4 Best Water Cooling Kits for Gaming PC 2023
Whether you’re a die-hard gamer running the newest games or maybe another crypto miner trying to squeeze every last big of GPU from your PC, you know one of the biggest obstacles in your way is the heat and how it affects your hardware.
The last thing you want to do is spend thousands of your hard-earned dollars on a beautiful new PC just to let the heat incinerate those dreams of 70 frames per second and send you back to using your mom’s HP running Windows Vista. Ugh.
Luckily there are more than a few options available. Option number one tends to be better fans, right? Pretty straightforward route for most, I believe. But what about something with a bit of flair?
That’s where these custom water cooling kits come in. Not only do they help keep your pride and joy cool in this unbearable heat wave the entire country is covered in, but the majority of them look absolutely gorgeous on just about any setup you might have running.
We’re going to go over our top 4 favorites and lay out the pros and cons, real simple and plain. That way, you can save yourself some time and money for that next upgrade down the road.
Thermaltake Pacific CL360 Max D5
Coming in at number one on our list is by far one of my favorites of all time and definitely one that I recommend to anyone who can afford it. The Thermaltake Pacific CL360 Max D5 is a powerhouse in just about every conceivable category as far as performance is concerned.
Every piece does exactly as described, and you can tell right out of the box that they put some serious work into it. Not only does it do what you paid for, but it looks stunning while doing so.
A beautiful and consistent flow of nearly silent tubes of water will surely impress just about anyone who happens to see your setup. I can still remember walking into my uncle’s a few years back and seeing my first water cooling rig.
Not only did it push me to buy and build my own, but it also made me appreciate the beauty of it all. It’s one thing to have a powerful computer, But to have one with looks AND brains? Sheesh.
It arrives at your doorstep equipped with a TT RGB PLUS Software app preinstalled for light and fan management and the ability to sync with Alexa and Razer Chroma. It also includes a W5 Plus CPU Water Block capable of fitting any modern CPU sockets.
Built-in water temperature sensor lets you measure the coolant temperature with a real-time display for the output data. Its 300ml reservoir has an integrated D5 pump and an RGB LED ring built into the cap itself. Its radiator is definitely a tougher one thanks to its 64mm thick 14 Fins-per-inch design, which also offers the best cooling capacity you can get with a 16.
And to round it all off, it’s got its own RGB strip capable of 8M different color combos. Feature-packed, to say the least.
My only con for this piece is the price tag. While I understand why it costs so much, I also know how it feels to have a budget, and this might just be a little too costly for most. That being said; If you’ve got the coin to spare, give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.
Anyone looking for an alternative with a bit smaller price tag may want to check out the Thermaltake Pacific M240 D5 Res/Pump PETG Hard Tube Water Cooling Kit CL. Performance-wise, you won’t be losing much at all converting to the more budget-friendly Thermaltake Pacific M240 vs. its sister model. You will, on the other hand, be saving roughly $300, so I’ll leave that choice in the hands of you, our tech-savvy yet curious readers.
Cooling kit includes:
- A W4 Plus CPU RGB Water Block
- PR22 D5 Plus 300 mL Reservoir-Pump Combo
- RL360 Plus 360mm Radiator
- 4 PETG Hard Tubes
- Riing Plus 12 LED RGB Fans, AI Voice Controller
- C Pro G ¼ Compression Fittings, G ¼ 90 Degree Adapter
- Mounting Brackets
- C 1000 Pure Clear Coolant (Water cooling Liquid), Thermal Paste
- Every single piece is of premium quality
- Beautiful 16.8 million color RGB lighting
- Beginner-friendly setup
- Incredible performance
- Works with Alexa and Razer Chroma
- Mainly compatible with Intel LGA 2066/2011/1366/1156/1155/1151/1150/775, AMD AM4/FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2 (CPU Socket).
