One of the best reasons to use the motherboard-based power connectors for the fan is that most system BIOS setup programs can display the fan performance and report it to a system monitoring program. