Best CPU Coolers For i7 8700k – 2020 Top Picks Reviewed

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One of the leading processors available today, the Intel Core i7 8700k is perfect for almost everything. Whether you want something for your gaming PC, or a unit that's capable of handling productivity tasks like editing and rendering, this processor delivers outstanding performance at every task thrown at it. 

However, the i7 8700k runs a lot hotter compared to older Intel processors. So, if you're planning on overclocking it or running it at stock clocks, you're going to need an excellent cooler to keep the CPU cool and ensure proper efficiency.

To help you with this decision, this guide includes reviews of some of the best CPU coolers, what they do, and the aspects to consider before purchasing one. Let's get started!

Comparison of the Best CPU Coolers For i7 8700k

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Dual-tower design equipped with 6 heat pipes
  • 2 NF-A15 140mm fans with low-noise adapters and PWM support
  • 64mm clearance is compatible with tall memory heatsinks in the single-fan mode
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  • Noise level of 36.0 decibels and airflow of 82.9 CFM
  • 4 heat pipes designed with the patented Continuous Direct Contact (CDC) technology
  • Fan speed of 600-2000 revolutions per minute
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  • Best for the money
  • Designed with anodized black aluminum fins and compatible with all Intel LGA 115x sockets
  • Low noise level of 25.0 decibels and an airflow of 37 CFM
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  • Best liquid CPU cooler for i7 8700k
  • 60.95 CFM airflow and noise level of 27.0 decibels
  • Clear top pump cover shows the enhanced impeller spinning mirage lighting effect
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  • Optimized NF-F12 120mm fan is equipped with a low-noise adaptor and PWM support
  • Editor’s pick
  • Does not overhang PCle or RAM slots on most motherboards available today
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What Does a CPU Cooler Do?

Designed to draw heat away and cool the CPU and other system components, CPU coolers lower CPU temperatures. This results in improved stability and efficiency of the system. Some other uses of the product include:

Convection 

CPU coolers are built on the thermodynamic principle of convection. This means that heat from an object is transferred to the air molecules present near its surface, slightly cooling it in the process. If the air is moving, the heated molecules will also float away and get replaced by cooler air, allowing them to absorb more heat. A fan further forces the air molecules to move, resulting in a steady stream of cooler air and a significantly increased rate of cooling.

Cooling High-Performance and Higher-End Machines

Water CPU coolers pump specialized fluid or cooled water into the water block, typically situated near heat-generating components. Water flows through the block's heat exchanger, increases in temperature, and returns to an external heat exchanger via tubing. It is then cooled and pumped back through the CPU. This ensures that specific components are cooled more efficiently and quietly than fan cooling. Water-cooled systems also use less space than a heat sink/fan combination. 

Lowering System Temperatures 

CPU coolers are usually designed with a heat sink or a heat sink/fan combination. With a flat heat sink, there is a greater surface area for convective cooling. This significantly increases the amount of heat the fan is capable of dissipating, resulting in reduced CPU temperatures.

Why Did These CPU Coolers Make Our List?

With countless models available in the market, choosing the best CPU cooler is no piece of cake. To ensure you don't end up wasting your money, here are some features that our favorite models are equipped with:

Socket Compatibility 

Along with affecting the CPU socket, different sockets from AMD and Intel also affect the mechanism used to hold the cooler in place. While the AM4 support is a bit limited, quality models are compatible with every socket.

RPM

Revolutions-per-minute can be simply defined as the speed of the fan. While a faster spinning fan results in more airflow, the size of the heat sink and size of the fan should also be taken into consideration. A larger fan with a lower RPM can result in better airflow, while a larger heat sink contributes greatly to faster heat dissipation. Quality models with lower RPM also make less noise.

Warranty

If you're worried about placing liquid near expensive components, then rest assured all quality and high-end models are backed by excellent warranties. These warranties will cover you if a manufacturer failure occurs.

Quick Take - Best CPU Coolers For i7 8700k

Just looking for the three best CPU coolers for i7 8700k? Here they are:

  1. Noctua NH-D15
  2. Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo
  3. Cooler Master i71C

Review of the Best CPU Coolers For i7 8700k

Choosing the best CPU cooler can be an incredibly difficult and technical task. To help narrow down the options, the following are detailed reviews of some of the best models available today:

Best Overall:
Noctua NH-D15

Noctua NH-D15, Premium CPU Cooler with 2X NF-A15 PWM 140mm Fans (Brown)

PROS

  • Comes with a 6-year manufacturer's warranty
  • SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system makes installation incredibly easy 
  • Based on the NH-D14 model that has received more than 350 recommendations and awards
  • Ultra-quiet operation and automatic speed control provide outstanding cooling performance 
  • Dual fan mode provides better heat distribution, superior airflow efficiency, and more surface area

CONS

  • Large size might not fit all PC builds 

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost everyone who purchased this unit was blown away by its performance and stated that they would not hesitate to purchase it again. They found the build quality to be outstanding and installation to be incredibly easy. One user also stated that they did not hear even a whisper of sound. However, some users reported receiving weak fan clips, while one found the cooling fans to be wider than the heatsink. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Delivering the same fantastic performance as some liquid coolers at a fraction of the price, this dual-tower unit is capable of meeting the highest demands of overclocking. It is equipped with 2 NF-A15 140mm fans with PWM support, enabling automatic speed control. This results in improved efficiency. Along with delivering outstanding cooling performance, it's incredibly silent, as well.

