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I love the heat at the beginning of the year!

Finally, winter has come. The time has come when it is necessary to seriously think about cooling computers. In magazines, the topic of computer cooling is raised, as a rule, every spring. The logic is simple: users get hot, and they begin to think primarily not about themselves, but about their best friend. But in fact, the need for cooling the computer is weakly dependent on the time of year. Of course, in the summer the problem of cooling is somewhat more acute, but in the end, even in the harshest winter, the user does not work at the computer in a sheepskin coat. At least if he does not live in Primorye.

The need for cooling does not arise on a calendar basis, but when a large amount of heat is released in a small volume. Now is the time to think about cooling because recently the power of modern computers has increased significantly. And first of all, naturally, consumed, part of which will inevitably be converted into heat. Without decent cooling, most computer nodes do not want to work either in summer or in winter. Moreover, the radical advice “do not overclock the system” does not help. Modern systems and in normal mode emit more than more heat.

The hottest friend
The most powerful source of heat in a computer, of course, is the processor. Since the dimensions of the processor are very small, it is clear that the processor is the very first contender for “personal cooling”.

There are no less rumors about the processor as the central element of a computer than about any movie star. According to one of the myths, AMD is the “hottest” product. It is believed that due to the elevated temperature, AMD processors are unreliable, and Duron processors generally burn out if you turn them on without a heat sink. Truth, as always, is concrete. Issues of “internal combustion” processors, we will consider a little later. But the amount of heat generated directly depends on the power consumed by the processor. For example, the most common (far from the newest) processors really consume very impressive power.

As you can see from the table, the struggle for our “hot recognition” between Intel and AMD is with varying success. Moreover, which is typical, the processor from AMD K6-III clearly “does not reach” the Intel Pentium III in terms of performance, but it does consume less power. The AMD Athlon processor is faster than the Intel Pentium III, but it is noticeably more gluttonous and, therefore, “hotter” than the Pentium. If we take the most modern processors, then the Intel Pentium IV processor is the champion in terms of contribution to global warming on our planet. Nothing can be done: to do any work, you need to spend some energy. Thus, the amount of heat generated by the processor depends not so much on the manufacturer, but on the processor performance.

Modern processors contain millions of transistors operating in switching mode. The bulk of the energy of the power source is spent on the transition of transistors from one steady state to another. That is why the amount of heat generated is determined by the processor performance.

There are very simple, cost-effective means of cooling the processor – the so-called “soft fans” (soft cooler). Their essence is as follows: for a while, while the operating system does not perform useful work, the processor can be stopped. Millions of transistors will stop switching. Accordingly, the consumed energy is sharply reduced, and the processor is cooled at this time. All serious operating systems do this: Windows NT, Windows 2000, Linux, FreeBSD. But that is not what Windows 9x does. This gap is filled by the “software fans”: CPU Idle, CPU Cool and many others. One should not rely especially on the cooling capacity of such “fans”, as well as on the built-in capabilities of operating systems. This is still not a means to cool the processor, but a means of saving energy. I do not think that anything terrible will happen if, as a result of overheating, the computer “freezes” at the moment when no one is working with it. The stable operation of the computer at a time when nobody needs it is clearly not the main indicator. It is necessary to intensively cool the processor precisely when it is busy with intensive work. And this is impossible without the use of real radiators and fans.

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