How to Choose the Right Fan and Heatsink for Your CPU

When building a computer, it is essential that a builder find a good heatsink and fan for his computer. Finding a heatsink and fan can be rather challenging if the builder is unsure what to look for. This guide will explain what the purpose of a heatsink and fan is, give a brief description of some types of heatsinks, and explain what to look for when choosing the right fan and heatsink so the builder can ensure the processor doesn’t get overheated.

What is the Purpose of a Heatsink and Fan?

When choosing a heatsink and fan, it is important that the builder understand the importance of it in order to pick one of the best quality. The heatsink and fan are essential because they aid in quickly removing the heat that is generated by the CPU away from it. As a CPU works, it generates a great deal of heat. The harder the processor works, the more heat it generates. In order to stabilize the computer, it must have a system that removes that heat from the processor quickly. Without a heatsink and fan, the processor, which is the brains of the computer, will slow down operations and potentially overheat which could destroy the CPU.


Types of Heatsinks

Once the heat has been conducted from the bitspower  processor and removed by the heatsink, a fan inside the computer then moves the air across the heatsink and out of the computer. Some computers have additional fans as well. There are two common heatsinks:

Passive Heatsinks

A passive heatsink has no mechanical components. Passive heatsinks are typically made out of a metal-finned radiator. This radiator dissipates heat through convection. In order for a passive heatsink to work well, there needs to be a steady air flow. The passive heatsink works by transferring heat. Heat is molecular particles inside a substance that vibrate. The heat is transferred because it triggers particles beside it to vibrate as well. When this happens, the heat gets transferred into neighboring particles. Basically, the heat that is generated from the processor is transferred into the heatsink through vibrating particles.

Active Heatsinks

The active heatsink is a one that uses power and is usually a fan or some other peltier cooling device. Basically, the active heatsink is a combination of the passive heatsink and a fan. These heatsinks are referred to as HSF which is short for heatsink and fan. This guide will discuss active heatsinks or HSF and how to choose one.

How to Choose the Right Heatsink and Fan

By choosing a quality heatsink, one can be assured that the processor will function to its optimal potential at all times. The heatsink and fan is usually sold in one combined unit called an HSF.

Among the two different types of heatsinks, passive and active, there are multiple variations released every year. It can be challenging to know how to choose the right one and which ones to avoid. There are few key features a builder should look for when considering which one to buy for his or her CPU. The following will lead the builder in the right direction when choosing a heatsink for a computer:

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