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||7 entry(ies) in this category
| The Culture of Cooling Heats Up (9 comments )|
by: DaugWok (85) | Posted in cluster FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round 1 Prelim 2
Posted 76 months ago ( edited 76 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
PC cooling - with its heatsinks, metric measurements, and vinyl tubing– has historically been ignored by most. I vividly remember the day I purchased my Voodoo3 2000 video card. Having heard about the overclocking possibilities (it could reach 3000 model speeds, they said!), I couldn’t resist. There was no reason to delay installation of the heatsink & fan combo I bought ahead of time, but to my irritation the bolts I purchased for the job were too large. There was only one thing to do… My brother arrived in time to find the card clamped to a workbench, me impaling it with the drill in a valiant attempt to widen the two existing mounting holes. Oddly enough, he didn’t understand. Six or seven years ago, nobody outside clandestine niches of overclockers and tweakers paid much attention to PC cooling or its possibilities. However, the situation is changing rapidly. Consumers are paying more attention to thermal solutions, and the technology of cooling has evolved remarkably.
|» MEDIA (6)|
The former state of cooling
Not your poppa's retail cooler
Yes, that's a 120mm fan
I think there's a video card in there
Water and electronics? Why not?
All the kids want frosty CPUs
Perhaps the biggest reason cooling has hit the mainstream is necessity. Aside from looking extremely fashionable, modern CPU heatsinks must dissipate an incredible amount of heat. My old Intel Pentium 200 MHz processor produced about 15.5 watts of warmth. By comparison, the popular Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 produces 65! Considering thermal output has more than quadrupled, I am not surprised so many current coolers resemble the cityscape of Blade Runner. Even coolers included with processors are impressive pieces of engineering, as evidenced by the large, orb-styled, copper-based solution Intel now provides.
In the Olden Days (Read: 12+ years ago), only the CPU was typically considered worthy of a cooler. Even then the procedure was thus: slap a little black cooler on it and call it a day. Today, ignoring other hotspots is an exercise in stupidity. NVidia’s latest and greatest video card, the 8800GTX, can emit 180 watts of heat, and the motherboard’s Northbridge may add another 15 to 20 watts. No wonder, then, that there are video coolers which rival the CPU’s for size and there are motherboards such as the Asus P5W sporting elaborate heat pipe solutions. These were once extreme measures, but extreme has become normal. That is the undeniable trend.
Ok, maybe there won’t be a run on the hardware store’s power drill section anytime soon. Nonetheless, elaborate cooling is fast becoming the norm, and the cooling aisle which has mysteriously appeared at your local computer shop is proof. Once water cooling systems were home-built oddities – Now Thermaltake’s Bigwater kit is on the shelf at Fry’s Electronics. Components which were absent from a user’s vocabulary now have corresponding coolers. Feel free to select brand, style, fan color, and level of ultraviolet reactivity. That’s right; cooling isn’t just mainstream – It’s fashionable! It’s only a matter of time before rappers start adding gold-plated thermoelectric coolers to their chains and heatpipes to their spinners. Word.
P. Diddy aside, the future of cooling will be dictated by the devices producing the heat. If we want PC technology to continue improving, cooling technology must keep pace. Unfortunately, air and water coolers are inherently limited because they only dispose of heat. They do not apply cold and therefore cannot reduce the temperature below the room’s. Refrigeration or phase change systems, however, can. Long story short, by compressing a gas to a liquid and allowing it to re-gasify, the PC components of your choice can be “walkin’ in a winter wonderland”. Neat-o. One of the few commercial examples is Asetek’s VapoChill system, but at $700-$800 USD it is hardly practical or necessary. However, such systems may become commonplace or even mandatory as processor transistor counts and power requirements continue to rise.
If you are a tweaker, you are likely aware of the situation. For the average user reading this - consider yourself warned. Heat is the byproduct of the soaring frame rates and benchmark numbers you enjoy. While working as a PC repairman I have seen heat traps which, frankly, made me weep like a child. Managing the heat in your glorious techno-box should become as normal as defragmenting the hard drive and cleaning crumbs off the keyboard. Considering the mainstream cooling options now available, doing so should be a snap. If knowledge is power, there is no reason to be a thermal victim.
|9 User Comment(s) • 5 root comment(s)|
| fs-lyle (177) Feb 21, 2007 - 12:59 pm|
|Very well written. The only complaint I would have it that it is maybe a bit general. I think you could rework the article with some more technical examples and benchmarks to illustrate your points. Then it would be a 10 for sure!|
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| MrWizard6600 (25) Mar 01, 2007 - 12:19 am|
|My vote goes to this guy.|
Short, generic, funny, interesting.
Short in both senses: It could be longer, but I was happy i didnt have to read through paragraphs that were thesis sized.
Generic is good too. No one gave you anything specific to look at so you look at the history of cooling --full marks.
good use of humor, some of the competition was, sad...
I didn't stop reading, it wasn't tedious, again more then I can say for some of your competitors.
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| DaugWok (85) Mar 01, 2007 - 12:08 pm|
|Thank you. I thought about adding some additional detail, but I couldn't figure a way to do it without turning the article into something completely different or, worse, a ramble. I hope your opinion is popular! :)|
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