Section 1.6: Cooling Methods

The computers these days are high performance and consume a huge amount of power that generates heat. The computer needs to be cooled down and should be kept within a specified temperature range to prevent overheating, instability, malfunction and damage leading to a shortened component lifespan.. A computer has many power consumer components that have their own cooling systems such as CPU that uses heat sink to cool it and some video cards that have their own built-in fans. Some cooling methods used in computers are:

  • Heat sink: This cooling object cools the CPU and is placed above the CPU. It appears, as shown in Figure 35. It absorbs and dissipates heat from the CPU using direct or radiant thermal contact. Heat sinks rapidly transfers heat from an object at a relatively high temperature to a second object at a lower temperature. This brings the first object into thermal equilibrium with the second

Figure 35

  • Computer fan: This cooling object is placed inside a computer case. It appears, as shown in Figure 36. It draws cooler air into the case from the outside, expels warm air from inside, or move air across a heatsink to cool a particular component. Fans are usually used in combination with a heatsink to improve the efficiency of cooling. The CPU warms the heat sink, which warms the air, and the fan moves the warm air out of the PC case.

Figure 36

  • Thermal compound: This is a sticky paste applied directly on the heatsink or CPU to fill the tiny gaps between the two. The surface of a CPU or a heatsink is never entirely flat, leading to tiny gaps that have a very negative effect on the heat transfer. Therefore, a thermal compound, which is an interface material with a high thermal conductivity, is used to fill these gaps.
  • Liquid cooling systems: This cooling system works much like the cooling systems found in cars. This is mostly used by people who are interested in over clocking their computers that generate more heat that is difficult to dispel with heat sinks and fans. It is also used in systems that use high-end chips with lots of transistors that can overwhelm an air-cooling system. The liquid cooling systems are more effective than air cooling systems because water has a higher thermal conductivity than air.