If you are in the process of building your own PC, one of your biggest concerns will be choosing a method of ensuring proper cooling of your machine. Without an optimized cooling system, the PC will not do a user much good even if the best products are used for every other part. There are plenty of product options for how to cool your PC, but they can be generalized into two categories – air fans & liquid cooling systems.
Before liquid cooling, the top choice for cooling a PC was using traditional air fans that can come as stock products with the other parts. In an air cooling system, there will be separate fans to push hot air out of the CPU, the graphics card, & other individual parts. Some positive aspects of an air cooling system include the ease of set up (they essentially just screw in place), and that they are cost-effective.
Air fans can still effectively cool your machine, but they have some notable downsides. Due to high RPM, the fans can create a distracting noise often referred to as coil whine. While this sound does not affect the function of your machine, it is often pesky to the user. Air fan systems can also get very bulky.
Liquid cooling systems can be a bit more complicated to install than air fans, but many PC builders think they are worth the reward. Liquid cooling systems move heat out of the machine more effectively than air fans, working similarly to car cooling systems where heat is moved from a hot part of the machine to a cooler part by thermodynamics. This system allows for a significantly smaller cubic footprint than separate fans for each PC part.
If you are looking into purchasing a liquid coolant system, quality is crucial in keeping liquid where it belongs in your PC and out of where it doesn’t. Another plus to liquid cooling is the aesthetic appeal – You can buy coolant in an array of neon colors that will be visible in your machine.