High-end CPUs and GPUs are known for offering the best performance. However, they have extensive power and cooling requirements. Though, cooling plays the most crucial role. Without sufficient cooling, they will throttle. And water coolers are the best in that regard. But how much does a custom water cooling cost?
A custom water cooling setup for your PC can cost anywhere from $100 to $300. However, in some cases, it can go well above $500. It depends on the type of pump, fittings, tubes, radiators, water blocks, and reservoir.
But how much difference does custom water cooling make? Will you be better off with a standard water cooling kit? Let’s take a deep dive into the topic and find out all about it, shall we?
Related: Water Meter Installation Cost
What Is a Custom Water Cooling Setup?
A custom water cooling setup is an advanced method of cooling your PC. It involves working with custom parts, such as the tube, fittings, water blocks, and reservoir. And instead of buying a pre-installed package, you work with all the components yourself.
So, you can guess how much knowledge and skill you will need to install a custom water cooling setup on your PC.
What Is the Advantage of Getting a Custom Water Cooling?
You will enjoy some distinct advantages when choosing a custom water cooling setup. They are:
- More Flexibility Than Aios
AIO, which stands for All-in-One, coolers are convenient. They come pre-assembled. You just have to install the water block in the CPU or GPU and then mount the radiator and the fan on the PC chassis. Although they are easy to work with, you are stuck with the components that ship with the package.
Yes, you can definitely work with the water block and radiator fan to some degree. But the flexibility that custom water cooling setups offer is more significant than AIOs. Here, you will have more options with the tubing, the water block, the radiator, and the pump.
- Better Cooling Than Most Aios
Hands down, custom water cooling loops are more capable of cooling hot and power-hungry parts. However, you need to consider all the components of the setup. For example, if you skimp out on the radiator and the pump, the cooling performance will not be better than the AIOs.
- Low Maintenance Cost
For AIOs, you will need to replace the entire kit when there is a problem with the kit. To illustrate, you will have to purchase a new AIO kit when the water pump goes bad or malfunctions. Why so? Most of the manufacturers just do not sell spare parts for their AIOs.
In comparison, you are purchasing everything separately for a custom water cooling loop. That means you can easily replace something if anything goes wrong with a particular part. Let’s not forget to mention that custom water cooling parts are readily available.
- Better Looking Results
With custom water cooling loops, you can totally pimp out your PC. There are many options for the water cooling block, tubing, and fittings. You will have the option to choose one that looks the best on your setup.
On the other hand, you will be pretty much stuck with what you get with the AIO kit. There is not much you can do to modify the overall look of the setup.
- Extended Lifespan
Custom loops are known for lasting longer than the AIOs. As a matter of fact, the lifespan of most AIO coolers is limited to 5 to 6 years. On the other hand, custom water cooling setups can last for decades. You just have to maintain it accordingly.
Disadvantages of Custom Water Cooling Loops
Custom water coolers associate with some drawbacks too. Here is the description of the major ones:
- Hard to Maintain
To get the best overall performance out of the custom water cooler setup, you will need to do frequent maintenance. The radiator, fans, and tubings need to be cleaned after 6 to 12 months, sometimes more often.
- Pricier Than Aios
There are many AIO coolers under the $100 bracket. You can get a great deal on the coolers and grab them at around $50. However, for custom water coolers, you will need to spend at least $100.
- Hard to Install
When working with a custom water cooler, you must make the right amount of bend on the tubings. You will also need to work with a heating gun and have to ensure that the pump and radiator have the right placement. These require a good amount of time and knowledge.
- High Risk of Damage
If you do not install the custom water cooler correctly, there will be chances of the water leaking and getting on top of the components. And as you know, water and electrical components do not go well together.
- Demands Proper Knowledge about the Parts
You will need to pick the right parts for the custom water cooler. For example, the water block will start degrading if you use a liquid metal thermal paste for your CPU and GPU. There will be corrosion, which is not good for the water blocks.
Estimated Custom Water Cooling Price
So, how much is water cooling for a PC? Here is a price breakdown:
- Water block: Around $20
- Radiator and Tube: Around $35
- Pump: Around $20
- Fans: Around $10
- Fittings: Around $25
Note that these are an estimate of the lowest possible cost. Water blocks are available for more than $100, radiators cost around $150, and pumps for $250. But the takeaway is that you can definitely build a budget water cooling system for around $100.
Regarding how much does a custom water cooling cost, the answer depends on the components. But it does not mean you have to spend too much for a custom water loop. A budget between $100 and $300 is more than enough.
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