What Size & Shape Radiator Should I Get for My PC?

Getting the best parts for your new PC will help it last the test of time. It’s only natural to put a lot of thought into things like the motherboard or what SSD to get. However, it’s easy to overlook smaller items, like your computer’s radiator. 

If you’re using a water-cooling system for your tower, be sure not to overlook the importance of the radiator. The radiator is where excess heat leaves your computer. In general, the larger the radiator, the better it is at cooling the PC. There’s more to it than that, though. There are several elements that affect how well a given radiator can cool a computer. 


The bigger the radiator, the more surface area it has to cool your computer. Liquid-cooling systems transfer heat from the liquid to the fins in the radiator. So, the bigger the radiator, the more heat the liquid can transfer, and the cooler your PC will stay. 


Shape also plays a big part in your radiator’s effectiveness. While it may be tempting to get a deep but narrow radiator, they are not actually more efficient. A deeper radiator with a smaller opening can’t cool as well as a shallow radiator that’s wider and taller. The deeper the radiator, the longer the air spends inside it. That means that it warms up before it gets to the end of the radiator. The heat in the fins at the end of the radiator is not transferred to the already-warm air. 

Meanwhile, air doesn’t spend very long in shallow radiators. A shallow radiator with the same fin surface area transfers heat more efficiently to the air. Therefore, the PC stays cooler. 


The material your radiator is made of will affect how quickly heat transfers into the air. Some materials or material combinations conduct heat better than others. In some cases, it’s more efficient to go with a smaller radiator that’s made of higher-quality materials than something bigger, but less well-made. 

Cooling Capacity 

The cooling capacity of any given radiator is a combination of all the above elements. The right radiator for you depends on your needs. If you don’t have a lot of space in your tower, you can get a deep radiator with a smaller footprint. Just compensate by getting a radiator made with quality parts. 

On the other hand, if you’re trying to get the absolute most out of your PC, get a large, shallow, high-quality radiator. This will vent as much heat as possible, as quickly as possible. That will keep your computer quieter, faster, and cooler. It’s a win-win-win. 

Building your own PC is an investment of your time and money. It’s natural to want to save money where you can, but you should think about the future for this project. It will be much cheaper, in the long run, to invest in high-quality computer parts from the beginning. Replacing them later with better components just means you’re purchasing items twice. Buy quality computer parts at the beginning, and you won’t regret it.

Shop the best quality PC parts for the best prices with Spartan Liquid Cooling! Or to learn more about Radiators and their roles in the liquid cooling process please follow this link for more information.

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