When AMD released its powerful dodeca core processor Ryzen 9 3900x in July 2019, everyone thought Intel was finally done for. Rising over the years from simply a rookie in the field of microprocessors to giving Intel some serious competition, AMD had stood the test of time and proved its mettle.
However, in April 2020, Intel released the extremely powerful Intel i9-10900K which still reigns supreme among gamers as the fastest gaming CPU around. Notwithstanding, the underlying familiar technology, there are some fresh ideas that Intel has introduced into the chip to make it the fastest. There have been plenty of features brought in from in X-series chips which have made this possible. Let us look at some of the features of the i9-10900K:
Traditionally available on the X series chips, the Turbo Boost Max 3.0 highlights only the best cores in your CPU and works on them to get the highest performance. That would work for clocking capacities till 5.2GHz. But, add the Thermal Velocity Boost into the mix and you can touch frequencies up to 5.3Ghz easily, providing the temperature is below 70o C and some turbo power is present.
Decacore processor with HyperThreading:
In spite of its reasonable price, the i9-10900K comes with 10 cores the first for a mainstream CPU. With its 20 threads, a lot of processing can be done using this chip due to the high speeds that come with it and the HyperThreading mechanism it works on.
High-power consumption equals High-speed:
With its TDP (Thermal Design Power) value of 125W, you can be assured that the i9-10900K is going to consume an insane amount of power when it comes to processing activities. Although unsustainable in the long run, this feature makes it the fastest processor of this year. On testing, it was also found that when pushed to the limit this chip could achieve TDP ratings as 200 to 250 W to reach peak frequencies.
This CPU comes with a new chipset that is compatible with the Z490 motherboard and its LGA 1200 socket. Other than its extra 49 pins to improve power delivery, this chip and its socket are identical to previous generation CPUs. Now that the i9-10900K is the go-to CPU when it comes to gaming, you must be willing to get a graphics card that is able to give you a good frame rate performance out of your rig.
Due to the flagship CPU that it is, the Intel i9-10900K operates at high temperatures due to its high TDP rate of almost 125W and thus high power consumption. However, to keep being the fastest CPU as well as maintain good productivity, it has to keep working at these elevated power levels and temperatures. This chip has great compatibility with the Z490 series motherboard however also coming with jarringly high temperatures due to the board’s MCE feature. This Multi-Core enhancement feature removes TDP levels on the CPU for higher performance and boosts clocking speeds. This feature is turned on by default on most boards except for ones by ASUS.
Manufacturers tend to do that to boost PC performance which means a higher place in the review charts. However, this tends to get the PCs really hot. It also brings with it a host of other problems like system instability which leads to the common occurrence of BSOD in Windows PCs. When the MCE is kept on constantly by default it leads to a lot of heat being produced especially at high loads. In such a case, normal CPU coolers might not suffice especially air coolers with TDP ratings only up to 200W. An AIO cooler might be more effective as it is more powerful with higher TDP ratings. Let us look at some of the recommended coolers for the Intel i9-10900K:
Best All-round air cooler: Noctua NH-D15
Best Budget air cooler: Scythe Fuma 2
Best Silent air cooler: Be quiet!Dark Rock Pro 4
Best All-round AIO cooler: NZXT Kraken X63
Best Budget AIO cooler: EVGA CLC 28/36
Best Silent AIO cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO
Depending on your usage and the load that is expected, you can choose between going for an Air or AIO cooler across a wide range of prices. You can also choose different types such as silent or funky types with RGB lighting too. In the long run, choosing the right cooler becomes imperative as too much heat might wear out the motherboard faster as the capacitors are overworked. Below is a detailed description of the above models that will help you make an informed decision.
This elite dual tower cooler, built for the ultimate cooling performance by the flagship brand Noctua meets the highest standards. It is a brilliant improvement on the NH-D14 excellent efficiency with its premium-grade fans with automatic speed control that makes it one of the best overall air coolers around.
