The Importance of CPU Cooling
Consider heating a pin until its red hot and dropping it onto your hand (Dont do this!). It will hurt. But, imagine if the same amount of heat had been added to a much larger metal object, such as an iron bar. The temperature of the larger object will increase far less, and you could comfortably hold it. The installation of the heatsink will allow the CPU die to dissipate heat by providing thermal contact between the CPU and the heatsink. Heat will be conducted from the die to the heatsink.
Cooling of the CPU is absolutely crucial, especially for the Athlon CPUs which arent designed to shut off if they overheat. Theyll just fry. This isnt a criticism of the Athlon. Dollar for dollar, I think its one of the best choices for a CPU.
Its considered almost impossible to fry a Pentium 4 processor, because theyre designed to shut down if uncooled. Ive been told that you can even remove the heatsink from a Pentium 4 while its running and it will shut down in time to prevent damage to the chip. Dont try this yourself! Even short periods of excess temperature greatly reduce the length of a CPUs life. More effective case cooling can significantly increase the life of your CPU.
Ideally, its good if a CPU can run at 100F or less. Higher temperatures shorten the CPUs life. If you install the heatsink properly, your PC will probably be fine. But, if youre interested, there are PC monitoring programs that will tell you the actual temperature of your CPU when its running. For example, a utility, called PC probe, which provides a temperature monitor, came with the Asus mainboard (see Figure 30). Similar programs are available from download.com.
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Version 1.0 - Version Date: May 4, 2005
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