Best AIO & Air CPU Cooler for i7 12700K [Tested in 2024]

Written By Farhan Max

Intel Core i7-12700K is Intel’s 12th gen processor family, featuring 12 cores and 20 threads. The chip is unlocked & capable of overclocking to juice out more performance without spending extra bucks. But more power means more heat, which must be cooled down to achieve maximum

Finding the best CPU cooler for the i7-12700K can be confusing. So, after hours of research, our team came up with the best options for every type of customer & found that ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240 AIO is the sole winner among them.

Whether you like ARGB lighting, want the best performance, or like air cooling, we have got your back & made this list according to that. So let’s jump in.

6 Best i7-12700K CPU Coolers You Can Get Right Now

Noctua NH-D15 chromax.blackBest Overall Air Cooler2 x 140mm
ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240Bang for Buck AIO2 x 120mm
AORUS WATERFORCE X 360Best Premium AIO3 x 120mm
ARCTIC Freezer 34 Esports DuoBest Budget Air Cooler2 x 120mm
Noctua NH-L9i-17xx chromax.blackBest Low Profile Air Cooler1 x 92mm
Thermaltake TH120 ARGB Snow EditionBest 120mm White AIO1 x 120mm

If you are into gaming or video editing, you will probably spend most of your time behind the desk.

For long-term usage & aiming to reach higher ranks, you will want to avoid thermal throttling, which can compromise your PC’s performance. And to cool down your CPU, you will need the best cooler for your beast processor.

There are many cooling solutions, like liquid & air coolers {Interlink with Elman -edited content-5}, but we have tested and handpicked the best ones for i7-12700K.

Here’s the list of the six best coolers for i7-12700K:

1. Best Overall Air Cooler: Noctua NH-D15



TDP: 200W Height (with fan): 165 mm Width (with fan): 150 mm Depth (with fan): 161 mm Fan Speed: 1500 RPM +/- 10% Noise Level: 24.6 dB(A)

  • »Wide compatibility.
  • »Easy mounting process.
  • »Superb cooling performance.
  • »Quiet operation.
  • »Not for ITX.
  • »Beefy size may cause RAM clearance issues.

Why We Picked It

Noctua is a renowned brand when it comes to cooling & held to a higher standard than others. That’s why we top-picked the Noctua NH-D15, a classical cooler.

Noctua’s brown color scheme is a setback for many users in modern times, but Noctua finally started releasing some black editions. Good for us.

The cooler we chose has a matte-black appearance, and with its superior performance, we can’t stop recommending it. Hence, it’s our top-of-the-line air cooler.

Talking about the structure, it’s a dual-tower cooler & consists of six copper heat pipes and wide aluminum fin stacks. NH-D15 has nickel plating on the heat pipes, which is concealed by the black paint over it.

The two black NF-A15 PWM fans coming with this cooler are one of the best fans in terms of cooling capability. The fans have SSO2 bearings which are lubricated. Though out of the box, only one fan was mounted in the middle of the dual-tower fin arrays, so we had to install the other one during our test.

That being said, it was easy to install this big cooler. Do you know why? Because it’s Noctua’s SecuFirm2 mounting system that provides perfect contact pressure and will stand the test of time even under heavy use.

The provided NT-H1 thermal paste is another thing we love for its outstanding reliability. While we tested, we let the fan spin at max 1500 RPM speed & there was almost no noise. You can expect such an outstanding acoustic performance only from Noctua.

And the thermal performance?

It was around 60~65°C during gaming, and during stress testing with OC, it reached ~85°C. Though, it can vary for ambient temps and how optimized your PC airflow is.

Despite being an air cooler, it can beat many 240 to 280mm AIOs out there. Thanks to the fans & high-quality materials, it is used on the NH-D15.

Who It’s For

If you are a guy who likes to install and forget, this cooler is for you. Little to no maintenance, sturdy build quality, and excellent cooling performance is what you can’t avoid. With sleek designs that also come with a 6-year warranty, it is a great deal of what you expect from an air cooler.

What We Liked Most

The 6-year warranty covers the radiator fans and all the components inside the cooler. This feature is great for an air cooler. We also loved the thermal compound & SecuFirm2 mounting accessories for wide compatibility that comes with the cooler.

