5 Best Custom Water Cooling Radiators for Your Gaming PC

In this day and age, there is just about no limit to the kind of customization you can achieve with regards to your PC build, the sky is the limit in most cases. As more and more people have started to take the route of PC gaming and building their own dream builds, we have seen a significant increase in gamers of all platforms. When a build is complete, more often than not the final step for most newcomers would be to decide on cooling solutions, some of us go the air cooler route while most of the mid to high range PC build makers opt for all in one or AIO coolers. Having said that, both of those cooling solutions leave something to be desired when it comes to enthusiast-level consumers, where the only solution for them is a custom liquid cooling loop.

The radiator is what is probably the most important and significant piece of your cooling loop. This is where all the action happens and all the actual cooling legwork gets done. It is therefore very important to select the appropriate radiator to get the job done for you. Not only do custom water cooling solutions have the ability to perform better at some of the most demanding setups they are also made in a way that suits the user. Customization and performance are what drives this particular choice as well as the ability to show off an insane finished gaming rig when the job is done. Today, our objective is to look at some of the best options for radiators in a custom water cooling oriented rig. Radiators come in different sizes in terms of lengths and even thickness.

1. Corsair Hydro X Series

Best Overall

Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • Excellent cooling performance
  • Competitive pricing
  • Compatible size
  • Very customizable

Cons

  • None

703 Reviews

Dimensions: Change depending on variant | Weight: Variable | Radiator Size: Ranges from 120mm to 420mm | Fan Size: 120 or 140 mm | Fin Spacing: 13 or 16 FPI | Warranty: 3 years | Thickness: 30mm or 55mm

At number 1 in our list comes the Corsair Hydro X series radiators which were released not too long ago. Corsair is one of the topmost level gaming product makers in the world at this time and it is easy to see why with every single product they make in any department related to gaming. The Corsair Hydro X series got a lot of attention format the gaming community because of how they released two sets of radiator configurations, one set of XG7 radiators and the other one being the XG5 radiators. The good thing about this was how these radiators were able to address every user individually according to their need and demand.

The Hydro X series is released in two variants, namely the XG7 and the XG5. The XG7 variants are all in 55mm thickness while the XG5 models are in the more standard 30mm thick design. The XG5 variant comes in the 3 usual sizes the 120mm, 240mm and the large 360mm long radiator and there are unusually large rads at 420mm as well. While the XG7 variants come in 240mm, 360mm, or 480mm sizes. Basically, complete user freedom to do what they want is the name of the game by Corsair; The X series really enables users to kit out their system with the perfect cooling solution. The radiators have a copper core, which for many is the ideal cooling build material for a radiator and the overall build quality is something Corsair never takes lightly and such was the case here as well.

Speaking of cooling the radiators will be able to handle any kind of load you throw at them due to the nature of variants they come with. If you have the beefiest system known to man you could opt for the largest rads and hook up 3x 120mm or 3x 140mm fans to them, depending on your use. They also use the widely accepted and fairly standard G ¼ inch fitting ports for their water cooling pipes. This enables extreme customizability and adaptability with various cooling kits. The fin density of the Hydro X series radiators is also very good with 13 fins per inch on the XR7 and 16 Fins per inch on the XR5 series.

Overall, we would say that this is the best choice of radiators as we believe it offers a very large array of options for size and thickness, this is the most important thing when considering a proper radiator. Having two sets of rads set out differently in terms of thickness just makes for a very flexible option when considering going for a custom cooling build.

2. Hardware Labs Nemesis 360 GTS

Excellent 360mm choice

Pros

  • One of the most trusted Radiators
  • Excellent performance
  • top tier build quality
  • Textured finish

Cons

  • Marginally more expensive

123 Reviews

Dimensions: 398mm x 133mm x 29.6mm | Weight: | Radiator Size: 360mm | Fan Size: 3x 120mm | Fin Spacing: 16 FPI 25 Micron Copper | Warranty: Lifetime warranty for manufacturing faults | Thickness: 30mm

Next up we have the hardware labs Nemesis 360 GTS Black Ice radiator. For those of you who may not know much about hardware labs, all you need to know is that they make some of the best Radiators for PC’s and over the past few years they have gained a very good reputation among consumers and gamers of all sorts.

