thermaltake TOUGHLIQUID 240 ARGB – Entry-Level AIO

Thermaltake TOUGHLIQUID 240

The TOUGHLIQUID 240 ARGB is a budget-friendly AIO liquid cooler for Core i9-12900K users. The 240mm radiator should provide enough cooling for a CPU with a TDP of 125 watts. The included fan has decent speeds but isn’t loud at all according to our testing, even at full speed.

It is equipped with 2 TOUGHFAN 12 2000 RPM fans with 4-pin ARGB lighting, however, this model is only compatible with TOUGHFAN 12. The water pump design reduces the risk of clogging and enhances performance thanks to the metal impeller.

This version of the TOUGHLIQUID line comes with RGB lighting, and it works with 5V RGB-compatible motherboards. It also has a rotatable upper case and controller that are built into the water block.

The installation process is pretty straightforward if you follow Thermaltake’s instruction manual carefully. All in all, I would recommend it for users that are looking for an entry-level AIO liquid cooler to pair with the Core i9-12900K.


Noctua NH-U9S chromax.Black – Budget Aftermarket Cooler

Noctua NH-U9S chromax.Black

The Noctua NH-U9S is a budget aftermarket cooler that provides quality cooling for Core i9-12900K. This CPU cooler has proven to be both durable and efficient with over 100 awards and recommendations from international hardware websites. The Noctua NH-U9S is also one of the most popular CPU coolers on the market due to its size and performance, as well as the fact that it comes in an all-black design that is sleek and appealing to many different styles and preferences.

The Noctua NH-U9S is equipped with the award-winning NF-A9 92mm fan that has been proven to have excellent cooling performance, resulting from being both durable and efficient. The Noctua NH-U9S does not overhang the RAM slots, nor does it block the PCIe on ITX motherboards. Another feature of the fan is that it has a Low-Noise Adaptor and a PWM for automatic speed control which makes this fan very user-friendly when it comes to changing speeds.

The NT-H1 thermal paste that is included with the Noctua NH-U9S is a high-end paste that is made for applications such as this. The paste has a thermal conductivity of 8.5 W/mK and is able to withstand extreme temperatures. The Noctua NH-U9S is relatively easy to install thanks to the SecuFirm2 mounting system. Overall, this CPU cooler is a quality budget cooler for the Core i9-12900K.


be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 – Silent Operation

be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4

The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is a CPU cooler that is designed to provide silent operation. It comes with two virtually inaudible Silent Wings PWM fans that are capable of achieving only 24.3Db(a) at maximum fan speed. The frame of the front fan is funnel-shaped for high air pressure to optimize airflow which will enhance its effectiveness at keeping your processor cool. The seven high-performance copper heat pipes are connected to the base of the cooler with a mirror-smooth surface for optimal heat transfer. The entire unit is built using high-quality materials that are meant to ensure that it does not bend or warp over time.

The Dark Rock Pro 4 offers excellent RAM compatibility because there are cutouts between each fin stack which allow you to use memory modules with large heatsinks on them without having to remove the fan first. Also, the installation process for this CPU cooler is relatively straightforward, but it can be time-consuming to install all of the screws.

The biggest drawback of the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is its size. It can be too bulky for some chassis, and it may not fit if you have a limited amount of space. Overall, it is an excellent option if you are looking for silent operation for your CPU cooler at a reasonable price point.


Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black – Best Value Air Cooler

Noctua NH D15 chromax black

For our best value air cooler recommendation, we selected the Noctua NH-D15. It is the most powerful air cooler on the market today.

The Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black is a high-end air cooler that delivers on its promises. It features a dual-tower design with 6 heat pipes, which provides maximum cooling efficiency, it’s perfect for overclockers.

The Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black also comes with award-winning NF-A15 140mm fans, which are known for their low noise and high performance. The fans also come with Low-Noise Adaptors and PWM for automatic speed control, so you can always have full cooling performance under load, with whisper-quiet operation at idle. The Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black is a great air cooler that delivers on its promises. It’s perfect for overclockers and silent enthusiasts alike!

Noctua is the brand of choice when it comes to air coolers, and by extension, the best air cooler means that it would be suitable even with the most demanding of CPUs like the Core i9-12900K. And indeed, if there were an award for these types of cooling devices, Noctua would win it every year without any question whatsoever.


ASUS ROG Strix LC II 240 ARGB – Well-Rounded AIO Cooler

ASUS ROG Strix LC II 240 ARGB

The ASUS ROG Strix LC II 240 ARGB is a high-quality all-in-one cooler that is designed to provide excellent cooling for your Core i9-12900K. It comes with a number of impressive features that make it an excellent choice for any system.

The radiator on this cooler is 240mm in size, which means that it will be able to cool your processor even more efficiently than a 120mm or 140mm sized radiator. It features a seventh-generation Asetek pump that provides outstanding cooling at a low noise level while being energy efficient. Two 120mm 4-pin PWM addressable RGB fans are included for excellent airflow and static pressure, and the fan blades have been designed by ASUS for optimized airflow and static pressure.

