Is a CPU Water Cooler Worth it? Pros and Cons?

by Zohaib Hassan

Is a CPU Water Cooler Worth it? Pros and Cons?

Those who want to utilize the true potential of their computer and processor would need an excellent cooling system in their PC for effective thermal management. The reason behind the statement is that when you’re running your CPU at its full pace with peak overclocking, it may get heated and ultimately affect the performance. At this spot, the correct thermal solution can help us keep the temperature at practical and non-destructive limits. You can play top-tier games and create content as you want if you choose the best cooler for your system.

For your information, there are mainly two types of cooling solutions in the market, air-based and liquid-based, and both have their own specialties and drawbacks. Liquid or water cooling is quite famous in terms of more effective performance, eye-catching aesthetics, compatibility, and more. At the same time, it also has some drawbacks. But is a CPU water cooler worth it? What are pros and cons of a CPU water cooler? Well, keep reading this article until the end if you want to know everything related to knowing a CPU water cooler. 

What are Pros and Cons of a CPU water cooler?

The closest competitor of CPU water coolers is an air-based cooling solution. We constantly compare each aspect, especially the pros and cons, of both the cooling solutions to easily understand what is suitable for a user. For your information, we have made the same comparison in this post section. We have added the pros and cons of a liquid-based cooler compared to the air-based cooler to better understand the topic. Let’s explore these aspects before heading further!

Pros of CPU water cooler

  • Quiet operations: The fans fitted in the liquid cooler spin much slower than the air-based coolers. In this way, liquid cooling is way quieter than air-based cooling.
  • Fewer dust issues: The air-based cooler often causes air to enter the system and block the air vents. In contrast, there is no risk of dust since these use the liquid.
  • More performance: Water cooling is more effective in terms of heat regulations that ultimately enhance the cooling performance than air-based coolers.
  • Perfect for overclocking: If you often overclock your system to play high-end games or do content creation, the liquid cooler is your good-to-go option due to cooling performance. 
  • Aesthetics: On average, brands spend more on manufacturing water coolers than air-based coolers. So these are more attractive than air-based coolers.
  • Smaller in size: The liquid coolers are smaller in size than the air-based cooler. Due to this reason, you can fit these with a wide range of CPUs and volatile memory kits.

Cons of CPU water cooler

  • Pricey: The water coolers are more complex in nature and have more cooling performance. But these are pricier than their air-based counterparts.
  • Complicated installation: The liquid cooler has multiple parts that must be assembled together to bring the cooler to life–so installing one is tricky.
  • Difficult to maintain: Liquid coolers are more challenging to maintain than air-based coolers. These have liquid (water) inside, so we have to ensure no leakages or failures to protect the system.

Is a CPU water cooler worth it?

The short answer is yes, but it’s only half part of the whole discovery. The complete answer to this question lies in your usage, requirements, and budget. Liquid coolers are way more effective than air-based coolers in terms of cooling performance. In addition, these are smaller in size, produce less noise, and are pretty eye-catching in terms of aesthetics. At the same time, these are also quite pricey than their air-cooling competitors. Hence, you should only invest in these coolers if you really need such a top-tier cooling performance. 

CPU Water Cooler
CPU Water Cooler

To make things easier, if you play some high-end games on your system or often do some serious content creation, 3D rendering, or development, then these will suit you best. You will be able to control the high temperature that your CPU will produce. In contrast, if you’re a tech enthusiast who plays only light-weight games or does other basic tasks, you can work out a good-quality air-based cooler instead of putting too many bucks into an expensive liquid-based cooler. So, know your needs and invest in the cooling solution according to your requirements.

How does CPU water cooler work?

There are two types of liquid CPU coolers: All-in-One (AIO) coolers and custom-loop liquid coolers. In this section, we’ll look at the operational phenomenon of the AIO CPU cooler. The AIO cooler functions pretty much the same way as the radiator works in your car or home if you have any. Like the air-based cooler, there is a baseplate in a liquid cooler that is connected to the CPU’s IHS with the help of thermal paste. In the unit, water circulates and is pumped through water blocks and the baseplate, which is also a part of the water block, lets it absorb the heat.

The hot water that has absorbed the heat is taken to the radiator, where the fans are rotating and exposed to cold air. In this section of the AIO cooler, the water released the absorbed heat and turned it into a cooler liquid. From here, the cooled water is again pumped back towards the CPU to absorb the heat again–the circle keeps repeating. Such a continuous water flow through a pair of two tubes keeps absorbing the heat from the processing unit and taking it away from the system. This is the working phenomenon of a liquid-based cooling solution. 

Why choose a CPU liquid cooler?

Water coolers are usually pricier than air-based coolers but can beat the air-based options in terms of performance and effective thermal management. Many tech users think about it as a flashier option. But honestly, the liquid coolers are unmatchable in the way they transfer heat, plus the design and aesthetics they carry to make your system more iconic and attractive. Keep all the aspects in your mind before selecting a CPU cooler. These are the reasons to go for a CPU liquid cooler. If budget isn’t an issue for you, an AIO cooler is perfect for you. 

At the same time, you should also remember that several types of liquid coolers are available on the market. In contrast, the All-in-One or AIO systems are pretty famous among enthusiasts and high-end computer users. These types of water coolers come with pre-bundled components and can be simply installed into the system. But if you want to build your own custom cooling loops, you can also do so. Remember, custom-built coolers are comparatively expensive and may take time, so keep it in your mind before selecting one.

Conclusion

Thermal mismanagement is the most prominent issue that computer enthusiasts face when they’re playing games at peak levels. The CPU gets heated and often starts bottlenecking during usage. In such a case, you can’t overclock the processor and, ultimately, cannot utilize the system’s true potential. At precisely this spot, a good-quality cooling solution can help you to deal with the situation. But again, the question of choosing between water-based or air-based solutions arises that may confuse you for a moment. 

Therefore, in this post, we have tried our best to introduce you to the need for a liquid cooling solution and answer the question of when we need it. If I simplify the whole post, water-based cooling is way more effective than an air-based cooler, but you only invest in it if you need it. These are worth it regarding unmatchable performance, attractive design, RGB lighting, noise-less operations, and more. A liquid-based cooler is perfect for you if you want to overclock the CPU to its peak and utilize its true potential.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better: liquid cooler or air cooler?

Both types of cooling solutions are made for different users and usage. A liquid cooler is perfect for users who want to overclock their PC up to its true potential and want to play top-tier games and run content creation software. On the flip side, an air cooler can be a perfect choice for mid-tier builds where the users won’t put too much load on the system.

What is the liquid in liquid cooling?

The liquid that is used in a liquid cooling solution can be deionized water, glycol, or some dielectric fluids. Rember, drinking or tap water isn’t used in the water, or liquid solution since the ions may corrode the water block or grow some algae-like compound blocking the water block and tubes. Only some special deionized water or non-capacitive and non-conductive fluids are used in a liquid cooler.

Is liquid cooling better than air cooling?

In terms of thermal performance, yes, liquid cooling is better than air cooling. But again, it all depends upon your usage, budget, and system requirements. An air cooler is perfect for you if you’re a user who uses their PC for ordinary purposes or lightweight gaming. In contrast, those users who overclock their computers to their true potential need a good-quality liquid cooler.

Zohaib Hassan

Zohaib Hassan is a staunch tech enthusiast and has been writing about his interactions with computers for years. He has been serving the PCIdeaz, GamingSilk, and BesTechReview as a content writer and manager along with experimenting and testing numerous tech masterpieces. Indeed, he often forgets about eating his spicy snacks when has his head on the computer screen.