Despite what many think, more fans doesn’t necessarily mean more noise. The theory here is simple: As you inevitably always have the same maximum temperature to alleviate, you always need to hit that as a bare minimum. One fan cooling a processor, for example, would need to be spun at a far higher RPM (generating much more noise) to provide similarly efficient cooling as two fans of the same size over the same surface area. Because of this, and due to the way that decibels scale logarithmically, two 24dB fans (where 25dB is a doubling in noise), operating in tandem, are far quieter than a single 32dB fan. In a similar fashion as cooling efficiency, stock coolers are generally not the best fit for this. Although they can be quiet, due to the type of chip they’re likely cooling, the smaller sized fan and lack of surface area mean higher RPMs. We could hand this to AIOs, due to their increased surface area over air towers, but there’s one hiccough: the poor quality of the stock fans included. Most air towers are designed with lower RPM, quieter fans in mind, because the cost comes from those rather than the pump and radiator.
WINNER Air tower
“Although liquid coolers are by far the most efficient at transferring heat quickly, and a fantastic option for those looking for a stylish and compatible cooling solution for the hearts of their machines, there is some inherent risk.”