Now just like Corsair, Hardware Labs also makes their radiators in various models, sizes, and thicknesses, this makes them a very close competitor to the Corsair Hydro X series. From a series perspective, our vote went with Corsair with a very slim margin of being a more famous brand. We chose the Nemesis GTS 360 rad solely for the fact that this is one of the most popular 360mm size radiators in the world. Many people opt for this particular model for most of their builds, it is a testament to its quality and even availability. This is another product with

The Nemesis GTS 360 measures 398mm long and is 30mm thick, it has a very robust build quality and its materials used feel top-notch. Quality is not going to be an issue with this radiator. One thing to note about this product is that it has a nice textured paint finish instead of a smooth one, this might be a positive for some and a negative point for others. We liked it as we think it adds more depth to what would otherwise be a bland looking product. As for other specs of the product goes it can add up to 3x 120mm fans and it has a fin density of about 16 Fins per inch but there are some deviations and some areas have fewer fins per inch as well.

We loved this product for its very well accepted existence, meaning the fact that it is so widely used is sort of a guarantor to its performance. The product will suit most mid-range builds very nicely and you will not need to change or upgrade this radiator for the time being. It gives excellent thermal performance compared to other products and we think this is one of the best 360mm radiators in the world right now.

3. EKWB EK CoolStream PE 360

Great larger option for smaller builds

Pros

  • Elegant design
  • Effective cooling
  • Cost freindly

Cons

  • One of the longer 360mm radiators
  • Needs more space

68 Reviews

Dimensions: 400 x 130 x 40mm | Weight: 1.02 kg | Radiator Size: 360mm | Fan Size: 3x 120mm | Fin spacing: 20 FPI (split fin) | Thickness: 40mm

The EKWB EK-CoolStream PE 360 is the next radiator on our list. While the brand itself might not be the most famous or something which most people have heard of before, the company has done really well for themselves in the radiator department. They have many different kinds of products for various builds and sizes but the CoolStream PE 360 is what caught our eye.

The objective of this product and its main strength is that it offers a thicker radiator in the 360mm size of radiators but it does not go all the way with its thickness. This makes for it being a radiator that is not only thicker than a standard 30mm radiator but it is also not large enough to cause space issues due to its thickness. The product measures 400 x 130 x 40mm and this makes it one of the taller radiators in this size department. While the slightly larger size is a good thing, keep in mind that in the 360mm variants you might want to double-check on the size of your case to make sure this radiator fits in it.

The cooling and build quality of this product are second to none and the product is just as good in terms of its build as the ones stated above. One of the other positives about this product is that it has more of an intune design; most radiators are not as easy to blend into a gaming rig as the PE 360 is. The product has Brass chambers, copper tubing, and has aluminum housing to its build. It has the standard G ¼ fitting ports.

What the EKWB EK-CoolStream PE 360 archives are that it gives you a larger radiator for your rig, which translates to better cooling but it does so in the 360mm category. Its slight thickness advantage is a cool thing to have but users will have to make sure that they know if this will fit inside their gaming case. Its cooling performance is and will probably be good enough to compete with any other radiator you throw at it. It also comes at a much more reasonable price as compared to some of the other 360mm radiators.

4. XSPC TX360 Ultrathin

Ultrathin Option

Pros

  • Ultrathin
  • Great value for money
  • Good build quality

Cons

  • Website does not give much information
  • Not as good cooling due to thinness

47 Reviews

Dimensions: 398 mm x 125 mm x 20.5 mm | Weight: 0.6 Kg | Radiator Size: 360mm | Fan Size: 3x 120 mm | Fin Spacing: 22 FPI

XSPC is a relatively well-known brand in the world of computer cooling equipments. They make a wide range of cooling related units such as water blocks, water pumps, fans, radiators, temperature sensors, etc. All of their products are focused on keeping the computer nice and cool. The XSPC TX360 is an ultrathin radiator. As we will focus more on below, this means that this is an extremely thin radiator compared to the standard radiator sizes that we normally see.

