Building a Gaming PC is one of the most fulfilling activities. Not only are you building a powerful machine from scratch, but you also get to play games on it. Creating something out of nothing is fun, but a lot can go wrong when building custom PCs!


Best Overall
NZXT Kraken Z73 360mm - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler

NZXT Kraken Z73 360mm – AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler

  • Incredible Performance
  • Simple Installation.
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Best Budget
ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240 - AIO Water Cooler

ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240 – AIO Water Cooler

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Best Value Pick
Noctua NH-D15 chromax Dual-Tower CPU Cooler

Noctua NH-D15 chromax Dual-Tower CPU Cooler

  • Proven premium heatsink 
  • Extra-wide 140mm dual-tower design.
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Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix Liquid CPU Cooler

Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix Liquid CPU Cooler

  • A high-performance RGB pump head
  • Accurately control your cooling via PWM.
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Enermax Liqmax III 120 A-RGB AIO CPU Liquid Cooler

Enermax Liqmax III 120 A-RGB AIO CPU Liquid Cooler

  • Dual Chamber water block design
  • Dual-Convex fan blades.
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Thermaltake TOUGHAIR 510 180W TDP CPU Cooler

Thermaltake TOUGHAIR 510 180W TDP CPU Cooler

  • 4xØ6mm heat pipes directly touch the CPU
  • Asymmetric Fin Structure.
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Especially when you’re trying to build an Overpowered PC that will run anything you throw at it without resistance. Take the intel Core i9 – 12900k, for example; it is considered the best gaming CPU in the market almost a year after its launch. Intel had become the punching bag for the past few years, but with the i9, they redeemed themselves.

The Intel Core i9 – 12900k became the most powerful CPU by having a different approach to the architecture of the CPU itself. The project was code-named Alder Lake, so you don’t get confused if I used the term in the article ahead. 

The processor splits the core into two sections: the Efficiency, or E-Cores, and the Performance Core, or P-Cores. This increases the performance of the CPU.

But enough about the CPU, let’s talk about cooling it because that’s what you came here for! The Intel Core i9 – 12900k is the world’s most powerful CPU, so it is not surprising to see it pulling so much power to run such a piece of silicon.

For context, on the Blender Gooseberry Benchmark, the Intel Core i9 – 12900k almost touched 95 Degrees Celsius, which is a lot. So how do you keep this big boy cool? Let’s find out!`

How to Choose the Best CPU Coolers For Intel Core 19-12900k?

It sounds pretty simple; you want to cool your CPU because it gets hot, so just stuff in a fan above it, and it should do the trick, right? Well, Yes, and No.

Yes, most CPU coolers work this way, but most won’t work for the intel Core i9 – 12900k, especially if you try to save money. This makes no sense; if you buy a CPU for $600+, you might as well buy a high-quality cooling assistant!

But how do you choose? The criteria are pretty straightforward. The cooler that doesn’t let the CPU get to the point that it affects your performance will be mentioned. Before we start, water coolers are not always better than air. The air coolers are the way to go for most users who wants to game and not tinker with their PC for maintenance!

Water coolers aren’t inherently better than air coolers, so don’t feel compelled to buy a water cooler just because. Water coolers are popular because they look cool, but we’re trying to cool the CPU here, not make the PC look cool.

That’s enough about the criteria; let’s get into the real meat of this article, the coolers we picked for our readers! All the coolers on this list are top-tier, and we will list the pros and cons of each and assign specific tags to them so you can choose the one that best suits your needs and your build. So without any further ado, let’s get right into it!

The Best CPU Coolers For Core i9-12900K PC Builds

Here are the best CPU coolers for your Intel core i9-12900K PC builds.

1. NZXT Kraken Z73 360 (Best Overall)

CPU Cooler Pros
  • Great performance
  • Minimal look, suitable for aesthetic builds
  • RGB looks awesome.
CPU Cooler Cons
  • Its kinda pricey.

