This Best CPU Cooler For i5-12600k Buying Guide is all about keeping the temperature of the 12600K CPU in check, so first, we need to know about its power design. The Core i5 12600K has a TDP of 125 W, which means you have to select a CPU cooler with a TDP rating of 125 W or more to sustain its temperature and if you are planning to subject this CPU for overclocking, there are plenty of options available in the market, which we have covered in this guide. One more thing to note is that like every other unlocked processor by Intel, The 12600K package doesn’t include a free cooler, so you must have to select an after-market cooler for optimal temperature. And of course, without a CPU cooler, your PC cannot work. It is the main thought of buying a CPU cooler in the first place. Besides, while reading this article, you should have already made your choice regarding Motherboard For i5-12600k.
Moving onto the LGA socket, it is somehow different in symmetry and has distinct pins alignment across the socket base, and also the CPUs come in a weird rectangular shape as well. Intel has titled it LGA 1700 (it has 1700 pins to make contact with the pads on the processor).
If you already have a CPU cooler then you will need LGA Upgrade kits, which are being sold separately for people who are not willing to buy a whole new cooler. While some manufacturers are generous enough like NZXT, EK, Noctua, Lian Li, and cooler master as they are giving away the LGA 1700 support bracket free. However, all new-batch/rebranded coolers have LGA 1700 support brackets out of the box.
Alongside that, you must note that It’s almost the end of the year and Intel has dropped their 12th generation Alder Lake series CPUs based on a hybrid architecture featuring Power Efficient-core (formerly known as Gracemont) and High Performance-core (formerly known as Golden Cove). Here are all the CPU Coolers for i5-12600k that we are going to compare.
Last update on 2023-09-23
Apart from changes at the architecture level, there has been a major change in the pace of hardware standards, as we get Intel LGA 1700 socket, Z690 chipset, high-speed DDR5 memory, and high-speed PCIe 5.0.
The DDR5 is the most tempting overhaul of this upgrade and has a noteworthy benchmark breakthrough of this decade. Now you can go up to 7,000MHz in base frequency, and with OC, the sky is the limit. If you are planning to upgrade to the Intel 12th Gen platform, you can choose from our DDR5 RAM and Z690 motherboards for Intel 12th Gen CPUs listings.
These are the real game-changer and there is no denying it in any case. The Intel Core i5 12600K accompanies all these features to full potential, for this trick to work you need to pair it with the i5 12600k RAM and motherboard for i5 12600K.
Best CPU Coolers for Core i5-12600K
Below we are going to discuss Top CPU coolers For I5-12600k that support the LGA 1700 socket (the majority of them support new sockets out of the box). So, let’s start!
Best Value CPU Cooler for i5-12600K
Fans: 1 x 120mm | Fans Speed: 1500RPM | TDP:140W | Noise: 22.4 dB(A) | Height: 158mm | Width: 125mm | Depth: 71mm | Weight: 755g | Socket Compatibility: Intel LGA 1700, LGA 1200, 115X, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066, AMD AM4, sTRX4*, TR4*(*Threadripper bracket not included) | Material: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating | RGB Fans: No
- Premium design
- Fair OC capability
- Takes up less space
- Might not bend perfectly with lots of builds, though it can be fixed with Chromax lineup
You might have seen black and white-colored coolers usually in the market, but Noctua products are far much different in color. Noctua coolers usually have brown color schemes for their plastic material and at present time, they started making white and black colored coolers as well under the Chromax lineup. Noctua fans are designed to keep the operation noise down by performing well in thermal dissipation.
Noctua NH-U12S is the budget air cooler in the Noctua coolers lineup. It has a single 120mm fan attached to a big heatsink. Noctua NH-U12S uses a Noctua NF-F12 PWM fan which is a high-grade fan capable of running at max 1500RPM with a bold design and the best airflow. It has all the necessary paddings on the corners to downsize the vibrations thus making the whole operation quiet.
Accompanied by a great airflow, the Noctua NH-U12S has a set of 4 copper pipes soldered firmly from the heatsink down to the copper base. Not to mention that the nickel plating makes the whole cooler come out nice and strong. The heatsink has a horizontal alignment with the cooler and has aluminum fins to make the whole cooler much lighter and upsize the dissipation rate.
