A computer cannot function properly without a CPU. The processor, or the Central Processing Unit, is the internal circuit of a computer system that is responsible for all the main execution and processing of data that are required for a computer to function properly. Modern day computers operate intensively round the clock, and in turn create a lot of internal electrical energy. The electrical energy is the side-effect of the continuous work undertaken by the processor to run software which is hardware intensive. The more advanced the software, the harder the processor works and the more heat it generates. In order for the processor to function properly, it is important to keep a firm check on the temperature level by cooling it down using fans. The fans not only help in cooling down the machine but also keep the system from overheating.
The fans form one of the main components of the processor and helps in dispersing the heat from other heat-producing transistors effectively. If cooling devices like fans are not used, then the amount of heat generated can actually cause irreparable or heavy damage to the other components in the processor which includes components like the motherboard, circuit boards, RAM, and other important components that help in the functioning of the computer.
Types of CPU Fans
Computers are equipped with different cooling equipments to disperse the excess heat generated by the components, but the basic cooling equipments include the coolers for the CPU, case, and hard drives. The common sizes for these typically square devices include 60mm, 80mm, 92mm and 120mm.
The CPU uses a lot of energy when it is running and as a result, there are large amounts of heat generated by the operating components. The heat generated must be dispersed immediately to keep the equipment cool, and to avoid any damage or a complete breakdown of the system. This fan removes the heat that builds up due to continuous use, and ensures that the temperature levels are stable by blowing out the hot air and by pushing in cooler air over the heated components. A high quality CPU fan can control the risk of overheating by maintaining the heat level while the machine is running, and allows the user to use the computer system comfortably.
The fan works in conjunction with metallic devices called heat sink. These devices enhance the cooling process by pulling the hot air into its aluminum structure. The CPU fan attached to the heat sink pulls the heat away from the heat sink, and pushes in cooler air through the fin-like vents of the heat sink.
Most computers use multi-speed CPU coolers that monitor the motherboard, the processors and video card. As these components get hotter, the faster the fan spins, thus dispersing the hot air off the heat sink and ensuring that the components stay cool and operable.
CPU coolers alone cannot dissipate the heat of the components, especially if the surrounding air gets too hot inside the computer case. Thus, the case coolers are also helpful in keeping the components cool by circulating the fresh air through the case. Depending on how your computer case is configured, this fan can blow out hot air; suck in cool air, or both.
If your computer has only one case fan, then it will mostly be located in the back of the case, and helps in expelling the hot air through the back. But the most common configuration also has one fan in the front panel of the case as this area has more open space. The front panel fan functions by sucking in cooler air into the case, and is blown out by the back fan once the air gets heated. Your configuration could also include a third cooling fan which is located in the top or side of the case to draw cooler air near the processor. These devices are easily visible, and are therefore available in a various styles with have air filters that prevent dust from entering the case.
Hard Drive Fans
Hard drives do not generate as much heat as the processor or video cards, and depending on the configuration of the system, they consume about ten or twelve watts under load and about seven watts when they are not in use. However, most of the heat in the hard drive is caused by friction as the heads need to move back and forth which can damage the hard drive. It’s always in your best interest to have a dedicated hard drive fan that allows for adequate ventilation, as an overheated hard drive can cause the delicate electronics of a hard drive to fail and also causes bad sectors.
Hard drive coolers are an alternative way of keeping the hard drives cool at the required temperature for systems that experience a lot of hard disk usage. Using of hard drive coolers increases the stability of the system and secures vital information by keeping it cool and operable.
Hard drive coolers can either be active or passive. Active cooling involves the cool air to be blown directly onto the hard drive, and passive coolers like heat sinks, spread the air over a larger surface which can in turn be cooled by active cooling. These drives can also be placed in an external casing outside to that of the main computer casing while being connected to the main board. The outer environment then helps in keeping the system cool and avoids overheating.
Keep your Computer Coolers Efficient
To keep your computers working efficiently, it always helps to periodically clean the coolers. The buildup of dust can slow down the performance of the coolers, or can even clog the fan. Use a brush to clean the fan thoroughly. Another trick to keeping your computer coolers working optimally and extend the lifespan of your computer is to place the processor in a location where it will get plenty of fresh air, since it needs to replace the hot air inside. Avoid obstructing the back of the processor and keeping it against a wall, as this can prevent the cooling fan from doing its job.