There is one word that best describes the NZXT Kraken, and that’s already used in its name, Kraken! This cooler is a monstrosity, not just because of its size but also because of its robustness and how many features it has jam-packed into this tiny little unity!

Let’s start with the fans. There are 3 120mm wide fans, and it also comes with an LGA 1700 hardware mount, so you don’t have to worry about it falling off ever.

When we search for coolers, we look for the ones that will be the best for the CPU. But realistically speaking, the i9 12600k is so powerful that almost no cooler out right now can cool it to the degree that a gamer would want so that you will get a little heat. The only way you got this is by building a custom setup, which is insanely time-consuming, plus you’ll have to do a lot of maintenance.

So why not go for the next best thing, the Kraken? It even has an LCD on the CPU block; how cool is that? There is no cooler on this list that matches the aesthetic appeal of this one, so if you’re into it, go witty the Kraken; you won’t be disappointed!

2. Arctic Liquid Freezer II (Best Budget)

CPU Cooler Pros
  • The price-performance ratio is great
  • No need to refill
  • Tightly sealed of liquid
  • No maintenance.
CPU Cooler Cons
  • Design is not the best
  • No RGB lights.

Next up, we have yet another water cooler. Adding liquid to your cooler is a trend, as there haven’t been any good air coolers apart from the D15 in this price range. But that aside, the Arctic Liquid Freezer does what its name suggests; it keeps your CPU chill so that you don’t stress when blowing up 1000 TNTs in Minecraft!

The liquid cooler comes with two, not 120mm wide fans, the standard on the list. These two fans can each rotate at a maximum RPM of 2000, creating an airflow of 56.3 CFM, which is enough for the CPU. And the best art about the cooler is that it also comes with 1700 LGA mounting hardware!

The thing that penetrates it from the other liquid coolers is its size, so if you’re building requires a water cooler but doesn’t want a triple fan setup because it takes up to much space, then the Arctic Freezer is the way to go.

As with most air coolers nowadays, the Arctic also has impermeable rubber tubes, so you don’t have to worry about the liquid leaking. 

Plus, the liquid tubes don’t have to be maintained, and you don’t even have to refill them, so the probability of your PC getting liquid in it is almost none. Most of the time, water cooler accident happens because of human error, so no matter how good the product is, it’s human error that causes the failure. The Freezer II eliminates that.

The biggest letdown of this cooler is the exclusion of RGB lights; I know, like me, many would love to have RGB lights. But if you’re not one of us, this is a great pick.

3. Noctua NH-D15 chromax (Best Value)

CPU Cooler Pros
  • Probably the best air cooler
  • 2x 140 mm fans
  • 1500 RPM, 140 CFM
  • Anti vibrate tech
  • Good mounting hardware.
CPU Cooler Cons
  • No RGB lighting
  • Minimal customization.

The Noctua NH-D15 is an air cooler that you can’t go wrong with; it has been a favorite for many high-end builds, and rightfully so. Though an air cooler, it manages to beat most of the water coolers out there, which is insane if you think about it. So it is an air cooler that we can’t recommend enough for the intel 12th gen processors, be it the i9 or the i5!

It comes with LGA 1700 mounting hardware so that your air cooler stays stuck to the CPU no matter what orientation you place to stick it in. Not only that, but it also creates no vibration, which is essential if you want your PC to look good, no one wants a cooler that keeps vibrating and making a lot of noise. Speaking of noise, almost none is coming out of this one, no matter how high the temperature!

How does NH-D15 achieve this? Simple, by incorporating 2 140 mm wide fans and six heat pipes. The fans can rotate at a maximum of 1500 RPM, creating an airflow of 140CFM!

As for the visual aesthetics of the fan, which I know a lot of people care about. The D15 comes in a premium black finish; every part is matter black giving it a nice look. But if you want to add a tint of color to it, you can, as the company that makes these also have customization options for the fan! 

You get all this for just above $100, which is a steal. And as mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t hesitate to buy an expensive cooler when you just went out and brought a $600 CPU; it just does not make any sense.

