Were you drawn in by the beautiful, glass design of the Lian Li PC-O11D case but don’t want the hassle of liquid cooling your CPU? Here are some of the best air coolers available that fit in the O11’s unconventional design.
This list is split up by the power of your CPU. In general, buy the best cooler you can in order to save electricity wasted by running your CPU at high temperatures and to increase the longevity of your CPU.
The Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic was designed with liquid cooling in mind, so why would you want to consider air cooling in the first place?
The answer that did it for me was: longevity and price. An all-in-one liquid cooler may be able to get you whisper quiet operation with low temperatures, but there are a lot of components on a liquid cooler that are prone to failure. Manufacturers of AIO coolers claim their pumps will typically last up to 70000 hours, which is only 8 years. Note that this is the maximum. If you aren’t doing regular maintenance, it will more than likely last for about 5 years. So if you’re planning on upgrading your entire PC more often than that, it should be fine to liquid cool since the pump probably won’t fail in that short time, and the cost probably isn’t one of your concerns. However, in the case there’s a leak near on of the fittings, for example, your expensive components will also be destroyed, causing further damage to your wallet.
Air cooling is able to solve both of these issues. There is no reason a well-built, air-cooled heatsink will die since it is literally just a piece of metal strapped to your CPU, and a high-end heatsink will probably still cost less than a liquid-cooler with similar performance.
Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic Constraints
Since the PC-O11 was designed with a dual chamber, the chamber where the CPU cooler goes is smaller than a regular mid-tower case. The PC-O11 has only 155mm of clearance, which means many of the popular, large tower coolers like the Noctua NH-D15 or be quiet!’s Dark Rock Pro 4 will not fit in this case.
High-end CPU cooler
Scythe Fuma 2 – $60
The Scythe Fuma 2 is probably the best air cooler that will fit in the PC-O11 Dynamic, which means if you have a high-end CPU that gets hot like an AMD Ryzen 9 or Intel i7 or i9 or want to try overclocking your CPU, this is probably the cooler you will want to get. It’s quiet at idle and under load, it has a reasonable price at $60 at the time of making this, and it provides the best air cooling available that can fit in the PC-O11’s 155mm height.
This cooler has a dual-tower design that allows for 2 fans, which spin in opposite directions to create greater static pressure that Scythe says will improve cooling. It has an asymmetrical design with cutouts for RAM on one side that allows for 55mm of RAM clearance on that side and unobstructed on the other.
Note: If you want to overclock a hot CPU like a Ryzen 9 or an i7, you may need to use liquid cooling instead. Although air cooling is enough for the majority of cases including heavy load, overclocking will drive the temperature up significantly for even a slight bump in speed. The size limitation in the PC-O11 Dynamic simply makes it impossible to overclock hot CPUs with air coolers at the moment.
Budget CPU cooler
Cryorig M9 – $25
The Cryorig M9 is the perfect option for those of you who are more budget oriented. This CPU air cooler comes in at less than 125mm tall, making it easily fit inside the PC-O11 Dynamic. Compared to the super popular Cooler Master Hyper 212, the M9 performs better, is much shorter, and is about $10 cheaper.
If you have a CPU that is less powerful than an AMD Ryzen 7 or Intel i5, this amount of cooling should be more than enough to keep your CPU at a safe temperature. Overall, this will be significantly more efficient than an AMD or especially an Intel stock cooler without breaking the bank.
Unless you are interested in regularly overclocking your CPU or attracted to the aesthetic of a liquid cooled system, you can absolutely use an air cooler in the Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic case. In general, you should buy a cooler that fits your budget. To do that, you should get the right CPU cooler for the job. If you buy a cooler that costs half as much as your CPU, then maybe you’re spending too much, but if you buy a cheap cooler for an i7 that regularly gets to 90°C, then you need to spend more.
Both the Scythe Fuma 2 and the Cryorig M9 are the recommendations I give for anyone interested in building an air cooled system in the beautiful O11 Dynamic case.