What Could Be Improved

As this is a dual-tower big air cooler, we were slightly facing troubles with the Quad RAM setup. However, it can vary for motherboards. And you can either unmount one fan from the memory side or move it upwards. But be careful with the casing clearance in that case.


Noctua NH-D15 is one of the best air coolers with eyes closed. Low noise levels with high TDP leave enough headroom for overclocking your i7-12700K. Even if you don’t OC, the cooler will serve you longer than you can imagine.

2. Bang for Buck AIO: ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240



TDP: ~200W Radiator length: 277 mm Radiator Width: 120 mm Radiator Height: 38 mm Fan Speed: 200 – 1800 RPM Noise Level: 22.4 – 37.8 dB (A)

  • »Fantastic cooling capability.
  • »Exceptional pump design.
  • »Built-in cable management.
  • »6-year warranty.
  • »Radiator is thicker.
  • »Small cold plate.

Why We Picked It

Arctic is a German company primarily known for its Freezer Air & Liquid CPU Coolers and MX thermal pastes. We picked their Liquid Freezer II 240 AIO for its affordable price yet superior cooling performance.

We can say that ARCTIC has knocked it out of the park with its Liquid Freezer II 240, compatible with the i7-12700K while delivering excellent performance. It is one of the most compatible 240mm AIO coolers out there.

While unboxing, we found all the necessary mounts & also MX-4 thermal paste, which helped us with an easy installation.

The liquid tube was long enough without any tension for our PC casing. In addition, ARCTIC’s sophisticated cable management hides the PWM cables in the sleeving for better cable management.

What we liked most was that the two ARCTIC P12 120mm fans were pre-installed, accelerating the installation. That being said, the fans have a max speed of 1800 RPM, and during our testing at full speed, it was a quieter operation than we expected.

About the radiator, it is 38mm which is kind of thick. Great for cooling, but requires enough case clearance to install as with fans, it will be thicker, 2.5 inches (63.5 mm) precisely. We had to back & forth in some PC cases due to this.

Aside from that, after installing, we hopped into gaming, and it kept the CPU temp below 70 degrees during long-session gaming. The price we pay for this AIO and the performance we get is a win-win.

Who It’s For

If you can’t afford the Noctua NH-D15 for the larger size and looking for an affordable performant AIO, the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240 is your best shot.

Premium quality with higher cooling capability & the unique pump design will surely attract you while not breaking the bank.

What We Liked Most

We loved the unique CPU block, which has an exceptional look compared to other generic AIOs. Also, it was much quieter and more efficient.

Furthermore, the 450mm length tubes are plentiful for any requirement. Besides these, a 6-year warranty is a great relief for prolonged usage.

What Could Be Improved

We noticed that the cold plate is somewhat small. But that didn’t affect the performance in our case. The radiator is also a bit thick. So a suitable PC case is required for this AIO.


ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240 is a must-have top-notch AIO for any build. For the i7-12700K, it can easily handle the load. With a black stealth look with stunning performance for its price, it is worth every penny.

3. Best Premium AIO: AORUS WATERFORCE X 360



TDP: ~200W Radiator length: 394 mm Radiator Width: 119 mm Radiator Height: 27 mm Fan Speed: 800~2500 RPM +/-10% Noise Level: 7.9~37.6 dB (A)

  • »Customizable LCD.
  • »Best cooling performance.
  • »Gorgeous design.
  • »Software support.
  • »Expensive.
  • »Require spacious case to accommodate 360mm radiator.

Why We Picked It

We chose the AORUS WATERFORCE X 360 as a premium 360mm AIO for the Intel Core i7 12700K. Gigabyte made a superb liquid cooler in the form of the AORUS WATERFORCE X 360. In addition to being an AIO with the best cooling performance, it has some nifty additions too.

The AIO has a 60x60mm circular screen on the pump. You can rotate the screen up to 330° for the perfect orientation. For rich customization, the pump has a micro SD card slot. So you can load bigger image/gif files into the customizable LCD for better looks.

The three 120mm PWM fans have ARGB lighting and graphene nano lubricant. So they run as smoothly as it gets. The optimized pump and the three fans ensure you get the best cooling performance from the 360mm AIO.

