Core i9-13900K Cooling Guide: Testing Intel’s Flagship With Budget Air and Big AIOs

Core i9-13900K Cooling Guide: Testing Intel’s Flagship With Budget Air and Big AIOs

The Core i9-13900K can push even the most capable liquid coolers to their limits, but you don’t lose that much performance if you go with budget-priced air cooling.

When Intel launched its 12th generation Alder Lake CPUs, the Core i9-12900K presented a challenge to cool in some scenarios, due to the increased thermal density of the Intel 7 manufacturing process. But with the launch of Raptor Lake and the Core i9-13900K specifically, Intel has raised both the core count and clock speeds of its latest flagship processor. As a result, when power limits are removed, it can consume over 330W while running Cinebench R23 – nearly 100W higher power consumption than the i9-12900K – and that’s not easy to cool.

We’ll be looking at Intel’s Core i9-13900K below, and what it takes to cool it. Intel recommends that you use a 240mm AIO cooler or greater (or air equivalent) for the Core i9-13900K. While we expect most enthusiasts will pair an i9 CPU with high-end air or liquid cooling, we’ll also be testing with more basic air coolers to see what can be gained or lost with different levels of cooling.

New Testing Configuration

CPU Intel i9-13900K
Comparison Air Coolers Tested DeepCool AG620, dual tower air cooler
Thermalright Assassin X 120 R SE, single tower air cooler
Thermalright AXP120-X67, SFF air cooler
Comparison AIO Coolers Tested DeepCool LT720 (360mm)
Motherboard Asus TUF Gaming Z690 Plus Wifi DDR5
RAM Crucial DDR5-4800
GPU Intel ARC A770 LE
Case Cooler Master HAF 700 Berserker
PSU Cooler Master XG Plus 850 Platinum PSU


For today’s test we’ll be testing an entry-level air cooler, a high-end air cooler, and a high-end liquid cooler to see how different levels of cooling impact Raptor Lake.

We’ll also be testing Thermalright’s Assassin X 120 R SE to show more typical low-end cooler results. This is an entry-level, single-tower air cooler that can be found for around $20.

To give an idea of how higher-end air coolers will perform with the i9-13900K, we’re testing DeepCool’s AG620, a dual-tower air cooler which is a slightly modified version of the previously reviewed AK620