Structure: The NH-D15 cooler supports a number of sockets Intel like LGA2066 and LGA1200 with its premium-grade SecuFirm2 mounting system which is multi-socketed, thus being compatible with a number of motherboards. Having an extremely efficient architecture with its six heat pipes that are finely tuned over a greater surface area of two towers, the NH-D15 gives you better heat-distribution and airflow performance. This is much better compared to the conventional heatsinks with a single tower. Whereas the standard height RAM ie 32mm must be used for the NH-D15 in the dual fan mode, when it comes to single fan mode, this cooler is more flexible. The cooler becomes compatible with most high performing RAMs with tall memory heatsinks as it provides a clearance of up to 64mm with its single fan mode.
Based on the legendary NH-D14, this premium cooler is the most successful heatsinks ever built proof being the over 350 awards won from various internationally reputed hardware magazines and websites. This cooler comes highly recommended. Due to the SecuFirm standard, with the NM-13 mounting kit, the cooler becomes compatible with the older LGA775 and LGA1366 sockets. For future sockets, Noctua also provides the option of upgrade kits. It has cooling fins made of aluminum and joints that are soldered with nickel plating. To top it off, the cooler base and heat pipes are made of copper material.
Features: Compared to past models, the heat pipes of the cooler are spaced apart further and its fin-stack has been widened further to 150mm for superior efficiency achieved by equal heat distribution over a bigger surface. The fan speed can now be automatically controlled due to the PWM support through the motherboard. Also, using the Low-Noise Adaptors, the maximum fan speed can be reduced to 1200 RPM from 1500 RPM thus reducing processing sound.
The NH-A15 fans placed below the fin-stacks, provide massive airflow over the motherboard heatsinks and components surrounding the CPU. This ensures excellent cooling performance. This cooler is ideal for workstation and professional server environments due to its NT-H1 thermal compound which is a pro-grade solution that provides outstanding reliability, minimum thermal resistance, and ease-of-use. With its sophisticated aerodynamic design and flow acceleration channels, the two NH-A15 fans of this cooler adhere to Noctua’s AAO standard making it one of the best 140mm fans among tech circles.
A brilliant successor to the FUMA, the FUMA2 this 150mm maximal cooler is a one size fits all cooler when it comes to PC cases. This is a flexible air cooler that comes at a reasonable budget.
Structure: The asymmetrical design of the FUMA2 which is offset by inclined heat pipes and not centered above the CPU socket directly provided a maximum possible space for memory banks. Without restricting the heatsink, the memory banks on both sides of the CPU socket run without any problems due to the customized alignment of the second tower cooling fins. The FUMA2 fits into a case of any size notwithstanding the large cooling surface. Due to a special oil film got by using a sealed fluid bearing, the wear and friction are reduced to a minimum for the Kaze Flex Slim Fan.
We can use RAM modules in the front slot of any size due to the cooler’s asymmetrical design. The rear RAM slot gets its clearance by the cut-out fin design. Its dual radiators with six sintered heat pipes give you top-of-the-line performance on many levels. For high demand users such as overclockers and gamers, maximum cooling can be maintained using the third fan. Superior airflow and tremendous heat dissipation are achieved from using the dual heatsinks and heat pipes. This beauty is born specifically for users who are avid gamers and professionals engaged in high-intensity activities like overclocking and core computing.
Features: The FUMA2 is provided with two fans namely, the Kaze FlexSlim 120 and the Kaze Flex 120 that rotate in opposite directions. This is the ‘Dual Fan Reverse Airflow’ process. This causes a constant and increased airflow with higher static pressure which highly improves cooling and ventilation throughout the motherboard components. Additionally, there is an option of installing a third fan for greater cooling. Fastening fan clips are also included in the product. It has a fluid dynamic bearing type with heatsinks made of copper and aluminum.
