So you have an awesome gaming PC but you are not sure should you but more stress on it, or will it overheat. You are wondering what is the difference between Water Cooling vs Air Cooling vs AIO Cooler. Well lets go though it step by step.
Water Cooling vs Air Cooling vs AIO Cooler – Desktop PC Cooling System
Air cooled Computers are usually most common. Basic Air Cooling PC will only have most common ventilators. In an ordinary situation where you just:
- browse internet
- watch movies
- write some word documents
- play Solitaire from time to time
this sort of a cooling is perfectly fine. No doubt this is a very cheap PC cooling solution.
In case you have a bit more powerful Gaming PC at your hand, this kind of a cooling solution is not enough. At least in it’s default setup. Usually the different types of computer cases that are meant for gaming already come with a bit more powerful Computer Case Ventilators. Also the GPU or Graphics Processing Unit or just simply Graphics Card has usually it’s own Cooling system. So that leaves you with the most important part of cooling that you have to worry about – CPU Cooler.
CPU cooler plays more important role in Computers where CPU or Core Processing Unit or simply Processor is used more actively ie
- video editing and video rendering
- Twitch Live Streaming and Content Recording
- Hardcore Gaming Computers
So what are the options for PC cooling system? In rough comparison you can look at 2 main ways and one combined solution. Therefor Water Cooling vs Air Cooling vs AIO Cooler.
What is Air Cooling?
Air cooling is a Desktop PC Cooling system that relies on radiators and ventilators. The usual CPU air cooler consists of:
- copper or aluminium base plate
- high performance fans
- radiator with specially designed fins
The difference between generic CPU Air Coolers and Aftermarket CPU Air Coolers is the size and efficiency. Aftermarket Air Coolers have bigger radiators, more fins to distribute the heat and bigger and more powerful ventilators to cool down the radiator fins.
The idea behind it is that heat from CPU transfers to the base plate and from there spreads over the radiator and its special fins that are then blasted with cooler air thanks to the ventilators. For ordinary Gaming PC such Aftermarket setup will be perfectly fine. The computer will stay at optimum temperature quite surely. The downside of such Aftermarket Air Cooler is related to its biggest bonus – its size. As I said before the Aftermarket Air Coolers are bigger than generic coolers and therefor cool the CPU better. From that same feature comes the downside. Unless you are using a Full Tower Types of computer cases, fitting the huge cooler setup into your case can be tricky. Personally I have seen such setup in a quite small computer case as well, but do not rely on that.
What is Water Cooling?
Water Cooling is a Desktop PC cooling System that relies on mostly the same elements as air cooling, but has some additions such as:
- the pipes that house the coolant water
- the pump that drives the coolant water around the system
- reservoir for the coolant water
Other elements are similar to air cooling:
- heat plate to collect the heat from CPU
- Radiator to take the heat from the Coolant Water
- Ventilators to cool down the Radiator
in case of Liquid Cooling vs Air Cooling, Water Cooling is more efficient and usually it can be a bit quieter as well, as the cooling does not rely on only driving around cooler air with ventilators. The downsides of Liquid cooling however are the Water Cooling Kit Price and the complexity of building such setup. Also the danger of leaks in case you made a mistake somewhere by accident.
So if you would like to buy water cooling kit, but you are not too sure about your skills, I recommend getting an AIO Cooler.
What is AIO Cooler?
In case of water cooling vs air cooling vs aio cooler I personally think AIO Cooler is technically the best of both Water Cooling and Air Cooling worlds. The name AIO Cooler means all in one Cooler. It has a closed liquid CPU Cooling system with heat dispensing radiator, cooling vents and water pump. It is rather easy to setup and compared to the water cooling kit where you build the whole system yourself, it will be cheaper and less likely to have any leaks. Also the space required is much less.
You have to pay attention to the size of the AIO Cooler radiator. The idea is to attach the radiator to any side of your Computer Case. Personally i prefer the back of the case, so that the hot air from radiators is blown out from the case, rather than in the front where the radiator is cooled with cooler air, but all the heat is then blown into the Computer Case, so that other ventilators have deal with it. This all is another topic called Computer airflow. I might create a Computer case airflow guide, so if you would like to have it, do let me know and i will write down some advice regarding PC airflow optimisation.
So when wondering what is better from Water Cooling vs Air Cooling vs AIO Cooler – I would for sure go for the AIO Cooler. Then i know my PC is nice and cool and furthermore how cool it is to say to people that yeah I have Liquid Cooling in my awesome Gaming Computer Beast.
12.02.2018 – EqEST