Liquid Vs Air Cooler – Which should I choose

Is it better to go with a liquid CPU cooler or an air CPU cooler? We went a little more and discovered a straightforward solution to this query. You may be surprised by the solution.

If you have a case with restricted airflow or intend to perform a lot of overclocking, liquid cooling is the way to go.

Air cooling is more than enough for any other needs. It is both handy and cost-effective.

Overclocking has grown extremely popular in recent years, however, it is more popular with GPUs than CPUs. Nonetheless, liquid CPU cooling has gained popularity. You’ve undoubtedly considered if you should attempt liquid cooling at some time.

What are the distinctions between air and liquid cooling, though? What are their functions? And, most importantly, which should you pick? Which is better: a liquid or an air CPU cooler?

This guide will address these and other questions.

How Do They Work?

Air Cooling

The operation of the air cooler is relatively straightforward. It is built on two fundamental elements:

  • The fan.
  • The heatsink.

The heatsink is often constructed of highly thermo-conductive materials, such as aluminum or an alloy of aluminum and copper. Its function is to remove heat from the CPU. However, a heatsink can only absorb so much heat until the heat must be vented.

This is where the fan comes in, by spinning continually, it keeps cold air flowing through the heatsink and stops it from overheating.

Liquid Cooling

When compared to an air cooling system, liquid cooling is a little more complicated, with more components. These are they:

  • The pump.
  • The radiator.
  • The hoses.
  • The fan.

Unlike air cooling, which utilizes air to circulate via a heatsink, liquid cooling employs fluid instead of air.

Water – or any other liquid coolant – is pushed via hoses connected to the cooling component – in this example, the CPU. However, just recirculating it is insufficient, and the liquid need its own heatsink.

In a liquid cooling system, the radiator serves exactly this purpose. We also have a fan going over it to keep the air cold and prevent it from overheating.

Which solution should you pick?

Let’s look at the most important aspects to consider before deciding between air and liquid cooling.

Efficiency of Cooling

There is no denying it. Because a significantly larger volume of liquid coolant can circulate more effectively, liquid cooling is much more efficient and powerful than air cooling.

The most essential question is whether you really need that additional cooling power. Air cooling will be adequate for a CPU operating at factory clock rates. Even if you intend on doing some mild overclocking, liquid cooling isn’t required until you’re pushing the CPU to its limits.


While liquid cooling is undeniably more efficient, air cooling has the benefit of being significantly less expensive. This is mostly due to decreased production costs, with price disparities running into the hundreds of dollars.


Installing and maintaining a liquid cooling arrangement is almost challenging unless you have prior familiarity with computer technology.

An air cooler, on the other hand, is simple and straightforward to use: just install it, remove it once in a while to blow out the dust, and it’s as good as new.


Even the finest air cooler will be overworked when driving a high-end CPU to its limits. Water is the way to go when air is no longer physically capable of keeping a CPU cool.

Even if you don’t intend to test that limit and just don’t enjoy the sound of a fan whirling continually, liquid cooling is a far quieter solution.

Furthermore, you may want to squeeze a gaming setup into a Mini ITX or Micro ATX chassis, which may restrict airflow. Liquid cooling would be ideal in this situation since it requires much less air to keep the CPU temperature down.

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