The Noctua NH-U12S has a TDP rating of 140 W, which ensures to trip down the temps when using it with the Core i5 12600K on stock clocks. This cooler also has a little headroom for OC that makes Noctua NH-U12S the Best Value CPU Cooler for i5-12600K.
NZXT Kraken X53
Best 240mm CPU Cooler for i5-12600K
Fans: 2 x 120mm | Fans Speed: 2000RPM | TDP: N/A | Noise: 21 to 36 dB(A) | Height (Radiator): 123mm | Width (Radiator): 275mm | Depth (Radiator): 30mm | Socket Compatibility: LGA 1700, 2066, 2011, 1200, 1156, 1155, 1151, 1150, AMD AM3, AM3+, AM2, AM2+, FM1, FM2, FM2+, AM4 | Material: plastic (Cap), Copper (CPU block), aluminum R) | Pump: 800 – 2,800 ± 300RPM | Tubing: 400mm, Rubber + Nylon sleeve | RGB: Yes (Only on CPU block)
- Good OC capability
- Cool LCD display
- A little expensive
NZXT coolers gained fame following their best-selling PC chassis. NZXT is all about simplicity, elegance, and attention to detail and quality.
NZXT Kraken X53 is a piece of art and endorsed by many PC hardware gurus. This AIO cooler has everything made carefully from cables to the pips, everything reflects elegance in its own class. The CPU block and cap are attractive and have a holo RGB circle and logo on the top. This makes it stand out most in the foremost visible part of the PC chassis. The RGB patterns can be controlled and can be synchronized with other NZXT peripherals as well.
The Nylon sleeved covered rubber pipes are flexible and less stiff to bend safely and efficiently inside the PC case so it won’t bother the neighbouring hardware. The pipes are then attached to the CPU block by oscillating pivots, which protects pipes from bending and leaking when twisted or turned to adjust.
The Radiator has the NZXT logo blended on it and painted matte black having Aluminum material used underneath the paint. The NZXT Kraken X53 uses Aer P 120mm fans on the radiator out of the box. These fans are made to be quieter while keeping the airflow effective. The TDP of this I5-12600k cooler is not official yet but it sure can handle the Core i5 12600K Cooling with a good OC boost.
The NZXT Kraken X53 may look compact and less enthusiastic, but this can practically handle up to 150 W of TDP from CPU out of the box making it the best 240mm CPU cooler for i5-12600K.
EK AIO Elite 360 D-RGB
Best 360mm CPU Cooler for i5-12600K
Fans: 6 x 120mm (for push-pull) | Fans Speed: 2200RPM | TDP: N/A | Noise: 21 to 36 dB(A) | Height (Radiator): 120mm | Width (Radiator): 395mm | Depth (Radiator): 27mm | Socket Compatibility: Intel LGA 1700, LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1200, LGA2011, LGA2011-3, LGA2066, AMD AM4 | Material: Black nickel (cap), Copper Cold plate (CPU block), aluminum (radiator) | Pump: 1000–3300RPM | Tubing: 400mm, Ultra-Low Evaporation Rubber with Nylon Braided Sleeve | RGB: Yes
- Comes with RGB and Fans hub
- High-speed pump
- Elegant CPU block
- Comes with 6x EK-Vardar S 120ER D-RGB fans for push-pull setup
Originally EK has been making custom liquid cooling solutions and has excelled in its deliverance of top-tier liquid cooling components including pipes, CPU blocks, GPU blocks, radiators, and pumps. But setting up the custom DIY liquid cooler is difficult and requires a lot of equipment and precautions in mind. EK is now manufacturing AIO liquid coolers with the same class in quality components.
Read EK AIO 360 D Review and you will get to know why we think It’s one of the Best CPU Coolers For I5-12600k.
