< Back to Main Website     

Products

PC Cooling: Water Coolers vs AIO Coolers vs Air Coolers

cooler

There are three major options for PC cooling: custom water cooling, AIO cooling, and air cooling.

PC Cooling Option 1: Custom Water Cooling

PROS

Performance

Computer experts praise custom water cooling units for their ability to work better than air cooling systems.

Noise

They also enjoy custom water cooling units because they are quieter and more efficient. However, some would argue there are no real noise differences that it all just depends on personal preference.

CONS

Price

While custom water cooling builds can be great, they are often not the best option for those building a computer on a budget. As you probably guessed, custom PC cooling is more expensive than any other option available because it requires a lot of additional components.

Ease of Use

Since water cooling does require more parts and know-how, it is not an easy build. Some even say custom water cooling requires just as much brain power as the computer build itself!

Reliability

Custom water cooling builds are visually appealing. Some, however, believe the risk is just not worth it. Water:

  • Can leak and ruin expensive computer parts.
  • Evaporates, which means your cooler may not run as well over time.
  • Can cause corrosion if you are not careful about the metal type being used in the build.

cooling range

PC Cooling Option 2: AIO (All-in-One) Cooling

PROS

Price

AIO cooling is cheaper than custom liquid cooling. At the same time, it is still more expensive than air cooling. As the in-between option, it is a great choice for those who would like an alternative to air cooling without spending the additional money for a custom liquid cooling system.

Performance

AIO cooling used to be significantly better than air cooling. Today, however, there are many air cooling systems that rival AIO cooling systems. Technology has closed most of the performance gap between the two. At the same time, water is always going to be better at dissipating heat than air. It’s just common sense.

Corsair Hydro Series H45

Corsair Hydro H80i

EVGA CLC 280

Noise

There is controversy about whether air cooling makes more noise than AIO cooling. AIO cooling includes fans and a pump for moving water. The water, pump, and fans all have noise decibels. While there are more noise makers in AIO coolers, most AIO cooling systems come with software for controlling fan speed and overall noise. This is a major advantage over most air cooling systems, which offer no method for controlling noise at all.

Ease of Use

AIO is much easier to install  than a custom water cooling build because it requires less thinking.

CONS

Ease of Use

Likewise, AIO cooling systems are difficult to install because they are big and have a radiator with 3-6 fans. Consumers run into problems with the radiator because it often needs more head room. The lack of head space often causes the radiator to block important components on the upper part of motherboards.

To avoid this problem, you will need to check with the computer case manufacture to see if your AIO will be compatible. Please note it will be a lot easier to find a mid to large sized computer tower than it will be to find a small form factor computer tower compatible with AIO cooling systems.

Reliability

While an AIO cooling system is a lot easier to install and manage than a custom water cooling system, it still has same reliability issues. Water:

  • Can leak and ruin expensive computer parts.
  • Evaporates, which means your cooler may not run as well over time.
  • Can cause corrosion if you are not careful about the metal type being used in the build.

cooling range

PC Cooling Option 3: Air Cooling

PROS

Price

Air cooling is always going to be cheaper than custom water cooling and AIO cooling. Cheaper prices mean one can afford to spend more money on a better graphics card or processor.  In fact, there are many air cooling options available for under $60. Such a cheap find, however, cannot be under estimated.

Performance

Hyper Master 212 is an air cooling unit that costs around $36. Despite its low costs, the system gets stellar reviews and rivals many AIO cooling units.  In addition to having great performance, air cooling options are loved because they have fewer moving parts (i.e. less that can go wrong with them). Air cooling units last for years and only run into problems with the fan, which can easily be repaired or replaced.

Hyper Master 212 EVO

Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED

Ease of Use

While air cooling units perform great at affordable prices, they require little upkeep and are easy to install. For the most part, upkeep only consists of cleaning dust off the fan blades.

Likewise, air cooling systems are easy to install because they take up far less space than water cooling systems. Most air cooling systems have 1-3 fans, which means they are compatible with a wide variety of computer cases. You will, however, need to view the computer case manufactures specifications to make sure it will fit.

CONS

Ease of Use

Air cooling systems are infamous for having heatsinks that are too tall for computer case side panels. Likewise, some computer ram can have tall heat spreaders that may interfere with heatsinks. As with any computer build, a space problem can always be avoided by doing homework on the dimensions of your computer case ahead of time.

Noise

While there are many options for computer cases with an air cooling system, there are no options for controlling noise produced by the fans. Fans do produce a lot of noise. However, if you find fans relaxing, you will not mind.

Please like, share, and visit MemoryC.com to find the latest cooling options for your PC build.

cooling range

 

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.