The average cost of installing liquid cooling in a desktop computer can range from $100 to $300 or more, depending on the type of liquid cooling system and the components being cooled.
For example, a basic all-in-one liquid cooling kit for a single CPU can cost around $100 to $200, while a more complex custom loop setup for multiple components can cost upwards of $500 or more.
Here is a list of components that can be included in the overall cost of liquid cooling a desktop computer, with rough estimates of their costs:
- Coolant: $20-$50
- Radiator: $30-$100
- Pumps: $30-$100
- Fans: $15-$50
- Reservoir: $30-$100
- Fittings: $20-$50
- Tubing: $10-$30
- Cooling block for CPU: $30-$100
- Cooling blocks for GPU: $50-$200
Here is the cost in a table format:
|Cooling block for CPU||$30-$100|
|Cooling blocks for GPU||$50-$200|
Cost of liquid cooling kit
A Liquid Cooling Kit can by typically bought, which is usually between $100 and $300. A Liquid Cooling Kit is a pre-packaged set of components used to build a liquid cooling system for a computer.
The components in a liquid cooling kit can include a radiator, pump, fans, reservoir, fittings, tubing, cooling blocks for the CPU and GPU, and coolant. It includes all the necessary parts and accessories to cool a desktop computer’s CPU, GPU, and other components.
A low-end cooling kit with basic components and limited options will cost less than a high-end kit with premium components and more advanced features. Here are a few examples of low, medium, and high-quality liquid cooling kits with approximate prices:
Low-end Liquid Cooling Kit:
- Corsair Hydro Series H60 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler. Price: $70-$80
- Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120L RGB AIO. Price: $70-$80
- DeepCool Captain 240EX RGB AIO. Price: $70-$80
Medium-range Liquid Cooling Kit:
- NZXT Kraken M22 120mm AIO. Price: $100-$150
- Thermaltake TH120 ARGB Sync AIO. Price: $100-$150
- Phanteks Glacier C360A AIO. Price: $100-$150
- ASUS ROG Strix LC II 240 ARGB All-in-one AIO Liquid. Price: $150-$200
High-end Liquid Cooling Kit:
- Fractal Design Celsius+ S36 Prisma. Price: $200-$300
- EKWB EK-AIO Elite 360 D-RGB. Price: $200-$300
- CORSAIR iCUE H170i ELITE LCD Display Liquid. Price: $270-$300
Here are the same prices but in a table:
|Liquid Cooling Kit||Model||Price|
|Low-end Liquid Cooling Kit||Corsair Hydro Series H60 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler||$70-$80|
|Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120L RGB AIO||$70-$80|
|DeepCool Captain 240EX RGB AIO||$70-$80|
|Medium-range Liquid Cooling Kit||NZXT Kraken M22 120mm AIO||$100-$150|
|Thermaltake TH120 ARGB Sync AIO||$100-$150|
|Phanteks Glacier C360A AIO||$100-$150|
|ASUS ROG Strix LC II 240 ARGB||$150-$200|
|High-end Liquid Cooling Kit||Fractal Design Celsius+ S36 Prisma||$200-$300|
|EKWB EK-AIO Elite 360 D-RGB||$200-$300|
|CORSAIR iCUE H170i ELITE LCD||$250-$300|
Note that these prices are subject to change based on market conditions, availability, and other factors and are intended to provide a general idea of the cost range for different types of liquid cooling kits.
The installation cost should also be factored in, which can range from $50 to $200 or more, depending on the setup’s complexity and the installer’s labor rate. You are, of course, always free to learn how to install the cooling system yourself.
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Factors determining the cost of liquid cooling for PC
Type of liquid cooling system
The cost will vary depending on whether you choose an All-In-One (AIO) liquid cooler, a custom loop, or a DIY kit.
All-In-One (AIO) liquid coolers are the most affordable option, and these can range from $70 to $300. Custom loops, where you build the system using individual components, tend to be more expensive and can cost anywhere from $400 to $1000 or more. DIY kits are an option for those who want to build a custom loop on a budget and typically cost between $150 and $500.
Quality of components
For example, a high-end radiator such as the EKWB EK-CoolStream PE 360, made from high-quality copper and brass, can cost over $100, while a budget radiator may only cost $30.
Size of the system
The size of the cooling system, such as the number of radiators, the length of tubing, and the number of fans, will affect the cost. A larger system will require more components and cost more, while a smaller one will be more affordable.
For example, a high-end custom loop with multiple radiators and many fans may cost over $1000, while a budget AIO with a single radiator may only cost $70.
Adding RGB lighting to a liquid cooling system will increase its cost. RGB lighting adds an aesthetic element to the system and can also help to enhance the look of a PC build.
For example, the Corsair Hydro Series H150i RGB Pro XT, which has RGB lighting and a 360mm radiator, may cost over $200, while a non-RGB AIO with a similar-sized radiator may cost $100 or less.
Premium brands, such as EKWB, Fractal Design, and Alphacool, tend to have higher prices but offer better quality and support.
These brands are known for their high-quality components and often offer better warranties and customer support. For example, an Alphacool Eisbaer Aurora 360, a high-end custom loop kit, may cost $300 or more, while a budget brand DIY kit may cost $150.
Warranty and customer support
The cost of a liquid cooling system may also reflect the level of warranty and customer support offered by the manufacturer. Some brands, such as Corsair and NZXT, offer extended warranty periods and 24/7 customer support, which can add to the cost of the system.
If you choose to have a professional install the liquid cooling system, the labor costs will be an additional factor affecting the overall cost. The cost of labor can vary depending on the system’s complexity, location, and the installer’s experience.
For example, the cost of labor to install a high-end custom loop may be $200 or more, while the cost of labor to install a budget AIO may be only $50.
Is liquid cooling typically expensive?
Yes, liquid cooling can be more expensive than traditional air cooling solutions. A high-quality liquid cooling kit can range from $200 to $500, but you can get decent All-in-One cooling kits for less than $150.
Is liquid cooling actually needed for desktops?
Liquid cooling is not necessary for a desktop computer, as air cooling solutions can often adequately handle the cooling needs of most typical desktop systems. However, for high-performance systems with overclocked CPUs and GPUs or for use in extremely hot environments, liquid cooling can offer improved cooling performance.
Does liquid cooling need to be refilled?
Liquid cooling systems can lose fluid over time through evaporation or leaks. Regular maintenance, such as checking and topping off fluid levels, is required to keep the system functioning properly. So yes, they do need to be refilled.
Is it dangerous to cool a PC with water?
When properly installed and maintained, liquid cooling is safe for a PC. However, if the system is not properly installed or maintained, leaks or other issues can cause damage to the components. To compare some damage costs, check out the article on Mac water damage costs.
Is liquid cooling worth it for gaming?
Whether liquid cooling is worth it for gaming depends on the specific needs and requirements of the system. For most gaming systems, air cooling is sufficient. However, liquid cooling can offer improved cooling performance and stability for high-performance systems or those that will be overclocked.
How long does liquid cooling last?
A high-quality liquid cooling system, properly installed and maintained, can last for several years. However, the lifespan of a liquid cooling system can be affected by factors such as leaks, evaporation, and regular use. Regular maintenance, such as checking and topping off fluid levels, can help extend the lifespan of a liquid cooling system.