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What Does Cooling Do For A Gaming PC? Complete Guide

What Does Cooling Do For A Gaming PC? Complete Guide

It’s important to understand why cooling is so vital for any computer. It’s especially important for gaming PCs where temperature can significantly rise because of the amount most users run on them.

Cooling systems are essential for any computer and doubly so for gaming PCs. If you’d like to learn just how important they are and how they keep your PC alive, keep reading!

What Does Cooling Do for a Gaming PC?

Cooling reduces the temperature of your gaming PC’s components, allowing them to run better and more efficiently. With constant use, the temperature of each component in your PC rises, and if not kept in check with a reliable cooling system, it can cause damage to your computer.

There are multiple ways to cool your system. Fans are the most popular method, and they majorly work to keep your processors cool. However, static fans and heatsinks are also installed in the PC during development to keep other parts of it cool.

Do All Gaming PCs Need Cooling?

All Gaming PCs need cooling to keep them from developing defects. However, not all PCs need extra cooling separate from what ships with the PC. Most modern computers come with enough cooling for general use. If you plan to overclock your processor, you’ll need extra cooling.

No PC could survive without a cooling system as the consistent heat would cause it to constantly shut down due to the failsafe on the motherboard. Prolonged use like this could eventually cause the PC to crash.

While most PCs ship with enough cooling out of the box, you may wish to add extra cooling. For example, overclocking your CPU increases the heat of your system. In this case, extra ventilation could be needed to prevent the system from overheating.

How Many Fans Should You Have Cooling Your PC?

You should have three fans cooling your PC. That is the optimal number of fans you should have around your processor, but you can work with two fans at the very least. With a two-fan setup, most low-end PCs will be fine, but a three-fan setup is the best bet for a higher spec PC with higher demands.

Along with pulling in more air, having a 2:1 or 3:1 fan ratio in your cooling system will allow you to set up positive airflow in the enclosure. Positive airflow means that the fans are pulling more fresh air into the PC than they’re expelling. With positive airflow, you get better circulation inside the enclosure, which helps cool down each component. 

Alternatively, negative airflow happens when you have more exhaust fans than intake. It’s generally not recommended as the pressure difference can cause dust to accumulate faster in the enclosure. Intel does a great job of explaining why your fan setup is so important and how to maintain proper airflow.

Does Cooling Make Your PC Faster?

Cooling makes your PC faster because components like GPUs and processors will slow down under high temperatures. The generally accepted temperature range for running components is between 60 – 70 °C (140 – 158 °F). Above this, computers might still run, but they will develop defects with time.

However, you should only expect a speed increase if your current system is running too hot. Further cooling of a PC which is not overheating will not make the PC faster. 

Does CPU Cooling Affect FPS? 

CPU cooling gives you better FPS because it allows your PC to run optimally. Most PCs are set up to throttle performance if their components get too hot. Throttled performance reduces the amount of power to your CPU and GPU, reducing your FPS.

Getting better cooling in your enclosure is essential to maintain a stable framerate and processor speed concurrently. Although the stock fans in a gaming PC usually do a good enough job for regular work, it might not hold up for more demanding tasks and games. 

Intensive gaming or tasks like rendering and video editing can overwork the processor, heating it above normal limits. Once it starts to get too hot, thermal sensors on the motherboard detect the temperature and throttle its speed to allow it to cool down. 

This throttling causes FPS to drop, and the best way to avoid this is to install a better cooling system. The cheaper option is to install more intake fans to increase the air intake, but too many fans can do more harm than good due to conflicting air currents.

If you already have the maximum number of recommended fans, you might want to invest in a liquid cooling system. A liquid cooling system works like a refrigerator. Using enclosed liquid, it circulates liquid around your CPU, then cools this liquid.

Is Liquid Cooling Worth It?

Liquid cooling is worth it if you own a gaming PC. Gaming PCs are under more stress than traditional PCs because they usually have heavier processes to run, and liquid cooling is an excellent way to control their temperature, especially if you overclock your CPU.

That said, liquid cooling can be pretty expensive, so knowing if you really need it is important before getting it. There are many reasons your machine may require liquid cooling, but the most common reason is overclocking.

NZXT Kraken CPU Cooler

The NZXT Kraken CPU Cooler comes with two fans and a liquid cooler for your CPU. The additional fans and liquid cooler help keep your machine cool, even when overclocking.

What Is Overclocking?

Overclocking is a way to improve the performance of your processor. Processors usually have a working capacity significantly below their actual maximum potential output. This limit is put in place by engineers to keep the processor safe. Overclocking removes this limit, increasing processor output.

Overclocking your PC is one way to push it past its limits and get the very best out of it. For people with underperforming PCs, overclocking can breathe new life into your gaming experience, enabling your previously underperforming processor to perform better in more demanding games.

While overclocking can work wonders for your PC, it can also cause problems. The limits put in place to stop the processor from reaching that output in the first place are there to protect the processor and PC from excessive load.

Once you overclock your processor, it starts to work more, but this increase in output causes a corresponding increase in heat. If left unchecked, this heat could eventually cause computer crashes, and in worse scenarios, your processor could stop working completely.

Because of this, liquid cooling is the best choice to keep the processor running at its overclocked rate without running the risk of damaging your hardware. 

Final Thoughts

Keeping PCs cool is extremely important, and this is doubly true for gaming PCs since they use up so much power.

Ideally, a 3:1 fan setup should keep your PC cool enough for most things. However, if you plan to overclock your processor for more power, you’ll need to install supplementary cooling like a liquid cooling system.


👋 Hey There, I'm Eric!

Since 2018, I've been making streams come true.

I like gaming, streaming and watching other people stream. I created this website to help streamers, viewers, and gamers answer questions they have regarding live streaming, gaming, and PCs. I am a Twitch affiliate and currently stream on Twitch 3 days a week. I also have a Youtube channel where I make videos about streaming. I hope you find my content helpful. Feel free to stop by one of my streams to say hi.