Almost every generation Intel is increasing the core and thread count on all of its Core processors. From 4 cores/4 threads to 14 cores/20 threads, we have come a long way.
This although increases the performance dramatically, it does come with some disadvantages like poor thermals and higher power consumption. If you are looking to buy or have already bought the Core i5 13600K, it’s time to cool it as you should.
We have plenty of options in the cooler market but choosing the wrong one will only result in either poor thermals or poor value for the money. In this post, we have listed the top 5 CPU coolers you should go with if you don’t want your CPU to thermal throttle.
Our Top Picks
Core i5 13600K Overview
Core i5 13600K is Intel’s 13th gen processor with the code name Raptor Lake. It features a hybrid architecture utilizing Raptor Cove Performance cores and Gracemont Efficient cores.
The 13600K die is manufactured on the enhanced Intel 7 or 10nm process node and features 14 cores and 20 threads in total. Out of 14 cores, 6 are Performance and 8 are Efficient cores. As the Efficient cores don’t feature hyperthreading, the total threads on this CPU max out at 20.
The CPU is rated at 125-181W and is only compatible with the LGA 1700 socket. Launched at $320, it is currently considered the best gaming CPU in the mid-range category.
Core i5 13600K Runs Hot
The 13600K is not just any casual processor. It is a power-hungry beast that easily reaches 90 degrees Celcius under full load. So, it might work as a heater in winter but if you don’t want to reach a point where it starts to thermal throttle, you need a really good cooling solution.
Fortunately, the processor doesn’t run that hot in gaming as most games won’t utilize 100% of the CPU. You can still assume it to run between 70C and 80C considering that you already have a decent CPU cooler installed.
In case, you are going to utilize the CPU to the fullest and you use apps that render, compress, encode and do similar tasks, then you will need at least a 280mm AIO cooler. So, we will start the list with the least effective CPU cooler to the best one.
Investing For The Cooler Realistically
The processor costs $300 and there is hardly anyone who is fine with spending over $200 on a CPU cooler alone. Even though a premium cooling solution does the job best, many users will still pay between $50-$150 for a cooler.
If we narrow it down further, most users are willing to spend around $80-$120. So, the cooler recommendation below is not going to be a list where you will find top of the line AIO cooler that costs $300 even though it is obvious that it will provide the best thermals.
We are looking at the value for the price when choosing a cooler which matters the most even when choosing any PC component. So, here are the top 5 CPU coolers you should consider for the Core i5 13600K.
Best CPU Coolers For Core i5 13600K
Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 SE
- [Brand Overview] Thermalright is a Taiwan brand...
- [Product specification] Thermalright PA120 SE; CPU...
- 【2 PWM Fans】TL-C12C; Standard size PWM...
- 【AGHP technique】6×6mm heat pipes apply AGHP...
If you only have $40 in your pocket, you most probably end up buying a single-tower air cooler as most budget air coolers feature only a single block of aluminum heatsink at this price. Surprisingly, we have a dual-tower air cooler from Thermalright.
Despite being so cheap, the Peerless Assassin 120 SE is not that popular and it’s unfortunate because it’s hands down the best CPU cooler under $50. No air cooler comes close to its performance and Tomshardware calls it “Shockingly cool and quiet”. Other reviewers have similar things to say about this cooler as it competes with some top 240mm AIOs.
There are 6x 6mm copper heat pipes that extend to the top of both aluminum towers and help dissipate the heat quickly. The cooler comes with two 120mm pre-installed fans that are quite good in airflow while remaining quiet at the same time. It’s definitely the best budget cooler you should get for the 13600K, and I will try to include this cooler in as many recommendation guides as possible from now.
Noctua NH-D15 Chromax.Black
- Proven premium heatsink (more than 300 awards and...
- Extra-wide 140mm dual-tower design with 6...
- Dual-fan design with renowned, award-winning...
- Includes high-end NT-H1 thermal paste and...
The NH-D15 needs no introduction. We have recommended this cooler for several years and so did many legit reviewers who tested and compared it with other air coolers.
It is still the best air cooler out there for $100 and retains its crown of performance that has been on its head for almost 8 years now. It’s a massive and beefy cooler with dual blocks of aluminum heatsink that weighs around 1.2KG. It comes with 6 copper heat pipes and a smooth finished base for a perfect contact with the CPU.
