What is AIO Cooler?

What is AIO Cooler?

An AIO cooler is an all-in-one liquid cooler or a closed-loop liquid cooler, as they’re often known.

They combine the CPU water block, cold plate, and pump assembly with the radiator and fans into a single unit that you fit into your PC.

Depending on which component you want to cool, an AIO can be fitted to either your CPU socket or your GPU (graphics card).

Is AIO Cooling Good?

AIO coolers are quieter than air coolers because there are no noisy fans blowing air through a radiator.

An AIO is usually smaller than an air cooler, and the size difference is down to the fact that it uses liquid rather than a heat sink, which means it can be squeezed into tighter spaces.

An AIO is usually smaller than an air cooler, and the size difference is down to the fact that it uses liquid rather than a heat sink, which means it can be squeezed into tighter spaces.

On average, an AIO offers better cooling performance than an air cooler.

Although AIOs have slightly lower performance than air coolers, we’ve never tested one that hasn’t been able to keep a test PC below our maximum temperature threshold of 85°C under full load.

The H100i RGB Platinum SE is the best performer we’ve seen so far; its pump keeps our Core i7-8700K running at 31°C idle and 67°C load – surprisingly cool for such a powerful CPU with such little airflow around it.

Thanks to their processor’s low TDP (thermal design power), some desktop PCs don’t even require active cooling when idling.

Is AIO a Water Cooler?

AIO cooler is often used interchangeably with “closed-loop liquid cooler.”

This type of cooling system uses liquid to cool down your computer’s CPU and then returns that liquid into the cooling unit.

There are two different types of closed-loop liquid coolers: air-cooled and water-cooled.

A typical air-cooled option will have an aluminum heat sink on top of a copper heat pipe connected to a fan at the bottom; the fan blows air through these components to keep them cool while transferring heat away from your CPU.

A water-cooled version has an external radiator (instead of just an aluminum plate) that sits next to a pump to circulate fluid through its tubes instead of relying on fans for airflow, as you would see with some other models.

The significant difference between these two types lies in how they take care of excess heat generated by running processes on your computer.

An air cooler uses fans, which can be noisy but also maintain their efficiency even when there are obstructions around them (like cables or other parts of a PC).

In contrast, water-cooled options rely solely on pumps that need more room than fans because they require at least one tube per GPU/CPU pair (i.e., if there’s only one GPU, it would have to be paired with another card or something else).

This means that installing any radiator inside your case gets tricky, if not impossible, because these pumps tend towards louder sounds than traditional fans, as well as higher power consumption than their smaller counterparts make up for this drawback by being much quieter when running without any obstructions nearby (up till about 60 dB).

AIO vs. Liquid Cooler

AIO vs. Liquid Cooler

Image credit – Rock Paper Shotgun

An AIO is a CPU cooler consisting of a pump and radiator pre-assembled. This makes installation quite simple, as you don’t have to deal with any of the mess (or potential for leaks) that come with assembling your custom cooling loop.

An AIO will streamline the installation process. It only requires you to attach the CPU block to your motherboard before attaching the radiator and fans to your case.

It’ll also make adding other components such as additional radiators or water blocks much easier when compared to an air cooler.

While AIOs are generally more effective than air coolers at keeping temperatures low, they can be pretty expensive and aren’t always necessary, depending on your system’s needs.

So which CPU Cooler should you choose?

Further Reading