choosing CPU liquid air cooling

Choosing Between CPU Liquid and Air Cooling Formats

If you’re looking to improve your CPU performance, whether for a gaming computer, workstation or any other device, there are two general methods available. The first involves improving the efficiency of your architecture; the second involves increasing TDP, or Thermal Design Power, which speaks to the power consumption your machine takes up and the maximum load it can bear during standard operations.

At Xidax, we’re proud to offer a huge range of limited edition gaming computers, laptops, workstations and many other CPU elements. We’ve assisted clients with both of the above upgrade areas, and we’ll happily do the same for you.

One major factor that plays a role in the second approach, increasing TDP, is heat created, and therefore the cooling required to prevent overheating and maintain quality operations. Generally speaking, you have two options here: Liquid cooling and air cooling. What are each of these, what are their pros and cons, and which is better for your setup? Here’s a primer.

Liquid CPU Cooling Basics, Pros and Cons

Liquid coolers rely on a pump connected to another component like an AIO or closed loop water-cooling system. The pump then circulates a set of coolant through the system, and after going back to the radiator through some copper cold plates, it’s pushed out into another tank where it’s then recirculated for reuse in the same process.

Liquid systems are generally the best option for high-end enthusiasts and gamers, as they can handle insane amounts of power. But if you’re planning on using a liquid cooling system, here’s a bit more info on its parts and various templates:

Radiator: The radiator is where your CPU’s heat is dissipated from the coolant into air. Radiators come in a variety of sizes, from 120mm to 480mm.

AIO: The All-in-One liquid cooler is your best bet if you’re looking for a quick and easy cooling solution. A good quality AIO will easily handle an overclocked CPU and provide optimal performance without much hassle (no DIY required). It’s also much easier to maintain and clean.

Closed Loop Water Cooling: This system is a bit more advanced than the AIO because it requires you to put together your own kit, but it also does a better job at cooling components in comparison to an AIO. The loop (which you build) runs coolant through copper tubing which connects to a water block that in turn cools the CPU. Another advantage is that you can add extra components like video cards and chipset blocks to be cooled effectively.

The following are benefits of using a liquid cooling system.

  • Easy to maintain – If you do not have any experience with coolers, then this is your best bet.
  • Durability – Liquid cooling systems can withstand more heat and power on average than other types of system.
  • Great for gaming computers – If you’re looking to play games on your PC, then this is the way to go, in part due to their quiet operations.

While liquid is a great solution for high-end computers, there are also some drawbacks to using it. One thing to take into account is the price and cost of upkeep: fluid changes, tubing replacements, adding coolant and so on. Though this is pretty insignificant compared to the benefits you get with a liquid-cooled machine, it’s still something to think about.

In addition, certain liquid coolers — those that use custom loops, specifically — will require some detailed maintenance, including annual refilling and regular monitoring for leaks.

Air CPU Cooling Basics, Pros and Cons

Air CPU cooling relies on fans to circulate cooler air from the outside over your machine. There are two general formats for air CPU cooling: Direct fans and indirect fans.

A direct fan blows cooler air directly over your components. This, however, has its drawbacks, because it can cause overheating in certain parts of the machine due to unequal distribution or too much pressure being exerted on the components.

An indirect fan, on the other hand, circulates air by placing a fan at an angle away from your computer. The upside of this is that it can serve a more diverse purpose and cool various parts of your system without causing too much harm to any individual component. However, it has its drawbacks as well: namely, if you have it installed at a height higher than their target area, it can potentially push hot air into your case.

General benefits of air cooling systems include:

  • Keep your system cool and running smoothly at all times.
  • Generally more cost-effective than liquid cooling options, especially for builds not using the Intel K or AMD X parts.
  • Simpler to upgrade, since there’s no radiator or tubing to work around.

The major drawback of air CPU cooling is that it can cause your PC to overheat if you’re using a system that has insufficient airflow. This might be the case especially if you have CPUs that are overclocked and running at full power for an extended amount of time.

In addition, air coolers are known to be significantly louder than their liquid cooling counterparts. This is because they rely on heat sync fans to pull heat form the CPU, plus case fans to remove this heat from the area, both of which naturally lead to noisier operations.

For more on how to choose between liquid and air cooling format for your computer, or to learn about any of our gaming computers, laptops or other services, speak to the staff at Xidax today.