Views: 8 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2022-03-10 Origin: Site
From the smallest of home theater PCs to the most hulking of gargantuan gaming rigs, every computer generates heat during operation—heat that can kill your PC’s precious internals if you’re not careful.
While you don’t have anything to worry about if you bought your computer from a big-box retailer or straight from a manufacturer like HP, you’ll be faced with a potentially crucial decision if you’re building (or custom-buying) a fire-breathing, benchmark-eating computer:
Should you chill your PC with a traditional air cooling solution or a pricier yet more efficient liquid-cooling system? That question has many aspects to consider before you can answer it.
Cooling methods explained
The secret to harnessing the cooling power of air lies in fans—lots of fans. Your typical air-cooled PC is packed with case fans, graphics card fans, and a CPU fan or two—positioned atop a big metal heat sink—to keep your expensive components nice and frosty.
On the other hand, a water-cooling system employs a series of coolant-filled tubes, a radiator, water blocks (the equivalent of heat sinks), and a couple of other components to keep your PC feeling refreshed.
You’ll even need a few fans to push around all the water! Our guide to setting up a liquid-cooled PC explains a primary (ha!) system in exacting detail.
Got it? Good. Defining air cooling and liquid cooling is the easy part. The trickier bit is deciding to use one or the other.
One of the great joys of using fans to cool your system is that you don’t have to do anything to create a decent cooling setup in a lot of circumstances.
Suppose your system’s chassis is of the non-bargain-bin variety. In that case, the odds are high that its manufacturer has already installed precisely what you need—namely, an intake fan in the front that pushes outside air over your hard drives and an exhaust fan that shoots hot air flying out of the rear of the chassis.
Graphics cards and computer processors pretty much always ship with powerful stock fans—you know, the ones that sound like a plane taking off when they roar into action. Those, combined with case fans, make up the Holy Trifecta of air cooling within a typical desktop PC.
Let’s start with the pleasant bits. One of the key benefits of a robust liquid cooling setup is that it cool specific system components to a greater degree than if you used fans-not the most applicable setup for someone running a typical stock-clock processor,
But one that’s definitely of interest to anyone looking to overclock their chips a bit (or a ton).
Even if you don’t tax your rig enough to need a more significant cooling boost, a cheap self-contained water-cooling loop—more on those later—can help lower your PC’s sound output. Water cooling is much quieter than stuffing your case full of fans. There’s also the issue of space.
A huge heat-sink/fan combination might perform well enough, but the best CPU coolers eat up a ton of real estate inside your case. Liquid cooling requires much less space, and it looks a lot niftier to boot. You can’t discount the cool factor of a case full of colorful, liquid-filled tubes!
So, which is better? Air cooling or water cooling? The answer depends on your particular usage needs.
One size does not fit all when it comes to case cooling, but most people can get by with fans alone. It’s easy, and it’s cheap. If, on the other hand, you’re an enthusiast who needs the best cooling possible for your flaming CPU and a gaggle of graphics cards, a DIY water-cooling setup is in your future.
Finally, try a sealed liquid cooler if you’re considering liquid cooling to keep your overclocked processor chilled or to benefit from reduced system noise.