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Fan Failure / Over-Temperature Alarms
As mentioned in the section on active heat sinks, failure of the CPU fan can lead to rapid overheating of the system. To combat this problem, companies have invented devices intended to detect this situation and warn the user, who can take action to correct it before the heat becomes a problem.
These devices usually work in one of two ways. One type monitors the electrical level on the power line supplying the CPU fan, directly detecting if the fan fails. If it does, an audible alarm is sounded. The other type uses a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the processor. If the temperature exceeds a certain threshold value, an audible alarm is sounded. This is sometimes also called an over-temperature alarm, and is more robust than the other kind since it will warn you of any condition that might be causing the processor to overheat, not just fan failure.
Note: These devices can cost
more than a good quality active heat sink itself, so they are typically only used by those
for whom system failure is a major concern. Also, putting this sort of protection on a
cheap $5 CPU fan is probably kind of silly compared to just spending a few dollars more to
get a good one.
Next: Processor Packaging