Best AIO water cooler in 2023 – for Intel CPUs and AM5 sockets
If you are looking for the best AIO water cooler money can buy, then you’re in the right place. Our experts have brought together our top picks to keep your CPU cool.
Cooling your processor is incredibly important and that’s where getting the best AIO water cooler comes in.
Fortunately, the prices of pump and radiator combos are far more accessible now than they once were. That’s thanks to the addition of smaller models, such as 120mm, but also more companies going all out on 240mm and 360mm for more intense cooling.
What’s also changed with some of the best AIO water coolers is that they are easier to install than ever. Nowadays all you need to do is fit the fans to the radiator, screw the pump head on top of your CPU of choice and screw the radiator somewhere into your case. What’s more, many options come with bracket support for LGA 1700 and AM5, too. We’re rounding up our top options from all spectrums of the wider water-cooled world.
Products at a Glance
How we picked the best AIO water coolers
We’ve made our choices for the best AIO water coolers by considering the price-to-performance ratio. In short, we think that some ideal models should be affordable for the vast majority of people. That’s not all, though, as smaller 120mm radiators for SFF builds need to be proficient enough to make up for the reduced chassis space. We’re also considering the socket support, as many people are likely interested in a Zen 4 or Raptor Lake this year.
That’s why we’ve gone for the best option for most people, a premium offering and specific-sized models so that everyone is catered to. We’ve tried our best to consider most budgets and preferences here from more established name brands and the up-and-comers, too.
Best AIO water cooler in 2023 – for Intel CPUs and AM5 sockets
- Many different configurations
- Easy to install
- Excellent cooling performance
- Compatibility can vary based on radiator size
The NZXT Kraken X73 RGB takes our top spot for the best AIO water cooler. This is because it’s incredibly powerful and features outstanding RGB for a truly personalizable approach to your build. The 360mm radiator has enough under the hood to keep the most intensive workloads when rendering video or gaming, so you’re fully covered here.
We’ve had an X73 in one of our test machines for some time and have used it to great success over the last handful of years. Nowadays, there’s bracket support for both AM4 and AM5 as well LGA 1700. If you’re after the definitive cooling experience then there’s little more you could ask for given $185 MSRP. It’s frequently on sale, too, so you may be able to get it significantly cheaper if you shop around.
In our minds? The NZXT Kraken Z73 is the best AIO water cooler available right now.
- Reasonably priced
- Easy installation
- Excellent performance at low noise
- Lighting doesn't shut off
- Proprietary ARGB connector
Combining beauty with the beast, Cooler Master’s ML360 Illusion is a sight to behold. It’s marked as one of the best AM5 CPU socket AIO watercoolers, due largely to the fact that it leverages 12 addressable gen 2 RGB LEDs into a translucent pump for an all-around fantastic build. The ML360 has an additional layer of color thanks to the MF120 Halo fans, which can be adjusted to a user’s own tastes.
The Illusion also comes equipped with a third-generation dual chamber pump, which allows the device enhanced cooling performance while not sacrificing sound. In fact, the ML360 is one of the quietest AIOs on the list, and it’s perfect not only for AM5 motherboards but also for Intel CPUs, making it rather well-rounded.
At only $151, it’s also pretty affordable compared to other options, but you will have to suffer with the lights being on even when the PC is off, which may not be for everyone.
- OLED display pump
- Powerful fans
- Available in a wide variety of sizes and styles
- Motherboard needs a 3-pin RGB header to function properly
If you’ve got your sets sight on a slightly smaller AIO water cooler then we think the Asus ROG Strix LC II is a top choice as far as 240mm models go. That’s due to the Intel LGA 1700 support straight out of the box so it’s ready for Raptor Lake. Native compatibility works for AM4, and a bracket for AM5 wouldn’t cost more than a few dollars, so Ryzen users are accommodated there.
Outside of this, you’ve got ARGB fans for the brightest, and most easily controllable yet. The pump itself features an RGB display and is the seventh generation, meaning it’s the most powerful that the company has made yet. Asus claims that this new model is 7% greater than your average AIO cooler, with a static pressure of 5.00 mmH20 as opposed to 4.65 mmH20 of older models. There’s a six-year warranty here so it’s ensured to last a long time for the latest CPUs.
