Question Looking for a cpu cooler

Apr 21, 2019
I’m looking for a new cpu cooler, I have a core i5-9600k and I’m boosting it. I want a Noctua brand one, but I’m not sure which one to choose...
The one I have picked out currently is the Noctua NH-U9S. It’s 93mm, that seems a little small, I’m not sure it would do good with airflow.
I have a case limit of 160mm, I’m looking at the Noctua NH-U12S, it’s larger but it’s cheaper, so is it actually better?
Then there’s the Noctua NH-D15. It says it’s a 140mm fan, but in the measurements it says the height with fan is 165mm! Will it fit? Even a cpu cooler at exactly 160mm, is it still ok to barely squeeze it into my case? I think that cpu cooler would do a really good job, but it’s not a silent edition and I’m worried about sound.
Finally, there’s the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4, which is very quiet and can keep my cpu cool and efficient! But the product dimensions say 8.2 inches, which measures to 208mm! I don’t think that’s right... I don’t know any case that supports something that big.
So that’s it, I have a few choices and I’m very conflicted on each one, so I figured to come for professional help (or at least people that know a lot more about computers than I do), so does anyone have tips, answer my questions on the cpu cooler, or know another cpu cooler that you think would be better?


So, correct, 160mm is the max. NH-D15 is too tall. D14 is too tall. U12S is too tall.

The U12A is one option, and it works well. Probably comparable to the U14S which is a very good CPU cooler for a single fin stack unit.

But my recommendation, assuming you didn't mind spending the money on the D15, would be this unit. Excellent performance, short enough to fit, superior quality to any CPU coolers out there IMO aside from the Noctua coolers.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU Cooler: Thermalright - Le Grand Macho RT 73.6 CFM CPU Cooler ($79.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $79.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-06-17 00:24 EDT-0400

Thermalright has done an exceptional job with the Le Grand Macho RT. It offers cooling performance that just barely nudges out the Noctua NH-D15. That is no small feat, but to accomplish that while being quieter is pretty much insane. The only way to get a cooler quieter than that is to remove the fan and the Le Grand Macho RT can in fact be used passively on CPUs with a TDP of 95W or lower. It doesn't hurt that Thermalright has a solid mounting kit that works and like the cooler itself, it is of top-notch quality. Users can also opt to install a second fan for further improved performance if they so wish. Finally, clearance, while not perfect, is still exceptional with memory and motherboard slots in the open. Overall, the Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT is certainly a winner in many regards.

It is not all rainbows and buttercups, though, as the Le Grand Macho RT does have a few drawbacks. Namely, the heatsink, which sits awfully close to the primary expansion slot. While it does clear on the test system's MSI Z170 motherboard, it may be an even closer fit on mini-ITX systems. The one year warranty is also a bit of a let-down. With Thermalright's quality being quite high, the one year warranty seems out of place. Finally, there are no extra fan clips. The heatsink can take a second fan, but no fan clips are included.

Thermalright's Le Grand Macho RT is certainly an interesting proposition. It is available with a fan or without and has the option to be used with dual fans. The fact that it is nearly inaudible while performing on par with the Noctua NH-D15 is just amazing. If you want uncompromising performance and low noise levels, Thermalright takes the top spot without question. The ability to be used passively is nice, but I doubt anyone will considering how quiet it is.

With exceptional build quality, ultra low noise levels, and best in class performance, the Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT takes the top spot for air coolers.


Those are both good coolers as well. I'm not sure I'd put them in the same category as the D15 or Le Grand Macho RT, but they are still excellent coolers.

The Cryorig H5 Universal or Ultimate would also be excellent choices.