In the Forums...
Posted: November 27, 2000
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen
Our Custom Rig
Above you see a case that is well ventilated. Weíve covered all major areas of the case and made sure that there is cool air going to all areas of the case while hot air is taken out. There are four fans blowing air out and six fans sucking air in. You may now be asking if this is bad since there more fans sucking in then there are blowing out. Well, if you take a look at the hard drive fans, they are in close quarters and donít really have room to move large amounts of air, therefore the power of the four hard drive fans approximately equal that of two fans. Two (effectively) fans sucking in at the top and two at the bottom give a well-rounded and balanced airflow since there are four fans expelling air at the back.
Right now you may be wondering about our CPU exhaust fan and its function and why we still have it sucking air out. Letís take a look at our CPU fan shall we?
The CPU Heatsink
A Slot1 Alpha P3125 Heatsink
This is likely the most important non-electric component inside the system. Without it, your high speed CPU would overheat in a matter of seconds flushing your investment down the hole in the process. You donít want something like that to happen. That said -- we go in search of the perfect heatsink.
With a good heatsink and fan combo, weíll be able to tweak our processor to its limits without worrying about a critical meltdown. I know you love to overclock everything in your computer so Iíll make sure youíll be well prepared.
A good heatsink must be able to take heat away quickly from the processor and dissipate it into the air (or water, but weíll stick to air cooling for this article). It also has to be large enough to support a decent size fan -- I suggest a 60mm fan; anything smaller and it just doesnít move enough air.
A typical heatsink is made out of Aluminum 6030, which conducts heat very well and is hard enough to withstand deformation. However, some manufacturers have heatsinks that are either made out of copper or have a copper-embedded base.
Copper, while being better at conducting heat than aluminum, does have its disadvantages. Itís harder to manufacture, itís soft, and itís heavier than aluminum. Because it is so soft, grills and fins on a copper heatsink canít be cut as close as those on an aluminum heatsink. Because of this, a well-known manufacturer named Alpha Novatech produces aluminum heatsinks with copper embedded in the base. This helps take heat away from the processor fast. These days, with flip-chip processors (processor cure on top), it is important to remove the heat from the core as fast as possible since the contact area is small.