When researching how to build a new PC, you will encounter two primary methods of cooling your CPU. The main difference between liquid and air cooling in a computer CPU is how heat is dissipated from the CPU.

Air cooling uses a heatsink and fan to draw heat away from the CPU and release it into the surrounding air. The heatsink is a metal component with fins that provide a greater surface area for heat dissipation. Meanwhile, the fan moves air over the fins to carry away the heat.

On the other hand, liquid cooling uses a closed-loop system to circulate a liquid coolant, typically water, through tubes and a radiator. The coolant absorbs heat from the CPU and transfers it to the radiator, which dissipates the heat into the surrounding air. Liquid coolant is generally more effective at absorbing heat than air, resulting in better cooling performance and lower CPU temperatures.

Overall, liquid cooling provides superior cooling performance and lower CPU temperatures than air cooling. However, it is usually more expensive and complicated to install due to the additional components needed, such as a pump, reservoir, and tubing. Air cooling is simpler and more affordable, but may not be sufficient for high-end CPUs or extreme overclocking.