Corsair Hydro X Series XH305i Hardline Water Cooling Kit
For years, Corsair has advertised its products as some of the simplest yet efficient cooling kits on the market. Powerful and advanced enough to keep cool any of the PCs out nowadays, but at the same time, a beginner-friendly build that doesn’t require a college education just to install. In my experience, that statement has remained steadfast, making Corsair someone worth respect in my book.
That being said, I don’t recommend doing a 10-minute speed build like some of the personalities you see on Youtube running this particular build. Instead, you should take your time and really take in and appreciate the detail and workmanship put into the pieces of the Corsair Hydro X Series. I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed.
Its features are definitely worth some appreciation, and by “features,” I definitely mean more than one because it’s packed full of them. For example, it’s got dynamically addressable RGB lighting integrated into the XC7 RGB CPU water block, XD5 RGB in the pump/reservoir, and QL120 RGB cooling fans to make your setup stand out.
Not only is it pretty, but the XC7 RGB CPU Water Block is durable thanks to its nickel-plated copper construction capable of pairing with Intel LGA 1200 and AMD AM4 sockets. One thing that really stood out to me was the XT Hardline Tubing.
For those of you not familiar with it, you’re able to cut and bend it just about any way you would possibly need, and thanks to Corsair packing a saw and bending mandrel with it, you’re able to play around and customize it in tons of different ways.
- Simple and user-friendly installation
- Outstanding performance
- Great customer support
- Tons of mounting options
- Multiple RGB profiles
- Kit doesn’t come with enough fittings and elbows or more advanced builds
- Some consumers have had trouble with parts arriving dead or broken
- Doesn’t include a drain valve
Like the #1 cooling kit on our list, the Corsair Hydro X Series has a bit of a price tag. But don’t worry. Just like before, we’ve taken the liberty of finding our illustrious readers a more budget-friendly alternative if you need it. Drumroll, please.
Meet the Corsair Hydro X Series XH303i Hardline Cooling kit. It’s got the looks, and it’s got the power. All of which is wrapped up in a decently priced package.
The setup is easy and all-in-all pretty intuitive and user-friendly. It comes with an EX7 RGB Water Block, XT Hardline Tubing, and XC7 RGB integrated directly into the CPU water block XD5 RGB attached to the pump/reservoir. QL120 RGB cooling fans definitely don’t hurt an already pleasing aesthetic, making the entire package a pretty well-rounded and affordable piece.
One of the not-so-well-known water cooling kits on our list, the EKWB EK-Quantum Power P360 Water Cooling Kit, is still a top contender despite some of its more noticeable issues. When it arrives on your doorstep, straight away, you’ll notice just how expertly crafted it is, and thanks to that, the near-endless combinations of loops and custom setups you can do with it.
Thermaltake Pacific C360 Ddc Soft Tube
By now, I’m probably starting to sound a bit biased when it comes to the Thermaltake equipment, but this piece will prove, just like the other, that this company knows what they’re doing. The Pacific 360 Ddc Soft Tube is another achievement made of high-quality material and built to last.
First off, the lighting. An analog/digital lighting combo allows a selection of 7 different lighting effects with the included RGB controller. They also connect to select 5V RGB capable motherboards allowing the user to utilize different digital lighting schemes. It’s definitely going to turn heads, no doubt about that.
The slim copper radiator is a 360 engineered with 12 flat copper tubes and 17 fins per inch, working alongside a 27mm thick design for better durability and compatibility. The W4, an RGB edition water block with T1000 pure, clear coolant, works pretty well next to its new pr15 DDC pump/reservoir combo.
TubingWith its comparatively lower price tag on Amazon, the Thermaltake Pacific 360 is one of the more budget-friendly builds on our list. Although its quality isn’t quite as good as the CL360, it’s still able to hold its own and earn the number 4 spot on our list. If the other’s are a bit too out of your price range, then definitely give this one a shot. You won’t be disappointed.
