Battle for Coolness: Air Versus Water

You have to admit that building a computer with top specs can run you several hundred to a few thousand dollars. So if you are planning to gather the parts for your own gaming computer tower project, you better save up because they really are that expensive. If you want your games to get top performance, you need to pay top dollars for the hardware.

A powerful PC also produces a lot of heat. In order to maintain peak performance, you need to use an efficient cooling system to keep things going along nicely. If CPU or GPU runs too hot, you might experience throttling issues. This is where your processor would lower its clock speed when it detects high temperatures. The two main types are water and air coolers, and there are merits to using either one of them.


If you are going to splurge on your PC build, you might as well make sure it looks cool too. One of the most visible components of it is the CPU cooler. On desktop computers, since the CPU socket is located near the center of the motherboards, it makes the heat sink look like the centerpiece of the build.

Air coolers can vary in size. You can choose a downdraft cooler if you want to highlight its fan. Its low height clearance makes it a great fit for small form factor PCs. Tower heat sinks can vary in size but some consider the large, hulking ones as great-looking ones too. You just need to be mindful of the RAM slots because some of them can be blocked by its giant heat sink. It also blocks an area of your motherboard, so if you want to showcase that part of the build try to look elsewhere.

Water coolers use a block that is placed on top of the processor. This is the part where it mostly gets to exercise a bit of creativity. You can see blocks of all shapes and sizes, and recently you have seen the trend of putting RGB lighting on everything. Other than that, you mostly see the tubing and radiators. The former allows builders to have greater freedom when installing RAM, as this can easily be moved around.


Since air and water coolers have moving parts in them, expect to get some noise especially if you are playing close to the tower. Air coolers can put out steady hums while a water cooler has that and a low gurgling noise courtesy of its pump. If you play with headphones, you would not notice the sounds these coolers are making.


Water coolers work by circulating the coolant through their pipes and radiators. As the coolant moves away from the CPU block and then towards the radiator fins, the heat is drawn away from it and makes it cool down until it reaches the block again. This proves to be effective for high-end processors, and this is why they are more expensive than air coolers.

Air cooling has a range of types and sizes. Larger heat sinks allow more effective dissipation of heat, and the fan’s job is to blow that away. These are usually used for higher-end systems. You can choose smaller coolers if you do not have much power under the hood.

The CPU is the brain of the system. If you want to make it perform at its peak, you better keep that cool. Either type should do at least a decent job of cooling the chip that many see as the brain of the system.


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