Asetek's Vapochill CPU cooling system

A Darth Vader suit for an overclocked PC

THERE IS A PHRASE well-known to anyone who has ever tried to make his car go faster than the manufacturer intended: Speed costs: How fast do you want to go? Of course, it's all relative. You can spend $50 on a performance air cleaner or several thousand on a supercharger. The former will get you closer to the ideal: drawing as much air as possible into the engine. The latter, however, will get you past the ideal: putting more air into the engine than is otherwise possible.

Now that I've opened with a Shameful Car Analogy, let's move on to computers, specifically to overclocking. The prime enemy of the overclocker is heat. Pumping up the CPU voltage goes hand in hand with the quest for higher clock speeds, but higher voltage means substantially more thermal output from the processor. There are ways to deal with this heat: beefy, all-copper heatsinks with large fans, even water-cooling systems. Of course, the problem here is that the material we're using to cool the processor, be it air or water, is at best room temperature to start with. What we want is better than "at best"—a cooling supercharger. Enter phase-change cooling and the Vapochill.

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