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Old 18-11-14, 19:46   #1
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Computers PC Overheating? = 5 Cooling Solutions

5 Cooling Solutions to Prevent Your PC From Overheating


Heat build-up can actually damage your computerís hardware or cause it to become unstable. Modern PCs may shut down and refuse to operate if they reach a potentially unsafe level of heat.

Heat Sinks

A heat sink is a passive cooling system that cools a component by dissipating heat. For example, your CPU probably has a heat sink on top of it ó thatís the large, metal object.
CPUs donít just have heat sinks ó if you have a dedicated graphics card, your GPU probably has a heat sink as well. Other components on your motherboard may have their own heat sinks, too. Heat moves from the heat-generating component to the heat sink pressed against it. The heat sink is designed with a large surface area, exposing a large amount of its surface to the air to dissipate heat more efficiently.

Thermal Compound

CPUs and GPUs generally have a thermal compound between them and the heat sink. This may be called thermal grease, thermal gel, thermal paste, heat sink paste, or many other things. This material is smeared on top of the CPU, and then the heat sink is pressed down on top. The thermal compound fills any air gaps between the heat-producing component and the heat sink allowing more efficient transfer of heat. Be careful when applying this stuff, as you donít want to use too much ó you just want enough to fill in the air gaps between the CPU and heat sink, not so much that it will ooze out the sides and make a mess.

Some heat sinks ship with thermal pads on their undersides. This makes them easier to install, but the pads are less effective at conducting heat than typical paste. An included thermal pad may be good enough for running a CPU at its stock speeds, but isnít ideal for overclocking

Thermal compound can deteriorate over time. If your CPU is generating more heat than normal and youíve dusted out your heat sinks and fans, you may sometimes need to reapply fresh thermal compound.


Fans force air to move, so the hot air is blown away from heat-generating components and expelled from the desktop or laptop PC's case. Fans typically blow hot air outward, but you could set up a system of fans to suck cool air inward on the front and blow out air out the back. Fans are an active cooling solution ó they require power to run.

A typical desktop PC may contain multiple fans. The CPU itself often has a fan on top ó so the CPU is inserted into the socket on the motherboard, thermal paste is applied to the top of the CPU, and the heat sink is attached to the CPU. The fan is placed on top of the heat sink, ensuring the hot air is blown away from the heat sink and CPU. Dedicated NVIDIA and AMD GPUs often have a similar setup, with heat sink compound, a heat sink, and a fan of their own.

Fans are also integrated into desktop power supplies. On laptops, theyíre placed so they can blow hot air out of a strategically placed air vent. On desktops, they may be placed to blow air out of the desktopís air vents. When building your own PC, youíll want to think about how air will travel so the PC will stay cool. This isnít necessary if youíre building a power-efficient PC that generates little heat, but it is a concern if youíre building a gaming PC with a powerful CPU and GPU ó especially if youíre be overclocking them.

Dust build-up can clog heat sinks, fans, air vents, and your computerís case, blocking air flow. This is why itís a good idea to regularly dust out your computerís case. You should also ensure your PCís air vents arenít blocked or the air will have nowhere to go and the computer will overheat.

Water Cooling

The above methods are the typical types of cooling solutions youíll find in most PCs, although some power-efficient PCs are designed to work without fans. Still, enthusiasts sometimes opt for more extreme cooling solutions.

Water cooling, or liquid cooling, was originally for mainframes. Enthusiasts who want to overclock their hardware and push it as far as possible like water cooling because itís more effective at cooling than fans, so a water-cooled PC can be overclocked further.
Water cooling involves a pump that pumps water through tubes that travel throughout your PCís case. The cool water in the tubes absorb heat as it moves through your case and then leaves your case, where a radiator radiates the heat outward. This is only necessary if you need to deal with an extreme amount of heat ó for example, if youíre overclocking more than typical cooling solutions can handle.

You can buy water cooling kits, so this isnít as hard to set up as you might think, but these kits do cost hundreds of dollars. They also consume more power and are more complex. If a tube springs a leak and starts spraying water inside your running computer, youíd likely have a disaster on your hands.

Immersion Cooling

Immersion cooling is less common, but even more extreme. With immersion cooling, a computerís components are submerged in a thermally conductive, but not electrically conductive, liquid. In other words, donít use water for this! An appropriate type of oil will typically be used for this.
The computerís components generate heat, which is absorbed by the liquid surrounding them. The fluid is more efficient at absorbing heat than air. The surface of the fluid is exposed to the air, and the heat dissipates from the surface of the fluid to the air.

In other words, imagine filling your entire computerís case with oil and leaving your components submerged to cool it. Youíd obviously want the appropriate type of oil and a case that wonít leak!
Some enthusiasts do go this route, but itís much more rare than water cooling systems. This technique is used to cool some supercomputers.

There are other, more exotic ways to cool a PC, too. For example, you could use ďphase changeĒ cooling ó this is basically like a refrigerator for your PC. Itís obviously more expensive and draws more power.

When building your own PC, get the usual heat sink, thermal compound, and fans ó that will probably be enough. If you want to go crazy with overclocking, get a water cooling solution. You probably shouldnít go beyond water cooling!
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