Liquid or air cooling – which is better?

With its new release of Zen Architecture, AMD has restarted processor wars. They are now fighting tooth and nail with Intel for every bit of the available market. As the battle continued, the two continued to look for ways to increase the number of cores and frequency in order to better position themselves among consumers and improve competition. But how is it done? Efficiently, there are two ways to increase processor performance 1) build a more efficient architecture and 2) increase TDPie. higher power). And since method # 2 involves much less research and development, the industry (and mostly Intel) has been around for several years. But what is the byproduct of increasing TDP on the same architecture?

That’s right, class, it’s hot. And as the processors get warmer, the cooling solution you choose for the next version becomes even more important. So when choosing liquid or air cooling – which is best? Read on to find out.

What is liquid cooling?

PC with liquid coolingProcessor fluid coolers circulate fluid – in most cases a solution of some type of glycol – through the processor heat sink to dissipate heat. There are several ways to do this, including complex custom loops with hard or soft tubes and open tanks, but most liquid coolers are AIO closed loops. These radiators consist of a radiator, a flat radiator and two pipes that connect them for the circulation of liquid. These units are completely enclosed, maintenance-free, and are generally very efficient refrigerators.

Some popular AIO coolers:

What is air cooling?

Air-cooled PCAir coolers consist of a cooler and a fan to circulate air to dissipate heat from the processor. Air coolers come in a variety of shapes and sizes — from the cooler that comes with most Intel and AMD processors in retail to monsters like the Noctue NH-D15, and not all are created equal.

Some of the popular air coolers:

  • Noctua NH-D15 / 14
  • Arctic refrigeration freezer 7
  • Phantex PH series

Liquid and air cooling – advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of liquid cooling:

  • Better heat dissipation – with 240mm and even 360mm heatsinks, liquid coolers generally dissipate heat better from the processor. And since these radiators are mounted on the outer wall of the case, they exhaust CPU heat much better than air coolers.
  • Quieter – Although liquid coolers are not quiet, they will usually be much quieter than air coolers, especially under load.

Liquid coolingAgainst liquid cooling:

  • Cost – On average, AIO coolers are more expensive than their air counterparts, although they are usually still less than $ 150
  • Leakage / Maintenance – I mentioned that sealed AIOs do not leak and do not require maintenance, but this does not apply to custom loops. These complex refrigerators require annual charging and need to be constantly monitored for leaks.

Advantages of air cooling:

  • Cheap – For most home office buildings that do not use Intel k or AMD X parts, air cooling is sufficient and more cost effective.
  • Easier upgrades – Because there is no built-in radiator or control and bypass pipes, component upgrades are usually easier in air-cooled systems.
  • Versatility – Not all cases can install a radiator with a liquid cooler. For example, housings in a bracket will usually only have space for an air cooler.

Disadvantages of air cooling:

  • Higher Ambient Temperatures – Because air coolers dissipate processor heat into the case, rather than through the radiator exhaust, they can lead to higher temperatures inside the case, especially in buildings with superior graphics. This can lead to system instability and / or degrade these components in the long run.
  • Noise – Air coolers rely on heat synchronization fans that draw heat from the CPU and case fan to dissipate that heat from the environment, so the byproduct is a noisier machine.

Which is better?

The answer really depends on your specific build. With most gaming systems or workstations with next-generation processors or graphics, liquid coolers will be more efficient and provide better performance in the long run. But if the chassis you choose doesn’t support them, or the thought of the fluid circulating inside your computer just turns your stomach, there are air cooler alternatives that are almost as effective.

Are you ready to configure your high-end computer? Start here.

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Josh has been with Velocity Micro since 2007 in various roles in marketing, PR and sales. As Director of Sales and Marketing, he is responsible for all direct and retail sales, as well as for marketing activities. He enjoys reruns of Seinfeld, songs from the Atlanta Braves and the Beatles written by John, Paul or George. Sorry, Ringo.

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Naveen Kumar

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