If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen


Over the month I’ve been writing this blog, I made quite a bit of posts about hardware and how to install them correctly (at least, I hope that’s how understood that). But there still are many things out there to discover if you want to start fixing/building/other computers yourself.

There is one thing that I’ve been meaning to talk about for a while, something that a lot of people do not realize. Very often people complain of their computer making too much noise, the fan are constantly blowing air and it appears to be getting worse.

How is it possible that a computer generates heat?! It sounds a bit strange, I know. There are some moving things in your computer, like the mechanism of a hard drive, but does it really generate that much heat?

The answer is very different and for most people rather hard to believe. The component that generates the most heat in your computer in the processor. Indeed, the small square thing on your motherboard. It can actually generate temperatures over 100 °C.

This because of a phenomenon called the “Joule Effect”. This is the process of transforming electrical energy into heat. The CPU consists of several “wires”, conductors, these wires are responsible for the internal data traffic. Now, the Joule effect appears due to the show between electrons and the conductor Ion mesh. This leads to the increase of temperature of the conductor. The wires will start to pack heat, so to speak. The more electricity the CPU needs, the hotter it will get.

The heat generated by the CPU needs to be removed as soon as possible, because it can really damage the component. In modern day computers you don’t really have a lot to worry about when it comes to protection your hardware. Because, even if the cooling system in the computer fails, the entire machine will shut down when the processor reaches a core temperature of 110°C.
In old computers this would be “the end game”, you could literally burn down your CPU.

So in order to get the heat away from the processor, an aluminum cooling fin is placed on top of it. Most of the time a cooler is placed on top of the cooling fin to blow the heat away.
The reason why an aluminum cooling fin is placed on a red hot CPU is rather easy to understand. Metal is a very good heat conductor and when you spread heat over a wide surface it’s easier to get rid of the heat. That is why the cooling fin is most of the time bigger than the CPU itself. All the fan needs to do is to blow away the heat passing through the cooling fin.

The harder your CPU needs to work, the hotter it will get, the harder your fan needs to blow, the more noise it makes.
So if your computer is starting to make a lot of noise because of the fans, consider cleaning it out. Dustwill gather on the components and will make it harder to get rid of heat.

You know what to do ;-)

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2 thoughts on “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen

  1. Pingback: Overclocking « Tech-o-rama

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