As with air coolers, there’s a wide selection of available options, but most fall into two categories: All-in-One (AIO) coolers, or custom cooling loops. We’ll mostly be focusing on All-in-One (AIO) coolers here, though the fundamental principles of how the liquid cools the CPU are the same in both.
Similar to air cooling, the process starts with a base plate that is connected to the IHS of the CPU with a layer of thermal paste. This allows for better heat transfer between the two surfaces. The metal surface of the baseplate is part of the water block, which is designed to be filled with coolant.
The coolant absorbs heat from the baseplate as it moves through the water block. It then continues to move through the system and upward through one of two tubes to a radiator. The radiator exposes the liquid to air, which helps it cool, and fans attached to the radiator then move the heat away from the cooler. The coolant then re-enters the water block, and the cycle begins again.