What is a heatspreader?

[COLOR=black]Last week we looked at what a heatpipe was. A heatspreader works in a similar way, but with memory modules. In a simple explanation, a heatspreader is an external cover for memory modules to help dissipate heat. Like heatpipes, they are usually made from copper, or in some cases, aluminium.

The way that they are attached are generally by using a conductive adhesive or with some kind of clips. If for some reason you would need to take the heatspreader(s) off of the memory modules, clips are the easies option. The adhesive is a lot harder to remove but does take the pressure away from memory chips.

Unlike heatpipes, heatspreaders generally have no where to go as the heat dissipates from the memory modules but isn’t attached to anything else for the heat to travel along.

There are many different designs as you can see from the picture above. Many manufacturer’s prefer a standard heatspreader such as G.Skill and Crucial Ballistix. Other brands includes holes and grooves to increase the surface area which results in cooler temperatures.

In extreme cases you will find memory modules such as the Corsair Dominator and OCZ Repear sets of memory will have a heatsink design with fins to give the best possibly cooling around. These modules will typically function at a higher voltage (VDIMM) setting.


[COLOR=#84878e][FONT=Tahoma][COLOR=black]You will also find that because of how hot these particular modules get, a heatsink or heatspreader isn’t enough and require a fan for the best possible results, especially when overclocking.[/FONT][/COLOR][/COLOR]


Attached files

ballistix.jpg (19 KB)  dominator.jpg (27.3 KB)  dominatorfan.jpg (22.7 KB)  heatspreader.jpg (8 KB) 

What is the difference between DVD+R and DVD-R?

This is quite a common question asked around the internet, so here is the answer.

First things first, no single company “owns” DVD.

Secondly, there are two ways of answering this question.

The Commercial Answer

The two competing technologies use different formats, hence the name -R and +R. Sounds simple enough?

DVD-R/RW (based on CD-RW technology) was developed by Pioneer.

DVD+R/RW (also based on CD-RW technology) is supported by Sony, Philips, HP, Dell, Ricoh, Yamaha, among others. The format/technology has recently been endorsed by Microsoft.

Technical Answer

DVD-R only allows one layer where DVD+R is a dvd disc that allows multiple layers for one disc.

Users will argue blue in the face by defending one of the two formats but niether of them will become the standard because they are both here to stay.

Multi layer DVD+R can allow extra capacity per disc than DVD-R. Of course there is a higher premium on the disc, so be prepared to pay a little bit more.

The Pros and Cons



Better compatibility for DVD playback with home DVD players.


Older technology meaning that faster media is brought out, but the burning technology is slower. You will normally see DVD burners that support faster speed DVD+R and slower speed DVD-R.



Faster speeds
Double Layer discs (8.5 GB)


Less compatibility with home DVD players.
More expensive in some cases.

What is overclocking?

Overclocking involves changing your computer system’s hardware settings to work at a faster speed than the manufacturer initially intended.

This generally involves changing the motherboard bus speed, the CPU speed, or both. This practice has become highly popular among gamers, modders and general PC enthusiasts.

CPU’s are normally tested by the manufacturer (AMD, Intel etc…) to see what speed they fail at. Once they have a clear indication of this, they are rated at a speed one step lower than this.

Sometimes, when manufacturers are short on stock, they package faster chips as slower ones. Overclockers see this as a windfall, meaning they get something better than they expected.

By overclocking the system bus, it can create a noticeable improvement on the whole system because all of the components will run faster. If you only overclock the CPU, you will not get the same increase in overall system performance.

To some, overclocking is a hobby, and enthusiasts spend hundreds on air, water or ice cooling to get the best results possible. To others, it is noted as a cheap but effective upgrade.

You must bear in mind that by overclocking any of your computer equipment, you will be surrendering any warranty from the manufacturer of your components.

Overclocking is commonly seen on CPU’s and RAM, but GPU’s (graphics cards) can be overclocked as well, normally using Windows based applications.

CPU overclocking is generally performed in the system’s BIOS, although Windows overclocking applications are available but are considered not to be as powerful and effective as BIOS overclocking.

Be sure to check out the Cooling and Overclocking section on our forums.

Attached files

overclocking.jpg (5.6 KB) 

What is a heatpipe?


[COLOR=#000000][FONT=Tahoma][COLOR=black]Heatpipes are pipes (usually made from copper) which can quickly transfer large quantities of heat from one point to another. They are normally used as a pathway for heat to travel from the core to a large dissipation surface area such as fins in a heatsink.[/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR]

[COLOR=#000000][FONT=Tahoma][COLOR=black]The pipes are hollowed out and either filled with a fine powder (once again, usually copper) or a liquid with a high heat con[/COLOR][COLOR=black]ductivity.
Heatpipes and the general idea were first thought of by R.S.Gaugler in 1942. However its remarkable properties were not appreciated until 1962 when G.M.Grober invented it, and the serious development began.

Heatpipes are sealed to isolate the working fluid from the outside environment.

One application that commonly sees the use of heatpipes is in a laptop. This is due to heatpipe construction being: –

  • Cost effective
  • Lightweight (generally less than 40 grams)
  • Small
  • Compact profile design
  • Passive operation

Due to there being no moving parts, no maintenance is required and there is nothing to break-down through normal use. If the heat pipe is designed properly, the fluid should be contained within the capillary wick structure with less than 1 atmosphere (pressure), this means there is little to no chance of the fluid leaking onto the electronics.[/COLOR][/COLOR][/FONT]

Attached files

heatpipe.jpg (16.7 KB) 

What is LightScribe?

LightScribe in its simplest explanation is a new technology that Hewlett-Packard announced for home users to professionally label their burnt optical media.

The idea is that you buy a CD or DVD burner that supports this technology. Then to purchase optical media such as CD’s or DVD’s that are specially coated on the non-data side to work with the LightScribe drives.

You simply burn data onto your disc(s), eject it and flip the disc over. Once you have installed the special LightScribe application, you can start burning a “silkscreen quality” image of your choice onto the disc.

The reason behind this technology is offer better quality labels that can’t come unglued or have ink that may penetrate media and damage the data on them.

The images at the moment are in monochrome, but a full colour version is in the pipe line.

The time that it takes varies from 2 minutes for a simple text label, onto 20 minutes for a label with lots of graphics.

The printing can take place in the background. Obviously you won’t be able to do anything else with the drive until the labelling is complete.

LightScribe discs have a unique code which allows the drive to determine the dimensions of the disc and accurately apply the image.