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Microsoft Windows 11
Kraken Z & X Series. Advanced cooling. Incredible Visuals. Simple Installation.
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Air and Water Cooling - Harness the Elements and Cool Your PC

Every PC uses components that generate heat, particularly the CPU and graphics card. Cooling systems help ensure that these components don’t get too hot and cause damage to the PC. When it comes to how exactly the cooling system works, however, there are two options: air cooling and water cooling.

Air cooling is the simplest and most common option for cooling your PC, however water cooling can be a great choice for high performance PCs, and it is easier to implement than ever. You will find Micro Center’s full selection of air and water cooling solutions here - so take a second to get familiar with the basics of these two cooling methods and decide which one is right for you.

Air Cooling vs. Water Cooling: Which is the Best Choice for My PC?

Here is the basic difference between air and liquid or water cooling:

Air cooling systems use fans to move the hot air that PC components generate, directing the airflow to somewhere that the heat can dissipate safely - either to a heatsink or outside the PC case. Various types of air cooling fans are available, including CPU cooler fans that cool the CPU directly and case fans that help move air in and out of your case.

Liquid cooling uses water or another type of coolant cycled through a closed loop system to cool the CPU. After the water absorbs the heat, the system cycles it back through the radiator, which uses fins and cooling fans to dissipate the heat from the water. The most common water cooling kits are all-in-one (AIO) models that include the water block, radiator, and all other necessary components in a form that is simple to install. Some people even use custom loop liquid cooling systems, although these are significantly more complex to install and maintain.

For the average PC builder or user, air cooling has some big advantages. It is affordable, straightforward to install, easy to maintain, and offers lots of opportunities for customization. Enthusiasts who want more power from their high end PC components can capture some significant benefits by using a liquid cooler system. For example, if you are a gamer interested in overclocking the CPU of your gaming PC, water cooling can provide the kind of high performance thermal management that you need. In addition, water cooling is often noticeably quieter than air cooling.

Micro Center offers many options for both air and water cooling, with great deals on top brands like Cooler Master, Noctua, Corsair, NZXT, and more. Shop all of our PC cooling options here, including case fans, AIO cooler systems, and more.

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