Do you need a CPU cooler for gaming?

Sep 14, 2019 by

CPUs often come with coolers out of the box but do not need them for gaming? That is what we are going to talk about here. AMD and Intel are the two players in the desktop CPU market and while Intel has stuck to its dated cooler designs, AMD has some very nice CPU coolers that are included with the processor.

When a CPU is under load, it gets hot and if the temperature is not regulated then it will thermal throttle. This decreases the performance of the CPU. If the temperature is too high then your PC could crash. In order to avoid that, people use heatsinks or CPU coolers.

Most CPUs come with coolers out of the box that have decent performance but there are other CPUs like the K series CPUs that do not come with coolers. You need to get custom cooling solutions for these processors. If you are interested in learning about such coolers then you can check out the best air coolers for i7 8700K, which happens to be a very popular CPU that does not come with a cooler.

Types Of CPU Coolers

There are two main kinds of coolers that you can get in 2019, air coolers and all-in-one liquid coolers. Air coolers come with fans and massive heatsinks that moves heat away from the CPU. The fans on the heatsink keep the metal fins cools and dissipate heat from them. AIO liquid coolers use liquid rather than air.

The water moves around in a loop. Cold water comes into contact with the CPU and moves heat away from it. The warm water then goes into the radiator where it releases the heat that it got from the CPU. It comes cold again. The loop goes on.

Air coolers are beefy and can be a bit tricky to install because of their size. You can also have RAM clearance issues. AIO liquid coolers have a smaller CPU block that is easy to install and the radiator can be mounted in different parts of the case.

Air coolers put a lot of pressure on the motherboard, if you move your PC around then the air cooler could damage your motherboard. That is not the case with AIO liquid coolers. On the other hand, air coolers are much cheaper as compared to AIO liquid coolers.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if an air cooler is damaged then you can salvage some of the parts. The heatsink might need to be changed but you can still use the fans. The same is true the other way around. If an AIO liquid cooler is faulty then you will need to replace the whole thing which is going to be costly.

Noise is another factor that you should keep in mind when choosing between the two. Air coolers are going to be louder in pretty much any case. The fans spin faster and that creates more noise. You can swap the fans in favor of silent options. When it comes to liquid coolers, the fans do not need to spin as fast and that means that less noise is produced. In some cases, the fans do not even turn on until the CPU has reached a certain temperature. If you are interested in a silent build then liquid cooling is the way to go but it will cost you a lot of money.

When it comes to performance, liquid cooling is much more effective as compared to air coolers. Even though that is the case, we can only recommend using liquid cooling if you are going to push your CPU to the limit by overclocking. Air coolers are good enough if you are going to use your CPU at stock speeds or are only going to overclock slightly.


Do you need a CPU cooler for gaming? Yes, you do need a CPU cooler for gaming and pretty much anything else that you are going to do on your PC. Air coolers and AIO liquid coolers are great options but we can only recommend liquid coolers if you are going to overclock your CPU.

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