Do you need an aftermarket CPU cooler if you're not overclocking?

Do you need an aftermarket CPU cooler if you're not overclocking?

Best answer: If you're not overclocking, the stock CPU cooler will be fine, but if you do want to push your machine a little further, then getting an all-in-one liquid cooler is the place to start.Amazon: NZXT M22 AIO Cooler (opens in new tab) ($87)

Stock cooler designed to work at stock speeds

When building a PC it's very easy to get carried away and want the best of the best of everything. But before spending a penny, you should know exactly what it is you're going to do with the PC when it's built.

In the case of the CPU, if you're going to install it and leave it alone, in other words, do no overclocking to it at all, then the cooler that came in the box with it will be just fine.

After all, it's provided by the company that made the CPU and is the one included in any warranty provided. It might look a bit weak, but that thing in the box will make sure your PC doesn't get too hot — assuming you're not keeping it inside an incredibly hot ambient environment.

Always be well ventilated

That's not to say you can just assemble your PC and expect everything to be fine. Without proper ventilation, the temperature inside your PC will climb, making it harder for any air cooler to do its job. An important part of cooling your PC is airflow. If you can't draw cool air in and exhaust excess heat, your PC isn't going to last very long.

You'll have extra fans inside your PC case to do the technical part of that, but there are things you can do from the outside to keep your PC as frosty as possible.

If you're in a hot country, for example, try and lower the ambient temperature of the room. Don't cover up any of the intakes or exhausts on your PC case and clean it often. Dust building up will affect the efficiency of your fans, so get rid of it whenever you get the chance.

If overclocking, go liquid

As good as air cooling is, if you are thinking of dabbling in a spot of overclocking you can't beat liquid. Be it a full custom water cooling setup or a more modest all-in-one liquid cooler, it's the way to go if you're dreaming of pushing your CPU beyond its stock speeds.

If you're new to the process, a good all-in-one cooler like the NZXT M22 (opens in new tab) is a good place to start as a replacement for your stock air cooler. It's affordable, performs well, and will look great in any custom PC.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.