The highly proven HPMS III mounting system is used with spring-loaded screws and a pre-assembled mounting bar for balanced pressure distribution. What makes the installation process considerably easier are the rubber-coated spacers used to attach the backplate to the mainboard. All sockets including AMD’s AM4 and Intel’s LGA 2066 are compatible with the mounting system. This air cooler is ideal for gaming PCs or other mainstream high load systems overclocking with high TDP processors like the i9-10900K.
As the name suggests and rightly so, the Dark Rock Pro 4 is the quietest air cooler in the market this year at minuscule 24.3Db all thanks to its Silent Wings PWM fans.
Structure: A touch of elegance is added to this cooler with its brushed aluminum top cover with a diamond-cut finish. The black design of the Dark Rock Pro perfectly matches the black mounting kit making it very stylish. Starting from above, the cooler can be installed on the motherboard. Heat conductance is maximized due to the seven 6mm copper heat pipes having advanced technology. Additionally, air circulation is also increased by the wave contoured cooling fins with small dots on their body thus optimizing airflow. Perfect transfer of heat is now possible due to special black coating out of ceramic particles.
An incredible level of a performance-to-noise ratio is achieved especially for applications demanding a high level of graphics as well as overclocked systems. Due to its immense cooling power, even while the i9-10900K runs high-performance tasks, the Dark Pro 4 achieves low temperature all thanks to its impressive TDP rating of 250W. The RAM compatibility is also enhanced due to the cut-out design of fans. The black installation kit can be easily mounted from above. It also comes with a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Features: One of the main highlights of this model is its operation which is virtually inaudible. The PWM fan speed noise is insignificant at 24.3 dB in spite of performing at 100 percent. This is due to the smooth six-pole motors, advanced fluid dynamic bearings, and fan blades that are airflow-optimized of its two Silent Wings PWM fans. There are also elements on the heatsink that are vibration-isolated due to the decoupled fan mounting. Extremely high air pressure is provided due to the air inlet which is funnel-shaped of the Silent Wings 3 fan placed in the front.
The cooler has two main fans that come installed beforehand. However, a third fan of size up to 120mm can be added to the PC case for better cooling. Additionally, two aluminum heat sinks are present in the Dark Pro 4. For CPUs like the Intel i9-10900K with high processing power, an air cooler such as this may still give you 80 to 90 degrees across all the cores especially during full load. In such cases, it makes sense to use an AIO cooler instead of a weaker air cooler. The build quality is pretty solid and of top-tier ranking. Additionally, it has a mounting mechanism for the cooler while installing which is easy to set up due to its great improvement from past models.
As the name suggests, it is the ultimate beast when it comes to cooling among AIO coolers, the Kraken X63 is must-have any build with its stunning visual effects, intuitive installation and awesome cooling capacity.
Structure: The Kraken X63 can be coupled with an Intel or AMD chip easily due to its compatibility with a wide range of sockets. It has excellent protection against mishandling increasing its durability in tough situations due to the nylon mesh sleeves covering the rubber tubing. Also, to avoid interference with other components, the pump orientation can be changed incrementally every 30 degrees. The fans of this AIO cooler have a fluid dynamic bearing with air pressure ranging from 0.21 to 2.71mm H2O.
Now, we can ensure maximum performance even in the most intense gaming marathons by tuning the settings on the CAM’s interface. This interface is very user-friendly and comes with sophisticated intuitive controls. With the full CAM integration software, on the click of a button, you can sync the lighting across the NZXT RGB devices. It also lets you make various adjustments to manage the Kraken’s performance with great precision. The motor speed of the cooler pump can go from speeds of 800 RPM right up to 3100 RPM. Lastly, it comes with a warranty that will last you six years.
Features: Designed for perfect liquid cooling, the Aer P radiator fans feature a fluid dynamic bearing and chamfered intake giving you powerful cooling. Due to this, the cooler remains largely silent especially during intense operations requiring great durability. The LED light is ten percent bigger than your conventional cooler lights. A HUE 2 connector is added to the lights for even more RGB options. The new Kraken comes with an awesome experience in RGB liquid cooling all thanks to the upgraded infinity mirror ring LED that is now larger in size and a redesigned cap. It has a water block made out of copper material and its housing is covered with plastic material.