The addressable RGB on the ASUS ROG Strix LC II 240 ARGB is a great feature that allows you to customize the look of your cooler to match the aesthetics of your build. You can control the color and intensity of the light with the ASUS Aura Sync software, and you can even choose from a range of preset effects or create your own. There is also a ROG illuminated LOGO located on the pump, which is also controllable.

When it comes to cooling your Core i9-12900K, the ASUS ROG Strix LC II 240 ARGB is a well-rounded choice. It features an impressive set of high-quality materials and components that will provide you with excellent performance for years to come.


MSI MAG Core Liquid 240R – Budget AIO Cooler

MSI MAG CORELIQUID 240R

The MSI MAG Core Liquid 240R is a budget AIO cooler that will keep your CPU cool.

The MAG Core Liquid 240R comes with a ceramic bearing motor that is expected to last 100,000 hours. This means that you can rely on the cooler to keep your CPU cool for years to come.

The MSI MAG comes with two RGB fans. The RGB fans can be customized through software and have a maximum speed of 2000 RPM. One of the main features of the RGB fans is that they offer PWM fan control. This means that you can customize their speed, without any noise or brightness coming from the cooler. The lighting on the other hand is customizable through software.

The radiator pump design is an excellent feature of this unit. It has been integrated into the radiator to reduce noise and dampen sounds. This allows the PC to operate in a quieter and more efficient manner.

The MAG Core Liquid 240R offers customizability in mounting options, with both vertical and horizontal mountings available. The cold plate is rotatable up to 270 degrees, keeping it upright when mounted at an angle on your CPU. You can also choose to mount the cold plate whichever way you find most convenient for your build requirements.

Overall, it is a decent AIO for the Core i9-12900K especially if you are on a budget.


AORUS WATERFORCE X 360 – Intensive Overclocking

AORUS WATERFORCE X 360

Since the advent of high wattage Intel Core processors, overclocking has been one of the most popular methods for achieving performance increases. With higher frequencies, CPUs are able to perform more instructions per clock cycle. So, if you are into overclocking, we highly recommend taking a look at the AORUS WATERFORCE X 360.

The AORUS WATERFORCE X 360 is designed to maximize the cooling potential of high-end CPUs with its high-performance pump. This high-performance pump is built to efficiently dissipate heat from high-wattage CPUs, it can accommodate both overclocking and multi-core operation without concern.

In addition to its high-performance pump, the AORUS WATERFORCE X 360 also features Graphene Nano Lubricant ARGB fans. These fans are designed for high performance and low noise levels. The Graphene Nano Lubricant helps to reduce friction between the fan blades and the fan housing. This minimizes noise levels and allows the fans to run at higher speeds without becoming too loud. The Graphene Nano Lubricant also provides better heat dissipation, which helps to keep the CPU cooler.

The AORUS WATERFORCE X 360 incorporates RGB FUSION 2.0, which is designed to provide synchronized lighting with other AORUS devices. This enables the user to create a unique build that is customized for their rig. AORUS WATERFORCE X 360 also effectively utilizes a fan and pump RPM control, making it an attractive cooling solution for all brands of motherboards. This means that users can enjoy optimized performance regardless of the motherboard brand you pair with the Core i9-12900K.

This is an enthusiast-level water cooling solution that provides not just a stylish look but also the cooling capabilities that is suitable for intensive overclocking.


Buyer’s Guide for Core i9-12900K Cooling Solution

LGA 1700 Compatibility

The Core i9-12900K features the LGA 1700 socket mount, and it will only work with compatible CPU Coolers. You don’t have to worry about compatibility issues as all CPU Coolers in this list come with an LGA mounting option and support the Core i9-12900K out-of-the-box.

Is Air Cooler enough for the Core i9-12900K?

Despite the high TDP, all CPU coolers in this list including air coolers are capable of providing optimal cooling for the Core i9-12900K. However, if you want to go beyond and push your CPU to its limit, we recommend getting high-end air coolers such as dual tower solutions like NH-D15 or Dark rock pro 4.

Should I get an AIO Liquid Cooler?

They might cost more than traditional air coolers, but they do a better job of cooling your CPU with water and not just air. Also, AIO coolers are aesthetically pleasing and look great inside a modern PC. If these are things you’re concerned about, you should probably get an AIO Liquid Cooler especially if you have the money for it.


Final Thoughts

The Core i9-12900K is an excellent processor for high-end gaming systems. If you want to achieve the best performance possible, make sure your cooling solution can keep up with it! Each CPU cooler on this list has different capabilities. Some are better for overclocking, some are good at keeping noise levels down, and some come with both great performance and aesthetics. There is no “best” heatsink or cooler that will fit every need. However, the list above should give you a good idea of what to look for in a cooling solution. If you’re still unsure which option is best for your use case, don’t be afraid to ask questions in the comment section below! I know that my fellow Hardware experts and myself will try to answer all inquiries as best as we can.

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