Who Will Use This Most

If you're looking for an efficient, quiet, and durable cooling device, then this unit is the one for you. It's compatible with almost every high-end RAM module available today and is the complete quality solution for both silent-enthusiasts and overclockers. 

Bottom Line

Rivaling the temperatures of water coolers at a fraction of the cost, this unit certainly deserves the top position on our list. Designed with six heat pipes and 2 NF-A15 140 mm fans, it ensures an ultra-quiet operation and delivers an outstanding cooling performance. However, it might not fit all CPU builds.

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo CPU Cooler, 4 CDC Heatpipes, 120mm PWM Fan, Aluminum Fins for AMD Ryzen/Intel LGA1200/1151

PROS

  • Compatible with all Intel sockets from 775 to 1366
  • Sleek, smooth surface is perfect for heat conduction 
  • Easily removable fan provides direct access to screws
  • Innovative wave-shaped blade design ensures excellent airflow 
  • Optimized aluminum fin structure delivers the perfect balance between low and high-speed fan operations 

CONS

  • Second fan is not included
  • Installation can be a bit difficult 
  • Does not include a lighting feature

What Recent Buyers Report

The majority of buyers were incredibly satisfied with this unit's performance and recommended it to other people, as well. They found the fan to be incredibly quiet and stated that it did not make any noise, even under loads. One user reported that their average CPU temperature fell by 20 degrees, and their system became cold because of the airflow. However, customers were disappointed with the lack of a preset thermal paste, while some found installation to be a bit difficult. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This unit primarily stands out to us because of its CDC technology. Designed with heat pipes that are placed side-by-side without any gaps, the Continuous Direct Contact system creates a smooth surface for quick heat transfer. Although some other models are designed with direct contact heat pipes, this unit boasts 6% more contact surface, resulting in 5% better cooling.

Who Will Use This Most

Optimized and designed for the best user experience, this unit is perfect for cooling the latest generation of processors. Its relatively low cost and outstanding performance make it ideal for every build. The low cost further makes it perfect for most consumers.

Bottom Line

If you want an aftermarket CPU heat sink with an economical price and fantastic performance, then this unit is certainly the one for you. Although it's designed with slightly cheaper materials, it delivers admirable performance when it comes to cooling.

Best for the Money:
Cooler Master i71C

Cooler Master i71C RGB for Intel CPU Air Cooler, Anodized Black Aluminum Fins, Copper Insert, MF120 RGB Fan, RGB Lighting for Intel LGA1200/1151

PROS

  • Copper insert ensures excellent heat dissipation 
  • Quality construction ensures durability and longer life expectancy 
  • Heat transfer is 1.6 times faster than traditional aluminum alloy heat sinks
  • 120 mm diameter RGB fan features more than 16.7 million different color options 
  • Incredibly wide speed range can be adjusted for silent operation or maximum cooling performance 

CONS

  • Copper contact pad is a bit small
  • Cooling capability is not as effective as other models

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers were extremely happy with their purchase and stated that it ran quieter and at a lower temperature than stock. They liked the RGB and the included controller and found installation to be incredibly easy. However, users stated that the heatsink did not cover the entire CPU cap, leading to individual core temperature differences. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The numerous features offered by this model are what make it stand out from the crowd. Firstly, the anodized black aluminum fans are stacked with copper, ensuring excellent heat dissipation. Secondly, the 120mm diameter RGB fan boasts low noise output and stronger airflow. Lastly, the compact RGB LED controller enables users to customize their RGB devices without the need for RGB-capable software or motherboard.

Who Will Use This Most

Boasting a 60 mm thin design, this unit is ideal for limited form factor cases and all-in-one systems. It's also compatible with Gigabyte RGB Fusion, ASUS Aura Sync, and MSI Mystic Light Sync. Furthermore, this model is ideal for menial tasks, like web browsing and email.

Bottom Line

All in all, this unit certainly deserves a place on our list of top picks. Featuring more than 16.7 million color options, it provides incredible heat dissipation. While it provides faster heat transfer than traditional aluminum alloy heat sinks, its cooling capacity is not as effective as other models on our list.

