Which cooler should be used to cool the CPU is a legit question when buying a CPU cooler. Liquid cooling vs air cooling has been a point of contention for many people. There are people on both sides of the spectrum and taut their cooler to be the more superior one.
We believe that no cooler can be acclaimed superior over the other and both methods of cooling have their positives and negatives. Both air and liquid cooling offer some unique aspects. These aspects are the reason people are drawn towards one cooler or the other.
No matter what camp you prefer, whether air or liquid it cannot be denied that both coolers are equally viable so for a better understanding let us discuss Air and Liquid Cooling in detail.
Liquid Cooling vs Air Cooling: The Pros and The Cons
Air cooling is the traditional way of dissipating the heat generated by the CPU. This method is tried and tested and has been around for quite a long while. After all this, while it still is viable due to the simple and design mechanism of the cooler. A CPU air cooler uses the same method which many consumer air cooling products also use. So this method is bulletproof and a good quality air cooler costs pennies compared to a liquid cooler.
Another major positive aspect of air cooling is the cost of the coolers themselves. Since the coolers do not have any sophisticated design the cost relatively cheap. There are some air coolers which can run a bit expensive but finding a good quality air cooler at a cheap price in easy. Coupled that with the fact that these coolers have great longevity so even going used or second hand is a possibility. These air coolers are also easy and cheap to repair if need be.
The major downside with this method like it is with most traditional methods is the advancement in technology. The design and mechanism of the air cooling is not as efficient as liquid cooling which is demonstrated in the performance comparison of air and liquid coolers.
Another downside is the noise created by this mechanism. For the cooler to dissipate more heat it needs more air and the air is provided by the fan attached to the cooler. To provide more air the fan has to spin at a greater rpm causing more noise. This can be bothersome and disturbing in the work environment when you have to focus on something.
Air coolers are also large and bulky. This large footprint is present because the surface area a cooler has the better cooling it can provide. The large size causes compatibility problems and also interferes with the ram slot and the PCI-E slot.
Liquid cooling is a new technology and liquid coolers use water instead of air for cooling. Right of the bat, this makes liquid cooling much more efficient than air cooling. Liquid coolers can dissipate more heat which allows the CPU to maintain a higher boost clock. This increases the performance of the CPU. Due to the sophisticated mechanism liquid coolers have a compact design and are easy to integrate into any build whether it may be a full-sized Atx build or the smallest Mini Atx build.
Liquid coolers also come with better design and look much more appealing than an air cooler. Higher-end liquid coolers have Rgb on the block as well as the fans. This allows for greater customization and you can tie the cooler perfectly into the build. Also since liquid coolers use water they do not have audible noise. They are perfectly suited for the work environment and are good for any streamer or video recorder.
While all these advantages are good but they come at a price. Liquid coolers are way more expensive than air coolers. Though liquid coolers can be found cheap but the cheap ones are not of good quality and can cause issues down the line. Sourcing a used liquid cooler is also not a wise idea because of the long term issues of the cooler. So if a liquid cooler is not well used then it can be quite troublesome and the price for repairing a used liquid cooler is also hefty.
There is no wrong or right when it comes to CPU cooling. Both air cooling and liquid cooling has its flaws and weaknesses. To a consumer, our advice will be to get the one most suited for your needs.