EK AIO Elite 360 is consists of 6x RGB fans with a flashy CPU block and fans controller that comes right out of the box. These fans are highly recommended for silent and elegant-looking builds. You can modify your EK AIO to synchronize your settings with its scope of completely addressable D-RGB light modes. Bonded into the CPU block and 6x EK Vardar S fans, the EK AIO Elite offers a room of colorful lights controlled from either your motherboard or independently with an EK-Hub controller. The Chrome Nickel CPU block of the AIO unit offers an extraordinary rich look with the patterns of D-RGB lights emerging through the EK logo.
The AIO cooler’s pipes must be flexible so in their AIO coolers, EK provides high-quality rubber piping with oscillating joints attached to it on the CPU block. To assist in dealing with the links of EK-Vardar fans, the EK-AIO Elite unit comes with an included EK-Hub, offering multi-linking with seven links of addressable RGB LED headers and 4-pin PWM fan headers.
The EK-Hub will assist you with accessibly organizing the RPM of fans and syncing your entire AIO with the patterns of other components via MSI Mystic Lights, Asus AuraSync, Gigabyte RGB Fusion 2.0, and much more.
EK has everything that a complete AIO should deliver with many extras, thus, becoming the Best 360mm CPU Cooler For I5-12600k.
Best mini-ITX CPU Cooler for i5-12600K
Fans: 1 x 92mm | Fans Speed: 2500RPM | TDP: 65W | Noise: 23.6 dB(A) | Height: 37mm | Width: 95mm | Depth: 95mm | Weight: 385g | Socket Compatibility: Intel LGA 1700 (Because this cooler For I5-12600k is dedicatedly built for LGA 1700 socket only) | Material: Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating | RGB: No
- Full LGA 1700 compatibility out of the box
- High RPM fan
- Defiantly, no overclocking capability
Many PC users have an urge to build a Mini-ITX PC build without compromising on the performance. This has always been a headache because there is a very little number of hardware made to fit inside the mini-ITX form factor PC.
However, if you still manage to buy a good Mini-ITX motherboard and pair it with the Core i5-12600K, now you need the best mini-ITX CPU Cooler for i5-12600K and ultimately there is a lot of fuss to choose one from limited options. It is where Noctua NH-L9i-17xx comes in handy.
Despite its smaller size, don’t forget where it came from, Noctua is serving the Mini-ITX community with the best cooling solutions by taking precise thermal factors into account.
This little cooler has an NF-A9x14 PWM premium fan resting on the top-side perpendicular to the motherboard alignment. The NF-A9x14 has a whooping 2500 of maximum RPM, which may drive little noise (23.6 dBA) when subjected to higher TDP CPUs, but it still manages to perfectly maintain good thermal results.
The heatsink hides copper pipes underneath which will be actively and evenly spreading the warmth across the sides of the heatsink before they get dissipated from the top-side. The whole apparatus is made from Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), and soldered joints & nickel plating.
Noctua NH-L9i-17xx is a dedicated CPU cooler for Intel LGA 1700 CPUs, keep that in mind that it may cost less due to limited pouches of attachments in its package thus it will not support any other socket unless you arrange the attachment kit in hands for the mounting purpose.
This cooler for I5-12600k is not recommended at all for the overclocking purpose, because it only serves the purpose with stock clocks of Core i5-12600K CPU due to its low TDP ratings. On the bright side, the cooler is easiest to install in our rundown list and ultimately takes a little space which is also appreciated.
Here is an unboxing video of the Noctua NH-L9i by our reviewers.
The Best CPU Cooler for i5-12600K In 2023
Fans: 1 x 120mm | Fans Speed: 1500RPM | TDP: 220W | Noise: 24.6 dB(A) | Height: 165mm | Width: 150mm | Depth: 135mm | Socket Compatibility: Intel LGA 1700, LGA2011-0, 2066, 1155, 1156, 1150, AMD AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM1, FM2, FM2+ | Material: Aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating, Copper (base and heat-pipes) | RGB: No
- Dual heatsink design
- 6 heat pipes
- Can attach up to 3 fans
- OC capability
Noctua NH-D15S (Read Full Review) and Noctua NH-D15 have so much in common, but the Noctua NH-D15S has been tailored to provide superior RAM and PCI-e clearance compatibility. Noctua NH-D15S comes with a single fan to cool down the heatsink fast, but you can attach a maximum of 3 fans because of its dual-tower heatsink design. You can adjust a fan in between the split heatsinks and one fan on each side of the heatsink like a sandwich in a push-pull configuration.