It has won multiple awards for its excellence in providing good thermals and quiet operation. There isn’t any other air cooler that can be fit for the 13600K better than the NH-D15.
Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280
- QUALITY CONTROL APPROVED: We have increased the...
- LGA1700 COMPATIBILITY: The Liquid Freezer II 280...
- COOLER THAN OTHER AIO WATER COOLERS: The ARCTIC...
- 15°C LOWER VOLTAGE REGULATOR TEMPERATURE: An...
When it comes to AIO coolers, there are so many options that make it so confusing to choose between them. Most of them have their pricing, performance, and aesthetics nearly equal to each other which makes choosing between them even more difficult.
However, the Liquid Freezer II 280mm stands out among all the 280mm AIO coolers and stays at the top of the chart in performance. It is simply the best 280 AIO for any high-end CPU that won’t let your CPU throttle even when overclocked under full load.
It comes with its own proprietary pump that helps it to achieve higher efficiency and quieter operation. It is small and easy to manage compared to many traditional AIO blocks. Finally, to cool down the radiator, there are 2x 140mm PWM Arctic P14 fans that run at 200-1700RPM of fan speed and generate an airflow of around 73CFM.
This cooler also has an ARGB edition that costs a few bucks more. So, you can check it out if you also like colorful lights in your system.
EK AIO Basic 360mm
- PERFORMANCE COOLING, ZERO MAINTENANCE - The EK...
- INTEL 10th GEN, AMD RYZEN 3000 CPU COMPATIBILITY -...
- NON-RGB - EK-AIO Basic is an affordable all-black,...
- POWERFUL PUMP - The robust and upgraded for higher...
Important note- If you are buying it from Amazon, you will need to buy an LGA 1700 upgrade kit.
EK AIO Basic 360mm AIO is hands down the best value 360mm AIO cooler you will find on the market. For less than $130, it overwhelms and outperforms almost every 360mm AIO cooler at full load1)https://www.techpowerup.com/review/ek-aio-360-d-rgb-water-cooler/6.html.
It’s no surprise that EK made a very successful AIO cooler like this because they have quite a lot of experience in making custom water cooling solutions. The EK AIO basic is available in three different sizes and the 360mm AIO performs the best. It can cool any processor you throw at it without breaking a sweat and features both non-RGB and RGB editions.
It features a brushed aluminum CPU block that features diamond-cut rotary fittings making it highly durable and well-sleeved rubber tubes to make sure nothing gets damaged. To cool the big 360mm rad, you get triple EK-Vardar PWM fans that operate between 550 and 2200RPM with a max noise of 33.5dBA.
Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix
- A high-performance RGB pump head provides...
- Includes a Corsair iCUE commander core smart RGB...
- Three 120mm Corsair ML RGB Magnetic Levitation PWM...
- Accurately control your cooling via PWM, adjusting...
Finally, if you want both aesthetics and great performance, be ready to pay $50 more on the iCUE H150i Elite Capellix. It’s not the best value AIO but still competes with coolers like the EK AIO basic 360.
The reasons for recommending it are its aesthetics and performance both. The cooler comes with an ARGB block that offers 33 RGB LEDs and Corsair ML120 ARGB fans that look mesmerizing when in operation. Corsair’s iCUE software will control this cooler’s lighting and functions, and we already know how well that software works.
This cooler is compatible with the majority of sockets including LGA 1700 and AM5, and consider it only if you don’t mind spending $50 more on the aesthetics.
Which Cooler Will Be Ideal?
Even though every cooler listed here will get the job done, the EK AIO Basic 360 is the best choice to go with. It’s cheap and performs best. There are options for both non-RGB and RGB editions and even for the radiator sizes.
As we know, the i5 13600K runs really hot and if you don’t want to compromise on overclocking and performance consistency, it’s better to invest a little more than to regret later. If you are buying the CPU just for gaming, then you will be ok even if you go with the Peerless Assassin 120 SE. However, if you are an enthusiast professional who uses 100% of the CPU, then we recommend spending some more cash.
Cooling your CPU is crucial for consistent clock speeds and stability. A processor like i5 13600K needs even more care as it is overclockable and runs hot simultaneously. Let us know which CPU cooler you are considering going with in the comments below.
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