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240mm vs 280mm AIO: What is the Best AIO Size?

When you’re considering purchasing an all-in-one (AIO) liquid CPU cooler, you have to first pick between a 240mm or 280mm radiator size. However, there are other sizes available as well, which include 360mm and 420mm they are not that common. In this article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages between 240mm and 280mm, so that you can figure out which one you should get.

Both sizes have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to weigh them against each other before making your decision. Before getting started, it is also important for you to know what AIO cooling is and how it works. Thus, if you are interested in finding out more about AIO cooling and the specifics of the two sizes, continue reading. 

AIO Cooling: What Is It and How Does It Work?

AIO stands for all-in-one, and it means that everything you need to cool your PC (a pump, a radiator, and fans) has been put together in one unit. The most common type of AIO setup comes with two 120mm fans on either side of the radiator. What makes AIO cooling systems stand out is that they use both the air and water-cooling techniques combined to cool the system. 

The process is pretty simple, the heat collection process starts from the CPU, which then transfers to the liquid present in the pump. The liquid with the heat move towards the radiator, which using the fins moves the heat away from the CPU. Then using the fans, the heat is thrown out of the system, creating a pretty efficient cooling system. 

Different manufacturers offer variations on the standard AIO cooling design; some use 140mm fans instead of 120mm, and some use thicker radiators with more copper tubing to boost cooling performance. A 240mm radiator can typically handle a CPU up to 180 watts and GPU up to 250 watts before being pushed past its limits. A 280mm radiator can typically handle a CPU up to 220 watts and GPU up to 350 watts before being pushed past its limits. 

AIO cooling is a pretty appreciable technique that many people prefer, but it also has its advantages and disadvantages. Where it reduces the need to install the liquid CPU, the leakage issue is still a concern with AIO. Nevertheless, it is a pretty efficient method that many manufacturers are using in their devices. 

Key Differences: 240mm Vs 280mm AIO

Radiators and fans are the main differences between the two types of AIOs. 240mm radiators, they can typically handle up to 300 watts, while 280mm radiators can handle up to 350 watts. If you have a CPU that needs to be overclocked, then it would be best for you to get the larger radiator since it has more surface area to dissipate heat. 

However, if you’re looking for an AIO with better performance at lower noise levels, then the 240mm option may be better for you. Additionally, your case size will also play a factor in deciding which size of AIO you should purchase. 

For example, if your computer case is on the smaller side, then you’ll likely want to opt for the smaller 240mm radiator, So there’s enough room to fit everything inside comfortably. But if you have a lot of space in your case and want the increased performance that comes with a 280mm AIO, then it might be worth getting one of those instead.

Between both the AIO systems along with the radiator size, the fan size also differs. The 240mm AIO features two 120mm fans, whereas the 280mm AIO features two 140 mm fans. The speed of both systems also varies, which affects the noise and cooling efficiency. The 140mm fans tend to rotate faster and are more efficient at throwing out the heat of the system. But at the same time, they can make quite a noticeable noise.   

240mm and 280 mm: Pros and Cons of each size

There are two popular sizes of all-in-one (AIO) liquid coolers. The 240mm size and the larger 280mm size. Both are excellent choices, but there are some reasons to prefer one over the other. The 240mm AIOs have slightly better performance than their larger counterparts. There are several reasons to support this statement, including the noise as well as the power consumption. 

Also, the fans on a 240mm AIO will often spin at lower speeds than fans on a 280mm AIO because they don’t need as much airflow to cool your PC components. You’ll find that both models typically come with two fans of different sizes but there is still a difference in cooling and reliability.

The 280mm AIO system has a higher power consumption compared to the 240mm model. At the same time, the minimum RPM that both models offer is 500 RPM. But the maximum RPM for the 240mm model is 2200RPM, whereas the 280mm model offers 2000 RPM. Thus, at times 240mm model can provide a pretty impressive cooling performance. 

On the other hand, the 280 mm model also creates higher noise relative to the 240mm model. According to our analysis, the noise level of 240 mm AIO is between 18dB to 34 dB. But the noise level of the 280mm model is between 18dB to 39dB, which is due to the difference in the size of both the fans.

Thus, there is no universal answer to which one is better than the other one. It depends on your use and needs, as both models have their pros and cons.

Read: Zotav Vs Evga 

240mm Vs 280 mm: Best fit for your desk

When it comes to AIOs, there are many different sizes, but the most common ones are the two sizes from which most people choose 240mm and 280mm. The 240 mm size is slightly smaller than its larger counterpart, which means that it takes up less space on your desk. This also means that you’re able to fit more of them in a row if you want to use multiple units together. 

However, if you have limited space on your desk or find yourself moving around a lot then having something bigger might be better for you. In terms of cost per unit, the 280mm AIO usually costs about 10% more than the 240mm option. 