Best Liquid CPU Cooler For i7 8700k:
Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240P

Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240P Mirage ARGB Close-Loop AIO CPU Liquid Cooler, 240 Radiator, Transparent Pump, Addressable RGB Lighting, Dual MF120 Fans for AMD Ryzen, TR4 /Intel LGA1200/1151

PROS

  • Pump is designed with 24 independently controlled LEDs
  • Outer ring improves rotation stability and reduces distortion in the fan 
  • Wired, addressable RGB controller enables lighting effects and color customization
  • Smooth black outer sleeves are designed with FEP Tubing for flexibility and longevity 
  • Re-engineered pump removes excess heat from the system, while the large aluminum radiator increases cool efficiency 

CONS

  • More expensive than other models
  • Software needed to control ARGBs is not easily available 

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers were impressed with this unit's performance and stated that it worked as advertised. Users particularly loved the lighting and said the color controller was easy to use. While most customers found installation to be easy, some were disappointed with the RGB Lighting Control software. Some people also stated that the plastic bracket was too tight and short. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

With a transparent pump design, this unit is hypnotically pretty. Boasting PPS+ glass fiber housing for temperature and liquid resistance, it is a beast when it comes to performance. The EPDM rubber O-ring eliminates liquid emission, while the low-resistance radiator maximizes heat exchange efficiency, enhances cooling performance, and increases flow rate.

Who Will Use This Most

Since this model delivers outstanding performance, it's perfect for gamers. By adding this unit to your gaming setup, you'll be able to continuously play for hours without worrying about overheating or thermal throttling.

Bottom Line

To put it simply, this model provides an excellent cooling solution for hardcore gamers. Featuring one of the best RGB lightings available today, it allows users to customize the model according to their liking. Although it is a bit expensive, it's certainly a worthwhile investment!

Editor's Pick:
Noctua NH-U12S

Noctua NH-U12S, Premium CPU Cooler with NF-F12 120mm Fan (Brown)

PROS

  • Comes with a 6-year manufacturer's warranty 
  • Innovative slim-tower design provides an outstanding cooling performance 
  • SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system ensures an extremely easy installation process
  • Received more than 400 recommendations and awards from renowned hardware magazines and websites 
  • Premium quality, Focused Flow fan combines excellent heat sink performance, incredible quietness of operation, and superb static pressure

CONS

  • Does not come with a second fan
  • Larger price tag than other models
  • Colors might not be suitable for all

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost everyone who invested in this unit was impressed with its performance. They loved its easy installation and quality construction. One user stated that their system maintained a steady 50 degree C temperature, even at 100% CPU load. While customers were impressed with its whisper-quiet operation, some were disappointed with the colors offered. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This unit stands out from its competitors because of its noise levels. The unit is virtually impossible to hear over other components at lower fan speeds. It also gets incredibly quiet in the default single-fan setup. Furthermore, noise levels remain extremely low, even when a second fan is added.

Who Will Use This Most

Because of its slim design and 45 mm fin depth, this unit gives users full access to memory modules on all the latest CPU sockets. Boasting 100% compatibility with optional memory fans or tall heat spreaders, it's the perfect unit whether you want to overclock or go for stock clocks.

Bottom Line

Ultimately an extremely quiet cooler, this unit delivers an outstanding performance that's perfect for its size. If you're looking for a cooler that performs admirably while being quiet, then look no further! Its features and premium quality make it an incredible purchase.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Like other components, selecting the right cooler also depends on several different variables, including case compatibility, aesthetics, performance requirements, and budget restrictions. To help you make the right decision, here are some things you should consider before you finalize your purchase:

Clearances 

Low-profile models and high-end air coolers can sometimes bump up against VRM heat sinks and tall RAMs. Tall models can also butt up against the case window or door. Thus, make sure you check the clearances and dimensions of the model before buying. 

Air or Liquid

To put it simply, liquid coolers are more efficient, but air coolers are cheaper. If you need a unit for some heavy overclocking, then a liquid cooler is a bit too much. Since liquid coolers are designed with multiple fans to cool off the radiator, they're also noisier than air coolers. Air coolers are suitable for most users, so make sure you consider your use before you make your purchase.

Liquid Coolers (Source)

CPU Thermal Design Power and Noise 

Noise and cooling performance go hand in hand. If you choose a unit with plenty of performance headroom, you'll be able to run the fan at incredibly low noise levels and speeds. However, a model that's fully maxed out by your system will often have fans running at maximum or higher speeds. If you prefer a quieter fan, then it's better to choose a unit that perfectly balances cooling and noise.

Conclusion

Although the i7 8700k is an outstanding processor, it runs a lot hotter than other models available today. This can be a problem for stock coolers and entry-level coolers. Hopefully, the aforementioned reviews will help you find the best CPU cooler. Along with being excellent choices for the 8700k, they're also perfect for anyone looking for a quality CPU cooler. Delivering outstanding performance, all these models ensure improved efficiency and stability of your CPU.

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