To control the PWM fan speeds, the ARGB lighting, and the customizable LCD, you get to use the RGB Fusion 2.0 software, which has extensive feature support.

Who It’s For

If you’re the one who is a die-hard admirer of the aesthetic with no budget issue, this All-in-One cooler is an absolute pick. Not only will you get the best looks, but you will also get better results at a premium price.

What We Liked Most

We loved the stunning massive pump as well as the display on it. The pump speed is also superior, and the customizable LCD is a nice feature to have.

What Could Be Improved

Where a much cheaper ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240 provides a 6-year warranty, WATERFORCE X 360 AIO’s 3-year warranty is disappointing while we are paying a premium price. We think the warranty period should be longer for such a top-tier product.


Overall, the AORUS WATERFORCE X 360 excels in terms of aesthetics, cooling performance, efficiency, and customization. If you have the budget for the expensive cooler, you should definitely get it.

4. Best Budget Air Cooler: ARCTIC Freezer 34 Esports Duo



TDP: 210W Height (with fan): 157 mm Width (with fan): 124 mm Depth (with fan): 103 mm Fan Speed: 200-2100 rpm Noise Level: 28 dB(A)

  • »Very affordable price.
  • »Excellent cooling.
  • »Stylish design.
  • »Less noisy.
  • »No RGB.

Why We Picked It

Well, here we go again with the ARCTIC. Yes, they are so good with their cooling solution that we can’t ignore putting ARCTIC’s one of the best inexpensive air coolers on our list for the i7 12700K.

If you have an NVIDIA card & want to make a green-themed build, no problem. Snow build? No issue. Full red AMD build? again no need to worry. ARCTIC Freezer 34 Esports Duo has covered you with Red, Green, Yellow, Black, Grey/White, and Full white options to complete your rig, which is not often available for air coolers.

This budget beast air cooler is a single heatsink tower solution with two 120mm BioniX P-fans for push/pull. The cooler’s height is 157 mm with fans, which is pretty safe for almost all PC casing clearance except ITX. The fan also has enough RAM clearance for most medium-sized memory sticks.

The 54 aluminum wings with 4x 6mm copper heat pipes are compact and allow the cooler to stay in the center of the processor for better cooling. Though at full fan speed, it was noticeable for 32dBA.

During testing, idle CPU temp was 22°C, while at 100% load with 50% fan speed, it was ~77°C. However, with 100% fan speed, the temp gets lowered to ~68°C. We also tried to overclock the i7-12700K’s P-core to 4800 Mhz, and the temperature was ~76°C with maximum fan speed. Pretty impressive for such an air cooler at such a bargain price.

Who It’s For

If you don’t have the budget for the Noctua NH-D15 and are confused about taking an AIO, this budget beast air cooler with great performance is a definite pick for you with your eyes closed. Even if you overclock, the cooler can still hold you. ARTIC’s 6-year warranty will cover you for that case.

What We Liked Most

We loved the various color choices of this cooler. Really a unique approach to lure customers. But not only with the looks, the performance also talks with a budget-friendly price.

What Could Be Improved

Though it supports various color choices, this cooler lacks RGB, which can be required for some users to fulfill their RGB support. In that case, you must look for an RGB air CPU cooler.


Despite its small size and low price, the ARCTIC Freezer 34 Esports Duo offers a good cooling solution for i7-12700K. The dual fan does the job efficiently & the longer warranty period will keep you tension free.

5. Best Low Profile Air Cooler: Noctua NH-L9i-17xx



TDP: 95W Height (with fan): 37mm Width (with fan): 95mm Depth (with fan): 95mm Fan Speed: 2500 RPM (+/- 10%) Noise Level: 23.6 dB(A)

  • »Quiet under load.
  • »Suitable for ITX build.
  • »Ultra compact.
  • »Sturdy build quality.
  • »Not for overclocking.
  • »May run hot under load.

Why We Picked It

Noctua, a veteran name in the CPU cooler industry, has a CPU cooler for everyone. If you plan to use the i7 12700K CPU in an ITX case, the Noctua NH-L9i is the way to go.

The reason we chose Noctua NH-L9i-17xx for the low profile design, which is best for ITX builds. This Air cooler is specifically made for Intel CPUs, and the 17xx indicates that it’s made for LGA 1700 socket. Also, the reason we chose the black version is, well, it goes with most of the rigs.

