Chapter 10: Choosing Cooling Devices and Parameters

Chapter 10: Choosing Cooling Devices and Parameters


To guarantee the reliability and stability of computer elements and subsystems in normal — and especially overclocked — modes, you must cool them properly. This can be achieved with heatsinks and fans.

(Based on materials from and with the permission of, a Russian-language Web site.)

Cooling can be achieved in the following ways:

  • Choosing and using an appropriate case

  • Acquiring an effective heatsink

  • Acquiring an effective cooling fan

For the architecture of modern computers, the best case is a standard ATX. Considering the intensive heat flux from elements used in overclocked modes, it makes sense to direct your attention toward mini ATX cases or even the larger midi ATXs, which guarantee better temperature conditions for all components of the system.

It's advisable to add a fan or fans to the case you select. This will lower the air temperature inside the case and improve the efficiency of all local cooling devices.

Beginning with 486DX2/66 processors, heatsinks have become an integral part of all processors. With the growth of CPU processing power, heat flux increases; thus, the heatsink size also has to be increased. Starting with Pentium processors, cooling fans have been mounted onto heatsinks. These devices are known simply as coolers.

In contemporary computers, most components must be cooled, including processors, video adapters, the chipset, and even the hard disk.

To improve the heat contact between the body of the element being cooled and the attached heatsink, it makes sense to buy and use special thermal grease, or thermal tape. These thermal compounds eliminate tiny air gaps that form between the body of the element and the heatsink attached to it. This improves heat transfer to the heatsink, providing more efficient cooling.