Top 10 Reasons to Use Liquid Cooling vs Air Cooling in Your Gaming PC
Liquid cooling is one of the most efficient ways to control the temperature of a PC. It has become increasingly popular over the past few years and is the go-to for gamers who demand high performance from their processor. If you’re looking for a new PC or even an upgrade, it’s essential to consider the benefits of liquid cooling over the more traditional air-cooling systems.
What is liquid cooling in PCs?
Liquid cooling serves the same purpose as an air cooler—to reduce temperatures to maintain optimal performance and stability of computer components. The main difference between water-cooling and air-cooling is that liquid is more effective than air when it comes to absorbing and dissipating heat.
The liquid cooling method transfers heat away from the computer’s processor (CPU) quickly and efficiently. It does so by using a combination of a pump, radiator, fan, cooling black, and hoses to circulate coolant through a system. This helps keep temperatures inside the PC case lower, allowing for better performance and longevity.
How does it work?
Liquid cooling uses thermodynamics to transfer heat to the machine's Integrated Heat Spreader (IHS) and spread out the heat. The IHS has contact with a flat baseplate that is connected to a cooling block that acts as a heat exchanger. This helps relocate heat from the processor (CPU) into a coolant (usually a mix of water and antifreeze). Systems then pump and circulate coolant through the tubing and into the radiator. Heat is then dissipated from the radiator via fans before returning to the components to absorb more heat. The cooled liquid then completes and restarts the cycle.
Top 10 reasons to use liquid cooling vs air cooling in your gaming PC
1. Improved performance and efficiency
Liquid cooling is far more effective than air cooling at removing heat from your gaming PC’s components, as the liquid can effectively transfer heat away from its source much faster than air. Your CPU and GPU will run cooler and more efficiently, significantly improving performance and overall lifespan.
2. Quieter operation and less vibration
Air coolers are noisy and often cause vibrations due to their large fans moving air around. However, in liquid cooling PCs, the radiator fans used to cool the liquid circulate air more efficiently with less noise. This makes your gaming PC noticeably quieter and smoother during extended gameplay sessions or while running multiple programs simultaneously.
3. Reduced risk of over-clocking damage
Over-clocking involves increasing the processor’s clock rate to run more operations per second and achieve higher performance levels. Air cooling can often be insufficient to cool these components properly, leading to overheating and potential hardware damage. Liquid cooling is much better at dissipating the additional heat generated by over-clocking, reducing the risk of serious damage.
4. Higher overclocking potential
Liquid cooling not only prevents hardware damage due to over-clocking but also allows the user to push their overclocking limits further. Gamers wanting to get the most out of their components can do so without fear of serious consequences.
5. Extensive customization options and visual appeal
These systems offer a wide range of customization options to suit your specific needs. Liquid cooling adds a unique aesthetic to any gaming setup, with vibrant colors and custom tubing setups that add an eye-catching element to your PC.
6. Space savings
Air cooling requires large fans and heatsinks to effectively dissipate heat from your components. Liquid cooling systems are much smaller and can be easily tucked away inside your gaming PC’s case. It’s even possible to use multiple systems. Although the insulation may be a bit more challenging, this allows you to save valuable space and keep your gaming setup neat and tidy.
7. Lower maintenance and improved reliability
Unlike air cooling systems, liquid-cooled PCs run cooler and last longer due to the improved heat transfer properties of the liquid. Your PC will be less likely to suffer from hardware problems due to excessive heat and will be more reliable in the long run. Also, liquid cooling systems are not susceptible to dust and dirt build-up like their air-cooled counterparts. So, you don’t have to worry about cleaning your system as often.
8. Extended component lifespan
Cooler temperatures mean that components can last longer before they start to suffer from wear and tear. With a liquid cooling setup, it’s possible to specifically cool multiple components. High-performance GPUs, hard drives, and power units for example create a lot of heat while gaming. By using liquid cooling, you extend the life of your investments.
9. Great in summer and warmer climates
A warm and humid climate can take a toll on gaming PCs. If you live in an area with higher temperatures or hot summers, your computer will likely overheat or get extremely loud more often. With the added stress of ventilating hot air, liquid cooling can be the advantage you need to keep your machine performing well.
10. Cost savings
Liquid cooling systems can be expensive upfront, but they often end up saving you money in the long run due to their improved efficiency, reliability, and protection of other components. So, while they may require an initial investment, they are likely to pay off over time.
Things to keep in mind before you switch to or install liquid cooling
As with any PC component purchase, research is essential when selecting parts for your liquid cooling system. Make sure the components are compatible with your specific setup, and that they meet your needs in terms of cooling performance, noise levels, and budget. With the right parts, a liquid cooling system can be an excellent way to keep temperatures low inside your PC for improved performance and longevity.
Is it time for a liquid-cooling PC?
Liquid cooling offers many advantages over air cooling that make it an attractive option for gamers who want to get the most out of their PC. From improved cooling performance and overclocking potential to lower maintenance costs and a better visual appeal, there are plenty of reasons why liquid cooling is worth considering. If you’re looking for a high-performance PC that is already set up with liquid cooling, check out the next-gen, PCIe Gen5-capable upgradeable Predator Orion 7000 desktop. It features an AIO CPU liquid cooler, a pump that features 12 addressable RGB LEDs, and can support up to two 120mm fans on the radiator. Ultimately, liquid cooling has become an increasingly popular choice for enthusiasts who wish to extend the life of their hardware and increase computing performance. Why not give it a try?
*The opinions reflected in this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect any official positions or claims by Acer Inc.
About Byron Clarke: Byron is a contributing writer for Acer Corner. As a freelance copy and content writer, he writes about business, technology, and gaming. He is passionate about reading, writing, and teaching. Most days, he spends his time helping marketing teams find creative ways to reach audiences and small businesses find strategic advantages.