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Basic CPU Cooler Considerations
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Unless a CPU is an OEM component bought separately (not pre-installed in a ready-built system), the CPU will probably already have a stock cooler that is rated to work specifically with that model CPU. Aftermarket CPU Coolers can typically provide better cooling performance, which is why many computer builders replace their stock coolers. When choosing an aftermarket CPU Cooler, two basic features need to be considered.
Currently, there are two major CPU manufacturers: Intel and AMD. In addition to providing similar, but different technologies, their components also have different specifications. A CPU Cooler that is rated for an Intel CPU may not offer enough cooling for an AMD CPU. Also consider that both AMD and Intel require different attachment configurations for their Coolers due to differing motherboard configurations. Finally, both manufacturers offer several lines of CPUs that have different cooling needs. Therefore, an Intel Core i7 processor will need more performance cooling than an Intel Atom. Ensure that the CPU Cooler is compatible before purchasing by checking the packaging for compatible CPU models.
CPU Coolers come in all shapes and sizes. As such, it’s important to ensure that the CPU Cooler will fit inside the computer system it’s going to cool. This is especially important in small form factor cases. The CPU Cooler should not be so tall that it comes into contact with the side panel or any attached fans. On the other hand, it should provide enough clearance for other onboard components. For instance, the memory modules may have heatsinks that may extend into and interfere with wide, low profile CPU Coolers.