FS Cooling Guide: The Basics
A heatsink and fan combo by TennMax
As technology progresses, we are seeing and increasing trend in the thermal output of systems. What this means is that the heat output generated by an average system is now greater than it ever was. This is due to a variety of reasons. First, as CPUs become more advanced, we are seeing millions of transistors per CPU, which is causing a drastic increase in the heat output of the CPU.
The CPU is not the only component that is heating up, though. Current generation video cards chipsets are HOT. This heat also contributes to the ambient heat inside a system's case. Hard drives are getting hotter and hotter as well. As the RPM speed increases for hard drives, we are seeing a correlation in the heat increase. 7,200 RPM and especially 10,000 RPM drives are big producers of heat. Even faster spinning CD-ROMs are outputting quite a bit of heat.
As users add more and more components and peripherals into their systems, each component is generating heat. This holds especially true among gamers, who may have typical systems with two hard drives, a CD-ROM, a DVD-ROM, and a Voodoo2 SLI in addition to the heat-generating CPU. Each one of these components and peripherals keeps the ambient temperature in your CPU a toasty temperature.
Finally, the entry of overclocking into the mainstream has made cooling an imperative issue. Many of today's motherboards offer the option to increase the voltage going to the CPU. More voltage, of course, generates more heat. CPU heatsink and fans combos have suddenly become a hot (no pun intended) industry, as users are looking for effective and powerful ways to cool overclocked systems.
The problem is there is such a large variety of cooling options. CPU cooling itself could be written about in fair length, but there are also other cooling methods that in conjunction can keep your system frosty and crash-free. Many of the current generation of motherboards have built in temperature monitoring features that allow you to see how hot the area near the CPU is running. This is a helpful tool in determining if additional cooling is needed. What are some of the considerations of good cooling?