Whenever you plan to build a gaming PC, the CPU cooler stays as the most highlighted part of your hardware list. Aftermarket CPU coolers have become the most important part of PC gaming rigs. But do you really need an aftermarket CPU cooler installed on gaming desktops? What if you stick with the stock cooler that comes free with your processor? Here in this guide, we will answer these questions one by one.
Why You Need Aftermarket CPU Cooler for Gaming Rigs
Third-party and branded CPU coolers are more efficient in heat dissipation and generate less noise as compared to stock CPU coolers. Obviously, if you are building a gaming PC, you will opt for a high-end CPU.
A powerful gaming processor comes with more cores and threads, and this results in more heat. Your stock cooler might handle this heat up to some extent, but by making more noise or shutting down your system to cool down your CPU. And if you overclock your CPU for more performance, that much heat would be impossible for your stock cooler to dissipate.
A branded CPU cooler comes with a broad heat sink and a powerful fan to dissipate massive amounts of heat. If you often overclock your gaming PC for maximum performance, you need to have the best aftermarket CPU cooler installed on your PC.
What If you go with Stock CPU Cooler in Gaming PC?
If you are going after AMD gaming CPUs, you can stick with a stock CPU cooler as long as you are not overclocking your CPU. Most AMD CPUs come with a Wraith CPU cooler packed inside the box. This stock cooler from AMD is way better than the Intel stock coolers. In the case of Intel, we strictly recommend going after a third-party cooler. It is because, under heavy load, Intel stock coolers tend to make more noise as compared to ones from AMD.
With some Intel CPUs, you don’t really need to buy a third-party CPU cooler. For example, if we were building a gaming PC with Core i5-8600K CPU, choosing the most compatible aftermarket CPU cooler for the Core i5 8600K processor would be at the end of our list. We know this CPU might not produce as much heat as a Core i9 9900K would. So it’s worth investing money in more meaningful components like GPU or ram.
So it also depends on the type of CPU installed in your gaming PC that decided whether you need a CPU cooler or not. Also, if your preference is to keep the temps as low as possible, go for an aftermarket cooler.
Which Type of CPU Cooler Your Need for a Gaming PC?
As you there are two types of CPU cooling solutions available right now, air and liquid.
Air CPU Cooling
In air cooling, the heat is transferred from the CPU to the base plate of the CPU cooler. The baseplate of a CPU cooler can be made up of Copper or Aluminum. From the base plate, the heat travels towards the CPU cooler fan via means of pipes.
The thermal energy is then transferred to the thin metal frames of your CPU cooler. The cooling fan at the top then throws away the heat trapped inside the fins. In this way, your CPU cools down efficiently in a precise manner.
The air CPU coolers made up of aluminum are cheaper as compared to their copper variants. Copper variants tend to dissipate heat much faster as compared to aluminum. Also, larger-sized coolers can maintain the temps way better but cannot fit in small builds. For small form factor PCs, you should consider low-profile CPU coolers.
In liquid cooling, the process is the same but the cooling medium is different. The baseplate of a liquid is attached to the IHS of the CPU to suck heat. The front side of the baseplate is the part of a water block that is filled with coolant, mostly water.
The heat that comes from the CPU is absorbed by the metal plate and then transfered to the water block. The water block is attached to the radiator fan with the help of one or two tubes. The radiator exposes the heated liquid to the air, which then cools down the liquid. The liquid then goes back into the water block, and the process repeats.
Which Cooling Solution is Best for Gaming PCs
If you are going after a low-budget gaming PC, then we recommend you to go after air CPU coolers only. Air coolers are cheaper as compared to liquid CPU coolers. If you are more into high-end video editing, streaming, or gaming, we recommend you go with liquid CPU coolers. Also, liquid coolers are quiet as compared to air coolers.
We hope you got a clear understanding of whether you need a CPU cooler for your gaming PC or not. If your intention is to play light games, you can rely on a stock CPU cooler. However, if you are a hardcore gamer and overclocker, you will need a reliable CPU cooler for your gaming rig. Lastly, some old-generation processors tend to generate a lot of heat. In that case, you have to leave aside your stock cooler and go after a third-party cooler.
Hi, I’m Maxab, the creative author of this blog. I’m a technology enthusiast who loves to test and review PC equipment to help you build your next-gen PC. It’s my duty to help you choose the right product for the right reason.