You never really think about that constant low hum emitting from your desktop tower until you load up one of your favorite RPGs and things go a little haywire. Every computer, no matter how big or small, generates heat during operation. Within that mechanical frame, all of the high-powered internal processing you depend on for seamless performance requires a considerable amount of electricity.
Integrated air cooling fans are responsible for tempering your system and protecting your PC from overheating. But the bigger and more powerful your system, the stronger your cooling system needs to be. Enter liquid-cooled PCs.
Gaming computers are typically equipped with high-end CPUs, GPUs, HDDs, and ODDs which allow for complex program functionality, but they also generate more heat than a non-gaming PC. In order to properly accommodate the heightened heat output, many of HP’s gaming computers feature liquid cooling systems. A unique alternative to standard fan cooling, liquid cooling changes the scope of gaming PCs.
So, what’s the scoop on liquid-cooled gaming computers? What are the advantages over air-cooled PCs? What are the best HP liquid-cooled gaming PCs, and is adding liquid cooling to an air-cooled gaming PC possible? Let’s take a deep dive into these burning questions.
Liquid cooling vs air cooling: Which is better?
Case fans are the finishing touch to any PC. Working overtime to prevent any nasty overheating, these integral coolers keep things safe and sound within your computer body. Air cooling is the standard for computer cooling systems. That low stirring hum you hear when firing up your favorite game or a newly downloaded photo manipulator is the sweet sound of your air cooling at work.
Air-cooled PCs are the epitome of low-maintenance performance. They require little-to-no upkeep outside of the occasional dusting. The standard PC comes with an assemblage of pre-installed case fans capable of sufficiently cooling your CPU, GPU, and HDD. No extra work or added features necessary.
Air-cooled PCs tend to come with smaller price tags than their liquid cooled siblings. So as long as you’re buying a quality computer, you can expect to get top-quality integrated cooling systems too.
For gamers, the downside to air-cooling is that programs heavy on the CPU, GPU, and RAM will likely send your PC into overdrive, generating more heat than it may be able to handle. This generally results in overheating, loud fan spinning, crashing, powering off, or screen tearing. So for you over-clocked gamers with beefed up rigs, air-cooling may pose more of a threat to your game than it does an advantage.
Liquid cooling systems are typically found in higher-end gaming computers made for over-clocking, power-processing, and grandiose graphics. Though they may seem more complex by their unique nature, they offer far higher levels of efficiency than their fan-based counterparts.
While it may seem risky to have a water system installed so close to computer hardware, water actually transfers heat more efficiently than air. This means liquid-cooled computers consistently operate at cooler temperatures.
With this consistency, you can say goodbye to random spurts of noisy fan action. Liquid-cooled PCs are quieter, effectively reducing the noise level to zero even as you load up your most intricate game scapes. Even though most liquid-cooled PCs include an integrated case fan, the fan will operate at such a low RPM you’ll likely never notice it.
Gaming is all about efficiency, so if you’re interested in amplifying your rig’s true grit, a liquid-cooled PC is the way to go. Liquid cooling keeps up with the times, allowing you to challenge your rig to handle the latest GPUs and CPUs without ever worrying about overheating.
The best HP liquid-cooled gaming PCs
Designed from the ground up with gamers in mind, HP® is the proud provider of some of the highest-performing liquid-cooled gaming PCs on the market. Boasting powerful processing and blazing efficiency, these liquid-cooled PCs are changing the face of gaming technology.
1. HP OMEN X 900 desktop PC
Do more than just play your games. Fully immerse yourself into the lay of the land of your favorite game scapes. Prime and perfect your FPS strategy without ever missing a beat with the HP OMEN X 900-260XE as your vehicle. Built with an Intel Core i7 quad-core processor and paired with an NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 10 series graphics card, overclocking is a breeze.
Experience sprawling life-like graphics in astounding 4K resolutions. From movie watching and MMO playing to VR escaping, the sky is hardly a limit with this monster machine. Crystal clear image quality matched with extraordinary performance is the ultimate combination for battlefield success.
Ports, connectors, and slots: 6 USB 3.0, 4 DIMM memory slots, 3-in-1 memory card reader, 1 headphone/microphone combo
Wireless technology: WLAN RT 8822BE ac 2x2 +BT 4.2 W
2. HP OMEN 880 desktop PC
What do you get when you match the power of an Intel Core i7 microprocessor with Intel Turbo Boost Technology? An incredibly mighty machine prepared to escort you to the top of the leaderboards. Designed to run the processor core faster than the marked frequency, Turbo Boost works in unison with the integrated liquid cooling system to ensure faultless play.
Leave distractions in the past and focus your energy on going to the next level. Whether you’re an RPG loyal or an FPS strategist, your keen attention to tiny details is what separates you from your competitors. There’ll be no noisy overworked fans or low storage alerts to cloud your judgment and throw off your game.
A noiseless 120 mm front fan supports the liquid cooling system within the HP OMEN 880-125se, further ensuring your key hardware components are never too hot to handle. Looking for that coveted SSD speed and feel, but don’t want to give up your traditional hard drive? Intel Optane™ memory gives you the best of both worlds. Nix the annoying low-storage alerts, and get back to your game.
