Even though a 240 mm liquid cooler provides better results than a 120mm cooler, there are some exceptions. The difference between a budget of 240 mm and a high-end 120 mm may not be substantial. Similarly, the difference between a high-end 240 mm and a low-cost 120mm will be night and day.
120mm and 240mm liquid cooling systems are the most common among PC users these days. You can use a liquid cooler instead of an air cooler for its better performance and stylish look. Liquid coolers also keep the PC components healthy in long-term usage.
120mm vs 240mm Liquid Cooling Radiator – Considering Through Performance Differences?
The performance difference between a 120mm liquid cooler and a 240mm liquid cooler is pretty significant when you will overclock or put some stress on your CPU. Because stressed CPUs get hotter than idle ones.
Temperature Difference (Arctic liquid Freezer)
For this test, the CPU, Intel i7-4770K has been overclocked to 4.30 GHz. The motherboard here is MSI Z97 XPower AC, RAM is Kingston HyperX Predator 16GB, SSD – Samsung 840 EVO 120 GB. The liquid cooler is Arctic Liquid Freezer. Here AIDA64 extreme edition is used to conduct the test.
120mm coolers show that the CPU is at 26 degrees Celsius when the PC is in idle condition. Putting stress on the CPU increases the temperature to 86. On the push/pull system, the same cooler shows 82 degrees Celsius on load. On the other hand, the 240mm liquid cooler shows 77 degrees at load and 25 degrees at idle.
There are a lot of options out there and here are a few of them that are useful and handy.
Temperature Difference (be quiet! Pure Loop)
In this test, Intel i9-9900K is used as the CPU (5 GHz) and a Z390 Designare as the motherboard. Here 16 gigabytes of ddr4 RAM and RTX2080 Ti are used. And here carbonate will be used instead of thermal paste to ensure consistency between runs. Both 120mm and 240mm coolers are at a fixed RPM of 50%.
The CPU with 120mm liquid cooler is at 37 degrees Celsius on idle condition and 34 degrees Celsius with 240mm cooler. On average the CPU is at 92 degrees Celsius with 120mm and 84 degrees Celsius with 240mm. When the CPU is at stress, 120mm keeps it at 97 degrees whereas 240mm keeps it at 91 degrees.
Check out these items from the list which can be a great alternative.
Most of today’s cases are big enough for both 120mm and 240mm liquid coolers. The 120mm radiator can fit any case. 240mm radiator may not fit old cases, but it fits in all the new cases of almost all sizes. For the socket, you should check the compatibility because every cooler is specified for a different socket.
In terms of noise level, there is not much of a difference between a 120mm and a 240mm radiator. Though the 120mm liquid cooler is a bit quieter than the 240mm as it uses just one fan instead of two. Some users use AIOs as they are quieter than the air coolers.
120mm Liquid Coolers
Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120R, ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 120, Corsair Hydro Series H80i v2, Asus ROG Strix LC 120, Thermaltake TH120 ARGB Sync, Cooler Master MasterLiquid LC120L V2, Corsair Hydro H60, EVGA CLC 120, NZXT KrakenM22 are some of the best AIO CPU coolers available on the market.
Cooler Master MasterLiquid LC120L V2 RGB is best at its price point. Corsair Hydro Series H60 is the best among these for its quietness. If you want the best performance then you should go for Corsair Hydro Series H80i v2Air Cooler. Again, if you are into customization, NZXT Kraken M22 would be best for you.
If you are looking for something alternative, then here are some worth looking into.
240mm Liquid Coolers
Corsair iCUE H100i, NZXT Kraken X53, MSI MAG CORELIQUID, Corsair H100i RGB Platinum, Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240L, Corsair iCUE H100i RGB Pro XT, Lian Li Galahad, Deepcool Captain 240 Pro V2, Alphacool Eisbaer Aurora, and NZXT Kraken Z63 are some of the best 240mm coolers on the market.
Among these, Corsair iCUE H100i RGB Pro XT is said to be the best liquid cooler according to most users. They also claim that Lian Li Galahad is the best budget liquid CPU cooler. Deepcool Captain 240 Pro V2 is the best of cheap liquid coolers. The best liquid cooler with a display is NZXT Kraken Z63.
If you do not have any of the equipment or missing a few, the online store is one tap away.
Liquid Coolers Installation Guide
To install an AIO, first, you have to install the backplate correctly. Set the backplate screw holes to the correct position so they fit through the holes. Use screws to keep the backplate sturdy in its place. Screw the support screws into the four holes of the backplate. You can use the user manual if you are unsure.
Now first, orient the fans correctly so they push the air and screw into place using a criss-cross pattern. Install the radiator and secure it with screws. Then line up the pump on the CPU and screw it on the backplate. Finally, connect the fan cables to your motherboard and SATA power to your PSU if required.
Is a 120mm radiator enough for the CPU?
For most mid-range CPUs, a 120mm radiator will do the job if you are not into overclocking. But if you overclock your CPU or use a high range CPU, then at least a 240mm radiator for the AIO is recommended. Again, for an additional GPU, you should at least use a 360mm (3x 120mm) liquid cooler for the best result.
As liquid coolers are sealed units, they require little to no maintenance. All liquid coolers including 120mm and 240mm, have a protective film under the cooler and you have to remove it before installing it, which many people forget to remove.
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