Best Liquid Cooler 2021 • 6 Liquid Coolers Reviews
Regardless of the quality of your computer, there’s always the risk that it’ll overheat. Overheating can quickly become fatal for your device, which is why it's smart to install a liquid cooler to prevent this from happening. Are you ready to learn everything there is to know about them?
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What is a liquid cooler and how does it work?
Just like any other electronic equipment, your computer requires a power source. Performance-wise, tests have shown that specific activities, such as video and photo editing or video games, can be very demanding for your device. This means that it will have a higher use of energy. This causes the temperature of your computer to increase as well, particularly in components like the processor or graphics card.
To prevent these parts from being damaged, fans are generally used to dissipate the hot air produced by the increase in energy and, therefore, in temperature. But this isn’t always good enough, and liquid coolers offer enhanced performance. The liquid coolant circulates driven by a pump passes through a closed circuit to absorb heat, before being fed into a radiator. There, a fan cools the liquid before the process starts over again.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Liquid Cooler
Setting up a new liquid cooling system in your computer is a decent financial investment. Besides, it can turn out to be a challenging process if you aren’t a technology expert. So, what are the real benefits of a liquid cooler? Why should you complicate your life by installing this component instead of leaving the one you already have?
In our opinion, the main advantage of a liquid cooling system is that it dissipates more heat in comparison to air cooling. If you tend to use your computer intensively by playing video games or editing videos and photos, you will certainly find this type of cooling handy. Not to mention the fact that tests have shown that it produces less noise in comparison to standard cooling systems.
- More efficient
- All computer components can be cooled
- Usually quieter
- Some models integrate a LED system as an aesthetic touch
- It must be installed
Shopping Criteria for Liquid Coolers
A good liquid cooling system will keep your equipment safe from high temperatures. This will improve the performance of your CPU and extend the life of certain components, such as the processor or graphics card. However, before deciding on the best system for your requirements, there are some criteria to consider. We tested the most important ones.
- Component size
On one side, the size of the fan is a key aspect of picking the best liquid cooler. As we explained earlier, in our opinion a smaller model will have to spin more times to move the same amount of air as a larger fan. Besides, the fact that it has to work faster can also influence the noise levels it produces.
On the other hand, the larger the size of your radiator is, the more capable it will be in keeping the temperature down. However, both the size of the radiator and that of the fan will impact the amount of space the liquid cooler requires to fit inside your computer. In that regard, you have to test which is right for you!
As mentioned briefly, liquid coolers make less noise in comparison to conventional heat sink systems. However, this doesn’t mean that they are entirely silent. You can check the manufacturer’s specifications, which should indicate the noise levels in decibels (dB).
The majority of liquid coolers on the market will produce between 15 and 30 decibels. The quietest models can even go as low as 8 to 10 dB. In that regard, test yourself how much noise bothers you in general to find the best fit for you. Depending on your answer, you will know what decibel range to look for. Once again, it’s all about balance.
What we refer to when discussing power is the cooling capacity of a particular system. As you now know, the size of the radiator and the fan will significantly determine this essential aspect. However, the fan’s power itself is also an influential factor. The more revolutions per minute (rpm) it can make, the greater its power will be and, therefore, the more efficient it will be at cooling your device.
Of course, aesthetics are not the primary purpose of this component, whose job is to keep the temperature of your computer down. However, many users also value the appearance of their device—especially if they are building it piece by piece. This is why manufacturers have started producing liquid coolers with a LED system that allows you to customize your device for the best look.
Don’t worry; we weren’t about to overlook this fundamental criterion. How much will it cost you to get a liquid cooler and keep overheating issues at bay? As you may have noticed, there is a wide range of models and prices on the American market, with most products costing anywhere between $70 and $200. If you’re really on a tight budget, you can find more affordable models still.
In our opinion, the top recommendation is that you opt for a liquid cooler from a reliable manufacturer. Some brands have built themselves a solid reputation over the years by developing quality products. Keep in mind that the other components of your computer may have already cost you a decent sum of money. Don’t jeopardize this by letting heat damage them over time.
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What parts make up a liquid cooler?
Please note that this may actually vary from one model to the next. That said, there are naturally different components that can be found in the vast majority of products, such as the coolant. There are five key parts that all have a special purpose.
-Coolant liquid: It is usually distilled water or a mixture of water with some other component. This is more efficient than air-based cooling systems, but using tap water is not recommended.
-Water circuit: It consists of the pipes through which the coolant travels.
-Hydraulic pump: This is the mechanism that pushes the liquid through the circuit.
-Radiator: Once the coolant has absorbed the heat, it heads to this component of the circuit.
-Fans: Their primary goal is to cool the liquid that arrives hot in the radiator. Once the fans complete this task, the coolant is ready to go through the circuit again.
What maintenance does my liquid cooler require?
In principle, it shouldn’t require much work. However, you must still be careful and test some aspects from time to time. Some computer experts recommend changing the coolant every now and then. The frequency of this change will depend on how easily you can assemble and disassemble your cooling system.
In addition, you must pay attention to the hot air outlet and keep it clean of dust and dirt particles to facilitate air circulation. If you want to go a step further, you can also make sure that there are no leaks in the ducts through which the coolant passes. Besides, you should always check the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding maintenance.
For which devices are liquid coolers recommended?
This cooling system is designed for desktop computers. More experienced users often build their device by piece by piece and always include a dedicated space for a powerful cooling system. Otherwise, the lack of space is often an obstacle when installing this component.
However, it isn’t all about physical and technical matters; you also have to think about the use you want to make of your computer. If you use it intensively, some of its components—such as the processor—are exposed to overheating. In that case, the best advice is to install this type of system.
Are liquid coolers safe?
In theory, mixing a liquid with electricity may not seem like a great idea. Leakage is the leading risk that this component faces. This is why you must test the system regularly to ensure that it's functioning properly. Otherwise, your entire device could potentially be damaged.
However, while it is good to exercise caution, liquid coolers aren’t particularly dangerous elements. You are encouraged to opt for reliable manufacturers, read user reviews, and above all, install the component correctly. If you have any doubts during this process, contact the manufacturer or an expert.
The product recommendations in this article are made solely by the sponsor and are not recommendations made by VentureBeat.