What is PC Water-Cooling and Do You Need It?

October 5, 2015 | By @IVANZXT | PCDIY

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PC water-cooling pertains to the process used for lowering the temperatures of the computer processor together with other components such as graphics cards. Because the speeds of processors have dramatically increased in recent years, the heat generated by computers has also risen. And while case fans can do a fairly decent job at cooling a PC, they may not be the most optimal solution for having a PC function at an optimal temperature.

Water can remove heat approximately 30 times faster than the capability of air. A powerful water-cooling system also allows the processor to work at greater speeds and greatly reduces the noise of your entire PC. Unfortunately, a custom water-cooled loop can get expensive, but it’s definitely worth the  money if you can afford it. But before you spend your hard-earned cash on water-cooling, you should probably determine if you even need it.

How does water-cooling work?

PC water-cooling looks awesome, but it may not be for you.

PC water-cooling looks awesome, but it may not be for you.

Cooling hot components of a computer with fluids has long been utilized – typically in regards to the CPU. This usually involves the installation of a water pump, water block, and radiator which can be fine-tuned for quieter operation and enhanced speeds. This same setup is also applied to directly cool other PC hardware components including graphics cards, disk drives, and power supplies.

PC components are usually made to create as little amount of heat as possible and the operating system is also designed to lessen power consumption. This results in being able to reduce workloads without water-cooling but will require the use of case fans and heat sinks to maximize airflow. Water-cooling  can almost be seen as an added safety measure for computer users that want an extra level of security.

Water-cooling is the ideal cooling solution for gamers because they typically place the most amount of stress on their PC. Gamers are also more likely to overclock their PC and require hardware components to be directly cooled while being used. As long as you make sure there are no leaks when installing a water-cooling system and perform regular maintenance, water-cooling is 100% safe!

Should you water-cool your PC?

An all-in-one liquid cooler like the NZXT Kraken may be more than enough for your PC.

An all-in-one liquid cooler like the NZXT Kraken may be more than enough for your PC.

Water-cooling is definitely the way to go if you need the most out of your PC’s hardware. However, there are other options if you can’t afford to spend the money on parts or don’t want to take such a big leap. The most common of these options is an all-in-one liquid cooler like the NZXT Kraken series.

All-in-one liquid coolers provide all the benefits of water-cooling in a simple-to-install solution. These units include everything you need to directly cool hardware with a built-in radiator, tubing, and pump. You literally get it all at a fraction of the cost.

However, just because it’s easy doesn’t mean you need it. Not every gamer plays games or uses hardware that places their PC under extreme stress. If you pay close attention to PC temperatures, air-cooling may be more than enough for playing non-resource intensive games like League of Legends. But if you’re thinking of maxing out the settings on a game like Metal Gear Solid V,  you should seriously consider an all-in-one unit or a customer water-cooling loop.

Keep your PC cool

CAM lets you know how cool your PC really is.

CAM lets you know how cool your PC really is.

The best advice I can give you in regards to water-cooling is to monitor your PC’s temperatures. This isn’t as hard as it seems if you use PC monitoring software like CAM or something similar. If you notice these temperatures increasing drastically during gameplay, it’s probably time to make the jump into water-cooling.

How do you cool your PC? Are fans enough? Do you have an all-in-one unit? Are you a custom loop guru? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to share pictures of your rigs!

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@IVANZXT

@IVANZXT

I like to build computers and play video games. Chat with me on the official NZXT Discord server!