Updated: Jul 31, 2020
If you have ever come across those flagship youtube channels which show off their super high-end gaming PCs with fancy RGB and custom water cooling loops you must have wondered, "Do I really need water cooling?". I mean, at last, they just do the same job that is cooling the components.
In this article, we are gonna discuss the practical need for water cooling and also decide on which type of cooling solution should you use?
What is water cooling?
Well, I don't think there is a need for this description but anyway, almost every CPU available in the market will come with a stock Air cooler. And as it is pretty clear from the name a "Water cooler" uses water for cooling the components of your PC. And similarly an "Air cooler" will use air primarily.
Although, for most of the users, the stock Air cooler will be more than enough for their daily use, and even if they plan to do a little more with their PC, an off-market cooler will be just perfect for most of the works.
But in this article, we are gonna discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both the cooling solutions in detail.
Advantages of water cooling
1. More efficient
Well, placing any kind of liquid near your computer might sound a little dumb, but water cooling is actually much more efficient than air cooling.
As water is a better conductor of heat, it will transfer heat more effectively to the environment and will cool your system more efficiently.
2. Less noise
This is a very important thing to consider if you want your system to be quiet, as water cooling will keep your system cooler consistently there aren't any massive fans blowing out air at the top of their motors (pun intended) even when your computer is under a bit higher load.
Although this doesn't mean that there aren't any fans at all, of course, you will need to cool the radiator but that fans will probably run at a consistent speed even under high load. So there is effectively less noise.
3. Improves overclocking potential
As, we know that to successfully overclock your hardware and get consistent performance, the temperatures of the hardware device is the most important thing to consider.
The liquid cooling will keep your overclocked components much cooler and potentially stop them from destroying themselves or will keep your computer from crashing every 7 minutes.
4. Sustains cooler temperatures
An air cooler just uses the ambient air to push the hot air out of the computer system. Which ideally continuously keeps pushing air out even when you are not using your PC. The fan speed although will be slower as there isn't that much load on the CPU. Once you start doing some work, the fans will react to that.
A liquid cooling system on the other hand will keep your system relatively cooler all the time. (Depends on how much workload is there on the component).
5. Better for hotter climate
If you live in a very hot and humid place, adding an air cooler to your high-end gaming PC will be the perfect ingredient for overheating the components and potentially decreasing the performance. Keeping the loud fans aside.
As water cooler works on an ongoing basis, those living in a hotter place will not have to compromise on cooling.
Bonus Point: Looks cool
Well, I know this is a moo point, but seriously water cooling looks so cool, I mean if you have that extra money to spend on it, doesn't really hurt the eyes to look at it.
Although this point doesn't really matter as of course looking cool won't affect any of your performance.
Disadvantages of Water cooling
Well, there aren't any disadvantages of water cooling, but some of the points listed below can be really effective for some users.
1. Might be Dangerous
As everyone already knows that water and electronics are long time enemies, it is not the smartest thing to bring water anywhere near your computer, although if done properly there are very little chances of damage.
But if somehow something leaks, it will be a big disaster, as it can potentially ruin the whole computer.
2. More expensive
Well, of course, all these great features come with a price. And yeah the water cooling system is much more expensive than an air cooler. But also comparatively much better, If used as intended (more about that later on this article).
3. Not the best for beginner PC builders
Although nowadays water coolers are pretty straight forward but still you will need a little technical knowledge to properly set one up. And remember if you mess something up. Your multi-thousand dollar PC might become an actual dustbin.
Air cooling VS Water cooling
Okay, despite all the advantages of water cooling over air cooling, this doesn't mean that Air cooling is absolutely useless. In fact, in some situations, air cooling is a better option than water cooling. Air cooling is cheaper than water cooling and if you are a casual user, you will be just fine with a good air cooling solution.
Here is an infographic about the differences between both of them.
Conclusion: Which one should you choose?
Okay, the actual answer to this is subjective. If you have enough money to spend on a liquid cooling system then, of course, you can go for that. But honestly, for most users, you won't need a super fancy liquid cooler.
If you are a casual user and don't want to do heavy gaming or any heavy work on your computer then an air cooler will be just perfect for you.
Although, if you want to do heavy gaming or any other task that pushes your components to the max level, then investing in a water cooling loop will be a better option.
Also, one more thing here to note is that water cooling systems are more expensive than air cooler so considering all this make your decision.