Coding Horror

programming and human factors

My Giant Heatsink Fetish

One side effect of building quiet PCs is that you tend to develop a giant heatsink fetish.

CPU and northbridge heatsinks on the Asus P5B Deluxe motherboard

From left to right:

It pains me to replace the northbridge cooling on the Asus P5B Deluxe, which already includes a luxe heatpipe and radiator arrangement. But it wasn't working for me-- I had serious overheating problems very specific to the northbridge.

I guess that's not too surprising if you consider that modern Intel northbridges dissipate almost 20 watts under load.* For comparison, Intel CPUs didn't dissipate more than 20 watts under load until the introduction of the Pentium II 450 in 1998.

* more like 30+ watts if you're using the craptacular integrated graphics on some motherboards.

Written by Jeff Atwood

Indoor enthusiast. Co-founder of Stack Overflow and Discourse. Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. Find me here: