Intel or AMD? Xbox or Playstation? Mario or Sonic? All iconic questions that have divided people for years. Which leads me to one of the most divisive questions of all in the PC world… air cooling or all-in-one cooling? It’s a solid question to think about when deciding on a new PC build, and there are a LOT of strong opinions one way or the other. So, lets look at the pros and cons of each, to help you decide whether you want to rock air cooling or all-in-one-cooling in your new build.
Overall, air coolers tend to generally be more affordable than an all-in-one offering. This can be a vital element when making your decision if you are on a tighter budget.
2. Simple installation
Generally, Air coolers are easier to install than all-in-one coolers, just because they tend to have less elements. On top of this, they also often require minimal maintenance, only needing a dust down every so often.
3. Wide compatibility
You’ll find that air coolers can fit in most PC cases quite easily, even more compact ones. This is because it just sits directly on top of your CPU, and there’s no additional radiator to have to consider.
1. Limited cooling potential
When it comes to super high-end or overclocked PCs, you might find air coolers struggle to keep up with the increased cooling demand. And with things heating up inside your PC, having a cooler you can rely on at all times is super important.
2. Potentially louder operation
Big fan can absolutely equal big noise too! If your air cooler is rocking some chunky fans, you might find it generates a hecc of a lot of noise, which is certainly something worth considering if you want a more silent setup.
3. Bulkier design
From an aesthetic standpoint, air coolers can be a bit divisive. They tend to look a lot bulkier in your system than all-in-ones do and they can also potentially obstruct view of other components too, especially your RAM. If aesthetics is something you’re factoring in, this is well worth taking into account.
All-in-One Water Cooling
1. Known for providing great dissipation
If you’re rocking some heavy hitting components, AIO coolers tend to be the more go to option. This is due to their reputation for having excellent thermal performance, especially for high-performance CPUs and overclocking.
2. Less chunky design
While AIOs have 2 major elements to them (the water block and radiator) they actually have a lot of flexibility in terms of installation and component clearance. Water blocks are a lot smaller than most air coolers, and with various radiator sizes to choose from, AIOS often can still be supported in a lot of cases, even smaller ones.
3. Aesthetically pleasing
This is of course going to be on a case by case basis, but AIOs tend to win in the good looks department. They often come with some fancy RGB and even LCD screens, allowing for a lot more customisation. They also leave a lot more space to let the other components around your motherboard shine.
1. More expensive
On average, AIO coolers are generally more expensive than air coolers. This is often due to AIOs having a more advanced design and components, and the bigger the AIO, the bigger the price. Of course, this isn’t always the case, there are certainly some pricey air coolers too.
One of our most common questions online is often “How do I install an AIO” because these things don’t always play easy. AIO coolers often have a much more complicated installation and involves additional steps like mounting the radiator. These more complicated steps can be a little daunting if it’s your first time building.
3. Potential leaks
I’m going to start this point off with this is INCREDIBLY rare. I’ve used multiple AIOs for years and never seen a leak in my life. But it can happen. AIOs have coolant inside them which can leak in super rare instances, which can also risk damaging your other components.
It’s honestly much over muchness whether air cooling or all-in-one-cooling is the superior one performance wise, so do your research, factor in the elements in this post and you will find the right solution for you!
So, which do you prefer, air cooling or all-in-one-cooling? Share your thoughts below!