As being a low-profile air cooler & having a low TDP value, this cooler will work best at stock frequency. Also, to get the best performance, it is recommended power limiting to around 90W in the BIOS.

The installation process was a breeze. Thanks to the compact 95mm x 95mm footprint, which is compatible with all sorts of RAM and heatsink. That’s why it went smoothly while mounting.

The NF-A9x14 is a slim 92mm fan and was super quiet under load. The fan has a max speed of 2500 RPM with 67.56 CFM airflow & does its job effectively. The fan is also PWM with a low-noise adaptor so that you will get both efficient and quiet operation.

Indeed, the cooling performance will not be performant like its big brother Noctua NH-D15 or other AIOs mentioned above. In fact, the CPU temp was near ~75℃. But, with its compact size, it punches way above its limit. That’s why it is one of the best compact low-profile CPU coolers.

Who It’s For

If you plan to build an ITX build with no intention of overclocking, NH-L9i-17xx can be your best bet. If you power limit in the BIOS, then you will get the best low-profile air cooler at a good price.

What We Liked Most

We loved the extremely low-profile size with quiet operation, making this cooler a great choice. The 6-year warranty and the lightweight is also a nice addition.

What Could Be Improved

This is a compact cooler, and for having a lower TDP, we encountered a little high CPU temp. Also, tall RAMs with heat spreaders may cause difficulty during installation.


Overall, everything about the Noctua NH-L9i-17xx is excellent for the i7-12700K while running at stock frequency. For an ITX build, this cooler is a no-brainer as it offers the best value, fit, and performance for this scenario.

6. Best 120mm White AIO: Thermaltake TH120 ARGB Snow Edition



TDP: ~180W Radiator length: 153 mm Radiator Width: 120 mm Radiator Height: 27 mm Fan Speed: 1500 RPM ±10% Noise Level: 28.2 dB (A)

  • »Compact 120mm liquid cooler.
  • »ARGB lighting.
  • »Efficient cooling.
  • »White color.
  • »Not suitable for overclocking
  • »No PWM fan.

Why We Picked It

Thermaltake makes liquid coolers of all categories and sizes. The Thermaltake TH120 ARGB is a single fan 120mm version of the Thermaltake TH240 ARGB. We chose the snow edition for users who are building a white rig, which will perfectly blend with the entire setup.

It has a sleek design with an ARGB ring around the pump and a Thermaltake logo at the center. The single 120mm fan has ARGB lighting that can boost the beauty of your rig.

The included smart controller allows you to control the ARGB lighting without using an ARGB header on the motherboard. Moreover, there is only one fan here, so you get a very low noise output of 28.2 dBA.

The build quality is decent. The low evaporation 400mm rubber tubing ensures an extended lifespan and better efficiency. The 27mm radiator is enough to handle the i7-12700K while gaming. The pre-attached thermal pad on the water block helps for an easy installation.

For a CPU like the i7 12700K, the 120mm AIO will be fine as long as you do not extremely overclock the CPU. You should get a giant cooler like the 240mm or the 360mm AIO listed above if you want to overclock.

Who It’s For

If you think the low-profile NH-L9i-17xx doesn’t suit you, also 240/360mm is not a viable option for an ITX build, this 120 mm compact white AIO can be your savior. With a white finish and top-notch performance, this cooler is a worthy choice.

What We Liked Most

We find this 120mm can be the best alternative to NH-L9i-17xx for fitting in an ITX build. The quieter operation is also a great benefit.

What Could Be Improved

The lack of PWM functionality is disappointing for such a beauty. Full speed can reduce the lifespan of the cooler. Besides, the warranty period is only for three years.


For a white ITX build, this TH120 snow edition will increase the aesthetic looks, which is also enough for the i7-12700K. And all these things will also come at a pocket-friendly budget.

Things to Consider Before Buying Best CPU Coolers For i7-12700K

Intel i7-12700K is a good choice for gaming, but it’s rated with 125 TDP, which can generate a lot of heat if not using a proper cooling solution. This can hurt your gaming performance. So, we evaluate some factors to handpick some best CPU coolers.

