Heat sink 5G
Although the term heat sink probably isn't one most people think of when they hear the word computer , it should be. Without heat sinks, modern computers couldn't run at the speeds they do. Just as you cool down with a cold bottle of Gatorade after a high impact workout, heat sinks cool down your computer's processor after it runs multiple programs at once. And without a quality heat sink, your computer processor is at risk of overheating, which could destroy your entire system, costing you hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
But what exactly is a heat sink and how does it work? Simply put, a heat sink is an object that disperses heat from another object. They're most commonly used in computers, but are also found in cell phones , DVD players and even refrigerators. In computers, a heat sink is an attachment for a chip that prevents the chip from overheating and, in modern computers, it's as important as any other component.
If you aren't very tech-savvy, think of the heat sink like a car radiator. The same way a radiator draws heat away from your car's engine, a heat sink draws heat away from your computer's central processing unit (CPU). The heat sink has a thermal conductor that carries heat away from the CPU into fins that provide a large surface area for the heat to dissipate throughout the rest of the computer, thus cooling both the heat sink and processor. Both a heat sink and a radiator require airflow and, therefore, both have fans built in.
Before the 1990s, heat sinks were usually only necessary in large computers where the heat from the processor was a problem. But with the introduction of faster processors, heat sinks became essential in almost every computer because they tended to overheat without the aid of a cooling mechanism.
On the next page we'll take a look at some different types of heat sinks, as well as the scientific principles that explain how they work.
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