Question Tempted to go with an AIO but I'm on the fence... what are the risks?


Apr 20, 2020
I've been an air cooling purist for as long as I've been building PCs. Never built my own system with water cooling although I've worked on friend's systems that have AIOs. I'm familiar with a lot of the pitfalls of AIOs - tiny chance of a leak (and resulting catastrophic system failure), limited lifespan, not always better than high end air coolers, etc.

Thing is, I don't want to change my case (Phanteks P300A) but summer is coming and while my NH-D15S is able to tame my 5800X3D adequately, mounting a 240mm AIO on the case intake would not only look cool, but it would mean my CPU temperature wouldn't be affected by how hot my 4070 gets so the system would be more resilient in summer. I also wouldn't have a 1.5kg brick of metal hanging off my motherboard, so I could brace the 4070 and the system would be practical for LAN parties again.

I'm still on the fence about this. I don't care so much about the limited lifespan and I can always keep my air cooler in reserve if it does wear out at the wrong moment. My main concern is leaks, because that has the potential to cause all manner of problems, and I tend to be pretty anxious about my PC so I can see that bothering me.

I'm looking at the EK-AIO 240mm, the one with the RGB pump block and fans, and it doesn't need software to manage the pump which is very appealing to me. I'd have to get it imported though.


First this:

" mounting a 240mm AIO on the case intake would not only look cool,"

Maybe so but appearance is not a real requirement. Do not get drawn into "eye candy".

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The requirement is to keep build temperatures low and ensure stable performance.

Update your post to include full system hardware specs and OS information.

Include PSU: make, model, wattage, age, condition (original to build, new, refurbished, used)?

Include disk drives(s): make, model, capacity, how full?

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What temperatures and temperature ranges are being reported by the build?

You need some sort of baseline reference to determine if any future actions lower temperatures. Worst case being that some action or actions are counter productive and temperatures increase....

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Take a couple of photographs of the case and current internal configuration.

Post the photographs here via imgur (

There may be options that do not require the stated risks of an AIO.

Maybe just one more simple fan strategically located. Or opening more airspace around the case perhaps.

Likely there are other options and suggestions that you can consider.
Pretty much if you are not running something like a 13900k with the power limits removed a quality air cooler will be fine. Most of the current generation of air coolers have no issues keeping up with the cpu heat. Even with a 13900k it only really produces those high heat loads in software loads that are maxing out all cores.

In general you will not see a AIO provide more cooling capacity until you go to a 360 or above. If you had a crap case that was not vented in might make a difference but yours is rated fine.

It seems you have sold yourself on a AIO just because of the aesthetics. Its your money to spend. They make lots of fancy colored case fans that would be cheaper.

The problem is not that the water leaks out of the AIO it is that it evaporates through the tubing. A air cooler the worst is you have to replace a fan.
You have properly assessed the issues involving an aio.
The chances of a aio leaking are somewhat remote.
But, leaks do happen and the results can be disastrous.
I would not worry too much about that.
Consider that if you will be transporting your case, you will be increasing your chances of loosening one of the aio parts and causing a leak.

What is the make/model of your motherboard?
Motherboards these days have become thicker and will probably support your cooler ok.
The NH-D15s mounting is very secure, it will not get damaged.

As to cooling your 4070, realize that it will no longer be cooled by fresh front intake air, but warmed air from the radiator.
Is the 4070 secured against movement?
There are brackets to do so.


What are the risks of AIOs?
1)Having the pump fail, or the loop clog on you at an inconvenient time.
Majority of AIOs are not user-serviceable, so when there are signs that something is wrong, there's usually nothing you can do about it other than to replace the cooler.
That's why I'd prefer if users have a backup on hand, so they don't lose as much time. But, if one lives nearby a Micro Center or something, I guess that works.

2)They're leak resistant, not leak proof.
Not a problem, unless you manhandle 'em, and start swinging it around like a lasso or some crap...