The Noctua NH-D15S comes with the 1x NF-A15 PWM premium fan out of the box. This specific fan is known for great airflow and great acoustic performance while keeping the vibrations down to none thanks to the rubber attachments at the corners.
The TDP rating for the Noctua NH-D15S is 220 W which means that it can easily handle the Core i5 12600K and even can overclock it to a decent extent without breaking the temperature hazards. The Noctua design, bigger heatsink, and higher TDP ratings make it the best overall CPU Cooler for i5-12600K. We also unboxed the Noctua D15S Chromax Black – give it a look, so you know what to expect.
Lian Li Galahad AIO 240 – White
Best White CPU Cooler for i5-12600K
Fans: 2 x 120mm | Fans Speed: 1900RPM | TDP: N/A | Noise: 32 dB(A) | Height (Radiator): 123mm | Width (Radiator): 240mm | Depth (Radiator): 27mm | Socket Compatibility: Intel LGA 1700, LGA 115X, LGA 1366, LGA 775, LGA 1200, LGA 2011, LGA 2066, AMD AM4 | Material: Aluminum (Cap), Copper plate (CPU block), Aluminum and plastic (Radiator) | Pump: unknown RPM | Tubing: 400mm, Rubber with Nylon Braided Sleeve | RGB: Yes
- Elegant design
- Great for white builds
- Fully controllable RGB lights
- Best thermal performance
- OC capability
- Little expensive
The Lian Li Galahad AIO is the newest innovation in the history of liquid cooling. It is even capable of handling the power-hungry i9-12900K processor, so Intel Core i5-12600K Cooler is a child’s play for Lian Li Galahad AIO 240 to maintain the good temperature at stock clocks and keep up the goodness even in an OC scenario. Also, if you have the I9-12900k, Read Our In-depth Best CPU Coolers For I9-12900k Guide.
The Galahad AIO has everything right up to the point. It has two high static pressure fans with a maximum of 1900RPM with an industrial-grade motor, rated to work 40,000 hours and keep the acoustics down even in peak usages. All the fans and CPU block is enriched with a lot of RGB patterns making it the best selling AIO cooler of this and the previous year.
- Good OC capability
- Cool LCD display
Besides performance, the Lian Li Galahad looks stunning in white color scheme and it could be the center of attention inside your PC if you are planning to build or already have a white-themed rig. This blending and aesthetic finishing make it the best white CPU cooler for i5-12600K.
If you have a higher budget, we recommend going for the Lian Li Galahad 360 Version instead.
MasterLiquid ML240L V2 RGB
Best Budget CPU Cooler for i5-12600K
Fans: 2 x 120mm | Fans Speed: 1800RPM | TDP: 200W | Noise: 8 – 27 dB(A) | Height (Radiator): 120mm | Width (Radiator): 277mm | Depth (Radiator): 27mm | Socket Compatibility: Intel LGA 1700, LGA2066, LGA2011-v3, LGA2011, LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA1150, LGA1155, LGA1156, AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2+, FM2, FM1 | Material: Plastic (Cap),Copper plate (CPU block), Aluminum (Radiator) | Pump: unknown RPM | Tubing: 400mm, Rubber with Nylon Braided Sleeve | RGB: Yes
- Classic design
- Great for black builds
- Fully addressable RGB lights
- Good thermal performance
- Gets noisy on peak load
The last but not least, Cooler Master Liquid ML240L V2 RGB is and has been a central choice of many gamers worldwide due to its long-term bond and reliability. What makes the Cooler Master products a most reliable choice? The answer is that they have improved with time and reviews of the gaming community.
Read Our MasterLiquid ML240L Full Review.
These certain improvements have led its manufacturers to roll out the V2 version of the Cooler Master MasterLiquid AIO. Cooler Master is though a complete package for anyone who wants good thermal results, but with styles and illuminations inside the PC case environment. Good thing is that it offers abundant attachments and goodies at a surprisingly affordable price.
