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

Peltier Coolers

For those that are serious about processor cooling, there is a heavy-duty solution for keeping the processor at a comfortable operating temperature. These devices are called Peltier coolers, named after the Peltier effect, the scientific principle that explains how they function.

In a nutshell, the Peltier cooler works like a tiny "air conditioner" for your processor, except it is a solid state air conditioner that works without any liquids or compressors. A Peltier device pumps heat from one of its sides to the other, so one is cool and the other warm. The cool side is placed next to the processor, and the warm side has a heat sink attached to it. In this way heat is constantly pumped away from the surface of the CPU.

The Peltier cooler is the best form of processor cooling currently available. It keeps the processor at a low temperature, and since the Peltier cooler does not use moving parts, it is not subject to failure the way CPU fans are. Of course this performance comes at a cost, and these devices are more expensive than other cooling options. They can also be complicated to set up, and if done incorrectly, can cause problems or even equipment failure. For most people, the Peltier cooler is overkill and not worth the extra money (or hassle). These devices are popular amongst those who engage in overclocking, who run their systems over their rated speed specs and therefore have more heat problems than the average user.

Next: Fan Failure / Over-Temperature Alarms


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