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Is Liquid Cooling Overrated?

I’ll start be defining what “overrated” is in this context: Worth the effort, time, and money – Will I achieve better results for the same, similar, or additional cost compared to an air cooler.

When I say overrated I do not mean “stupid”, “dumb”, “it’s a fad”, or any other negative connotation. I know extra considerations are needed when using an AiO Liquid Cooling mechanism or doing the DIY route.

My workload consists of:

  • High end gaming, 1440p at 144hz
  • Compilation of large projects, C#, C++, and Golang
  • Editing and exporting with Adobe products (Audition and Premiere)
  • Virtual Machine Extravaganza! Typically I’m running 5 to 10 VMs at 2GB to 8GB of RAM each and 2 to 6 CPU cores allocated.
  • POTENTIAL IN THE FUTURE – Hardware simulation/hardware development (just more compilation and longer workloads from my understanding).

I used a Corsair H100i for 4 years before it dun ded :frowning: Prior to that I used the stock fan and heatsink that came with the process (Core i3 2120, Phenom II x4, and others).

I am building a new computer in the coming months. Considering my workloads and prior experience, is running a liquid cooling build worth the extra time investment and potentially extra financial investment?

According to NZXT, Liquid Cooling “cools better” than air, and runs quieter, but isn’t necessarily the best way, as it will depend on the case and role of the computer:

Tom’s Hardware made the point that it’s not about temperature, it’s about being mobile? Lol, not sure I get that.


Surely a lot of custom liquid used to be for overclocked systems.
Seing as chips nowadays don’t clock as much as they used to, perhaps it is no longer as needed?


The answer is ‘it depends’

When people think liquid cooling these days its almost exclusively AIOs which can only marginally be better than a good tower air cooler while costing more. In some cases, like with the h100i, its actually worse.

This argument changes completely when you start to get into SFF builds.

Then theres custom loops which will hands down perform the best but at much higher costs. They also look sick AF and basically you’re stupid if you dont think so :wink:

The point in using liquid isnt always one of a performance standpoint, but aesthetic and sometimes formfactor.


Saying that, there are some cool looking rack liquid cooling systems, so I guess it does have a place at stock. Maybe that is an Intel thing?

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In my liquid cooling adventures ive seen 1U radiators. An interesting proposition to say the least. Not sure about routing tubing from the block but hey it exists for a reason.

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Yeah dude, I wasn’t impressed lol. My temps during gaming were still high 70s which wasn’t any different than what I was seeing with air coolers.

I was afraid of this, which is why I linked my typical workloads. Hm… Really putting a damper on the buying decision lol. That AMD Wrath looks cool, though :grin:

I’ve heard great things about BeQuiet! too.

I was considering going this route, Micro Center has a lot to choose from in my area.

I was curious about this as well

Pick a case first. Lets start with that and decide whats best from there.


Been looking at the Fractal Design (Gun Metal FUCK YEAH with clear side panel)

I’ll find it real quick


I think there are pros and cons to both water and air.

Air is great because there are less parts that can break and if something does stop working there’s less of a chance of components being fried. Big air coolers also cool just as well or even better than many AIO water coolers. Downside is that your heat output is right from the coolers, so components nearby may get get hot.

Water is great because you can basically put the heat output anywhere you want. The tubes and reservoirs look neat too. It’s also safer to transport water because all of the heavy stuff is strapped to the case instead of the motherboard like with air. Downside is potential maintenance and possible leaks.


Thats the main reason its custom loop or air imo, the AIO never last long enough for it to be worth it imo, Generally Air is plently

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define s2


ok, you’ve got 185mm to play with on a tower cooler. that leaves the big boi nh-d15 available to you.

Next lets look at your CPU, which one are you going with?



Alternatively the Cryorig R1 if Cryorig becomes not dead or the Scythe Fuma for less dollarydoos.


Lol there seem to be two camps: FUCK FRACTAL DESIGN and OMG I LOVE FRACTAL DESIGN :joy:

Yay or nah?

Sigh… AMD 3900X or 3950X – If I don’t hear anything about TR 3rd Gen by September, I’m pulling the trigger on one of those.

I’m in neither camp. I look at that front panel and cringe at the lack of airflow.


Honestly is good enough for most CPUs(might be an issue with multiple gpus and high end cpu), key word most, and even then you have quite a few options for flow besides just there.


If I’m being honest, I was disappointed from day 1. But I ended up being happy with it in the end. Or, rather, until the end lol.

If you want Fractal and air flow at the same time there is the Meshify.


I dislike ‘good enough’ but thats my opinion. I am particular about my cases. Some might say I’m a sperg about it.

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The main issue is they fail and when they fail your SOL unlike air where you just slap a case fan on it or have 2 fans. I have yet to have a custom loop pump fail and have ran the same pump for like 6+ years before I changed to DDC instead of D5