Summer heat is the season when you can’t escape from scorching sun. Although we never forget to take care of ourselves, we often neglect our PCs. And after such negligence you ask questions along the lines of "I have an awesome gaming card, a last generation CPU and a fashionable case, so why does a BSOD show up again?!" Well, everything is very simple as your computer has overheated and crashed. Will it restart? Who knows..

Why is PC Overheating Dangerous?

Other than the obvious consequences such as not passing a game level or ruining it in general, it can lead to physical crashing of your PC. In reality any module or even the system as a whole can be affected. Both the reversible and irreversible processes occur from the point of view of physics and electronics.

As for the irreversible ones, we’re talking about chemical processes when the internal restructuring of the molecule occurs due to a long or instant, but very sharp overheating. A graphic controller might as well become trash then. The reversible processes, in fact, are rarely fixed. When the board tracks melt and or the processor legs get separated, it is possible to fix the issue, but sometimes it might be quite unrealistic.

Even if you bought the assembled system unit and basic elements had already been equipped with radiators, it is still worth considering purchasing additional cooling equipment. Those radiators that are built-in the processors are not designed for extreme heat, for example, for playing top games on super-configuration.

Cooling Systems Types: Active Air and Passive Water Cooling

There are 2 basic types of cooling systems: active and passive. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll focus on in detail below. But I can immediately give advice from my personal experience: combine both systems unless you intend to use water-cooling in order to create a silent unit. Permanent air supply through the active ventilation system and the subsequent cooling of the water is much more effective than the use of each of these systems alone.

How to Pick a Cooling System?

Or, simply put, how to pick a cooler? This is the most popular and easy system which consists of a heat sink and a fan. To maximize the profit you need to use it on every "hot" item there is, such as the CPU, graphic card, hard drive and another 2-3 devices of the PC itself. The whole point of its performance and the idea behind the technology is very simple: as great volumes of air as possible are moved inside the PC. This works a lot like a regular fan. After all, it does not actually cool the air. The larger cooler and the higher the rate of speed of its blades (RPM) is, the better the cooling.

how to pick a cooling system

At the same time, the radiator is working too. The materials of which the CPU is made, not very well cooled because of technological peculiarities. Modern crystals contain a few dozens of millions of transistors, and they are all very well heated. A radiator increases the heat transfer area, and thanks to its plates distributes heat to the environment, where a fan is working.

When picking a cooler here are the things to pay attention too:

  1. The fan size: the bigger, the better.

  2. Its blades: their ability to supply air, proper bend.

  3. The revolutions: the more, the better.

  4. The radiator size: the bigger, the better.

  5. The number and thickness of the plates - more and thinner the plates are, the better.

The advantages of active cooling

The disadvantages of active cooling

Low cost

High noise level

Straightforward mounting

Complicated service

Criteria for Passive Water Cooling

Of course, there is also passive "dry" cooling with individual radiators, but it is so inefficient that we will not even consider it for powerful gaming PCs.

As a rule, perfectionist gamers aim for passive cooling. The former seek the holy Grail and attempt to lower the noise level emitted by the CPU to zero, that is to achieve absolute silence. For that purpose SSD disks are installed in order to get rid of HDD squeaking. The fans are also eliminated. I have even once met a maniac who replaced the ON/OFF button with a sensor one so that nothing would tap.

The latter either open the PC or order a plexiglass case, install neon backlighting, add colored water into the cooling system and end up having really beautiful devices.

 Passive Water Cooling

Here are the things to take into account when opting for passive water cooling:

  1. The level of workmanship and condition after transportation as there must be no scratches

  2. The pump power and noise level. If the system is too powerful for your needs, then you’re wasting money. A huge pump will make much noise.

The advantages of passive cooling

The disadvantages of passive cooling

Higher effectiveness

High cost

Absence of noise

Depressurization risk

NB: Do not forget about thermal grease!

This isn’t a separate type of cooling, it’s an addition to both types covered above. Thermal grease is to be used when planting radiators in the CPUs. This will, firstly, guarantee better grip, and secondly, it helps to reduce temperature significantly enough. Decent like thermal grease, such as Arctic Silver 5 AS5-3.5G Thermal Paste is very affordable. Moreover, this is a #1 Bestseller in the Computer Heat-Sinks category.


Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO – The Best CPU Cooler

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO: photo

Cooler Master is named so not in vain, as proven and tested by years of use and thousands of satisfied customers. Here before you is the #1 Best Seller in the Computer CPU Cooling Fans category which has over 5400 customers’ reviews.

The contact area of the radiator and the fan is well-designed for the end user – it is obvious that the company invested much time and resources in calculations and test models.

Also, when picking such radiators, make sure that the tube contact spots are located on a single place and that they don’t draw a line between a copper and aluminum part of the unit. Long story short, the radiators should resemble this very item.

Yet another advantage is the straightness of the tubes themselves. This is a great choice for a reasonable price.

Price: Check the current price

Cooler Master SickleFlow 120 - Sleeve Bearing 120mm Blue LED Silent Fan for Computer Cases, CPU Coolers, and Radiators – The Best Cooler For a Case

Cooler Master SickleFlow 120: photo

Here we go again, this is a #1 Bestseller by Cooler Master in the Computer Case Fans category. The design is great, the blades are curved in a geometrically correct manner, the backlighting is blue and pleasant, and the revolution speed is also excellent. Read over 3700 customer reviews to be sure of that. What is exceptionally great is that you’ll have to rarely replace the grease.

Price: Check the current price

Sabrent USB 2.0/ESATA TO 3.5 Inch IDE or SATA/SATA II Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure Case with Cooling Fan (EC-UEIS7) – The Best HDD Cooler

The Best HDD Cooler: photo

In general, HDD doesn’t heat too much. However, if the CPU is overheated or if you simply strive for better performance, it is unforgivable to neglect HDD cooling. You’ll say adieu to your data if it gets overheated and crashes. This cooling system will do for both external and internal use.

If you’re placing it inside the case, prepare the place beforehand. The device is quite voluminous. The aluminum shell acts both as a protective shield and a diffuser. The built-in fan is responsible for cooling. The case doesn’t affect data transmission speed.

Price: Check the current price

Corsair Hydro Series H110i GTX Cooling – The Best Water Cooling System

The Best Water Cooling System: photo

Let me immediately specify that today this system is the best from the performance point of view as well as in terms of good value for money. It’s quite behind in terms of silent performance as there are 2 fans installed on the radiator through which the water is pumped.

The design is also far from being top-class. It has regular black hoses and similar plates. But this is a truly best option for cooling at an affordable price.

Price: Check the current price


You have to worry about proper heating of your PC well beforehand, before it becomes too late. Do install proper cooling equipment, replace thermal grease regularly and clean the case from the dust habitually. If you have a laptop, check out our review of the best cooling laptop stands as the laptops have to be taken care of too!