GAMING DESKTOP PC COOLING
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PC COOLING?
Years ago, problems like how to cool the CPU in your PC simply were nonexistent. The manufacturers added a pre-made solution to the set, which most cases landed in the housing. This state of affairs did not last too long, especially when PCs became popular and stopped being made in its dull white-yellowish color variant. Today, the choice of cooling CPUs is so big, that you can simply get confused. Below are some options you may use when it comes to cooling your CPU.
Buying a CPU, in 95% of cases, will provide you with a cooler (radiator + fan) included in the box. The only exception is the systems with the letter K in the name from Intel, which are intended for overclocking, and Intel assumes that no-one will install a factory-made “fan-blade” on them anyway. For other processors, Intel adds a cooling system in the package, which unfortunately is not of the highest standards. The aluminum radiator connected to the fan has few advantages, it is relatively small so it is suitable for small cases and it is easy to mount or disassemble.
Unfortunately, the advantages end there and the user has to face a number of unpleasant problems. This includes, among other things, loud work during the load, which is directly related to the poor performance of the heat sink. In part, it is also influenced by the use of a bad cooling paste. You should consider if you want to stay on a ‘basic level’ of cooling or you’d like to spare a coin to get something much better at a relatively low price.
This isn’t really the case with the AMD processors. This company, alongside CPU, adds very decent cooling systems, which vary depending on the version of the processor acquired. In any case, their performance is adapted to the TDP (Thermal Design Power) of a given system, and the Ryzen 7 2700X model has a Wraith Prism LED cooler equipped with heat pipes, the Ryzen 7 2700 and Ryzen 5 2600X models are supplied with Wraith Spire cooling consisting of a copper core and a large aluminum fan. and other models use Wraith Stealth, which is entirely made of aluminum.
Thanks to quality and silent fans, in terms of cooling quality, AMD surpasses Intel by a lot. I bet that a large group of users of these processors will opt out of the purchase of an additional cooling system because the factory is more than enough. It starts to fail only when we intend to squeeze much more MHz from the processor than its specification specifies.
Cooling with air isn’t the only option
The most common choice when purchasing a more efficient cooling system is the so-called tower. These types of coolers usually consist of an aluminum or copper base, to which several heat pipes are mounted, which go up to the top, where they are combined with aluminum fins. The entire construction is cooled by one or more fans.
This is what the theory looks like, but in practice, individual models of coolers differ significantly. Starting from the base, in which the cheaper designs are made from aluminum and serve only to fix the copper heat pipes that are in contact with the processor. Through copper bases, which significantly support the absorption of heat energy, and ending with such coated nickel, for example, to limit the oxidation (savoring) of copper.
Heat pipes are made of copper. They are filled with a special liquid that evaporates at low temperature and thus transfers heat energy to the upper elements of the heat sink much better. Depending on the price and the assumed efficiency, the cooler has from 4 to even 8 heat pipes. The higher the number, the higher the efficiency, but also the price. The thermal pipes are slipped with aluminum fins, which are responsible for heat dissipation on the largest surface possible. In some coolers, fins are even soldered to tubes to improve conductivity. Here too, a simple rule applies, the more fins, the more efficiency.
Finally, the last element is the fan. Fan makes the heat disperse heat inside the computer case. Depending on the shape of the tower, the cooling manufacturers use one, two, and sometimes even three fans. The fans themselves can be different so assuming how many fans you need would end up making you even more confused. If you are looking for silence and high efficiency, then look at the construction that uses large fans. Structures with a diameter of 92mm or more are considered as such. Size matters, because the larger the fan, the rotational speed of its propellers may be smaller to pump air of a given volume.
Don’t be afraid of water cooling
Only a few years ago, computer cooling with liquid was associated with the most advanced technologies and specialists who had to invest a lot on this occasion. Today, water cooling can be bought and installed practically by everyone. Its installation does not differ much from the assembly of a large cooler on the CPU.
In the so-called all-in-one sets, we get a water block mounted on a processor with a built-in liquid pump. The whole is permanently connected to the cooler, depending on the cooler model, it can be 120 × 120 mm or 240 × 120 mm, which allows the installation of one or two 120 mm fans. An additional advantage of this solution is the fact that the radiator is usually mounted on the wall of the housing and the warm air is directly dispensed outside, which positively affects other components.
The downside of such sets is usually a fairly high price. In practice, it also turns out that they are not always more efficient than typical air cooling. However, they also have their own advantages such as silent work.
The ventilation of the PC case is just as important
Cooling your CPU or GPU makes no sense if the temperature inside your PC case is extremely hot. Right now, two things should be taken into account. First of all, we provide a uniform sequence, that is usually on the front of the housing, the air is pressed in, and on the back wall pulled out and pushed out of the interior. The second thing you should watch out for is the fact that the warm air tends to go upwards due to its decreased density. Thus, make sure that you can provide a proper air circulation across entire case. Modern PC cases usually have fans located on the top of the case as well.
In the end, you shouldn’t worry all too much. Nowadays, manufacturers are perfectly aware of the proper construction of various parts. The user only has to remember to do it in accordance with the proper instructions, and not assemble all the fans so that they press air into the housing.
What is RGB?
RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue. These are the three primary colours of the additive colour system. In lighting we encounter RGB for coloured lighting. RGB lighting enables you to create millions of different colours of light, all based on these three primary colours.
Additive versus subtractive colour system
The additive colour system is based on the mixing of different light colours. When two primary colours are mixed, you get a lighter colour. Mix the three primary colours (red, green and blue) and you will get white light. Unlike with paint, yellow is not a primary colour.
The best example of the additive colour system can be found in computer screens and televisions. Use a strong magnifying glass and you’ll notice that every pixel consists of a red, green and blue sub-pixel. By playing with the brightness of these sub-pixels, you can create any light colour.
The image below shows the mixing scheme of the additive colour system. It looks like this:
- Red + green = yellow
- Red + blue = magenta
- Blue + green = cyan
- Red + blue + green = white
The additive colour system is not to be confused with the subtractive colour system, which is used e.g. for print. This system is called ‘subtractive’ because less and less light is reflected when mixing colours, mixing results in darker colours. The primary colours of the subtractive colour system are cyan, magenta and yellow.
RGB lighting can form all colours, ranging from warm orange to cool blue. It is often used in LED strips. In RGB LED strips we distinguish three types:
- Classic RGB: a LED strip with triple diodes (red, green and blue on one diode). To form white light, the three diodes are used simultaneously. With these classic RGB the white light may contain traces of other colours. This white light will not have the same brightness as the white light of a true white LED.
- RGB+W: A LED strip with triple diodes (red, green and blue on one diode) and a separate white diode for pure white light. Because of the larger distance between the two diodes of the same colour, evenly distributed light is not guaranteed. With this type of RGB, the distinction between the different light beams will be easier to see.
- RGBW: A LED strip with quadruple diodes (red, green, blue and white on one diode). Provides nice evenly distributed lighting in any colour.