Where is the Heat of Your Computer Coming From ?


Found this topic from Superuser to be interesting, “What makes a computer overheat ?” Rather than answering the same question all over again, I would like to talk about where is the heat coming from at first place.

It’s summer now, obviously nobody like to working at hot environments, depends on where you live and what kind computer you’re working with, to keep your computer cool, not only will have a direct benefits to you but also extends the length of your hardware. 488


If you have a desktop, chances are there are multiple components will operating at different temperatures.


Some people might have preconceptions that the CPU is the main components generating heat off your computer. Well it’s time to take this thoughts back, true some times some CPU do tend to reach very high temperature close to 90 degree Celsius or over, but most modern CPUs tend to have lower and lower idle and max temperatures.

2 Key Point Determines How Much Heat a CPU is Generating

Number one the amount of power draws (in Watts), the second is the type of technology a CPU is build on (transistor size, give you an idea Sandy Bridge Intel’s new Core i series uses 32 nm processors). Have you ever wondered why the iPad/iPhone or any modern mobile devices doesn’t require a CPU fan or heat shrink ? They too have a CPU inside, just like a minify version of a computer. The main reason is the amount of power it draws from CPU was nothing compare to a real desktop/laptop. The size of transistors also contributes to how much heat is generated during computations. In another words, how much energy is wasted during calculations from millions of semiconductor inside your CPU. The main job semiconductor does is to stop/allow electric flow, and this is how the heat is generated from electrons.

Graphics Cards

Very similar to CPU, basically if you have dedicated GPU, those works exactly like CPU and often times they generate more heat than your main CPU does. Especially if you’re a heavy computer gamer. Most of the mainstream graphics cards, the technology in terms of processor architecture is always just a little behind the CPU. Hence it tend to generate more heat, also due to the lack of heat shrinks to efficiently reduce the heat off the narrow boards from the motherboard.

Hard Drives

We’ve talked about how important it is to keep your hard drive cool before, a very detailed article discuses how it benefits and how you can keep your hard drive cool. If you are interested be sure to check that out as well.

Power Supplier

This is something we’ve never talked about here before. A decent power supplier can cost you up to 100 dollars, in terms of how much heat a power supplier generates can also by very. Sometimes this piece of hardware is the single heat spot of your entire system. From my own personal experience all the branded PC manufactures tend to give you poor power supplier, this is the least piece of hardware people will pay attention as for as performance is concerned. If you wish to have a cooler system, consider to upgrade to a higher efficiency power supplier.

Let us know in the comments below how you like about this kind knowledge based topics 🙂



  1. Outdated info on hard drives temperature vs. reliability. The large scale study done by Google (PDF) actually tended to show a somewhat inverse relationship (within limits) from what was expected in this area, i.e. cooler hard drives had higher failure rates than warmer ones (operating within the specified temp limits at least.) Quote: “Contrary to previously reported results, we found very little correlation between failure rates and either elevated temperature or activity levels.”

    See section 3.4 of the Google study PDF for details. (This PC World article provides an overview of that study’s surprising results.)


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