The XSPC TX360 Ultrathin radiator comes in three different size variants from 120 mm to 360 mm. The 360 mm variant, which we are discussing, has triple 120 mm fans. As you can see from the dimensions, this is an exceptionally thin radiator at only 20.5 mm. The length is about 400 mm and it has a width of 120 mm. The TX360 weighs around 600 grams or 0.6 Kg and has a fin spacing of about 22 fins per inches ratio. The ultrathin design of the XSPC TX360 radiator will make it an ideal pick for small or cramped cases that need to save all the space they can. The all-black build is not bad to look at despite it being relatively simple.

The build quality is good and there does not seem to be any real flaw in the materials used in making this radiator. Although it is extremely thin there is no compromise on the quality. Since this is an ultrathin radiator, it does not give as good cooling as a standard size radiator will. That being said the cooling that it does give is quite impressive considering its thin core design. To cover this shortcoming XSPC has priced this radiator at a much more affordable range than the other full-size radiators we have seen. Other than the cooling being a bit restricted due to its thin core the only downside we could find was that the XSPC website does not give much information on the product.

To sum it up, the XSPC TX360 Ultrathin radiator will be the go-to option for anyone who is running low on space in his computer setup. The TX360 gives a level of performance that is above average, especially when you take note of its thin core. The thin core does prevent it from beating the absolute top-level radiators in cooling levels though. The TX360 is easily one of the most affordable triple fan radiators in the market today. The XSPC website only gives basic information on this product so you might have to search for information on the XSPS TX360 from other sites.

5. Thermaltake Pacific CL360

High Customization

Pros

  • High customizability
  • Thicker than standard radiators
  • Reflow soldering

Cons

  • Untested
  • Not many people opt for Thermaltake radiators

391 Reviews

Dimensions: 405 mm x 132 mm x 64 mm | Weight: 1.6 Kg | Radiator Size: 360 | Fan Size: 3x 120 mm | Fin Spacing: 14 FPI

One of the more widely known companies on this list is Thermaltake. Thermaltake is a manufacturer of a wide array of computer products from cooling related products such as radiators, AIO coolers to keyboards, computer casings, power supplies, and other products. Although Thermaltake has a lot of different radiators today we will be looking at the Thermaltake Pacific CL360 radiator.

The Pacific CL360 radiator comes in different sizes from 120 mm to 560 mm. We are looking at the CL 360 mm variant of this Thermaltake radiator. This is a 405 mm long 132 mm wide and 64 mm thick radiator. The 64 mm thickness is more than many other radiators of this size. The Pacific CL360 has 14 fins per inches fin ratio and 3x 120 mm fans. It weighs about 1.6 Kg. The Thermaltake Pacific CL360 offers a lot of customizability as well. You can add an LED strip to this radiator. Then there is also the different size variants that can choose from when buying a radiator.

The high-temperature soldering process that is used in the Thermaltake Pacific CL 360 brings its cooling performance up a notch. This soldering process ensures impurities are kept out so that the full power of the radiator is employed in cooling the computer setup. Thermaltake radiators are often best used when they are coupled with other Thermaltake products to complete the cooling system. This is a positive if you want to buy a full cooling system or kit. It can however be a cause for concern for people who do not necessarily want to buy a full Thermaltake cooling kit. The only real downside of the Thermaltake CL360 radiators that one can think of is their untested nature. One of the reasons for Thermaltake radiators not being used enough is that oftentimes, people do not buy Thermaltake radiators unless they are pairing it up with a full Thermaltake cooling kit. This is really the only obvious downside of the CL360. Other than this there is no real issue in the Thermaltake Pacific CL360 radiator and it rivals most top-tier products.

Alyssa Arford
Alyssa Arford is an aspiring Electrical & Electronics Engineer with a vested interest in the innovation and design of computer hardware. Her passion for understanding the nitty gritty of how hardware components come together and playing around with the potential of silicon devices puts her in a position to confidently discuss emerging technologies and their implications in advanced computing.