Water Or Air For Computer Cooling?

Gaming and general work computers have come a long way in terms of speed within the last ten years, but with increased speed comes other factors one needs to deal with. A faster CPU typically uses more power and the more power it uses, the more heat is generator.

Heat is the enemy of electronic components, as excessive heat stands to throttle performance and shorten the life expectancy of your CPU. Managing heat will be one of the best maintenance precautions anybody can take when looking after a computer.

Air Cooling

Air cooling is the original and widely still considered the best way to cool your CPU. An air cooler will involve a small thermal mass which is tied into the CPU lid, which then extends to a mixture of aluminium fins and copper pipes, all of which are designed to transfer the heat away from the lid as quickly as possible.

The mixture between copper and aluminium is usually because copper is a great heat conductor, while the aluminium can cheaply be made into fins for a large surface area to aid in dissipation, aluminium is also less reluctant to dissipate the heat to air than copper is. Strapped to this cooling tower of aluminium and copper will commonly be a fan to provide air flow to dissipate the heat.

Water Cooling

Water cooling uses a similar block to extract the heat from the CPU lid, but from there things change. The block is mounted to a small water chamber which has an optimal water flow path to extract as much heat as possible from the CPU, while still remaining small enough to include a water pump and neatly fit on the CPU.

From there, the water is circulated to a radiator, which is typically mounted in a case fan position. The radiator has fans blowing through it to better vent the excess heat to the outside air. Water cooling can come in different forms like AIO units and customs loops, but performance between the higher end of either unit is similar as the bottleneck typically becomes how quickly the block can extract heat from the CPU lid.

Which Is Better?

It’s an age-old debate between water and air cooling, with neither pulling clearly ahead. There are a few things to consider when choosing which is better for you and your activities online at sites like ZAR casino.

  • Quality – the quality of the air cooler or AIO you purchase will be the biggest deciding factor in your ability to efficiently cool your CPU. A high quality air cooler can often preform just as well as high quality water coolers, but a lower quality air cooler, will perform nowhere near as well as a base AIO water cooler.
  • Overclocking – when overclocking, your cooling system will be one of the most vital parts in protecting your CPU. For a mild overclock a good air cooler is generally okay, but when pushing the overclock harder, a water cooling system would definitely be recommended. Larger water cooling systems like customs loops represent more thermal mass, which can give a much better experience when overclocking.
  • CPU – the CPU and the expected heat is important to take into consideration. Different CPUs generally run comfortably at different temperatures, the temperatures you should be looking at depend on the CPU.

There is no one true kind between air cooling and water cooling. The best solution will rely on budget and the CPU that you plan to cool.