So when considering an AIO cooler, think about what you need most out of it. If having a slim profile is what you care about most, then going with a 240mm AIO may be best for you. If not, go with whichever one will suit your needs best. Other factors also matter, like the power consumption and the type of cooling performance you require. 

But the core element is the case size; thus, that is what determines which size will be able to fit perfectly for your system. Moreover, if you can manage to create a decent amount of space on your CPU case, you can also opt for a larger model like 360mm or 420mm. 

240mm Vs 280 mm: Best fit for your budget

A 240mm AIO is an excellent option if you are looking for something that won’t take up too much room. You can find 240mm radiators in cases with 120-140w power supplies, and you can use them in coolers with similar wattages. The cost of these radiators will vary based on how powerful they are and what kind of features they come with. 

For example, more expensive models will come with pre-installed fans or RGB lighting. On the other hand, if you need more cooling power, then a 280mm radiator may be worth it, as these usually come with 140-160w power supplies and can fit into cooler cases that support this size. 

They tend to be a bit more expensive than their smaller counterparts. There’s no wrong answer when deciding between 240mm Vs 280mm AIOs. It all depends on your needs and budget. Just know that there is no one pricing for either one of the devices, as you can find multiple manufacturers creating multiple features in their cooling systems. Thus, design, RGB lighting, and other factors also add to the overall cost of the system. 

Which AIO size would be ideal for you?

Temperature differences at the higher wattage are a clear indication that the larger radiator or fans will only be more helpful when there is a larger, more powerful CPU. Thus, the 280mm variant is more suitable for overclocked CPUs like the Intel i9 and Ryzen 9 series. 

When you don’t run a very intensive workload, and you’re not running an overclocked i9/i7/Ryzen 7/Ryzen 9 CPU, the performance gap between 240mm and 280mm AIOs is, so negligible that you don’t need the 280mm AIO. In a nutshell, here is the recommended AIO size for different wattages: 

  • For up to 150 watts, 240mm is perfect. 
  • For up to 200 watts, either one can work, but I would still recommend going with a 240mm. 
  • For up to 300 watts, go with 280mm.
  • For anything over 300 watts, go with 400mm. 
  • If you have money to spend, and your computer runs games on ultra settings all day long, then it’s worth considering a 480mm AIO.

Another consideration is whether or not your case has enough space available. If not, then you’ll have to consider which components of your system should be sacrificed (e.g., if you want high airflow in your PC without any sacrifices)

Is it possible to fit a 240mm liquid cooler into a 280mm liquid cooler?

It’s possible to fit a 240mm liquid cooler into a 280mm case, but it will leave you with some unused space. If you want to use your case as efficiently as possible, this may not be the best option. It would be better to choose between two different sizes of coolers and stay within one size category. 

Keep in mind that if you get a 240mm radiator, your potential for overclocking will be limited because of its smaller surface area. You may have more options available on the market since there are fewer options out there. However, prices can vary depending on what other features you are looking for (such as RGB lighting).

Read: How do I fix the Power down and connect PCIe error?

Is a 280mm AIO better than a 240mm?

It’s hard to say if one size of AIO is better than another because many factors go into it. It’s worth considering what kind of PC you have and how much room you have in your case and How many watts can a 240mm radiator handle and vice versa? 240mm radiators usually take up less space and can be easier to install. But they may not be able to handle as many watts as larger radiators. 

For example, the Cooler Master TPC 612 (280mm) has a rated cooling capacity of 275W while the Cooler Master TPC 622 (240mm) only has a rated cooling capacity of 220W. Thus, there are a lot of factors that play into the decision of which one is the better option for you. 

How tall is a 240mm radiator compared to a 280mm radiator?

Just like there is no universal answer to how much each of them costs due to the factors like lighting, there is also no universal answer to how tall each one can be. The size depends from brand to brand but typically, the 240mm radiator always tends to be taller than the 280mm radiator. 

Should I replace my 240mm AIO with a 280mm AIO?

No! there is no need to replace your 240mm AIO with 280mm AIO until and unless your need to use your system for heavy gaming and for a heavy workload. The 240MM system can provide a pretty efficient cooling performance; thus, investing extra money is not worth it until you are sure you need it. Thus, only upgrade to a bigger model if you know that you need to improve the cooling performance of your system. 

Best Brands For AIO Coolers

There are multiple brands in the market that manufacture the AIO cooling system. But according to us, some of the more reliable brands include: 

  1. NZXT
  2. Corsair
  3. Cooler master
  4. Arctic

Conclusion

Choosing the right size for your needs will depend on your budget, how much space you have in your computer case, and what you want to do with your PC. If you are on a tighter budget, then getting a 240mm AIO will be better since it’s cheaper. 

If you have more space in your PC case or need more performance from your PC, then go with a 280mm AIO. For example, 240mm can’t handle as many watts as 280mm, so if that’s what you need then get the larger one. It also depends on what you’re looking to do with your PC, plus the amount of money you have to invest.

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