Nevertheless, you’re the one who will buy the cooler & for your convenience, here we explained some points that will help you understand why we chose the coolers. These factors will help you consider before purchasing your next CPU cooler for the i7-12700K.

PC Casing

The PC case is your house where all the components will stay along with the CPU cooler. The size of the case is crucial as it will determine the size of the cooler, whether it will be a low-profile air cooler or a big 360mm AIO.

Fortunately, most modern cases have enough clearance for a dual-tower cooler. Also, these cases provide enough space for a larger radiator for a push/pull system that leaves you a variety of choices to pick a cooler.

Considering this factor, you can pick the right-sized CPU cooler to provide an optimal cooling solution to your processor.


The next consideration to take into account is the budget. You will find the i7-12700K CPU coolers will be available at a distinct price point, determined by their cooling performance, build quality, design, RGB, and aesthetics.

Additionally, the warranty period and bundled accessories will vary among the CPU Coolers. So, consider your budget & try to pick the best one within that range.

This factor will ensure whether to invest in a cooler with more performance or compromise on certain features, such as RGB or lighting.


High-pitch fan noise can be irritating. So, avoiding a CPU cooler with high noise levels is essential.

While this may seem obvious, it is crucial to ensure that you invest in a CPU cooler that operates quietly. Hence, the latest CPU coolers are designed to be quieter, but it is important to note that performance should not get a hit for a silent operation.

However, noise reduction is not the sole factor to consider when purchasing a new CPU cooler. It is also crucial to verify the quality of the fan. A high-quality fan will effectively maintain your processor’s temperature in various situations.

Opting for quiet fans with the best quality can ensure a long life span with less noise. This will ensure optimal cooling performance for an extended period.


Intel i7-12700K is a 125W TDP CPU, so the cooler’s performance is crucial for cooling down the chip before thermal throttling. It is essential to ensure that the CPU cooler can effectively manage temperatures and prevent thermal throttling.

If you prefer an air cooler, look at the fan’s specifications. The maximum RPMs and airflow are vital key specs. Additionally, consider the size of the heatsink and the fins count. A higher fin count will enhance heat dissipation, resulting in better cooling performance.

On the other hand, for an AIO CPU cooler, the pump speed directly affects cooling performance. Some of the top 120mm, 240mm, and 360mm AIOs even have dedicated fans to keep the VRMs on your motherboard cool.

This feature is particularly beneficial during intense gaming or overclocking sessions, as it improves thermal dissipation.


Manufacturers aim to distinguish their coolers by integrating their unique aesthetics and build quality. For example, ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II AIO’s unique CPU block or Noctua Noctua NH-D15’s superior performance despite being an air cooler.

Some brands prioritize premium construction and eye-catching RGB capabilities, which results in a higher price. Others opt for improved cooling performance and affordability without RGB, like the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II. This offers variety to the customers to pick a cooler that suits their specific needs and preferences.

Ultimately, choosing between a cooler with premium aesthetics or one with enhanced cooling capabilities depends on the individual’s priorities.

Whether you seek a visually stunning centerpiece for your gaming rig or a reliable workhorse that keeps your system running smoothly, the market offers a range of options to suit your requirements.


Which cooler to pick for Alder Lake?

Most CPU coolers are compatible with LGA1700 sockets, so most of them will work fine with Alder Lake chips. Some old CPU cooler manufacturers provide additional CPU bracket support for the latest-gen processors by providing them authentic cooler purchase receipts.

Does i7-12700K overheat?

Intel i7-12700K is an unlocked processor with a TDP value of 125W, which tends to run hotter under full load with stock coolers. So to prevent thermal throttling & get the full potential of an overclocked CPU, a best CPU cooler is mandatory.

What cooler type is suitable for i7-12700K?

Usually, AIO coolers will provide enhanced cooling than an air cooler. However, some air coolers can perform better than some low-tier 120/240mm AIOs. You can pick the best cooler within your budget, depending on your casing size, cooler clearance, and radiator accommodation space.

About The Author
Farhan Max is a tech geek with a particular interest in computer hardware. He's been fascinated by gaming since childhood and is now completing his undergraduate studies while researching and testing the latest tech innovations. Alongside his love for all things geeky, Farhan is also a skilled photographer.

Leave a Comment