As you’ve probably read a few times now when we’ve discussed PCs, it is crucial that the CPU, is kept cool. The most common way to cool the CPU is to mount a heatsink directly onto it and attach a fan as well. For a lot of people, this is the exactly how they cool their PC. The reason behind this is that in many cases, a heatsink and fan are included in the box with the CPU. Despite this, some people decide that they would instead in an aftermarket CPU cooler. Sometimes these come with a fan, and other times they come separately. If you want to build an HTPC, then it’s important that you choose the right cooler for the case. We’ve compiled a list of the best low profile CPU coolers for your consideration.

However, as technology has moved forward, so has the ways that the CPU can be cooled. It is now becoming more common for the CPU to be water cooled instead. In actuality, it’s not really water but a non-conductive liquid that is used, but water cooling has a much better ring to it.

When it comes to water cooling there are a few options that you can use. The first is a closed loop, all in one cooler setup. Basically this is water cooler that comes in the kit with a radiator included and you simply mount it onto the CPU. You can read about our picks for the best all in one water cooler. We have also reviewed the Pro line from Corsair.

The other option is an open loop cooling setup. In this case, you need to actively bend the tubing as well as filling up the reservoir yourself and make the necessary fittings between each bit of tubing. The open loop method is generally more expensive and is seen as a more risky option. This is mainly due to the fact that if you need to have the system powered up in order to test it the cooling functionality. However, there is the chance that you will encounter a leak which needs to be dealt with promptly. It’s for that reason that many people instead opt to either use an air cooler all an all in one variant.

Regardless of the choice that you opt for, the most important thing is that your CPU is adequately cooled. Preparation is always an important issue and it’s as simple as making sure that both the contact point and the CPU are 100% clean. You should also opt for a high quality thermal paste or thermal compound. This in itself can appear to be a landmine for beginners, but we have got this covered too.