Ed. note: This article was originally published in Atomic: Maximum Power Computing by Asher Moses.
Around three years ago, a chunk of aluminium with a small fan was all that was required to cool your processor. This was mainly because overclocking was not as popular or as easily done as it is today, and the heat older CPUs produced was also quite low.
Now three years later, much has changed. Overclocking has risen tremendously in popularity with whole publications devoted to teaching consumers how to squeeze as much performance out of their processors as possible. This obviously resulted in a demand for more effective heatsink designs to not only cater for the overclocking community, but just to cope with the heat produced by today's CPUs.
This in turn created a huge market niche, with new heatsinks popping up everyday, each with a unique and innovative design. While most of these heatsinks have been made out of either aluminium or copper, some companies have gone to extremes and produced heatsinks made out of silver and in some instances gold. With so many heatsinks available, it is tough to make a decision on which to purchase.