The Kraken is designed to provide the ultimate cooling experience for the Intel i9-10900K chip and the entire motherboard components connected to it with a cooling performance that can handle TDP ratings of 95W and higher. The Kraken has inherited its super-quiet cooling from its predecessors. The noise generated by this AIO Liquid cooler is very less ie mainly in the range of 21 to 38 dB. The maximum airflow capacity the Kraken can manage is 98.17 CFM having a heatsink made out of copper. The Kraken’s well-designed and appealing exterior gives it an overall mysterious dark look.
This beauty is an AIO cooler that requires no custom tubing and comes with a plug-and-play liquid cooling that requires no filling all at a very reasonable budget. It also requires minimum to no maintenance.
Structure: Built for silent functioning and superior cooling, the fans have a curved housing that greatly reduces the noise level. The fans also offer excellent cooling performance due to the unique blade design. With the included mounting stand, it is compatible with both Intel and AMD sockets and more so with the i9-10900K processor. The EVA CLC has radiators that are available in both 120mm or 280mm sizes which prove as a boon during high-end processing for the overclockers and professionals who want to extract the maximum potential from this beast. Maximum heat transfer is provided by the copper base.
A large heat transfer surface and improved flowrate are offered by the new cooling block for a brilliant efficiency in cooling. Now you can choose your favorite color of LED display due to full control offered by the manufacturers over the color cycle. The chosen color profiles even save to the firmware automatically. The RGB LEDs can be synced with other EVGA RGB components too. With the uniquely designed EVGA fan, sacrificing performance to reduce the noise level while processing is now in the past. It has a water block that is made of copper and has a maximum noise level of up to 20dB.
Features: The EVGA CLC comes with tubing that is fully sleeved right from the radiator to the CPU block. Now, you can easily control various features of your cooler like the RGB lighting, fan speed/curve, and pump control with the EVGA software. This software gives you full control over the liquid cooler letting you save the lighting and fan settings to the firmware permanently. A long lifespan is ensured for the cooler with its Teflon Nano Bearings. Be it for the quietest operation possible or to fine-tune your system for the best performance a custom fan speed and pump can be set for the same.
The fans in this cooler can be easily customized and its 3x120mm fans built in a 360mm aluminum radiator, keep the CPU as cool as possible by dissipating the excess heat. The speed of the fan also dynamically changes as the CPU temperature fluctuates. Hence the noise is reduced as the fans operate at a slower speed due to the water cooling efficiency. This cooler is compatible with both current and future AMD and Intel sockets. Now, messy wires are no longer a problem due to its intelligent wiring system. This system is in the truest sense, self-contained.
In spite of being pricey, the Corsair H150i is the most silent All-in-one cooler in the market. If you can splurge on a cooler and need a really silent one then this is the one to go for.
Structure: This All-in-one liquid CPU cooler has a radiator of 360mm height with bold-styling and low-sound cooling with an RGB LED pump head. The three PWM fans produce a meager 25 dB of noise even at full-speed performances due to the magnetic levitation property introduced in them. Now, at lower temperatures, the fans can be stopped automatically due to the zero RPM cooling profile in the CORSAIR iCue software which in turn helps eliminate fan noise. It can be installed in CPU cases across a wide variety of sizes. This AIO cooler can be easily and painlessly mounted on most major CPU sockets using the tool-free, modular mounting bracket.
The precious CORSAIR iCue software comes with a lot of exciting options to control your cooler and much more. It has three parts namely advanced control, builds, and gaming. Using the iCue, gaming integrations, you can now take the action beyond your screen as the RGB LEDs automatically reacts to the in-game events happening in real-time. The iCUE module for Build automatically synchronizes all the RGB lighting effects of compatible devices to give your build a unique look due to its lighting customization. iCue for Advanced Control lets you control the multi-layer effects and lighting patterns to orchestrate your own lighting shows right down to the details across all compatible devices.
