Liquid and Air PC Cooling Systems

Whether you are building a casual home PC or a fire-breathing, benchmark-eating gaming rig, every computer generates heat during operation—heat that can kill its internal components if it isn’t properly cooled. Depending on your needs and budget, you can use either an air or liquid cooling system to keep your computer operating safely at the optimal temperature.

Liquid cooling systems use a water pump to cycle liquid through a “water block” that rests on top of the CPU chip being cooled. The relatively cooler liquid circulating through the water block absorbs heat from the chip, and thermal paste and a baseplate help improve the transfer of heat between the metal surfaces of the water block and the CPU. The heated liquid is pumped to a radiator, where fans expose it to cold air and further cool it. The cooled fluid is then returned to the water block to repeat the cycle.

All-in-one liquid cooling systems are a simple alternative to a traditional air cooler, consisting of a water block that replaces the heat sink on a CPU, a pump, a radiator, and hoses or tubing to connect the pieces. They offer the best performance and least risk, and can be installed easily by a novice with a few tools.

Water used in a PC liquid cooling loop must be distilled or purified, as regular tap water contains minerals that increase its electrical conductivity, which can damage hardware over time. A premade coolant designed for PC liquid cooling is an acceptable substitute for distilled water, as long as it does not contain any chemicals that are corrosive or microbiologically unsafe.Pc cooling

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