How good is a computer that overheats and shuts down due to high temperatures? If you don’t want to suffer from this problem, then you might want to take a good look at some adequate cooling systems that can keep our CPUs, video cards, DDR memory and hard drives to a decent temperature. Cooling is a very important aspect to take in consideration when building a computer and this becomes an issue when you build a gaming rig or workstation. These computers have powerful components that emit lots of heat and they need a good system to exhaust the heat.

What to know about cooling systems

Type

Today, the most used cooling systems are air based or water based. These offer great performance depending on how good we optimize them for our computers. Water coolers offer better heat dissipation, but they cost much more than air solutions, they are more complex to set up and need constant monitoring and occupy more space in your case.


Air cooling systems

They consist of fans mounted on the case of your PC and on the heatsinks of the CPU, video card and memory, they are both easier to mount and operate and are cheaper. We previously featured a top of the best CPU air coolers, you might find there one that will make you happy. Also, for overclocker enthusiasts, the solution for cooling is liquid nitrogen, but this is not something viable for the home user due to the dangers involved in using such a liquid. Keep in mind that the people who use this kind of cooling are trained professionals and know the risks involved

Performance

As I mentioned before, water cooling systems offer superior heat dissipation than air cooling systems. They work by running cold water over the hot surfaces of components (i.e. CPU cap or GPU), the water is cooled with the help of radiator on which are mounted one or more fans and the water is pushed through the system by a pump. Air cooling relies on the cooling power of the case, as we talked about in the how to choose a PC case article. Also, for each components you have a heatsink (a block of metal usually made out of aluminum or copper with cooling fins) that is cooled with the help of a fan. This system does not have the same cooling power as water cooling, but it does its job great if configured properly.

Choosing the right cooling for your PC

Your cooling system must be chosen depending on the type of computer you use. For a low end computer that does not have too powerful components, the integrated vents of the case and stock coolers of the components should suffice. On the other hand, if your water-cooling-computerMcomputer will be destined to have a high workload, then, apart from the cooling provided by high end cases, an aftermarket cooler would definitely give you an advantage. If your budget permits, a water cooling solution would be great for any highly demanded computer.

Also, for a modest overclock, even a sturdy aftermarket air cooler should do the job, but if you plan to make a massive overclock with very high voltages, then you might want to orient yourself towards a water cooling solution. These have started to appear in a smaller package, fully build, such as the Corsair H series. The bottom line is that your computer needs adequate cooling for the task it has. For office computers and low end models, spending money on aftermarket cooling would be a waste of money, but when you are serious about performance and your computer will pack lots of power under the hood, give it the best possible cooling you can afford. It will help your components have longer lives and they will work better!

PHOTO CREDITS: Henrique Silva
 
Author

I often wonder, where is technology heading? What do all of these advances mean for us and for our future? I sometimes miss the days when I didn’t know how to use a floppy disk, or how a computer CPU works, but now, until I find an answer to my questions, I’ll keep tracking these advances and show everything I find to those who share my interests.