At one point in time, if gamers and PC enthusiasts wanted to cool their rigs, then they had to cobble together a number of pieces to build their own water-cooling system. This eventually turned into turn-key cooling systems and have now finally turned into all-in-one water cooling systems. And these systems are better and more affordable then they have ever been in the past. Which is a pretty good reason to get one for your personal computer.
These devices not only allow keep PCs and gaming rigs running cooler, but allows these systems to be overclocked to their maximum potential. Of course, it’s easy to understand why some people are resistant to using an all-in-one water cooler. That’s why we’ve decided to go ahead and list the ten best AIO water coolers that we’ve found, as well as a guide that will get the beginning up and running with their water cooling system.
Best Aio Water Coolers – Top List
10NZXT RL Kraken X62
Using a combination of proprietary parts including an advanced pump that not only is quieter than previous pumps manufactured by this company, but also displaces a whole lot more liquid. More liquid displacement means that more heat is drawn away from critical components, allowing them to run cooler. This set also has high-performance dual fans that are continuously bringing air over the radiator. Another key feature of this set is its special software control over these sections so users can tweak them to their desire. And NZXT is so confident in the quality of their equipment, and they are backing it with a great warranty.
9Rosewill CPU Liquid Cooler
Compatible with Intel CPUs including the LGA 2011 through LGA 775 and AMD AM1 through AM4, this closed loop PC cooler is designed to be not only powerful but also versatile as well. Using one high-quality 120mm fan with pulse-width modulation for user control, and a high-powered pump built on a quality radiator, this product is ready to bring a whole new level of cooling to these devices. The most important feature worth mentioning with this unit, however, is how easy it can be installed. By following just a few basic steps, just about anyone can convert their system to this water cooling system.
8Arctic Liquid Freezer 240
This system is designed to bring some of the highest levels of cooling power to just about any gaming rig. It does this thanks to its deep radiator and highly-efficient water pump that can displace a lot more liquid than other coolers. This system is also equipped with four 120mm fans that move a lot of air over the radiator but does it a lot quieter than the fans of other systems. In fact, some PC enthusiasts have even called this system one of the quietest water coolers in its class. And it also is one of the most energy-efficient models available and has a pump that only uses 2-watts of power.
7Corsair Hydro Series H55
The problem with some AIO water coolers is they have a tendency to obstruct air flow. Fortunately, this one isn’t such a model. It comes with a low-profile pump that manages to easily circulate the liquid in the cooler but doesn’t take up a lot of space. And since it doesn’t take up a lot of space, it doesn’t restrict the case’s airflow. This unit is also equipped with a low-speed 120mm fan that’s quieter than conventional PC fans but still moves the required amount of air across the system’s radiator. All things considered, this high-quality unit is capable of cooling a variety of Intel and AMD systems and is easy to install for just about anyone.
6EVGA CLC 120 CPU Cooler
At first glance, this water cooler doesn’t look very impressive. However, if you give it a closer look, it’s easy to see why it’s quickly becoming one of the more popular coolers on the market. Compatible with Intel LGA 2011/2066/1150/1151 and AMD AM2/AM3/AM4, among others, it can be used for a variety of gaming computers. It’s also equipped with a 120mm fan radiator, fully-sleeved tubing, a cooling block with an improved heat-transfer surface area, and has a built-in RGB LED. This system is also controlled by software which gives the user unprecedented control over their pump rate, fan speed, RGB lighting and more.
5Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate
With universal socket compatibility that allows it to fit in a variety of Intel and AMD machines, as well as an intuitive design that makes it easy-to-install, this system can be used by a whole lot of different people. Versatility and a broad user base aren’t the only two great things about this system, however. It also has a number of other features which make it quite powerful. It has a 360mm radiator with triple curve fans that can really pull heat away from the computer’s CPU so it can be overclocked to its full capabilities. This system also has a high-performance water block, an extremely reliable pump and sleeved cables that are extremely durable.
4Thermaltake Water 3.0 Triple Riing
No one has to sacrifice style for performance, and no AIO water cooler proves that better than this model. It has three 12-LED RGB radiator fans that have five different LED modes. These quiet and powerful fans don’t just look good, however. They also pull air across the 360mm radiator, so the PC is cooled off in no time flat. This product also has a highly reliable pump that keeps this unit’s copper plate at a nice cool temperature. Another nice thing about this system is that it’s also equipped with a high-performance water block and sleeved cables that are designed to hold up to the toughest conditions and keep on going.
3Corsair Hydro H110i Cooler
This system is not only compact, but it’s also extremely easy to install for most people. And although it can be installed by just about anyone, it still doesn’t skimp on power. It’s equipped with a 280mm radiator and two quiet 140mm fans that allow this unit to draw more heat from the computer’s CPU. The fans which come with this system are PWM controlled, so they can be customized easily by the user to find the perfect cooling profile for their PC. Another great feature which can be found on this unit includes a built-in Corsair link which connects to a USB header and can be used with software to allow the user to customize their cooling performance even further.
