Best CPU coolers for i7 8700k: heat analysis, AIO & air coolers, & CPU delidding options

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Intel i7 8700K is one of the best 6 core CPUs for gaming in terms of affordability. This may sound like a blatant claim but it’s true. After the initial launch, the performance of the CPU got good to the point that Intel actually designed the 10th gen i5 10600K CPU to have similar specifications and offer nearly identical performance. 

However, the two downsides to Intel i7 8700K are that it is discontinued and doesn’t come with a pre-included heatsink or cooler. But you can buy one from a store the Best CPU coolers for i7 8700k.

Image credit: Intel

But we have got you covered for both. Although discontinued, there are many sellers offering the CPU at great deals. Check on Amazon here

GIF credit: Amazon

Check on Newegg here.

Image credit: Newegg

And as far as cooling is concerned, we have got you covered with liquid as well as air coolers that are perfectly compatible with the LGA1151 socket that Intel i7 8700K CPU uses. Prior to exploring the cooler models, let’s have a look at just how important it is to use a high-performance cooler for the CPU. 

Intel i7 8700K heating analysis

Due to 6 cores and 12 threads architecture, Intel i7 8700K is considerably a power-hungry CPU and therefore hits high temperature levels, especially when cranking up overclocking speeds. Also, the 95W TDP of the CPU means that it’s best to go for better cooling than stock options. 

And speaking of stock and low power cooling options, a test performed by Hardware Unboxed shows that Intel i7 8700K was subject to power limit throttling as well as thermal throttling when used with the Intel box cooler that comes as a stock cooler with many Intel CPUs. 

Image credit: Hardware Unboxed

GIF credit: Hardware Unboxed

But of course, the type of motherboard you use also has got to do with whether or not the CPU is subject to power limit throttling and overall thermal throttling. This is true with all types of CPUs. 

Best CPU coolers for i7 8700k: Liquid AIO coolers vs Air coolers

If you are new to buying a cooling unit for a CPU, it is important to know that there are two types of coolers you can choose from, air coolers and liquid coolers (aka all-in-one (AIO) coolers). 

If you are interested in learning in detail how these two types of CPU coolers work, refer to this post by Intel. 

Image credit: Intel

Image credit: Intel

While air coolers have been around for quite a while than liquid coolers, there is a general assumption that liquid coolers are better than air coolers. However, this isn’t always true as multicore CPUs with a high TDP wattage tend to heat up to significant levels anyways. 

According to a cooling test performed by Briar Rabbit, there were only marginal differences between air cooling and liquid cooling with Intel i7 8700K. Both the Noctua D15-S air cooler and Corsair H115i liquid cooler showed identical cooling results in the single-core temperature test. More details below: 

Image credit: Briar Rabbit 

Best CPU coolers for i7 8700k: AIO coolers

AIO liquid coolers work great in maintaining relatively low CPU temperature levels with optimum cooling performance. The best part about AIO liquid coolers is they are able to sustain a certain level of cooling temperature for a long period. Also, modern AIO coolers look cool and elevate the overall look of tower PCs. 

Here are three AIO liquid coolers that are well-suited for Intel i7 8700K:

1. Corsair Hydro Series H100x – check it out here (best CPU coolers for i7 8700k)

Considering the high heat profile of Intel i7 8700K, it’s important to go for at least a two fan radiator set up when exploring AIO liquid coolers. And one of the best liquid coolers for i7 8700K with a two fan radiator and an affordable price tag is Corsair Hydro Series H100x. 

Similar to high-end, premium-priced liquid coolers, this model features a high-quality cold plate with thermal optimization. Also, the cold plate benefits from a high-density 240 mm radiator that is designed to maximize cooling surface area. Other features such as LED lighting on the pump head, easy installation, and thermally-optimized hoses add up to make this cooler a great option. 


  • Thermally-conductive cold plate used
  • LED lighting integrated on the pump head
  • Considerably affordable price


  • Two fan radiator setup may be a limitation for some
  • No RGB lighting included 

2. NZXT Kraken Z73 – check it out here

NZXT Kraken Z73 has gained popularity since it was launched. This mainly has got to do with the impressive cooling performance as well as the highly appealing aesthetics of the model. What’s interesting is this model also makes one of the best AIO coolers for 8700K as it is compatible with the LGA1151 socket that the CPU uses. 

With a high-end price tag, NZXT Kraken Z73 delivers everything you possibly need in an AIO cooler. The three cooling fans of this model use fluid dynamic bearings to improve cooling efficiency while lowering operational noise. Also, both the radiator and the pump are designed to have a higher thermal conductivity for delivering well-optimized cooling performance. 


  • Three fan radiator setup improves cooling performance
  • Dedicated LCD display integrated on the pump head
  • Chamfered cooling fans improve airflow


  • Price is on the higher side
  • Not the best CPU surface area coverage in many motherboard mounts

3. Asus ROG RYUJIN II 360 – check it out here

If you prefer the LCD display pump mount setup in an AIO cooler but want to break away from the NZKT Kraken ubiquity, a great alternative to consider is the Asus ROG RYUJIN II 360. This cooler is specifically designed for gaming-grade cooling requirements. Similar to NZKT Kraken Z73, this AIO cooler has a dedicated LCD display on the pump head that displays stats as well as images and GIFs. 

