Subject: Passive/active
By: Nelj (IP: 195.93.21.*)
Written on: 23-02-2006 00:40

Hello people,

New to building PC's & just about to buy an Xeon processor, but was presented with either passive or active heatsink options. Can anyone tell me what the difference is & whether I will still need to buy a CPU fan? If so, what type of fan for which type of heatsink would I need?

Thanks in advance....

By: 99newbeetlegls (IP: 68.178.8.*)
Written on: 24-02-2006 02:50

In a nutshell...

Active has a fan as an integrated part of the heatsink - Passive is fanless.

Pros and cons...

Active is adding another fan noise source to your computer but will probably keep your cpu cooler, and are usually take up less space than passive...

If going passive I recommend you make sure you have a good heatsink and very good airflow and ventilation in your case going across the heatsink to carry away excess heat buildup... and also make sure you can fit the cooler in without having clearance issues as some can get pretty large.
By: Tillmann (IP: 84.58.146.*)
Written on: 25-02-2006 20:46


a passive heatsink is one without a fan, an active heatsink one with a fan. Almost all modern high-performance CPUs (including the Xeon) will require an active heatsink. Cooling these CPUs with a passive heatsink is only possible if very well-designed case cooling is used, e.g. with a fan duct.

"CPU fan" is often used (incorrectly) to refer to a heatsink/fan combination (active heatsink). Buying an active heatsink is usually cheaper than buying a passive heatsink and a fan separately; plus you are sure that the supplied fan is suitable for that particular heatsink.

Buy a good active heatsink that is specified for the CPU type you're using. Xeon fans can be expensive due to the lower production volume. Therefore, buying a "boxed" CPU that comes bundled with a decent active heatsink may provide a better value. The disadvantage with Intel's "boxed" CPU coolers is that they are sometimes quite loud, compared to good aftermarket products. However, in the case of a server (which I suppose you are building) this may not be an issue.

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