Cooling kit includes:
- W4 an RGB Edition Water Block
- Pr15 DDC Pump/Reservoir combo
- T1000 pure Clear Coolant
- Analog/Digital Lighting with 7 effects
- User-friendly installation
- May need to buy extra tubing
- Customer service can be slow
EKWB EK-Quantum Power P360 Water Cooling Kit
It’s packing a 360mm EK Coolstream radiator(120×3), along with aesthetically pleasing digital RGB lighting. You’ll also find EK Cryofuel Clear Coolant and dye packs inside the sleek and stylish black box it came in, which allow you to do some pretty crazy things to the liquid running through your machine.
EK-Vardar EVO 120ER fans capable of 500-2200rpm work pretty nicely to help keep your system cool, and compatibility with Intel LGA-1200, LGA 1150/1151/1155/1156, LGA-2011(-3), LGA-2066, and AMD Socket AM4 definitely don’t hurt.
Although this is a beautifully designed and meticulously implemented high-end water cooling kit, it seems the general consensus is that compared to the other big-name competitors like the Thermaltake and Corsair, the EKWB EK-Quantum P360 just doesn’t quite measure up to the performance or the attention to detail you can see in its competitor’s pieces, it is still an amazing water cooling kit.
Once that price tag goes down a few times, it’ll more than likely have a place on any top 10 list you might find.
Until then, my advice would be to try one of its more budget-friendly alternatives. One that comes to mind and one of my favorites as far as cheaper water cooling kits are concerned would have to be the EK Water Blocks EK-KIT RGB 240 Video Card.
Crafted the team at EK Water Blocks and sold with a price tag slightly better than the Thermaltake. It’s a fantastic piece and worthy of some attention, but keep in mind it has alternatives that aren’t so expensive.
Cooling kit includes:
- EK-Quantum Power Kit D-RGB P360 complete list of items:
- Universal CPU water block: EK-Velocity D-RGB – Nickel + Plexi
- Radiator: EK-CoolStream PE 360 (Triple)
- Radiator size: 400 x 130 x 38mm (L x W x H)
- Radiator fan: EK-Vardar EVO 120ER D-RGB (500-2200rpm) (3pcs)
- Water pump-reservoir combo: EK-Quantum Kinetic TBE 200 D5 PWM D-RGB – Plexi (incl. pump)
- Tubing: EK-DuraClear 9,5/15,9mm (3/8″ – 5/8″) (2 meters)
- Compression fittings: EK-Torque STC-10/16 – Black (6 pcs)
- Angled adapters: EK-Torque Angled 90° – Black (2 pcs)
- Coolant concentrate: EK-CryoFuel Clear Concentrate (100mL; for 1L of coolant)
- Y-cable splitter: EK-Cable Y-Splitter 3-Fan PWM (10cm)
- AMD mounting bracket and AMD AM4 backplate
- D-RGB accessories: EK-D-RGB 6-Way Splitter Cable
- EK-Loop Uni Pump Reservoir Bracket – 120mm
- EK-RES X3 – Holder 60mm
- ATX bridging plug
- EK-Loop Multi Allen Key
- EK-Loop Soft Tube Cutter
- Foldable Filling Bottle
- EK-CryoFuel Dye Pack
- Beautiful digital RGB
- Intel and AMD compatible
- Comes with a lots of components for every situation
- Not the strongest pump compared to the competition
- Can sometimes require a manual control software installation
- Falls behind the Thermaltake in more than a few categories but maintains a price tag a bit higher
At the end of the day, which one you decide to buy is, of course, your decision and something you should put some thought into. All the kits mentioned in this list are the best in the water cooling kit industry.
But to make sure the one you buy not only fits your system but your tastes as well, the biggest tip we or anyone else can give you is to do your research before you buy and save yourself a lot of heartache down the road.
Based on my experience and the experiences of my colleagues in the pc building industry, the general consensus is that you can’t go wrong with any one of these four water cooling kit setups.
But, if I absolutely had to pick just one, then it would have to be the Thermaltake Pacific CL360 Max D5. It’s hard to find too many things with quality like that, and as long as you follow the instructions and remain extra careful during installation, then it’ll keep your setup running cool and your friends jealous, wishing they had a pc like yours.
Also Read: Radiator fans for water cooling