Passive, active, liquid, ventilated cooling… You’re building your computer or want to change the cooling system to make it more efficient, but you’re not familiar with these terms. In this article you will discover different ways to cool your computer, their advantages and disadvantages. At the end of your reading, you will know how to make your choice and choose the best cooling system for your PC.
Cooling for your desktop PCs
A desktop computer has the advantage of having a large housing: the tower. This allows an optimal arrangement of the heating elements (processor, graphics card, etc.) so that the heat is dissipated in the best possible way. Cooling your computer properly will prevent it from aging prematurely. Cooling by ventilation This is the most common method of cooling. Each heating element is cooled by a fan that moves the warm air. Passive cooling All heating elements are topped by a radiator that dissipates the heat: maximum silence and no energy consumption. Not all elements can be cooled in such a way, e.g. large processors heat up too much and passive cooling is out of the question. Water cooling (watercooling) Almost completely silent, watercooling requires a minimal investment (from around 50 euros). The components of your computer are cooled by water moving in a closed circuit.
Cooling for laptops
A laptop is a very hot device. Indeed, all its components are very close together and emit heat that must be destroyed. Unlike other computers, cooling solutions are very limited: watercooling, for example, is not conceivable since the available space does not allow its installation. An active notebook cooler A notebook cooler (usually called a notebook cooler) is an external solution to improve the cooling of computer components. A cooler comes in the form of a tablet that consists of one or more fans: the tablet is positioned under the computer and plugs into a USB port. You can buy coolers from €30 in all specialist shops. A heat sink Like the cooler, the heat sink is in the form of a shelf that is positioned under the computer. However, the heatsink is a totally passive element, it does not contain any fan: it is only a perforated aluminium plate that improves heat exchange.
You can find heatsinks starting at 10€ in all specialist shops. (Prices recorded in June 2011). If you often move your laptop around, we recommend the heatsink which is more easily transportable (flexible and less heavy). If you want to cool your computer as much as possible, then you should choose an active cooler (but which consumes energy: the autonomy decreases if the computer is not connected to the mains).