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What is a computer cooling system? All computers and laptops will have some type of cooling as they run at very high temperatures. There are a couple of different ways how you can cool your computer, the most common option is air-cooled where you will use a couple of fans in certain positions to disperse the heat. You can also get AIO cooling which is also known as ‘All in One’ cooling system, which a more effective way of cooling certain components. For example, you can get an AIO cooler for the CPU or the GPU but not one for both. Last of all you can go full out and go fully water-cooled where you have a reservoir and a pump with pipes going throughout the PC carrying coolant which I will go into further detail below.
The first and easiest method of cooling a computer is air-cooled by using different sized fans to suck in cool air and disperse hot air. The most common fan that is fitted is 120mm, this is the fan that will fit in all cases because it is the standard size. You will need to look into the specification of your computer case before you chose what fans you want to use. There are a number of different ways in which you can install, the main choice that is looked at as being the most effective is to have the front fans being an intake for cool air, then you have the rear fan and top case fans as exhausts, sometimes you will have space at the bottom for another intake. Depending on what case you have or will be purchasing you will be able to fit as many as you see fit, and you will be able to choose what size fans you want to fit as well.
When it comes to fitting fans you want to make sure that you fit them the right way around otherwise you are going to mess up your airflow. Once you have decided what fans you are going to fit you will need to look around the bezel as it will have an arrow showing you what way the fan spins and what way the airflow will be going so you are able to make sure they are all fitted how you want as you can see on the image to the right.
When installing your fans they should have come with the screws that you require which is 4 for each fan one in each corner, but if you do require some extra screws you are able to buy a kit with a selection of all the screws you may need while putting your computer together. Along with this, you will need a phillips screwdriver mainly along with cable ties to make sure all of your wirings stays tidy, again you can buy tool kit with everything in to be able to build your PC
AIO (All in One) Water Cooling
Another option that you have for cooling your PC is AIO cooling or also known as All in One cooling. This is where you have a loop for one component, for example, you would have a CPU cooler and pump on top of the CPU then two pipes going from that to a radiator which would bolt in the case with 1, 2 or even 3 fans bolted onto it to keep the cool air flowing. This would be the same set up when you get an AIO for the graphics card. This is a much more effective way to cool your components, only if you have the space to do this in the case, you wouldn’t be able to have this set up in a normal desktop case as you wouldn’t have space to fit the radiator. When you have an aftermarket case you will be able to look into numerous set-ups and even have the space for an AIO for the CPU and GPU.
If you do decide to go down this route when it comes to installing it you will just need to make sure that you are able to fit the radiator in the case, but you will be able to find this information on the specifications of the case. Once you know what your case will hold you will be able to purchase your AIO, you would be able to pick up a 120mm, 240mm, or 360mm radiator which is 1, 2, or 3 fans long as mentioned earlier. The bigger the radiator the better cooling it will offer as it will have more time to cool down going through the system. Again you should have all the fittings in the kit when you go to fit but if it comes to it you will be able to order the screw kit to fit the radiator and fans, but fitting the cooler to the motherboard over the CPU will take longer more precise screws, springs, and nuts.
The last option that I am going to talk about is a full water-cooled system, this is a loop where you have a water reservoir/ pump, tubing going from the reservoir to a radiator, graphics card, CPU cooler, and back to the reservoir. You are able to have the tubing set up however you like as long as you have a complete loop. This would be classed as the most effective way of cooling as your components are always having cool water delivered to them being in such a long system. The only problem with this type of system is you are going to need a very large case to be able to fit all the components in, it can also be very costly depending on what brands you decide to buy all the components in and the fact there are quite a few components that you are going require.
If you are looking into using this cooling system on your PC there is a lot you need to think about. First, off component-wise you are going to need to figure out if you want hard or soft piping as they can give you a completely different result. Along with this, you need to figure out if you want coloured piping with clear liquid or if you want clear piping with coloured liquid. The only problem with having coloured liquid is that it can have bits build up in some of the bends but this doesn’t happen all the time. You will need to make sure that you have the water backplate for your GPU unless you have purchased a GPU with this already on, and you will need to get your reservoir, radiator, CPU cooling block, and all the fittings for attaching the pipework to the different components.
There are a few much more advanced ways of cooling your PC but we won’t get into them just yet! As we have said above the easiest and cheapest way to cool your gaming PC is by airflow, using numerous fans in certain positions to disperse the hot air and this option also requires very little knowledge as the fans are very easy to install. This is usually more than good enough for your standard gaming computer. When it comes to overclocking you may want to consider AIO cooling for your CPU and maybe even the GPU but this is usually a bit more expensive and again this doesn’t require a massive amount of knowledge as it is just a matter of fitting it into your case. When it comes to liquid cooling you only really require this if you are putting your PC under a lot of stress because this will be the most effective way of keeping it cool, along with this it will also cost considerably more than your standard fans when you have purchased all the components. It will also require a lot of knowledge to fit it all into your computer and make sure it won’t leak over your components. For me personally, I have and just fans installed which is more than enough, once I have gained more knowledge I will consider going down the liquid cooling system