Studying for the A+, Network+ or Security+ exams? Get over 2,600 pages of FREE study guides at CertiGuide.com!
Join the PC homebuilding revolution! Read the all-new, FREE 200-page online guide: How to Build Your Own PC!
NOTE: Using robot software to mass-download the site degrades the server and is prohibited. See here for more.
Find The PC Guide helpful? Please consider a donation to The PC Guide Tip Jar. Visa/MC/Paypal accepted.
Take a virtual vacation any time at DesktopScenes.com - view my art photos online for FREE in either Flash or HTML!

[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | The Processor | Processor Physical Characteristics | Processor Cooling ]

Active vs. Passive Heat Sinks

While it may seem that an active heat sink is "obviously" better than a passive one, it is not always this simple. An active heat sink does in theory cool better than a passive one in a typical system. However, many large hardware manufacturers, even top-rated companies, use passive heat sinks even on high-end machines, because they have certain advantages over CPU fans:

  • They are not prone to failure the way CPU fans are. Failed active heat sinks can mean very quick processor overheating, but if there is no fan, there is nothing to stop working.
  • They are usually larger or can be made larger than the heat sinks that are used with fans.
  • They are cheaper, sometimes by a decent amount. (Think about how many other ways system manufacturers are willing to cut corners to save a few dollars on the cost of a system, and here there is no drawback if it is done properly).

In addition, newer systems using the ATX form factor motherboard and case already have a (much larger) power supply fan blowing over the processor. If a good-sized passive heat sink is used, the power supply fan often provides enough air flow to ensure adequate cooling. In a standard AT system this is rarely the case however because the design is totally different.

Next: Heat Sink Compound / Paste


Home  -  Search  -  Topics  -  Up

The PC Guide (http://www.PCGuide.com)
Site Version: 2.2.0 - Version Date: April 17, 2001
Copyright 1997-2004 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.

Not responsible for any loss resulting from the use of this site.
Please read the Site Guide before using this material.
Custom Search