2Deepcool Captain 240EX
Designed for universal compatibility and with a great steampunk design, this cooling system can be used in virtually any gaming rig. It supports both Intel and AMD processors and is equipped with one of the most durable and powerful water pumps currently available. This unit is also equipped with two 120mm PWM fans that pull a large volume of airflow through the radiator but doesn’t make a lot of noise doing so. Other quality features which can be found on this water cooling system are durable rubber pipes, high-density aluminum fins on the radiator and a copper cold plate that’s pre-equipped with thermal paste.
1Deepcool Captain 240 RGB
Everything needed for a person to change their computer over to water cooling is found in this system. It comes with a water block, a 240mm radiator, PWM fans, and durable cables. It even comes with a copper cooling plate that has thermal compound preinstalled on it. All of this allows the user to quickly and easily add this system to their computer. And while this makes it a versatile and easy-to-use system, those aren’t the only great things to mention about this system. It also makes excellent use of RGB lighting that makes the system look good in any windowed PC case.
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AIO Cooler Buying Guide
Although buying and installing an AIO cooler is now easier than ever before, there are a few things that a person needs to consider before buying one for their computer. A little bit of thought given to the process can mean all the difference between buying a cooler that provides you with great performance and lasts you a long time, and one that either doesn’t fit or doesn’t adequately cool down your gaming rig. Having said that, let’s find out how these systems work before we move on to how to buy one of them.
How Do All-in-Once Coolers Work?
Probably the best way to describe how AIO water coolers work is by comparing them to the radiator on a car. Much like car radiators, the radiators in these systems circulate a thermally conductive liquid around a tubing system. A copper plate that’s attached to the CPU then transfers the heat from your processor and to the thermal liquid. The thermal liquid then travels to the radiator system, where it’s dissipated thanks to the fans that come with the unit. The now cool liquid then travels back to the CPU, and the whole thing starts all over again.
Do Your Homework First
Before even searching for one of these coolers, you should take the time to get to know your computer a little bit better. This includes knowing whether you have an Intel or AMD processor, and the model of processor you’re using. Sure, AIO kits can be used for a greater range of products nowadays and usually come with adapters that can be used for various CPUs, but it’s still important to check and make sure.
It’s also important to measure the inside of your computer’s case to make sure that the cooler you’re thinking of buying is the right size for your case. Some of the coolers currently available have some large radiators that may not fit in the case or may obstruct airflow in a way that makes them unusable. Therefore, it’s important to know the size of the cooler and the size of the case. With those measurements in hand, you’ll have a better idea if a particular cooler will fit in your case.
Fan size is another important consideration. The cooler takes advantage of the fan mounts that are available in many computers cases sold nowadays. Most of the cases on the market are available to hold either a 140mm fan or two 120mm fans. Some of the gamer cases designed for enthusiasts are designed to hold 240mm radiator fans. However, there are few cases that can accommodate 260mm or bigger fans. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that the cooler you’re thinking of purchasing will fit in your particular case. If they won’t, then you’ll either have to purchase a new case or find a new cooler.
Mounting an AIO System
Once you’ve chosen a model that will work with your system, you will then have to install it. And although this step may seem intimidating at first, in reality, it’s not all that difficult. Just be sure to use common sense, and follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions and you’ll likely be fine.
There are going to be a few things that are going to be needed to mount one of these systems. These tools include an anti-static wrist strap, a Phillips screwdriver, and a microfiber cloth. And although some systems include pre-applied thermal paste, having some extra on hand is always a good idea. It’s going to have to be applied to the copper cooler plate that goes on the CPU. It’s also usually a good idea to have either isopropyl alcohol or a thermal paste remover to remove the old thermal paste from your CPU.
Basic Mounting Steps
Although listing instructions for every AIO cooler available is beyond the scope of this guide, there are a few basic steps we can outline that will give first-time AIO cooler installers a basic idea of what to expect. As is usually the case with these basic guides, it’s always best to use your product’s instructions for actually installing the cooler. With that said, below are some basic mounting tips.
- Power Off Computer
- Open up Case
- Remove Old Fan Assembly & Heatsink
- Remove Old Thermal Paste From the CPU
- Add New Thermal Paste to the Cooler Plate (If needed)
- Install the Pump Backplate
- Install the Radiator Fans
- Install the Radiator
- Install the Pump
- Install the Cables
- Power on the System
- Check for Leaks
- Close up Computer Case
Install and Adjust Unit’s Software
And that’s all there is to it. Although it might seem scary at first to install one of these coolers, the fact of the matter is these systems are not only easier to install than previous water coolers, but they’re almost fool-proof. They’re also safer to use than older water cooling systems and are less likely to leak than those older systems. And there’s virtually no other computer cooling system which can cool down a CPU better than one of these AIO systems. And that’s a fact.