What Is A Liquid Cooled CPU? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

New to PC buildings or liquid coolers? This info is for you!


Traditional heat sinks and fans for PC processors have existed for years. For starters, a heat sink and a fan help your processor stay cool from thermal throttling, but there are instances where you might be using a beefier processor or GPU, and the stock heat sinks and fans are just not enough to keep them from thermal throttling.

Well then, enter Liquid cooling. It keeps your processor and GPU cool using a liquid cooler, but how exactly does it work? In this article, let’s look at what a Liquid Cooled CPU is.

Liquid Cooling in CPUs

Modern CPUs do not shy away from reaching temperatures above 95 degrees while doing CPU-intensive tasks. When the temperature reaches a certain extent, a processor cuts down on performance to keep itself cool while you face lags, stutters, and FPS drops. This is called thermal throttling, and it can ruin your experience.

There are two types of liquid cooling — One is done using the AIO cooler (All-in-one cooler), and the other uses custom loops. AIO coolers are more common and easier to implement; hence, we’ll be looking at them in this one.


For traditional air cooling, we usually have the thermal paste on top of the processor and the base copper plate plus fan combo on the cooler, which sits on top of the thermal paste. The heat from the processor’s surface is transferred to the paste to the heat sinks and, at last, is blown out by the fan. Fairly simple?

Noctua PC cooler

Liquid cooling, however, also has the same structure going for it, but instead of heat sinks, you’ll have a CPU block plus pump, which sits on top of the processor. Two tubes go to the radiator, and lastly, a fan to cool the hot liquid. The liquid is then pulled back by the water block again.

Here’s an excellent visual representation from Intel about how an AIO cooler works.

How an AIO cooler works

Do you own a liquid-cooled PC? Is there anything specific that we missed in this article? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

If you like this simple explainer, check out our Short Bytes section. We take complex tech topics and break them into short, easy-to-understand articles.

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar is a Linux and Tech Writer. Hailing from a Computer Science background, the start of his love for Tech dates back to 2011, when he was gifted a Dell Inspiron 5100. When he's not covering Tech, you'll find him binge-watching anime and Tech content on YouTube or hunting heads in competitive FPS games. You can also find his work on Android Police and How-To Geek.
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