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Is GPU Liquid Cooling worth it?

GPU Liquid cooling is a great way to make sure there is minimum or absolutely no throttling while you are putting your GPU under extreme loads.

Powerful GPUs such as RTX 3090, AMD 6900XT, and even RTX 3080 tend to heat up so much when you play games or do other tasks where high graphics power is required. In some cases, there could be throttling issues because of this excessive heat. This happens mostly when the outer environment is too hot for the air coolers.

The most common reason is a poor cabinet cooling setup. So, you might be thinking about cooling your GPU using an AIO or a custom hotline.

Is it worth the extra effort and money?

Well, we are going to know here in this article.

We know water cooling is a good way to eliminate the heat in the best manner possible these days. So, definitely, when you water cool your GPU, you get to see great results. But, the inbuild air-coolers are more than enough to cool down most of the low-end cards.

So, a very powerful graphics card like RTX 3090, 3080, or 6900XT can definitely be benefitted from a liquid cooler and you can achieve better performance while eliminating the thermal throttling. But, GPU liquid coolers are surely not worth it for the low-end graphics cards.

How much temperature differences we can see with a liquid cooler?

The temperature difference of course varies as per the kind of usage and type of GPU. there are many other factors and one of the most important is the size of the radiator plus the number of cooling fans you have used. But, generally, you will see that your GPU stays around 20-30% much cooler when you have a good liquid cooling setup as compared to the normal air-cooling.

This thing basically helps you best when you want to overclock your GPU to its highest limits. If we talk about the low-end cards such as GTX 1080, GTX 1660, Radeon RX 5600 XT, or even the NVIDIA 20 series cards, they can just work fine with the stock coolers. However, a liquid cooler has its own advantages for you. Let’s talk about them below.

Also Read: Does PC cabinet size matter in PC building?

Advantages of using a liquid cooler for GPU

Liquid coolers are known for their amazing cooling potential. So, if you are going to play games or use your GPU for other intense tasks, you will be able to get great results for sure. Some of the main benefits of GPU liquid cooling are as follows.

  1. Great overclocking potential
  2. Huge reduction in the maximum GPU temperatures
  3. Your GPU looks less bulky
  4. Low level of noise
  5. Great to use in warm climates and inside powerful builds
  6. Ideal way to increase looks for most of the users

Drawbacks of using a liquid cooler for GPU

There are pros and cons of everything and we should always take note of them before we make final decisions. So, below are some of the drawbacks of liquid cooling a graphics card.

  1. Some extra money should be spent
  2. The installation could be tough for some users
  3. Memory and VRM cooling could be compromised
  4. Mostly an overkill for most users especially when they have low-end graphics cards

How to choose the right liquid cooler for GPU?

You might be aware of the fact that there are two kinds of PC liquid cooling available in the market. The first one is custom cooling (Softline/Hardline). And, the second type is AIO liquid cooling.

Custom cooling is hard to do. Generally, the users will pass a single pipeline (either hard or soft) through the desired components such as CPU, GPU, and sometimes M.2 drives. For this, you will have to cut the pipes on your own and install them with proper care. A little leakage can result in serious damage to the components.

The AIO coolers are generally easy to install and I would suggest you go for this one if you are not aware of how custom liquid cooling loops work. The best way is to choose a cooler which supports your graphics card and this can be confirmed on the official websites. In most cases, you will have to buy the AIO mount and the cooler separately.

One of the most popular GPU AIO Mounting brackets is NZXT G12. it will support all the reference and non-reference graphics cards from both NVIDIA and AMD. There are various others you can buy for sure. But, again, make sure to check the bracket’s compatibility with the cooler itself. The same AIO cooler can be used for both CPUs and GPUs but you will have to install it using a suitable bracket. So, checking the compatibility is very important.

Also, make sure to use a bracket that has a separate cooling fan to flow the air through the VRM, and GPU memory because the AIO cooler will just cool down the GPU on your graphics card. There are various other components on your graphics that will heat up when you put them under pressure.

The next big thing is the size of the radiator. If you are aware that your GPU is going to produce a lot of heat, make sure to go for at least a 280 mm liquid cooler. You can’t expect your liquid cooler to cool down an RTX 3090 just with a 120mm radiator. For these powerful GPUs, you will definitely have to pick a 360 mm AIO cooler.

Also Read: Do Liquid AIO coolers require maintenance?

Who should use an liquid cooler for graphics card?

Gamers, graphics designers, high-end video editors, 3D designers, animators, and other people who have heavy graphics usage should think about liquid cooling their GPUs. Mostly, your GPU will be able to cool it down using the stock cooling solutions.

But, you can easily see your GPU throttling because of several external reasons. The most common reason is a high-temperature environment outside.

The next reason could be your own PC build. You might have built a very powerful PC so it is normal that all the components will create a lot of heat including the RAM, storage, power supply, and even motherboard components. In that case, your graphics card cooling fans can find it hard to cool the GPU down properly.

So, once the GPU reaches its maximum threshold temperature, it can’t go beyond that limit and hence you will see thermal throttling. So, in this situation, an AIO liquid cooler can be pretty helpful for you. You can watch this video to see how the installation works.

Conclusion

Definitely, a GPU liquid cooling solution will make sure that your GPU is staying cool even if you are taking it to its highest limits. But, choosing the right size of radiator is the most important thing. However, for most users, using a GPU liquid cooler is overkill because these devices are made to work at very high temperatures.

So, you should use a liquid GPU cooler or pass your custom liquid line through the GPU only when you are going to overclock your GPU. Please share your views in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

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