- Support for AM5 and LGA 1700 out of the box
- LCD Display pump
- Dynamic RGB lighting
- Comparatively pricey
The Corsair iCue H150i is something of the ultimate choice if you’re after a 360mm full-fat AIO model. This is because you’re getting a fully customizable LCD display on the pump which you can set from everything from advanced on-the-fly diagnostics information to animated GIFs. Onto the more pressing and functional matters, though, there’s full support included in the box for both LGA 1700 and AM5 sockets, meaning this AIO can be used straight away with the latest processors from Intel and AMD.
Much has been said about the ‘Magnetic Levitation’ fans, which are fully controllable from 450 – 2000 RPM depending on use. Corsair has made some of the best PC case fans in the business, so you’re going to experience near-silent operation while at full power. We’ve had our hands on this cooler before with test builds in the past and can tell you that it really is a cut most AIOs of this size, but does carry a premium price of $289.99 you need to consider. All told, if you’re after the max customization and cooling capability at a higher cost, this premium offering has you covered.
- Compatible with LGA 1700 out of the box
- Easy installation
- Efficient power consumption
- Lacks RGB
While it may not be quite as exciting as some other AIOs in our roundup, the Arctic Liquid Freezer II is a bulletproof 120mm pump and radiator combo for anyone after a no-frills experience then this budget model could be what you’re looking for. This is especially true if you’ve got an LGA 1700 processor, such as 12th or 13th Gen Intel, as it’s ready to go straight out of the box. The company claims that this variant is 80% more efficient than the first edition, so you’re going to notice the difference in power draw immediately; ideal if you’re rocking a smaller PSU.
The small size of the Arctic Liquid Freezer II means that it is especially good for smaller-size machines. What’s more, because it’s quite basic visually, having it hidden away behind a panel isn’t quite the slight of opting for something with more flair. The price is more attractive, though, as this cooler carries an MSRP of $80, although it frequently retails closer to $70. If you’re after something simple to get the job done, we’re comfortable recommending this.
Features and considerations when buying the best AIO water cooler
If you’re in the market for an AIO liquid cooler, you’ll have to consider a few things. Arguably most important of all is going to be the size of the radiator and the power of the pump.
Sure, while you can opt for pricier options that are adorned in RGB, you can save a fair few dollars by going for the non-RGB variants, too. If you’re building inside of a more snug PC case then you’ll want to limit yourself to either 120mm or 240mm depending on how much overhead you have. Be sure to always check your case compatibility before pulling the trigger just to be on the safe side.
Going all out is another story. Generally speaking, there’s 280mm or 360mm, with the latter being more widely supported by the majority of manufacturers. This is the largest size of AIO that is commercially available and delivers the highest amount of cooling possible. If your build features a demanding processor which can get toasty, such as the Intel Core i9-13900K or the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X.
What’s better CPU cooling – Air or Water?
While air coolers are certainly effective for smaller builds, AIO water coolers provide more consistent cooling coverage, and take up less space on your motherboard, as some air-based options can be chunkier by comparison.
How do AIO water coolers work?
AIO water coolers work by having a pump mounted to your CPU. Inside the tube, which connects the pump to a specifically sized radiator, is specially mixed distilled water that keeps the surface of the pump as chilled as possible.
Hot air is extracted through the radiator, which can be mounted anywhere on the case, usually at the top or side. This means that the air is expelled away from your system’s components. In direct contrast to what happens with air cooling, where heat is dissipated away from the CPU and inside the case.
Do I need a CPU cooler?
You absolutely need a CPU cooler because, without one, your processor wouldn’t be able to run for very long at all even at ambient room temperature. The latest chipsets can run incredibly hot, so keeping the thermals load down is absolutely essential.
The NZXT Kraken X73 RGB takes our top slot by being one of the most powerful, stylish, versatile, and competitively-priced AIO water coolers on the market right now.
Factoring in the different sizes available, and the bracket support for the latest CPUs by Intel and AMD, there’s not much more you can ask for out of a top-end CPU cooler like this.
However, while the Kraken X73 is what we think is the best AIO water cooler, should you desire RGB or you want the very best option for Intel, you may consider those options too.