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CPU heatsinks - Best performance through low temperatures

One of the decisive factors for the smooth operation of your servers and workstations is the cooling of the installed hardware. High temperatures can lead to loss of performance, malfunctions and, in the worst case, even to system failure due to the destruction of sensitive components. Processors in particular react very sensitively to thermal overload, which is why special CPU heatsinks are used for the heart of the system.

Choosing the right CPU heatsink - What do you need to consider?

With the development of new processor generations, the maximum power consumption (TDP) has increased constantly due to the increase in clock frequencies and the higher number of processor cores. Therefore, when selecting a suitable processor heat sink, it is essential to pay attention to this value in addition to compatibility with the mainboard and CPU socket. If CPU heatsinks are not sufficiently dimensioned for the required cooling capacity, there is no immediate danger of a defect, but the CPU's protective functions can throttle the clock frequency at an increased operating temperature (thermal throttling), which results in a loss of performance.

Design and function - How does a CPU heatsink work?

Most processors are equipped with a heatspreader to transfer the heat generated to a larger surface and to protect the semiconductor chip (die). Good thermal conductivity enables the heat to be transferred efficiently to the heatsink mounted above it.

High-quality CPU coolers usually consist of a copper base that rests on the processor and cooling fins or fins made of aluminium to increase the surface area. The absorbed waste heat is released into the ambient air via these fins. This design is called a hybrid cooler and benefits from both the excellent thermal conductivity of copper and the price advantage of aluminium.

Heat pipes are predominantly used for effective heat transport to the cooling fins. These thin copper pipes are filled with a liquid operating medium, which evaporates when the heat is absorbed in the area of the base plate of the cooler. As it rises in the heat pipe, the temperature is transferred to the fins, the vapour condenses and the liquid flows back towards the processor.

ServerShop24 - Second-hand CPU heatsinks for your server systems

Servers from various manufacturers such as Dell, HP and Fujitsu usually require processor coolers that are matched to the respective housing and mainboard. Since these important and robust components are not subject to any significant wear and tear, the purchase of used CPU heat sinks is a good idea here. In our online shop for used servers, server parts and accessories you will find a large selection of high-quality heatsinks for many server models from well-known manufacturers. With over 10 years of experience, we are your reliable supplier for carefully tested used goods that both fully meet your requirements and are easy on your budget. Benefit from our extensive stock and fast dispatch of your order. Our customer service is available to answer your questions in a friendly and competent manner, contact us and we will take care of your request.

CPU heatsinks with proven technology - air cooling and its variants

To ensure constant cooling of the processor, the heat absorbed by the CPU cooler must be reliably dissipated to the ambient air in the chassis. A distinction is made between different variants, which can be used depending on the enclosure design and the performance of the system.

With passive cooling, the heat sink absorbs the heat from the processor and slowly releases it into the air without further support. This simplest form of cooling, based on thermal convection, is not suitable for high-performance servers and workstations due to its physical limitations and is hardly ever used there today.

In contrast, a significantly higher cooling capacity for high-performance systems can be achieved with active cooling. With the help of a fan mounted on the processor heat sink, a strong air flow is generated and passed directly through the fins of the heatsink. This improves the heat transfer to the air considerably and even very powerful CPUs can be cooled appropriately, in this case it is called forced convection.

Semi-passive cooling combines these two variants and is widely used in the server segment. Here, the already existing air flow, which is generated by several powerful chassis fans in the server, is used to cool the processor. The heat sink is positioned in such a way that the fins and cooling fins are aligned parallel to the air flow and are exposed to it. To enhance this effect, additional air conduction elements are often installed in the server case, which direct the air flow specifically to the CPU heatsink.

Thermal compound - An often underestimated factor

Depending on the mainboard and CPU socket, the mounting systems with which CPU heatsinks are mounted on the motherboard vary. The goal, however, is always to create the most extensive contact possible between the heatspreader and the heatsink. However, since the metal surfaces here still have minimal unevenness despite precise machining, a heat-conducting paste is applied before mounting the heat sink.

By applying this paste, the resulting cavities between the surfaces are filled and bridged, which significantly reduces the thermal resistance. To further improve thermal conductivity, many thermal conductive pastes contain additional components such as aluminium, graphite or copper. In principle, however, any type of thermal paste can fulfil its task, because the thermal conductivity of the air in the resulting cavities is in any case significantly lower.
Therefore, the correct handling when applying and an even application of the paste is usually more important than the composition. When dosing, it is important to apply enough thermal paste to even out any unevenness, but not to unnecessarily increase the distance between the CPU and the heatsink.