[SOLVED] Which noctua cooler to get?

Mar 10, 2021
I'm picking a cooler for a 9900k. Planning on not only OC'ing it to 5 ghz on all cores, but also want to keep using the cooler when I upgrade to intel's 12th gen i9 cpu.

My picks are either the NH-D15, the NH-U12A, the NH-U12s, and the NH-U14s. I've looked at every comparison benchmarks I could find to see that they really are within 5 degrees of eachother. If anyone has any further insight please let me know. Otherwise it seems silly to spend anymore money than the U-12s.


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGHiRrQ2AAo

^Gives you an idea of how hot this cpu can get at stock, 5.0ghz, and 5.1ghz using a NH-D15, a 240mm hybrid, and a 360mm custom loop. Blender workload.

Coffee Lake RefreshAll Core SSE FrequencyAll Core AVX2 FrequencyBIOS Vcore% Capable
9900K4.90GHz4.70GHz1.287VTop 91%
9900K5.00GHz4.80GHz1.300VTop 30%
9900K5.10GHz4.90GHz1.312VTop 5%
^The odds of yielding a particular OC. Not all 9900Ks are created equally.

3)CompuTronix's Intel Temperature Guide
^Safe voltage & thermals, thermal tests, voltage tests, and more.
[Above 85C is not recommended under prolonged, heavy use. Below 80C is best.]

TL;DB: No air coolers.
Even a NH-D15 would have a hard time keeping that cpu below 80C under heavy load, and that's not taking into account things like:
-room/chassis ambient temp
-what the gpu is
-AVX/AVX2 loads(application dependent)


9900k All core 5GHz? Forget about Air Coolers. They aren't big enough. At those core/clocks the cpu is hitting close to 250w, the limits of a Noctua NH-D15 which is a 250w cooler.

For that cpu under any OC conditions at any workload that's pushing high core use for any moderate length of time, you should be looking at the 300w 280mm aios as a Minimum, with 350w 360mm aios as standard and full custom loops in the vicinity of 400w or better as the best solution.

That goes for any of the 9900k varients (especially the KS) the 10700k (basically a tweaked 9900k) or the 10900k.