Core i9-13900K Cooling Guide: Testing Intel’s Flagship With Budget Air

Core i9-13900K Cooling Guide

Raptor Lake has arrived, which means you need to start thinking about what the best CPU cooler is for an Intel Core i9-13900K. This is because the processor’s heat output is disproportionate to its performance when under load. 

Core i9-13900K Cooling Guide

Even though it doesn’t get quite as hot as high-end Ryzen 7000 chipsets with a 170W TDP, good heat dissipation is still necessary due to the 125W TDP. The current top-tier chipset has 24 processing cores (32 threads) and a maximum boost clock of 5.8 GHz. 

Planning to take full advantage of it? An Intel Core i9-13900K computer requires a top-tier CPU cooler. Going to the absolute limits of 10nm silicon is taxing on the components because we’ve never had consumer-grade processors that can push above 6.0 GHz before.

How We Chose The Best CPU Coolers For Intel Core i9-13900K

Various price points and personal tastes were taken into account when making our buying guide recommendations. This is why we included an air cooler at a reasonable price point in addition to entry-level, mid-range, and high-end all-in-ones. 

It’s crucial to be familiar with the cooler’s brand, as you may be using the same one for several years. You need an item that can withstand the elements and compete with the best of Raptor Lake, and these are your best bets.

Core i9-13900K best cpu coolers

In order to determine which cooler is best, you must first measure the available space in your case. If you’re going for a compact design, an air cooler will fit in the available space better than a radiator of any size, including 120mm or 240mm. 

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In contrast, a water-cooled system is essential for extreme overclocking. As you’ll see below, we’ve adapted our available choices accordingly.

Best CPU Cooler For Intel Core i9-13900K

Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 360

Our testing has led us to conclude that the Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 360 is the best CPU cooler for the Intel Core i9-13900K. Its roomy design, high-end construction, and extensive set of features all contribute to its status as an industry frontrunner. 

Among these components are a thick 4mm cold surface on the pump itself, a potent 360mm radiator, and ARGB fans, all of which work together to provide an exceptional level of both performance and aesthetics.

In addition to its superior performance as an AIO, the Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 360’s adaptability sets it apart as the best option. This is because the open loop design allows for quick and simple component installation and replacement. There’s no secret to this model’s success; its longevity and flexibility are all the more impressive for it.

NZXT Kraken X73

There are a number of reasons why the NZXT Kraken X73 is a top-tier AIO for the Intel i9-13900K. In the past, we’ve used one of these in test builds with Alder Lake processors, and it’s been sitting in one of our rigs for quite some time. 

You can’t go wrong with this all-in-one because it’s simple to assemble, has excellent cooling capabilities, and operates quietly even when under load. It’s also commonly available for under $200. The cooler’s visual appeal is an important consideration. From a purely aesthetic perspective, we think this is right up there with the best of them. 

That’s because of the sleek, angular design of the radiator and pump, which is nicely accentuated by bright, vivid RGB lighting. The 360mm radiator has three fans, so it has plenty of oomph to cool down the Raptor Lake frontrunner.

Noctua NH-U12A

When discussing fans, the name Noctua immediately comes to mind due to its reputation for silence and superior performance. When it comes to air coolers, the NH-U12A is undoubtedly the company’s biggest success to date. 

The model’s excellent fans are included in a compact design that can handle high-output cooling with ease. This AIO / custom loop alternative costs only $120 and can easily put out fires in Raptor Lake.

Core i9-13900K Noctua NH-U12A

That’s the ultimate highlight of the Noctua NH-performance. U12A’s To put it briefly, this is a model that has stood the test of time and deserves all the praise it has received. 

We also like the new version in a darker colorway that’s available now. A valid alternative to water, air is equipped with seven heat pipes and four NF-A12x25 PWM, so don’t let its age fool you.

Vetroo V360

The Vetroo V360 may not have the household name recognition of some of the other models in our comparison, but we still give it high marks for what you get for your money. You get a tonne of cooling capacity for only $99.99, making it one of the best deals in the market. 

As compared to both entry-level and high-end air coolers, this one is incredibly affordable, and it even comes with a few extra features. The low asking price also includes an ARGB controller, which allows you to modify the appearance of your machine’s fans and pump. However, that’s not the end of the story. 

Through compatible software, you can also synchronize the lighting effects of your motherboard’s RGB components. Aesthetics aside, dedicated fan control is something we rarely see at the sub-$100 mark, and even some high-end options don’t always include this feature.

Final Words

Yes. There is simply no escaping it. The Intel Core i9-13900K requires a CPU cooler. You can opt for an AIO or air cooler if you’re short on time and money, or build your own water cooling loop if you’re feeling ambitious.

Core i9-13900K Cooling Guide Final words

The chipset in your processor gets quite hot even when it’s not under any load, so you’ll need some kind of cooling system to keep it running smoothly.

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The question of whether air cooling or water cooling is superior cannot be answered with absolute certainty. A pump and radiator setup requires more room in a case than even a bulky brick of an air cooler, so the decision comes down to personal preference.

However, if we’re splitting hairs, the latter may yield slightly better results if you have the means to do so.

If you’re on a tight budget, we think you can get a decent air cooler for around $50. In our guide, we mentioned low-priced all-in-one (AIO) systems, as it is possible to acquire a sizable pump and radiator for under a cent.

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William Davis

William here, I'm a born and raised New Jerseyan who's always been interested in writing. After college, I moved to Canada to pursue a career in SAAS development. I've always been an avid fisherman, and enjoy spending my free time outdoors. I'm also a huge fan of TV shows, and often spend my evenings binge-watching my favorites.

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