PC Cooling

A Look at How Computer Cooling Systems Work

What is computer cooling? Is it needed to stop your computer from exploding? It's true that the typical computer will not need an extravagant cooling system. However, overclocked and performance-based PCs will need a bit more than stock cooling fans.

Why is Computer Cooling Needed?

The main purpose of a cooling system is to remove waste heat from a computer, which is produced by computer components.

All of the components inside of a computer are not supposed to go over a certain temperature. If components become too hot, they probably won't explode, but there is a good chance they will become unusable.

The main components that can overheat are hard drives, graphics cards, chipsets, and CPUs. Modern computer components are actually designed to produce minimal heat, but that doesn't mean a cooling system won't be beneficial.

Different Types of Cooling

Thermoelectric Cooling

Many overclocked computers use this type of cooling. Another name for this type of cooling is Peltier TEC. In most cases, this type of cooling system uses plates that are separated with two metals that are semiconducting.

Put simply, the TEC heater or cooler that this cooling system uses is known as a solid-state and active heat pump, and this pump moves heat from one part of a computer case to another.

Although it might seem hard to understand, this form of cooling uses electrical energy to make one part of a component get hot while the other gets cold.

Thermoelectric cooling is not very common, and it's usually only used by extreme computer enthusiasts, which is mainly because it can cause many problems. Since most people want easy, effective and safe cooling, this is a form of cooling that should be avoided.

Phase-Change Cooling

Here is a cooling method that is particularly effective for cooling CPUs. A phase-change vapor compression unit rests under a computer, and it has a tube that goes to the computer's processor. The cooling unit has a compressor, which is the type of compressor that is typically found inside of a window AC.

The cooling unit's compressor compresses one or more gases, and eventually, the gases turn into liquid. Next, the cooling unit pumps this liquid to the computer's processor, and the liquid ends up passing through a heat dissipation device. Next, the liquid is passed through a device that vaporizes the liquid.

Eventually, the liquid evaporates, which is known as changing phase, and as it evaporates, it absorbs heat from the computer's CPU. After the evaporation, the gas will end up flowing back to the compressor, and the process starts over.

Like thermoelectric cooling, this method is mostly reserved from extreme computer enthusiasts, so it's not something the general public will want to look into. This cooling system is not only expensive; it's also very loud.

What are Water-Cooled Cases?

Many computer owners want aftermarket cooling, but they don't want to go through the hassle of installing and maintaining an aftermarket system.

Fortunately, water-cooled cases are prebuilt cases that come with a water-cooling system. These cases are absolutely perfect for anyone who doesn't want the hassle of setting up their own water-cooled computer.

By purchasing a water-cooled case, consumers can get the amazing performance that water cooling provides, but they still get to pick the components that they want for their computer. When compared with other types of cooling systems, liquid cooling is very effective and affordable.

Although a water-cooled case will work great for stock computer components, it's best used for computers that are running an overclock CPU or memory. Overall, liquid cooling is the best cooling option for most consumers.