The CPU block is entirely plastic, which looks classic though, and has a Cooler Master’s proprietary hexagon mark with RGB backlit. The pipes are improved with more immunity against leakage and have a good set of RGB illuminated fans which have a max of 1800RPM.
With the TDP of 200 W, this 240mm AIO can offer good OC potential. With everything coming in hands at the lowest price possible, there is nothing wrong to entitle it as the best budget CPU cooler for i5-12600K.
How We Chose The Best CPU Cooler For I5-12600K?
Us or anyone, while picking the best CPU cooler for i5-12600K should lookout for the following things.
A CPU cooler must be trusted to work with the CPU in order to avoid any burning or malfunctioning. It is hard to trust a non-reputable brand to handle the temperatures of the processor. The 12600K CPU runs very hot due to its higher TDP rating and it is more vulnerable to temperature surges.
So before you rush in finding the actually good cooler brand, we already have covered this part for you in our best coolers rundown. It made it all real convenient that you go for the trustworthy product that is associated and attested by many reviewers and have really good results and benchmarks.
The Core i5-12600K and all other unlocked processors don’t come with a free CPU cooler. It raises the urge to find an after-market cooler as soon as possible to make your processor work. Not to mention that the Intel Core i5 12600K supports the LGA 1700 socket which means CPU cooler must have a supported LGA 1700 bracket (majority of the CPU cooler companies are offering upgrade for free). Check out the cooler’s compatibility with many sockets on its box otherwise we have listed many coolers that fit well on the i5 12600K processor for your ease.
The space is not a big issue unless your other key features like RAM, GPU and PCIe SSD are being bullied by the big bulky air cooler. The air cooler dissipates heat and some may consume a very huge volume, so look out for the sizes of them before buying.
On the other hand, AIO coolers also have a huge problem with the radiator fitting, and we also find it hard to install an AIO radiator on the chassis. Look out for the openings and volume for the AIO cooler and then go for the size of it respectively.
Cost is the other side of the story where you see yourself bankrupted after buying all the necessary Alder Lake counterparts. The CPU cooler is considered the least important thing to spend on but it should be given the necessary attention and budget allocation because it might be your only hope to prolong the lifespan of your CPU.
Also, we will like to mention that, the air coolers are much cheaper than fancy AIO coolers. If you are having a budget issue big time, we will suggest you buy a budget air cooler but keep the socket and TDP in mind.
Almost every air cooler and AIO cooler comes with a spare and pre-applied thermal compound all wrapped up nicely on the cooler’s base. Some manufactures like Noctua, EK, and the Cooler master have the best thermal compounds out of the box.
Yet if you feel insecure with the thermal results of these, consider buying a good thermal compound for better thermal results. Also, don’t add too much thermal compound that it may halt the CPU from any side. Follow the thermal compound guide for safe and better results.
CPU coolers take up a lot of room and what if they are putting up a great RGB lights show? If you already have RGB lights on many of your components and want them to work simultaneously with the lights/patterns on the cooler, check out the cooler’s RGB sync support with AuraSync, Mystic Lights, RGB Fusion, and many more. This is the least important factor but it still does put a huge impact on an overall impression of the build.
Before thinking about this necessity, don’t forget that the Core i5-12600K doesn’t come with a free cooler, so you must buy a CPU cooler, to begin with. To buy one, we already have told you about the features and attributes. Without the cooler, this 125 W TDP CPU will not even manage to boot up the operating system. So buying a cooler should be your first priority before running into any inconvenience.
The AIO coolers we mentioned above have all the necessary TDP ratings to sustain good thermal results with the Core i5-12600K. On the contrary, if you buy an air-cooler the overall build may look dull. The AIO coolers are built stylishly to maintain good aesthetics inside the PC case and make the overall airflow good as well. If you ask us about the optimal AIO cooler for the 12600K, we will say the Cooler Master ML240 V2 RGB serves the purpose of overclocking and gaming aspects.
Many people buy an AIO cooler to also fulfill the need for front-in-take fans and put their AIO radiators on the front side of the case to make use of frontal air opening and filling up the space for fans. This might seem a bit off but it does the trick!
How Many Kinds of CPU Coolers are there?