4. Corsair iCUE H150i Elite CAPELLIX Liquid CPU Cooler (Editor’s Pick 1)

CPU Cooler Pros
  • RGB lighting
  • 3x 2400 RPM fans
  • Impermeable rubber tubes.
CPU Cooler Cons
  • Expensive
  • Same performance as the D15, which is much cheaper.

Next, we have a cooler that the PC enthusiast would drool over for its looks. It is the Corsair iCUE H150i, which is just mesmerizing! It is a water cooler, as you can see, and comes at a hefty price tag of $179; at that price point, you could buy a half-decent PC for doing menial tasks.

The Water Cooler is from Corsair, so you don’t have to worry about the liquid leaking, even in your wildest dreams. The build quality is top-notch, and the impermeable rubber tubes will make sure not even a drop of liquid comes out to ruin your build!

As for the fans, it has 3 of them to keep your PC cool, each being 120mm wide and rotating at a max speed of 2400 RPM, which is a lot! The airflow generated by this bad boy is 75 CFM, which is one big cooler compared to air coolers.

The water cooler performs the same as the D15 to an extent. The only reason for going for tis one over the D15 would be the person’s love for RGB lights and the water cooler’s aesthetic! Don’t get me wrong; this is just as if not more capable than the D15, but if you’re not into the RGB thing, this is just redundant!

But if you like the design and the RGB features it brings (which I do), there’s no reason to skip this one. You get 3 RGB Fans and the corsair logo, which lights up according to the color you set it to. There is a whole slew of customization options available.

Overall, a great water cooler that looks fantastic and keeps the monstrosity that is i9, cool.

5. Enermax Liqmax III 360 (Editor’s Pick 2)

CPU Cooler Pros
  • Supports a variety of CPU sockets, including the LGA 1700
  • Noise levels are low
  • RGB lighting.
CPU Cooler Cons
  • Not available in 280mm
  • You’ll have to request an LGA 1700 socket or buy it separately
  • Some users noticed a lot of air noise (this is the nose of the air being pushed, not the fans).

Next up on the list is the Enermax liquid cooler, considered a top-of-the-line cooling solution for PCs. It has an impressive 360-watt TDP (Thermal Design Power), making it capable of cooling even the most demanding CPUs. In terms of compatibility, this cooler supports a wide range of CPU sockets, including both Intel and AMD models. 

It operates quietly, with a noise level ranging from 14-27 dBA, making it suitable for various environments. One potential downside to consider is the size of this cooler. It may not fit in all computer cases, so it’s essential to check the dimensions of your case before purchasing. 

If you have an LGA 1700 CPU, you can purchase the LGA 1700 Enermax Mounting Kit on Amazon or request a free one via the LGA 1700 Mounting Kit Request Form. Overall, the Enermax liquid cooler is a robust and reliable choice for anyone looking to improve the cooling performance of their computer.

Also, it comes in three different variants; you choose the one that best suits your build!

6. Thermaltake TOUGHAIR 510 (Editor’s Pick 3)

CPU Cooler Pros
  • Great for most PC builds
  • It comes with LGA 1700 socket.
CPU Cooler Cons
  • Subpar performance.

The Thermaltake CPU cooler is a practical and efficient choice for cooling LGA 1700 CPUs. It features dual 120 mm fans that work together to effectively cool the CPU, even at speeds up to 2000 RPM.

This cooler has a 180-watt TDP (Thermal Design Power), which means it can handle demanding CPUs without problems so that you can play for hours on end.

One thing to note is that this cooler doesn’t have any fancy LED lights, which may be a drawback for some users. But if you’re anything like me, you won’t care about the aesthetics of the cooler. If you’re concerned about the size of this cooler, Thermaltake offers a few single-fan TOUGHAIR variants that use different orientations to save space. 

The Thermaltake CPU cooler is a reliable and efficient choice for anyone looking for a high-quality and reliable CPU Air Cooler on a budget!

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