Every PC, from the smallest office pc to those big hulking gaming rigs, generates heat during operation. The heat that is generated during operation can kill your PC internally which means all the money you put into it will be wasted. If you did buy your PC pre-made from a big retailer or a company like HP then it will already come with some sort of heat dispersing hardware, but if you are building a custom PC from scratch then you need to make sure that you purchase the proper amount of heat management to match the power of your PC. A big gaming rig will require more heat management because it will reach higher benchmarks and work “harder” to operate, which means it will generate more heat. Lets take a look at the ways in which heat is managed, the applications of each and the differences between the two.
When it comes to heat management their are two prevailing schools of hardware you get to work with. There is the traditional fan system which uses a lot of fans to disperse heat out of the rig. The average PC that uses fans will have a fan specifically for the CPU, Graphics Card and then about 2-4 more depending on the user and what the computer is being used for. The fan that goes on the CPU is more of a heat sink which either utilizes a passive or active component. Passive heatsinks dissipates heat through convection and has no mechanical components, meaning it is 100% reliable and shouldn’t break, while an active heatsink uses a fan component and utilize power from the computer to run. Graphics cards also usually ship with a fan or some sort of heatsink and use it in the same way the CPU does. The reason why it is paramount that these two pieces of hardware stay cool is because they are basically what runs your computer. Yes I understand the computer needs power and RAM and all that other stuff, but the CPU controls everything about your computer and your graphics card provides the interface to work within it. Fans keep the pc cool and help keep it from overheating which will cause serious damage to your internal hardware. Fans are also fairly cheap, but can be expensive depending on how fancy you want them to be. The reason why fans have remained so prevalent in modern pc construction is because they are easy to set up, affordable and don’t require any maintenance to maintain them. So you might be thinking “Well, besides fans what can I use?”.
Liquid Cooling. Welcome to the modern age. Liquid cooling or water cooling is the best solution to rapid heat removal due to its unmatched performance. There is no noise pollution from liquid coolers and you can overclock your CPU without the extra heat being a problem because the liquid cooler balances that problem out. “A liquid-cooling system for a PC works a lot like the cooling system of a car. Both take advantage of a basic principle of thermodynamics – that heat moves from warmer objects to cooler objects. As the cooler object gets warmer, the warmer object gets cooler.It’s sole purpose is to transfer heat (energy) from critical computer components away from them as quickly and effectively as possible, usually to the surrounding environment by dissipating the heat through the radiators. (http://www.ekwb.com/ekwb/why-watercooling/). The downsides of using a liquid cooler are that they are pretty expensive and if you mess it up during the setup phase you could ruin your pc. I understand that you can probably find one on sale, but in general they are pretty expensive which is why just like SSD’s haven’t become the norm in computer hardware. They do make for a great investment if you plan on using the PC for a very long time and can give your computer a noticeable boost to performance as well.
Looking at both option and deciding on which one to choose comes down to user preference and how much you’re willing to spend on your cooling system. Both are viable options and contribute in a huge way to the performance and well being of your PC.