Although, you have already gone through the Best CPU Coolers For I5-12600k, it’s important, that you know a lot more about CPU Coolers in General. To Expand, all the CPU coolers are mainly intended to keep the temperatures down and dodge any performance spike while playing games or doing productivity. So there are many physical attributes of a cooler to watch out for before selecting one for your long-run PCs. There is 2 kind of coolers that are distinct from each other in their operation nature.
- Air Coolers
- Liquid Coolers (AIO and Custom Water Cooling)
Most consumers prefer AIO Coolers, because they look clean and wonderful inside the PC case and also spare a lot of space for RAM and GPU to breathe, but most people prefer bulky air coolers over AIO coolers, because of their price to performance ratio for the long run.
What to Look for In An Air CPU Cooler?
- Heat pipe
It is the lowermost part of the cooler, which has direct contact with the CPU and thermal compound. A copper base is encouraged in all the CPU coolers above nickel-plated cooler bases for long-term immunity against corrosion.
Heat pipes are the middle part of an air cooler, which are responsible for transmitting heat from the base to the heatsink before it gets spread and dissipated. In most cases, copper pipes are appreciated due to their good thermal conductivity. Also, a greater number of such pipes means better thermal results. Look out for the number and thickness of pipes if you are aiming for Air Cooler.
Heatsinks are the bulkiest part of an air cooler which are in fact a selling point of air coolers because these spread the heat from lower surface to higher and bigger surface for greater and quicker dissipation. Most coolers use mostly built on aluminum as their key ingredient of the heatsink. Also, we rarely see copper heatsinks which are quite expensive to have as well.
The TDP is the thermal design power which refers to the maximum juice/watts a target device draws from the power supply to work and generate equivalent heat. Look out for the TDP rating of each cooler on their manuals, so you may have enough TDP rating of the cooler to co-op with CPU under maximum loads.
Fans are directly attached/cling to the heatsink, which is responsible to dissipate heat quickly from the heatsink. These days CPU coolers come with PWM fans, which are controllable via BIOS and different software. Look for better RPM fans coupled with low Noise dBA levels for optimal performance.
The size is the sum of the height width and depth of the cooler. Carefully select a CPU cooler by taking neighboring RAM and GPU into account. Also, determine the size of the cooler by the TDP of the CPU you are using. Power-hungry CPUs exhibit more heat that requires bigger coolers to place over them.
What to Look for In An AIO CPU Cooler?
- Heat Pipes
In AIO CPU Cooler, there is a pump inside the CPU block, which will be pumping liquid through the CPU to the radiators. Determine the RPM and quality of the pump to assure better heat treatment.
Just like the CPU air coolers, AIO coolers also have a metal base beneath the CPU block which carries heat from the CPU to the liquid inside it via thermal compound to direct intact. Look out for corrosion-free metal bases to assure the long run.
The radiator is a huge component of an AIO cooler, just like the heatsink, it comes in various sizes and plays a similar role in dissipating the derived heat from the cooler’s base.
Pipes are the most delicate part of the cooler. These pipes are the carrier between the CPU block to the radiator. The pipes should be flexible and must have Anti-Leak insurance to prevent liquid spillage and causing hardware failure/damage.
Note: The TDP, Fans Noise, and RGB in AIO coolers have the same preferences as with the air coolers. On the other hand, to sum, up, let’s take a look at common questions which people might face while Buying CPU Coolers For I5 12600k.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Noctua NH-D15S is the best CPU cooler so far for Intel Core i5 12600K because of its TDP rating and a greater headroom for overclocking.
Any CPU cooler with a TDP rating of a minimum of 125 W will work fine with stock clocks. If you are planning for overclocking, then go for an AIO cooler.
Alder Lake is engineered to be more power-hungry because of the cores & threads count with other fresh attributes. With a TDP of 125 W, the Core i5 12600K runs hot as was the case with its predecessor with a similar TDP.
Air coolers are much better than AIO coolers in price to performance ratio, but AIO coolers require lesser visible room than the bulkier air coolers and also run much cooler.
Yes, you can but with the help of the LGA 1700 support bracket, which you need to buy separately or you can have it free in the new batch of most CPU coolers.
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