It’s quite easy to be confused when you’re installing an AIO cooler in your motherboard. But which header to use? Some AIO manufacturers recommend a W_PUMP header and some don’t. But luckily, we have solved the problem for you.
Which pump header should you use for your liquid cooling system, W-pump or AIO pump?
The W_PUMP header draws 3x more power than the normal AIO_PUMP header. It’s mostly found in high-end motherboards that allow custom liquid cooling. If you’re using a normal AIO cooler, you’re good with the AIO pump. Your AIO cooler will draw more power if connected to the W_PUMP header.
That says a lot about the headers but doesn’t cover everything. For that, we’ll need to go into the details.
That’s why we have compared both pump headers head to head for you.
W_PUMP Header vs AIO_PUMP Header: Basic Differences
After getting a brand new cooling system, you’re likely to connect it to your motherboard. But this pump header dilemma can set you back really easily.
On one side, you have the AIO pump connectors. You’re going to find them in most motherboards released recently. On the contrary, you have W_pump connectors that are found in high-end motherboards.
Sometimes, it becomes impossible to connect the wires to a certain header. That’s when people become confused and make mistakes. For instance, some people even wonder about using case fans as CPU cooler fans.
But it’s not really a big deal at all. After all, curiosity is what makes us better and push further.
That’s why we’ve arranged a short table to give you a heads-up. You’ll be able to compare both headers right away.
Here’s what you’re looking for:
|Factor||W_PUMP Header||AIO_PUMP Header|
|Heavy Duty Pump||Yes||No|
|Custom Liquid Pump||Yes||No|
|AIO Pump Support||Specific AIO pumps||Most AIO Pumps|
|Found In||Only Highest-end Motherboards||Mid & High Range Motherboards|
After going through the differences, which one are you liking more?
W_PUMP Header vs AIO_PUMP Header: Detailed Discussion
For some of you, the table was more than enough to understand the differences. But there’s still more to talk about. But before that you should get a look at actually how are these headers look like.
Source: Linus Tech Tips
If you still haven’t made any decisions about the headers, that’s totally fine. Here, we’ve elaborated further on these categories and talked about the pros and cons.
Relax and go through all of the segments and it’ll clear all the confusion away.
Amperage & Wattage
The first thing we’re going to talk about is the difference between amperage and wattage. This is the biggest difference and pretty much the only difference that matters.
Let’s start with the W_PUMP header first. This header is only found in the top-end motherboards. For example, motherboards like the ASUS Formula series or the MSI’s GODLIKE series.
From the ASUS Formula series the one I would recommend is the ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Formula. The quality of the material is rivaled by none at this price range. And this motherboard is an absolute holy grail for any gamer.
On the other side of the spectrum, there stays MSI’s GODLIKE series. The most sought after motherboard from this series is the MSI MEG Z590 GODLIKE Gaming Motherboard.
I personally use this mobo and the performance still amaze me.
It’s still possible to get them in some motherboards that are slightly less expensive. But most motherboards recently have them only in the enthusiast-class range.
The W_PUMP header has 3x more amperage and wattage. It has 3A of power draw and a wattage of 36 watts.
Users also often wonder, can you use the W pump header for fans?.
The answer to that question is yes it’s totally possible. But you’re going to draw the same power. And by that, we mean everything, plug in a simple case fan. Bam! It’s going to consume 36W of power now.
Sometimes it becomes impossible to reach a certain header via a certain route. If you’re out of options and can’t rearrange cables, go with the W_PUMP header.
Between W pump or CPU fan header, you can use both if you want to. Or, simply use the CHA_FAN header instead.
Because it’s better between W pump vs CHA fan header. Because the fan speed can’t be controlled if you connect it to the AIO or W_PUMP header. That is the only downside when using an AIO pump header for case fans.
But remember that the AIO pump must be connected to the AIO pump header.
On the contrary, the AIO pump header draws significantly less power. It has a wattage of 12 watts and only draws 1A. And that’s all you need for most AIO coolers in the market.
Here’s a dream build for every gamer with the MSI GODLIKE Z590. The cooler is also connected to the W_PUMP header as well.
The drawn power is the same as other fan headers except for the W_PUMP header. That’s why you can connect case fans in an AIO pump or CPU fan header.
Besides, if you do connect the AIO to the W_PUMP header, don’t worry. It’s totally safe and your AIO cooler will have the same lifespan.
You still have to maintain them for the best performance, though.
Heavy Duty Pump
You may now wonder well what is the purpose of the W_PUMP header? Does it even get utilized? It’s sucking in 3 times more power after all!
Well, the W_PUMP header is only reserved for the enthusiast-class liquid coolers. It helps you run custom liquid cooling systems.
It’s only included in the enthusiast tier. Because you would not be buying a $1500 liquid cooling kit with a $300 motherboard.
For a big liquid cooler pump, you’ll have to connect it to the W_PUMP header.
On the contrary, the AIO pump header can’t run a heavy-duty liquid cooler. Because it’s limited by power and thus can’t be used.
Speaking of liquid coolers, I used to have a midrange cooler last year. Now I’ve upgraded my system and have a high range liquid cooling system.
Here are the two liquid coolers that I’ve used-
|Products||Price Range||Where to Buy|
|Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240 liquid cooler||Mid range||Buy from Amazon|
|Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240L RGB V2||Mid range||Buy from Amazon|
|NZXT Kraken X73 liquid cooler||High range||Buy from Amazon|
|NZXT Kraken X63 RGB CPU Liquid Cooler||High range||Buy from Amazon|
You can simply pick any of these and plug them into your AIO pump header right away.
Since consumers that buy $300 range motherboards don’t buy cooling kits, the feature isn’t added. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use the header.
You can also use a great air cooler and still connect to the AIO pump header. Not sure which to pick between Air coolers and AIO coolers?
Don’t hesitate to check our descriptive comparison between Air coolers vs AIO coolers.
Which One is Better?
If you’ve come this far and haven’t made a decision yet, that’s fine. We’ll tell you what we would do if we were in your situation.
If you’re okay with the power draw, just use the W_PUMP header. It’ll consume more power but you get the same result. There’s no harm at all.
If you don’t want, then you’ll have to reroute the cable. You can also use an extender to reach a certain header.
But at the end of the day, both perform the same. Only one consumes more power.
How long do AIO coolers last?
An AIO cooler can last up to 6 years. For the first 3 years, you won’t even need any maintenance at all. AIO coolers now compared to before are extremely well-performing. Make sure to keep the radiator clean after a couple of months. A good computer casing is also necessary for mandatory airflow.
Do AIO pumps make noise?
Yes, the AIO pumps do make noise. But only a little. Since there’s always water traveling to the AIO head, it makes noises. Remember that the noise is supposed to be quiet. A louder or bubbling noise means there is open space in the AIO header. It occurs when an AIO cooler is installed incorrectly.
Should AIO fans be intake or exhaust?
It depends on how you install it in the first place. If you use the top of the case, fans will be exhausted. This helps cool down your graphics card. On the contrary, if you use the front of the case, fans will be intake. This will suck the air in and help cool down the entire PC overall.
That was all we could explain and compare on W_pump or AIO pump. We hope that it has helped you understand the difference better.
You can also check both headers by yourself for more assurance. It doesn’t do any harm. Although you may need to rearrange cables a couple of times.
Finally, have a nice day!