So, the big question: Is it worth it? The short answer is: It depends. Ultimately, all cooling operates via a form of convection. If you’re using an air tower or stock cooler to chill your GPUs and CPUs, cool vapor becomes heated at the center of the GPU or CPU, rises through the heat pipes to the outer edges of the block, where it’s cooled by a fan, and then sinks down once more to draw heat away from the processor again, in a continuous cycle. Liquid cooling operates in a very similar fashion, just on a far grander scale. The cooling fins or surface area are far greater, due to the use of thicker, larger radiators, and the vapor is replaced with coolant, capable of transferring a far greater amount of heat than its low-key counterpart.
The advantages of that, apart from the greater surface area available to a radiator, is that the heat is then dispersed away from the components involved, rather than right next to them, meaning temperatures drop much faster. Additionally, in contrast to an air tower or GPU stock cooler, you can run radiator fans at a fixed speed. As long as air is passing over the fins, due to the vast quantities of coolant, combined with that larger surface area we mentioned, the radiator does its job effectively and radiates heat away from your components. And because you don’t need to run your fans on such an aggressive profile, it also means you reduce noise levels in the process as well.
In the end, what you’re left with is your very own bespoke system, designed to your spec, with a color of coolant you want, that’s far quieter and cooler than if you were to operate at stock.
Of course, it’s still going to cost you, so whether liquid cooling is worth it to you depends on how much you value lower temperatures and less noise. We can drop analogies, metaphors, and similes all day about how much more enjoyable a liquid-cooled system is, but you have to experience it to understand the difference going from an AIO to a custom loop.
Is it worth it? Hell, yes!