Best CPU coolers for Intel Core i9-12900K Windows Central 2022
Intel's 12th Gen Core processors are the company's latest CPU tech, with the i9-12900K Alder Lake chip sitting at the top of its ladder. We've gathered the best CPU coolers for the Intel Core i9-12900K in various sizes and configurations to help you stay nice and cool during heavy usage.
- Best overall: Noctua NH-D15
- Runner-up: Noctua NH-U12S
- Best all-in-one: Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280
- Best for RGB: Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R (+ mounting kit)
- Best for quiet fans: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 (+ mounting kit)
- Budget friendly: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition RGB
Best overall: Noctua NH-D15Staff pick
The NH-D15 is a gigantic air cooler that stays quiet and has unparalleled CPU cooling performance for the price. Includes 2x 140mm PWM fans rated up to 1500 RPM and stands 165mm tall with both attached, so check your case for clearance over other components such as RAM and GPU. It's big.
Runner-up: Noctua NH-U12S
For air coolers, bigger often means better, but every case has limits for space. The NH-U12S, slightly smaller than the Noctua giant NH-D15, stands at 158mm with its single 1500 RPM PWM fan attached. Including the same adapters for reduced noise make it a slightly slimmer air-cooling option.
Best all-in-one: Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280
If you prefer AIO coolers over pure air, the Liquid Freezer II is a fantastic solution for keeping things cool and quiet. Dual 140mm PWM fans spin up to 1700 RPM and come pre-attached to the 38mm radiator for an easy setup, as long as you have the space.
Best for RGB: Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R (+ mounting kit)
You'll need a $4.99 LGA1700 mounting kit from Cooler Master for your i9-12900K. An exceptional AIO cooler with RGB aesthetics, the 3x 120mm PWM fans and 360mm aluminum radiator keep the temps low and lights bright. A lot of cables to manage though, so consider your case layout.
Best for quiet fans: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 (+ mounting kit)
be quiet! offers a free mounting LGA1700 kit for your i9-12900K with proof of purchase. Another chunky air cooler that performs to an incredible degree, but there's no noise here. The Dark Rock Pro 4 is as quiet as it gets with its 2x PWM fans. Check your case clearance; this is a big, silent beast.
Budget friendly: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition RGB
Meeting in the middle of aesthetics and performance is the Hyper 212, with the Black Edition RGB providing a beautiful 120mm LED fan with admirable cooling performance for the price. Standing just under 160mm tall and rated for 2000 RPM with PWM fan control, it's a bargain.
Choosing the best CPU cooler for Intel Core i9-12900K
Choosing the appropriate cooler for the i9-12900K isn't as straightforward as it could be, especially for beginner builds. You need to pick the best case for clearance, especially when considering a giant air cooler like the Noctua NH-D15. All-in-one coolers are a great way to enjoy the benefits of liquid cooling and reduce space with a smaller CPU heatsink, but you'll need a suitable case to mount the fans and radiator.
For the gamer with a taste for RGB aesthetics, choices are plentiful. The Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R will make your rig look like an exploding rainbow while keeping the i9-12900K chilled. For those on a budget, the Hyper 212 Black Edition RGB is perfect. It's a fantastic solution for air cooling with modest RGB lighting.
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