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What is the difference between CPU cooler and heatsink?

Views: 250     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-11-16      Origin: Site

CPU cooler and CPU heatsink are components used for cooling the CPU module of a computer. Many may have questions about the difference between a CPU cooler and a CPU heatsink. Are they the same thing? This question will be answered today by Coolsolte, the manufacturer of CPU heatsinks, through this article.


CPU Cooler and CPU Heatsink are arguably the same. It just depends on who you ask. The heatsink is a component of CPU cooling. The heatsink is an aluminum (or copper, usually, the heatsink material is made of aluminum or copper) piece that sits under the CPU fan. CPU coolers are usually an aftermarket variant. If you buy a CPU in a box, it comes with a heatsink and fan. This component is designed to keep the CPU cool in stock/default or slightly overclocked environments. Aftermarket variants are designed to keep your CPU cool under high loads, such as advanced OC levels. Water cooling offers better heat reduction/elimination but is more expensive and requires a clean installation.

cpu heatsink

On a different level of understanding, you can also distinguish between a CPU cooler and a CPU heatsink, which we generally think of as a CPU cooling combo module with fans and cooling fins or a cooling module with fans and heat pipes. This means that the CPU heatsink is more of a CPU cooling module. CPU cooler can also refer to the cooling fan alone, so if we understand it at this level, there is a difference between the CPU cooler and CPU heatsink. But more people agree with the first understanding. They are the same thing.


What is a CPU heatsink?

A heatsink is a piece of metal that sits on top of a computer chip (such as a CPU) and draws energy from the component through a set of heat sinks. Heat sinks themselves are passive. They have no moving parts. However, in most cases - especially desktop CPUs and GPUs - the heatsink is combined with a fan that blows hot air away or a liquid cooling solution that carries heat through a duct.


Heat sinks must close contact with the heat source to maximize cooling. Heat sinks use thermal conductors to transfer heat into a heatsink with a large surface area, thus spreading the heat throughout the computer. Interestingly - and logically - a heatsink is a heat sink.


How CPU heat sinks work

CPU heat sinks work by moving heat away from critical components. Almost all radiators accomplish this task through four basic steps.

For more details, you can check our previous article, "How does a CPU heat sink work?"


If you have any other questions about the CPU heatsink or need a custom CPU heatsink, please contact Coolsolte, the CPU heatsink manufacturer.


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