Cooling a gaming PC: tips, knowledge and a focus on CPU coolers

Our special is about cooling your gaming PC. Especially in the summertime and in view of climate change, which is likely to cause more and more hot days, one or the other will certainly want to cool their PC effectively but also quietly and give their PC the label “cool” for reasons other than optics or performance ” miss. We therefore explain things worth knowing about cooling a PC with a focus on CPU cooling. Because when cooling the CPU, you can easily ensure better temperatures with a new CPU cooler, but also with other, more or differently placed fans. At the end of the special we offer two market overviews: classic CPU air coolers in tower design and all-in-one water coolers for CPUs.

A PC consumes around 300 to 500 watts when playing games, depending on the equipment, strong high-end systems with overclocked components even more. In our electricity consumption special from the previous week we explained a lot on the subject, including the calculation of electricity costs and an overview of efficient power supplies.

Wherever a PC performs computing work, heat is also generated, and the more gaming power you want, the more energy and thus heat can be generated. Especially in summer it can happen that the ventilation of a PC has to accelerate when playing, and if you are unlucky, you may even have to experience that the PC switches itself off as a precaution or at least lowers the clock rates of the CPU or graphics card to avoid overheating .

Make PC cooler – but how?

What can be done to prevent the components of the PC from getting so warm? Many of the energy-saving tips from the Electricity Special mentioned also have an effect on heat and are therefore worth a look. One of the measures is to lower the clock or voltage of the CPU and graphics cards, with lowering the clock values ​​being the simpler measure. Depending on the mainboard, the standard clock or the maximum boost clock of the CPU can be lowered in the BIOS or with tools. Of course, it then works more slowly, but consumes less energy and thus generates less waste heat.

Some dust has settled between the cooling fins here, which can reduce the efficiency of the cooling.

Source: Antonio Funes

With many graphics cards, it is possible to set target values ​​for the clock, the power requirement or the GPU temperature using driver software or tools. All of this has the consequence that, at least with the maximum values, clock rates are no longer quite as high, or that the graphics card does not work permanently at high clock rates. With a tool like the MSI Afterburner, the maximum boost clock can also be reduced across the board. Many modern graphics cards also have two operating modes anyway, which can be selected either using a tool or using a selector switch directly on the graphics card: a quiet mode with a lower clock and an OC mode with a higher clock. If the latter is active, the clock values ​​can be reduced with the quieter mode. Of course, lowering the clock values ​​of the CPU and/or graphics card lowers the FPS values ​​that the PC achieves in the end – it is important that you have enough FPS left for your requirements.

Another tip: Your PC may need an intensive cleaning, see our corresponding spring cleaning special. Because dusty coolers and fans are less efficient. Refreshing the thermal paste can also help if you haven’t done so for more than two years. There are also things to consider that are only indirectly related to the pc. The PC should be in a place that doesn’t get too much sunlight. It is also important that it is not too narrow around the PC. Above all, the PC must be able to draw in fresh air from the front, and the warm air must have enough space to flow outwards from the warmed-up side parts and backwards on the back of the PC, with a tendency to flow upwards. A gaming PC has no place in a desk compartment that fits the PC perfectly.

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