Best CPU cooler for Intel Core i9-13900K in 2023 – tower coolers, RGB and AIO
The best CPU cooler for Intel Core i9-13900K is an essential component to keep in mind for anyone building a system around that CPU. That’s because, for all the processor’s performance prowess, it doesn’t half run hot when under stress. Despite having a 125W TDP, which doesn’t get quite as toasty as top-end Ryzen 7000 X-series chipsets with 170W TDP, effective heat dissipation is required. The latest leading chipset features 24 cores (32 threads) and a maximum boost clock of 5.8 GHz.
Want to make the most of it? You’ll need the best CPU cooler for Intel Core i9-13900K. We’ve never had consumer-grade processors which can push upwards of 6.0 GHz before, so going to the absolute limits of 10nm silicon takes a toll on the components when not looked after.
Christmas CPU deals
Before we continue, let’s take a look at some of the latest early Christmas deals already live on some of the web’s biggest retailers.
- AMD Ryzen 7 5700X – $169 (Save 47%)
- AMD Ryzen 5 7600 – $199.00 (save $30)
- AMD Ryzen 9 5900X -$288 (Save 49%)
Products at a Glance
How we chose the best CPU coolers for Intel Core i9-13900K
We made the selections in our buying guide by considering as many budgets and preferences as possible. That’s why we opted for a competitively priced air cooler as well as both budget, mid-range, and higher-end AIOs in the guide. Brand recognition is important, as you’re potentially going to have the same cooler for the next few years. You need something that lasts and keeps up with the best of Raptor Lake, and these top picks can and more.
The type of cooler you want to go for is going to depend on your case space. If you’re planning a smaller form factor build then an air cooler play nicer in a limited space than even a 120mm or 240mm radiator setup will. Contrastly, if you want to overclock to the extreme, then a water-cooled rig is the way to go. We’ve tailored our options with this in mind as you’ll find below. If you are looking for more cooling recommendations, then head over to our best CPU cooler guide. As well as, our best AIO water cooler piece.
Best CPU cooler for Intel Core i9-13900K in 2023 – tower coolers, RGB and AIO
- LGA 1700 support
- Excellent build quality
- Huge, powerful pump
- Excellent cooling performance
- On the expensive side
The Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 360 is our number one pick for the best CPU cooler for Intel Core i9-13900K. This is because of its expansive nature, premium build quality, and wide array of features that make it a leading option. This includes a thick 4mm cold surface on the pump itself, combined with a powerful 360mm radiator and ARGB fans combo for a mixture of stellar functionality and style.
While the Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 360 excels as an AIO, it’s the modularity that helps it take the top spot. That’s because of the open loop parts which make for easy installation and replacement of components. This model has been around for a long time and proved its versatility due to the transparency of how it was constructed.
- Competitively priced
- Excellent performance
- Beautiful style and build quality
- RGB lights
- Lacking fan control
The NZXT Kraken X73 is an absolutely excellent AIO for the Intel i9-13900K, and this is for a fair few reasons. We’ve actually had one of these in one of our rigs for a while, and have used them in test builds with Alder Lake processors in the past. In terms of an all-in-one that’s easy to put together, provides powerful cooling, and runs quietly under stress, you can’t really go wrong with this one. What’s more, it’s frequently sold at or under the $200 mark.
Of course, the looks of this particular cooler come into play. This is easily one of the nicest from a pure aesthetics point of view in our opinion. That#s due to the slick, angular style of the radiator and pump combo which is accented nicely with bright and vivid RGB fans. With a 360mm radiator, comprising of three fans, there’s more than enough grunt to keep the Raptor Lake front runner under control.
- Excellent cooling
- High-quality components
- Looks great
- High-end CPU cooler
Should you want to pick an air cooler – perhaps for ‘simplicity’ – Noctua should be a port of call. We’ve included the revered NH-U12A cooler in the list too, but the D15 is a monster and will pip it in cooling. While the NH-U12A will keep your i9 13900K at safe temps, the D15 is a dual-tower and fan design – and it’s available in the chic Chromax.Black design too.
That dual-tower sizing is important because it’s over twice as thick as the U12S and can offer those dual fans. Height-wise, the D-15 is 165mm tall, so ensure you’ve got that space in your case. Additionally, should you want both fans installed, the cooler will be about as long as it is tall too! That means you’ll need to watch out for tall RAM heat spreaders coming into contact with one of the cooler’s two fans. Adjusting the RAM-facing fan to sit higher up on the fins of the cooling tower should allow you to fit it on.
Ultimately though, there are no qualms about the cooling on offer here once installed. Six heat pipes, quality fans, and bearings mean your 13900K can rest easy. Yes, it’s over $100 for an air cooler. But at this point, this premium CPU cooler is probably the best air cooler with the best performance available.
