AIO vs Custom Loop Liquid Cooling: Which is Better?

You’ve finally saved up enough money to put together your own custom computer, and you’re looking forward to exploring all of the various components and settings you can come up with to make it your own. The options are almost limitless, ranging from the greatest graphics cards to the most powerful motherboards.

The CPU cooler is one area that might provide a bit of a conundrum at certain times. If you look at any current PC setup, you’ll see a tangle of cables, RGB lights, and fans, all of which are aimed at keeping your CPU as cool as possible. After all, you don’t want your CPU to reach dangerously high temperatures, which not only reduces the performance of your PC, but also has the potential to inflict lasting harm to your CPU over the course of many years.

It’s critical that you spend some time learning about the various CPU coolers available and determining which one would work best for you in order to keep your CPU working safely and efficiently.

Should you bother with stock CPU coolers?

Before we begin, it’s vital to look at the coolers that package with most modern-day CPUs. These ‘stock’ coolers generally have a tiny heatsink and fan connected to it, and that’s pretty much it.

A stock CPU cooler is good if you’re using a low-end processor in your build that won’t be running extremely strenuous apps. Think of an Intel i3 CPU being used for a media centre PC or network file sharing – it’s not running a tonne of apps on it, so the total load will generally be modest.

For cases like these, your supplied CPU cooler will do the work and keep your CPU quite cool. What you’ll need to keep in mind is that over time the heatsink and fan are going to become pretty dusty, which will decrease cooling performance and in turn make the fan work harder (and louder) to keep the CPU cool. If you’re running more powerful CPUs, then the stock cooler is going to run at higher rates to cool your CPU, thus you’re going to constantly hear the fan spinning away in your PC case.

Air Coolers

AIO vs Custom Loop Liquid Cooling

First, we’ll take a look at air coolers, which are divided into two categories: cooling and cooling. The first component is a heatsink that is mounted on top of your CPU and is linked to a number of heat pipes. These pipes assist in the transfer of heat away from the heatsink, and they are linked to a bigger heatsink composed of a series of thin fins that assist in the absorption and dissipation of heat, therefore cooling the pipes down. Either one or two fans are attached to the bigger heatsink, which aids in the circulation of air and the reduction of temperatures.

Air coolers are often the simplest kind of cooler to find, and they can be found in a wide range of sizes and pricing ranges. Some may just resemble a bigger version of the default CPU cooler, while others may be much larger and take up a significant amount of space in your case.

In order to keep expenses as low as possible while yet providing an adequate cooling solution for your PC, air coolers are a fantastic option. Fans linked to your CPU cooler may be rather noisy, depending on their size, even when the temperature is at its lowest setting. Although they produce a lot of noise, they are an excellent alternative if you want to construct your computer in a small PC case that doesn’t have a lot of space or if you don’t care about the noise generated by the fans.

All In One (AIO) cooler

AIO vs Custom Loop Liquid Cooling

This is the next sort of cooler to consider, and AIO coolers may be found in many current designs. In terms of CPU cooling, an AIO is the next logical step up, and it may look beautiful in any environment.

The size of an AIO cooler is something to bear in mind. There are typically four sizes of AIO coolers, each of which has a cooling fan capacity of 1, 2, or 3. Naturally, the optimum cooling for your CPU comes from bigger coolers with more fans. But huge coolers need a larger case.

It’s a terrific way to get started with liquid cooling since it’s self-contained and easy to assemble. Inside the CPU block is a pump, which pumps water through the AIO through two closed tubes. With rows of fins that assist pull heat away from the water before it is recirculated, a cooling system is created. Radiator fans assist in removing hot air from the radiator and circulating cold air through it.

At least two 120mm fans are required for an AIO cooler, therefore if your case is big enough, you may use one instead of an AIO cooler with a single fan (120mm). It’s important to pay attention to how the AIO is placed in the case once you make your choice. Your pump block should be located higher up than your radiator, so that gravity helps the water within flow more easily and your pump does not have to work as hard. Another benefit of this is that it prevents air bubbles from accumulating in the water loop, which may create difficulties for your water pump and lower the efficiency of your cooler over time.

Custom Water-Cooling Loops

AIO vs Custom Loop Liquid Cooling

The Custom Water-Cooling Loop is the icing on the cake of any PC setup. People that are into PCs and want to get the most bang for their buck often use this kind of cooling setup.

An AIO contains a CPU block and pump, however they are only the initial components of a Custom Water-Cooling Loop. Additionally, you’ll need a reservoir to contain your cooling solution as well as a radiator and fans to help dissipate heat from the system.

Even if you don’t plan on water-cooling your GPU or motherboard, this is still the most costly and time-consuming approach to keep your PC running at its best. Despite its magnificent appearance, it is the most time-consuming method of cooling. A bespoke water-cooled loop, on the other hand, may provide excellent CPU cooling while also looking lovely in your PC case.

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Bryan V. Root
Bryan V. Root
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