Honoring the PC components that don't get the credit they deserve
If you built your first PC more than a decade ago, you know that PC building has come a long way. Modern conveniences like cases with holes for cable routing, motherboards with labels, and right-angle SATA cables certainly help with the cumbersome bits. This article aims to pay respect to these unsung heroes of the PC universe. You can check out our picks in the gallery below.
NZXT’s second air cooler, and they still can’t spell ‘havoc’
NZXT DIDN’T ENTER the CPU cooling game until quite recently. We reviewed its first cooler, the skyscraper Havik 140, in December 2011. The Havik 140’s dual 14cm fans helped it power to the top of our air-cooling charts, though the slightly cheap-feeling mounting bracket kept it from Kick Ass Award status. NZXT’s second air cooler is the smaller, less expensive Havik 120.
Applying thermal paste to a CPU before dropping a heat sink on it isn't too much of a pain in the butt, but you have to do it carefully; as pretty much everybody reading this site probably knows, air bubbles and uneven application can affect cooling performance. What if you didn't have to worry about applying thermal paste? Crazy talk, I know, but during last week's Techno-Frontier convention in Tokyo, Sony Chemical & Information Device Corp was showing off a thermal sheet that it said has the same thermal conductivity of traditional paste.
Cooler Master has spread its wings into a lot of different product lines, but it's still best known for its namesake: stuff that keeps your PC running cool. To that effect, today the company announced an update to the design of its Hyper 412 Slim CPU cooler as well as three new thermal pastes.
It hasn't even been a full month since we ran our massive thermal paste roundup in which we tested 17 premium tubes of goo to find out if your choice of paste makes a lick of difference (it does), and wouldn't you know it, there's a brand new thermal paste that enters the fray today. It's from Maingear, the boutique system builder based in New Jersey, and it's supposedly up to three times better than the best silver-filled greases.
Ask ten geeks about their preferred thermal interface material (TIM) and you’ll get six different answers. Five will go with Arctic Silver 5 and the others will have five totally different favorites. Ask a non-geek about their favorite thermal paste and you might get slapped.
But is Arctic Silver 5 really the best? Is the thermal testing compound we’ve been using in the lab really cutting the mustard? We gathered seventeen premium thermal pastes and an overclocked test bed and set about finding out whether thermal paste really makes a difference, and if so, which one is the best.
Modern day laptops are loaded with powerful, heat producing components that can often lead to overheating, especially if you’re asking your laptop to do some heavy lifting. If your laptop ever feels particularly hot in certain spots, or sometimes randomly shuts off, there's a good chance that overheating is to blame.
And if your laptop is no longer covered under warranty, fear not. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide for both computer novices and hardware enthusiasts that’ll show you exactly how to deal with overheating problems on your own.
Building a PC is a many-step process, but one in particular stands out as being intimidating to first-timers: properly mounting a CPU and cooler. Why? Because, generally speaking, that one little cpu chip is simultaneously the smallest, most delicate, and most expensive part of your system. Mount the cooler wrong, or improperly apply the thermal paste and you’re looking at (at best) a drop in performance and system crashes, or (at worst) a $200 disaster.
But don’t worry! It’s actually not terribly hard to install a new CPU, as long as you know what you’re doing. And so that you do know what you’re doing, we’ve put together a quick primer on installing a new CPU. If you’re a newbie getting ready to build a new system, or an old pro looking to make sure your technique is the best, read on to find out everything you need to know about properly mounting a CPU.
I have a Thermaltake DuOrb CPU cooler and when I installed it, I tightened the screws until I felt some tension, but I’m not sure that was the right thing to do. I have a Q6600 CPU and the temp was 34-36 C at 2.4GHz (stock). I overclocked my CPU to 2.8GHz and the temp went up to 38-42 C (idle). If I overclock to 3.0GHz the CPU gets too hot—55-65 C idle. Is there a proper way to tighten a CPU cooler for optimal performance?
Thermoelectric materials are common, but they’re not used as often as one would expect. This is because these materials have either been inefficient, expensive, or both. Several groups of researchers have been looking to correct this, and solve the mysteries that have been surrounding these compounds with a goal of bringing them to the world.
Mildred S. Dresselhaus is one of those looking to change the face of thermoelectric compounds. Working with her team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology she’s looking to create more efficient materials by manufacturing tiny particles or wires into them to disrupt the flow of head. These particles and wires would make the materials that are already great conductors much more competent at dispersing heat.
Professor Peidong Yang’s team at the University of California at Berkely is searching for entirely new materials. While silicon isn’t a great thermoelectric material, once you look at it in nanoscale, things change. Silicon nanowires have been shown to be one hundred times more efficient at conserving energy than bulk silicon.
Where things really start to get interesting are at the University of Århus, Risø-DTU (say that three times fast) and the University of Copenhagen where they’ve unlocked a secret of certain thermoelectric compounds which might potentially help in developing more efficient materials.
There are several other teams working on pushing the technology of thermoelectric based compounds, and they’re looking to implement them in a multitude of places, including your PC.