- Small footprint
- Premium construction
- Consistent near-silent operation
- Low noise levels
- A little chunky vertically
Noctua is a name that’s revered whenever fans of any description are brought up for their silent operation and high efficiency. Well, the NH-U12A is arguably the brand’s biggest triumph as far as air coolers go. What you’re getting with this model is those stellar fans in a small footprint package that doesn’t shy away on extreme power cooling. Priced at $120, this AIO / custom loop alternative can keep the raging fires of Raptor Lake at bay without breaking a sweat.
That’s what’s most impressive about the Noctua NH-U12A when all is said and done. Simply put, this is a tried-and-true model that’s more than earned its claim to fame over the years. This latest iteration is available in a darker colorway that we think is particularly slick, too. Make no mistake about its age, armed with seven heat pipes and four NF-A12x25 PWM, air really is a valid alternative to water.
- Affordable price tag
- Respectable performance
- Included ARGB controller
- Loud noise level under high workloads
Although the Vetroo V360 lacks the name-brand recognition of other models in our round-up, we still think it deserves a spot on the podium for what it offers from a price-to-perspective perspective. Priced at just $99.99, you’re getting a lot of cooling power for a very competitive rate. This is significantly cheaper than many high-performance air coolers and entry-level models, with a few extra bells and whistles to boot, too.
Also included in the humble price tag is an included ARGB controller to better personalize how the fans and pump look in your machine. Things don’t stop there, though. There’s also the option to sync up with other RGB components on your motherboard through supported software. Aesthetics aside, something we rarely see at the sub-$100 mark is dedicated fan control, a feat that even premium offerings don’t always have as standard.
Features and considerations
The first and most important thing to consider is whether your CPU cooler will fit in your build. For the Intel Core i9-13900K, you’ll want to look for options with LGA 1700 CPU socket compatibility.
Another aspect to take into account is the height of the cooler or, if you’re using an AIO cooler, the dimensions of the installed radiator, RAM clearance, and, in the context of compact builds, whether the CPU permits the refit of the panel. Luckily, case producers provide extensive information about the maximum allowable cooler dimensions through their official websites. Researching this before you make a decision will help prevent any issues during the installation of your new CPU cooler.
Similarly, cooler manufacturers frequently provide measurements for their products. Make sure you confirm that these measurements won’t encroach upon your valuable RAM space in your PC case. Particularly if you’ve chosen memory modules with elevated heat sinks.For AIO cooler options, it’s recommended to review the radiator mounting locations and dimensions outlined in the case documentation that comes with your hardware.
Does the i9 13900K need a cooler?
Absolutely. The 13900K, like all desktop CPUs, needs a cooler to be able to function – not just optimally, but safely. The need for a cooler depends on the power usage and load your CPU will be facing. If you’re not likely to push your CPU air colling should technically be okay. However, heavy usage will require better cooling like liquid or all-in-one (AIO) systems.
What’s better for Intel Core i9-13900K – Air or AIO?
There’s no definitive right answer as to whether air cooling or water cooling is strictly better. It ultimately comes down to preference, as a pump and radiator combo is going to take up more space in a case than even a chunky brick of an air cooler.
If you’ve got the money, you may see marginally better results with the latter, though, if we’re splitting hairs.
Is air cooling enough for i9-13900K?
Technically yes, air-cooling could be okay for the i9 13900K. This is why we’ve included the Noctua NH-d15 and the NH-U12A, and why you’ll see both regularly spoken about
As Intel recommends a 240mm AIO (all-in-one) cooler for this chip, you’ll need something equivalent to that level of cooling. Noctua is a top name in air cooling, so it’s well worth considering one of these coolers.
Do I need a CPU cooler for the Intel Core i9-13900K?
Yes. There’s no other way around it. You need a CPU cooler for the Intel Core i9-13900K. This can be either an air cooler, AIO, or custom loop should you have the time, money, and expertise for the latter.
Your processor won’t work as intended for very long without a form of cooling, as the chipset runs naturally quite hot when idle, let alone when pressure-tested.
How much should a CPU cooler for Intel Core i9-13900K cost?
We personally think that you can get yourself a respectable air cooler for around the $50 mark if you’re on a budget. We touched upon the world of cheap AIOs in our guide, as it’s entirely possible to get a sizable pump and radiator for less than a C-note, too.
The Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 360 takes the top of the totem pole for its consumer-friendly practices relating to off-the-shelf parts and ease of modularity. While it may be considered a little much for some, those who want to push the Intel Core i9-13900K to its limits will appreciate the extra grunt available with this model compared to similarly priced competition.