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Air Cooling vs Water Cooled PCs | Should you air cool or liquid cool your PC?

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Should your air cool or water cool your PC? 

Should you air-cool or water-cool your new gaming PC? That all depends on what you are planning on doing with your PC. Are you doing super-intensive tasks? There might be better options than an air cooler, as the liquid cooling option will allow your system to sustain a lot more load and stay chilly. On the other hand, a stock cooler will do you justice if you are doing simple web browsing. 

Air Cooling your PC 

avadirect custom gaming pc with air cooling
Air-cooled Gaming PC

Air coolers are excellent and affordable, mainly if you shoot for a low-profile or mini-PC build. One of the most significant factors for me is affordability. With some CPUs, you can get a cooler bundled inside the box with the processor. Those are not the most incredible coolers out there, but they can get the job done while you are waiting for another cooler or prepping to do a hard/soft line build. You can also invest in a good air cooler, like Noctua or BeQuiet’s. I have used a Cooler Master 212 Evo RGB for quite some time for me with a lot of these intensive games that push the CPU hard. Air coolers also allow for more fans in your system as you don’t have to mount a radiator to the top, front, or the back (120mm).   

Water-cooling a gaming PC 

All-in-one liquid coolers are an excellent step up from air coolers in many aspects – sleek, powerful, RGB for days, easy to mount, and keep your CPU breezy. These are a bit pricier than air coolers, but for a good reason. Corsair, for example, is one of the manufacturers that have software you can download where you can control RGB features, cooling features, and see graphs of temps inside that software with it being linked to you cooler – that is always nice to have, especially for troubleshooting purposes. It’s also nice to have software like that at your fingertips.   

aio liquid cooled gaming pc side view
Gaming PC with all-in-one liquid cooler

The most appealing aspect of liquid coolers is their performance. As these have coolant going through a water block to a radiator, you will have optimal performance during the most intensive of tasks. The radiator also has a couple of places it can be mounted, depending on the size you purchase. For example, if you buy a 120mm radiator, you have plenty of places you can mount it to suit your needs or style, whereas a 240mm and higher limit you to top or front (or if you have one of those fancy Lian Li cases, the back area). 

If you want to take a step further, hardline water-cooled gaming PCs are available. You’ve likely seen pictures of these beautiful builds with custom tubing and coolant. Hardline liquid-cooled gaming PCs are one of our specialties, though they tend to be way more expensive than air-cooling or all-in-one liquid coolers. Custom hardline loops typically provide cooling to both the CPU and GPU, they require a technician to bend piping around your unique components and case.

custom liquid cooled workstation
Hardline water-cooled PC

Air Cooled vs Liquid Cooled PCs?

So, liquid-cooled or air-cooled? Liquid cooling is going to give you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of performance, as well as some other little features that will come with the unit (depending on the brand and model you decide to purchase). Air cooling is good, but the cost makes it more appealing for budget and cheap builds. 

Interested in configuring a system, whether it is air-cooled or liquid-cooled? AVADirect has you covered! You can use our configurator to piece together your system to meet your needs for the tasks you are trying to achieve. A gamer that doesn’t want to deal with a configurator? Check out our Instabuilder! Old school and wish to speak with someone about a build? You can reach out to our excellent sales team, who are standing by to help configure the system of your dreams. 


Wesley Boyer

Hi Everyone! I am Wesley and I handle a lot of behind the scenes stuff with AVADirect, alongside writing blogs. A bit about me, I am a huge comic book fan, a gamer at heart (everyone probably knows that by now), a die hard Blink-182 fan, and a family man first and foremost.

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