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Choosing Extras 1

Cooling

Introduction

Keeping the components inside your PC cool is very important. Heat is the number one killer of components and even if it doesn't kill them immediately, too much heat will shorten their life as well as making the whole PC unstable.

In order to keep an eye on temperatures while using your PC, you can install a program like Speedfan (download here) which will pick up temperature sensors on your motherboard and give you readings. Your BIOS will also show you temperature readings from the motherboard and you should be able to set warnings and fan speeds too. Many motherboards will come with temperature monitoring software for windows, but unless you have a particular affinity to one, we would still recommend usingSpeedfan.

If you buy a 'retail' processor it will come with a perfectly adequate cooler called a Heat Sink Fan (HSF). There are 2 situations when you might want to replace this 'stock' cooler. First is noise as the stock HSFs can be quite noisy, and the second is for overclocking. When overclocking, processors will get hotter than they normally would so a more efficient cooler is required. There are many coolers out there designed for this purpose in lots of weird and wonderful shapes. The best (and only) way to judge how good they are is to read some reviews and look at test results. Typing the HSF model + 'review" should give you lots of results.

Another area where you an enhance cooling is by adding more fans to your case. Depending on the case you chose, you may have space to fit extra fans on the front, side and rear of the case. A good system creates a flow of air from the low front to the high back of the case.

If you really fancy some extreme overclocking you can opt for a water cooling solution. These systems pump water over the top of the processor/north-bridge/GPU to carry heat away far more efficiently than air coolers. The down side to these systems is a slightly more complex installation and the need to refill the water tank every now and then. Of course mixing water with electricity is also risky, however as long as you are careful and you buy branded parts that work together then you should be fine.


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