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October 12, 2023

Should AIO Coolers Be Intake Or Exhaust?

When it comes to building a computer, the placement of your CPU AIO cooler and fans has a big impact on its performance. You want to make sure your system is properly ventilated to minimize heat build up and avoid air blockages. In addition, higher ambient temperatures can cause semi passive components such as new graphics cards to spin their fans even when the system isn’t running. This can lead to a high noise level and an increase in temperature that could be mitigated with an exhaust AIO cooling setup.

You can install an AIO cooler as either intake or exhaust by simply changing the direction of the radiator fans. Both configurations effectively cool the CPU, but they do so in slightly different ways. Intake AIOs are better for the CPU because they pull cold air from the case, while exhaust configurations work better for other components like the GPU because they push warmer air out of the case.

It is important to note that the AIO radiator loop does not have 100% coolant, so there’s always some air present in the pump. Therefore, it is important to not let the AIO’s air bubbles accumulate in the pump. Doing so can reduce the AIO’s thermal efficiency, lead to loud pump noises and shorten its lifespan. For this reason, you should only mount the AIO as an intake if it’s at the front of the case and not on the bottom.