In terms of cooling performance, Asus ROG RYUJIN II 360 offers a high level of cooling with a hybrid pump that is designed for liquid as well as air cooling. Three high air pressure fans and a thermally-optimized radiator work together to maintain optimum cooling for single-core as well as multicore CPU operations. 


  • A high-performance fan embedded in the pump
  • A dedicated LCD display on the pump head
  • High air pressure cooling fans used


  • Some LCD display features increase power consumption
  • Price may not be feasible for many

Best CPU cooler for i7 8700k: Air coolers

Air coolers come as an unmistakable option if you prefer a cooling unit that has a low-profile form factor yet high cooling performance. Unlike AIO coolers, many air coolers aren’t power-hungry and are just as efficient in cooling as their liquid cooling counterparts. The best part is, most air coolers are affordable than AIO coolers.

Here are the three best air coolers for i7 8700K 

1. BeQuiet Pure Rock 2 – check it out here

BeQuiet Pure Rock 2 carries the high-performance DNA of its popular predecessor Pure Rock 1 and brings along several improvements. This model comes as a great option in the affordability category as it uses an airflow-optimized 120 mm fan that increases the volume of airflow. This, in turn, helps improve faster heat dissipation.  

BeQuiet Pure Rock 2 also benefits from four thermally-optimized heat pipes that are precisely positioned on the radiator for better heat transportation. Similar to top-tier coolers, this model has a premium look and feel, courtesy of its brushed aluminum finish. 


  • Cooling fan redesigned for better airflow
  • Thermally-optimized heat pipes
  • Low operational noise


  • Not specifically designed for gaming
  • Single tower design may be a limitation for some

2. Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo V2 – check it out here

Single tower air coolers are indeed the best for compactness in order to ensure clearance for other hardware components, especially RAM modules. Among several single tower air coolers, Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo V2 leverages compactness the best. With a highly compact profile, this air cooler opens up plenty of room for RAM modules to fit in perfectly. 

Despite the compact form factor, this model does not make any compromises in terms of cooling performance. It uses the brand’s new SickleFlow 120 mm fan that has been specifically designed to improve airflow near the heat pipes. And speaking of heat pipes, this model is equipped with four direct contact heat pipes that are optimized for maximum heat dissipation. 


  • Compact form factor
  • Relatively quiet operational noise
  • Improved clearance for RAM modules


  • No RGB lighting
  • Socket bracket installation can be tricky for some

3. Thermaltake Frio Extreme – check it out here

Doubling down on the cooling fan is a good way to achieve better cooling performance with an air cooler. And if you are planning to choose a dual tower air cooler over a single tower model, you cannot go wrong with Thermaltake Frio Extreme. 

As one of the best air coolers for i7 8700K, Thermaltake Frio Extreme is designed with overclocking CPU performance in priority. The cooling fans of this model have aluminum fins that improve airflow for better heat dissipation. Also, the copper heat pipes of this cooler are optimized to improve heat conductivity. Unlike many air coolers, this model comes with premium thermal grease that maintains fast heat transfer.


  • Premium thermal grease used
  • Universal socket compatibility
  • Easy installation


  • No RGB lighting
  • The overall dual tower profile may seem bulky to some

Online CPU cooler comparison for best cpu cooler for i7 8700k

If you feel that it will be worth it if you explore more models, we have got you covered on that too. Here’s an extensive list of air and liquid coolers that you can compare in order to make an informed decision. 

Image credit: PCpartpicker

We have filtered the coolers with LGA1151 socket compatibility to make sure you don’t waste time exploring models that aren’t compatible with Intel i7 8700K. 

Image credit: PCpartpicker

Delidding Intel i7 8700K for better cooling and overclocking performance

One tried and true way to get better cooling performance from the cooling unit you choose is to delid the CPU. If you don’t know what it is, delidding is the process of removing the integrated heat spreader (IHS) of the CPU chipset and replacing the stock thermal paste with a high-quality one. 

Image credit: Tom’s Hardware

In many cases, high-quality thermal pastes have better thermal conductivity than stock pastes. Completely removing the IHS and/or thinning out the thermal paste works great in improving the overall thermal conductivity of the CPU unit. This, in turn, helps you achieve better cooling results. 

Here’s how a delidded Intel i7 8700K CPU compares against a stock Intel i7 8700K CPU. The stock model peaked at 86° C while the delidded model’s max temperature was 66° C. 

Image credit: Bang4BuckPC Gamer

Image credit: Bang4BuckPC Gamer

Image credit: Bang4BuckPC Gamer

Over to you

In order to achieve the best possible cooling performance from the cooler you choose, it’s important to properly install the cooler. Make sure that the socket brackets are precisely aligned and that the heat pipes are properly fitted onto the radiator. 

To make sure that you do not go wrong in properly installing the cooler unit, it’s best to follow tutorial guides. 

Here’s an installation tutorial for air cooler: watch here

Image credit: Ronsanut

Here’s an installation tutorial for the AIO cooler: watch here

Image credit: Gear Seekers 

Also, it’s important to choose a tower case with proper ventilation to maintain the optimum performance of the cooler. Check out this extensive list of tower PC cases across all size categories, including Standard ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ITX/Mini DTX: 

Image credit: PCpartpicker