Ports, connectors, and slots: 6 USB 3.0, 2 USB 3.0 Type-C™, 2 USB 2.0, 1 DVI, 1 HDMI, 3 DisplayPort™, HP 3-in-1 Media Card Reader, 1 headphone/microphone combo, 4 DIMM memory slots
Wireless technology: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2x2) and Bluetooth 4.2 M.2 combo
3. HP Pavilion 790 gaming desktop
Fluid gameplay, dedicated graphics, and unlocked overclocking power are the defining features that elevate the HP Pavilion 790-0050xt gaming desktop above your run of the mill computer. Why settle for less when you could saddle your rig up with a workhorse machine designed for your computing needs.
With specs that impress like the integrated 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8400 processor and a top-quality NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 2G graphics card, there’s no shortage of wonderment each and every time you power this PC on.
This sleek, slim, and sophisticated desktop setup features a gorgeous slate gray chassis and HP Pavilion’s signature green accents. And with all the memory and USB slots you could possibly need, you’re sure to get the biggest bang for your buck.
When you’ve suited your gaming rig up for high-processing success, you expect boot times, storage acceleration, and response times to be on par. The HP Pavilion 790-0050xt delivers.
Paired with HP OMEN’s many accessories, upgrade your entire gaming rig by adding the HP OMEN Sequencer keyboard, the HP OMEN Reactor mouse, and the HP OMEN Mindframe headset. If full immersion is what you’re looking for, HP® is your one-stop-shop for all your gaming necessities.
Processor: 8th Generation Intel Core i5- 8400
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 2G
Storage: 1TB HDD storage
RAM: 8GB memory
Ports, connectors, and slots: 4 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, HP 3-in-1 Media Card Reader, 1 headphone/microphone combo, 4 DIMM memory slots
Wireless technology: Integrated Bluetooth 4.2 and Wireless LAN 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac featuring Dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) 1x1 technology
4. HP OMEN Obelisk 875 desktop PC
Any gamer on the hunt for the tools to heighten their game can end their search here. The HP OMEN Obelisk 875 features a sleek black chassis accented with RGB lighting, encasing a powerhouse for gaming. Strategize your way to countless victories with the built-in 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8400. Blazing speed matched with quiet optional liquid cooling keeps performance high and distractions low.
The more Intel power the merrier. Upgrade to 16GB NVMe Intel Optane memory to harness hyper-fast memory modules. Load your favorite RPGs and MMOs up faster than ever before. Paired with a 1TB 7200 rpm SATA drive, you’ll waste less time on load screens and have more time to spend tackling the next big virtual adventure.
Customizable from head to toe, you can create the HP OMEN desktop of your dreams with HP®’s very own online custom-build-and-buy process. Pick your perfect graphics card, power supply, operating system, processor and more. You do the choosing and we’ll do all of the professional building to ensure your perfect PC ends up on your doorstep.
Ports, connectors, and slots: 4 USB 3.1, 2 USB 2.0, HP 3-in-1 Media Card Reader, 1 headphone/microphone combo, 2 DIMM memory slots
Wireless technology: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2x2) WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 M.2 combo
5. HP Pavilion 690 gaming desktop
Measuring 13.3-inches tall, this PC is the perfect contender for integrating liquid cooling for supreme overclocking power. With a shadow black front bezel and a brushed hairline pattern, the HP Pavilion gaming desktop 690-0015xt’s futuristic liquid cooling system beautifully ties this tower together.
Open world gamers who revel in sprawling and mesmeric graphics will find everything they need to bring their games to life within the smooth chassis of the HP Pavilion 690-0015xt. Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 and discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 work overtime to deliver dazzling game scape graphics.
See and experience characters and worlds as the developers intended them for them to be seen. With sharp clarity and lifelike coloring, you’ll find yourself transported to a new world within a matter of seconds of game time.
Whatever you need to connect to your PC, the HP Pavilion 690-0015xt supports a number of integrated ports that make external connections completely seamless. From hooking up to a TV screen to unleashing the power of a USB drive, this gaming computer is much more than a vehicle for your favorite FPS and MMORPGs.
Ports, connectors, and slots: 1 USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 USB 3.1, 4 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.1, 3-in-1 memory card reader, 1 headphone/microphone combo, 1 DVI, 1 HDMI, 3 DisplayPort
Wireless technology: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (1x1) and Bluetooth 4.2 M.2 combo
Liquid cooling is the future of gaming. No matter how complex computers become, they will always generate heat so long as they depend on electricity for proper functionality.
Stay on top of the leaderboards with a computer that can stand the test of time. Whether you plan on installing liquid cooling or are prepared to invest in a PC with built-in liquid cooling, count on HP® for all of your future gaming computer needs.
Have questions or need help during your DIY process? Visit our HP community forum to chat with users and receive the best tips and tricks.
About the Author: Tulie Finley-Moise is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Tulie is a digital content creation specialist based in San Diego, California with a passion for the latest tech and digital media news.
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