20 liquid cooling sets compared: Are liquid coolers better than air coolers?

Many manufacturers sell complete liquid cooling sets as a superior alternative for high-end CPU air coolers. They're typically more expensive, but do they also cool better? We put 20 liquid cooling sets to the test to find out.

The liquid cooling sets that you have to assemble yourself have decreased in popularity over the past few years. Aside from the select group of hardware enthusiasts most people tend to get hung up on the drawbacks of this method of cooling. It takes a lot of effort to install it in your PC and to get it working properly, and you never are completely safe from potential leaks and the disastrous consequences for your hardware.

Fully assembled liquid cooling sets are getting more popular, as they come as a closed system which almost guarantees no leaks. Installing the system isn't much more challenging than with air coolers.

A number of manufacturers offers these types of liquid cooling sets as a deluxe alternative for conventional air coolers, with better cooling or more silence as selling points. The prices of these products range from 50 to 160 euros, with most costing around 100 euros. That makes them more expensive than even the most high-end air cooler, but it's also not a ridiculous difference.

So what are the reasons for using a liquid cooling system in your PC? The primary reason is the provide more effective cooling for the CPU, which increases the overclocking potential of your system. It get rids of heat much quicker than air coolers, which leads to lower temperatures for the processor. The test results confirm this, the best liquid cooling sets are far superior to the best air coolers. You can read the rest of 20 liquid cooling sets group test: better than air? on Hardware.info.