Best CPU Cooler For i7 8700k
It’s no secret that, when pushed, a CPU can generate considerable amounts of heat, and it’s of prime importance to pair it with a cooler capable of keeping those temperatures in check. If you’ve just picked up an i7 8700k or plan to soon, and are eager to tap into the power of the i7 8700k with a CPU cooler fit for purpose, then look no further.
Although the i7 8700k may no longer feature atop Intel’s hierarchy of HEDT chips, it still has its place in gaming setups, especially among price-conscious builders who want performance without flirting with the exorbitant prices of more recently launched products. And, with such performance comes the heat dissipation needs to match, hence the importance of settling on the right cooler. Failing to do so doesn’t bear thinking about, but we quickly venture into unwanted throttling territory, distracting noise levels from whirling fans, and hampered performance.
As with most PC components, the sheer breadth of the choices on offer verges on the dizzying, and making a final decision is often a stressful experience, with fears of making the wrong choice sadly often part of the process. As always, we aim to simplify the process by leveraging our expertise on the matter and shining a spotlight on the very best CPU coolers for Intel’s i7 8700k. Let’s dive in.
Products at a Glance
Best CPU Cooler For i7 8700k
- Unmatched build quality
- Quiet operation
- Sizable footprint
Trawling through all the coolers on the market, we found ourselves always reverting to the Noctua NH-D15, and it takes our top pick for the best CPU cooler for the i7 8700k. Developed by the folks over at Noctua, a company that’s cemented a reputation over the past decade as the best cooler manufacturer, this air cooler not only packs a punch when it comes to performance but keeps things quiet in the process.
Under the hood, it features a duo of 1NF-A15 140mm fans with aluminum fins alongside a chunky 150 mm fin stack and decent clearance for memory heat spreaders thanks to a single fan mode. The cooler’s performance nears that of much pricier All-in-One CPU liquid coolers, even when overlocked, and fares incredibly well whatever the load. Noise levels never pass 25 dB even when you throw everything at the i7 8700k, thanks to low-noise adapters and Noctua’s excellent NT-H1 thermal paste, which conveniently comes alongside the NH-D15.
It’s hard not to heap praise on the construction quality, although the beige and brown color scheme is undoubtedly an acquired taste, and installation can be a little fiddly. The price is entirely reasonable for everything the Noctua NH-D15 has to offer. The cooler is even future proof to a certain extent thanks to Noctua’s promise to issue updated mounting kits for any sockets that emerge in the years ahead.
Looking at the negatives, the Noctua NH-D15 is big at 165 mm, making it a no-go for builds with limited space, but if you are still on the hunt for a case, we recommend opting for something bigger to accommodate this excellent cooler.
- All-in-One liquid cooling solution
- Great cooling performance
- Slightly noisy
Long gone are the days when liquid coolers were limited to complex open-loop liquid setups. With the eye-catching design, effortless installation, reasonable prices, and next to no upkeep of All-in-One solutions, liquid coolers have never been this viable. If you’re set on leaping into liquid cooling, our top pick is either the EVGA CLC 240 or slightly larger 280. The numbering refers to different radiator sizes.
Both models feature a set of two 120/140 mm fans FX12 120mm PWM fans with Teflon nano bearings capable of speeds ranging from 500 to 2400 rpm, an aluminum radiator (240 mm and 280 mm), sleeved tubing, and an i7 8700k-ready copper water block with customizable RGB LED. The cooler also arrives packaged with EVGA Flow Control software, offering control of lighting as well as fan and pump speeds and curves.
The EVGA CLC 240/280 produces excellent cooling across the board, though it truly comes into its element when the chip is running on full load. There is a handoff for the cooler’s excellent heat dissipation: the fans do produce quite the din when running at max speed, capping out at around 40 dB, which is markedly more than many competitor models.
The size of the EVGA CLC 240/280 is also worth a mention, as it tallies up to a smaller footprint than the bigger 360 mm AIO options on the market, which makes it worth a look for those that want a liquid solution but have less in-chassis space to spare. As with most AIO, installation is a breeze.
- Overclocking ready
- Easy to install
- Low noise levels
If you’ve got some cash to spare and want an alternative to the EVGA CLC 240/280, then the Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO is another excellent cooler pairing for the i7 8700k.
The Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO is an AIO liquid cooler equipped with two ML Series 140mm PWM fans alongside a 280 mm radiator and RGB led pump. Cooling performance is more than respectable and comfortably handles any temperatures the i7 8700k can throw its way, even overclocked, but lags behind some of the other picks here.
However, acoustics is where the Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO truly shines. The fans themselves produce a maximum of 20 dB when running at full speed. Add to that a nifty Zero RPM mode, which, as the name suggests, switches off the fans when the CPU falls below a software-assigned temperature of your choosing.
Compared to the EVGA option, the Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO does require a bit more of an investment, although it retains the same ease of installation and Corsair’s signature showy looks.
- Extremely quiet
- Excellent performance
If you want to save some cash by opting for an air cooler but want low operational noise levels, then look no further than the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4.
The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is built like a tank and runs a duo of Silent Wings PWM fans (120 mm and 135 mm) attached to a chunky heatsink housing airflow-optimized cooling fins with a handy cutout that leaves some space for larger memory modules and 6 mm copper heat pipes. This cooler’s size and weight do mean that it may not be suited to those who transport their PCs from place to place regularly, something that heightens the potential for it to detach and wreak havoc on other components.
Push the fans to their maximum, and you’re looking at under 25 dB acoustic output. While the noise levels are impressive, the thermal performance is nothing to scoff at either, with support for chips up to 250W TDP. Installation coughs up a few pesky maneuvers, but nothing a bit of determination can’t overcome.
The Noctua NH-D15 is our clear winner when choosing the best CPU cooler for an i7 8700k. While the others certainly have their merits, it’s hard not to repeatedly revisit Noctua’s stellar air cooler as the option of choice.
If you have your eye on a liquid cooler, we highly recommend EVGA CLC 240/280, and, although slightly more demanding on the wallet, the Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO. For those aiming for a whisper-quiet setup, the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 comes out on top, with a very attractive price tag to match. As for value, the versatile Cryorig R1 Ultimate is an excellent choice that will pair beautifully with an i7 8700k without eating into your budget.
With that, the time has come to wrap up our guide on the best cooler for Intel’s i7 8700k CPU. Hopefully, we’ve eased the process for you and set you on the path to making that all-important decision.
Feel free to drop a comment below if you have any questions. We’re here to help and happy to provide further guidance if required.