Features: Now, you can maximize the performance of your cooler by regulating the pump speed control feature also used to minimize noise. Now, you can produce vivid lighting effects using the RGB LED pump to match your build. It has copper made cold plate along with aluminum radiator of 360mm. The CORSAIR Hydro H150i gives you a quiet start-up experience as the ML fans start at the lowest RPM possible while the system is turned on. Having the brand name of Corsair by your side will ensure you the best cooling experience even when it comes to maximum overclocking and intense heavy load performances.
The plastic frame of the cooler is significantly reinforced with a maximum static pressure of 1.78mm H2O. This premium AIO cooler is able to provide good thermal performance all thanks to its massive radiator. It has no resistance, open-air airflow which goes to a maximum of47.3 CFM. It must be noted that in order for the H150i Pro RGB to support the SP3r2/TR4 socket, the mounting bracket is not available with the cooler kit inherently, and in fact, must be bought separately.
One of the most important things to consider while building your PC is the kind of cooler to install. A number of factors such as, whether performance is a priority or noise level, do you want a funky look with RGB lighting, how much is budget available for a cooler, etc must be taken into account. Depending on your needs you can choose from the two main types i.e Air or AIO (All-in-one coolers). There is a third kind called the open-loop cooler which is rarely used due to their high cost and super-cooling abilities. For normal processing use or even intense gaming, the first two kinds would suffice. Since the Intel i9-10900K is a powerful processor, AIO coolers would be a suitable choice.
Air coolers have many levels of thermal dissipation capacities (TDP) and are constructed using fans and metal heat sinks. They have limited cooling capabilities and are difficult to install. However, they are extremely suitable if you have a limited budget and don’t mind moderate noise levels. They are best suited for normal processing or mid-level load performances. AIO coolers have more powerful cooling systems and are easier to set up and mount. They do not require the custom fitting of tubes and are extremely quiet. However, they are quite expensive. So, if budget isn’t an issue and you want something suitable for your high-performance needs, AIO coolers are the way to go.
1. Budget: When it comes to pricing, Air coolers are much cheaper than AIO coolers, giving you more cooling worth your money. This is due to the RGB LED fans and large radiators that add to the cost of AIO coolers. While starting out you can get a decent air cooler for a minimum price of 25$, AIO coolers on the other hand would cost you at least a minimum of 60$.
2. Type of cooler (Air/AIO): Depending on the type of activities you plan to perform using your CPU you can choose between AIO or Air coolers. Air coolers, give you less cooling and are suitable for daily low-intensity tasks or moderate gaming levels. Whereas CPUs like the i9-10900K are mostly used for heavy load performances and for high-end gaming in which case an AIO cooler would be a better choice.
3. Noise level & RGB lighting: If you are an avid gamer who likes a lot of sound effects and lights, while playing, an AIO cooler with RGB LED fan lighting system would be an ideal choice. AIO coolers although cooler than air coolers are pricey. So, if you don’t mind noise levels especially during high-end processing, then you can go for an air cooler which comes at a pretty reasonable budget.
4. Chassis size available: Factors like compatible sockets or any other PC case size limitations such as radiator size or cooler height must be taken into account while buying a cooler. Ultimately, the cooler must fit into your existing chassis, or else you might have to consider buying a bigger one according to the cooler size and height. Most heatsink makers and chassis manufacturers mention the dimensions of coolers and maximum cooler height for their products so that buyers can easily make their choice.
Whether you are a high-end gamer or a working professional, needs vary from person to person in which case, there is a wide variety of coolers due to which users are spoilt for choice. In conclusion, we see that air coolers are well-budgeted beauties suitable for lower cooling and less intense operations where the CPU does not overheat easily. AIO coolers on the other hand are tougher and more colorful due to most varieties having an additional RGB lighting feature. They are more suited for high-end performances and greater cooling wherein the CPU may fry easily due to overheating if not checked in time. We hope the above guidelines will help you make the right choice!