Closed-loop liquid coolers first hit the market a few years ago, instantly becoming "the thing" to have; it was an easy solution for users who wanted to lay claim to liquid cooling, but didn't necessarily have funding / ability for an open loop system.

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As these coolers emerged, it rapidly became evident that simply being a liquid cooler didn't make it inherently better than air. A solid, entry-level air cooler (like the AR01 or Hyper 212) will often out-endure and perform equally to a low-end liquid cooling solution. Just as with other aspects of hardware (a cheap Z87 board vs. an expensive H87 board, for instance), just because it's theoretically more advanced in one aspect, that doesn't mean the performance will outmatch a less technologically advanced product that employs higher-quality engineering. A tuned sleeper can blow past a high-end stock car, if we were to make analogous comparisons.

If you haven't noticed, we just revamped the website to be a slick, mobile-responsive, fast resource for gaming system builders; it's been our goal for a few years now to guide enthusiasts in PC building endeavors, and with our new revamp, we can do that better than ever. More on that in a separate post.

Before the weekend closes out, we decided to compile some of the best computer hardware sales available right now for those of you looking to get in a bit of pre-holiday shopping. This weekend sees the highlight of an $80 120GB SSD, $90 H100i CLC, $60 Corsair enclosure, and a $480 ASUS Ivy Bridge non-gaming notebook.

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I will note that if you're looking to build a new rig, we recently revamped our PC build guides to include a new content filtration system -- so go play around with that! The forums are, of course, always open to support your efforts.

PAX generally introduces a couple of decent hardware sales from key on-site vendors. This year, Kingston posted a PAX discount code for memory, ASUS has a laptop up with a $50 MIR, and there's an AMD A10-6800K + board combo for $205.

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As with any modernized adaptation of an existing technology, closed-loop liquid coolers (CLCs) have become almost fad-like in their adoption. In part, this is because CLCs actually do have very legitimate advantages over traditional air coolers - they are highly noise-to-temperature efficient, for one thing, and have an aesthetic appeal for some users. The other part of this liquid cooling craze, though, I believe is attributable to a general doting of something new.

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The thing is, not every liquid cooler is going to be inherently better than similarly-priced air coolers. Just having liquid in tubes (rather than copper-encased capillaries) does not make the units predisposed to superior cooling qualities; this said, a well-constructed liquid-cooling solution can certainly trounce a well-constructed air cooling solution -- it just comes down to the engineering in each product and consideration of other differences (noise). There's a reason we use radiators for large, hot things (cars, for one) in tandem with traditional air-cooling engineering (also found in car cooling systems in the form of air intakes, copper/aluminum sinks, etc.): Both have their place for optimizing maximized potential for thermal dissipation.

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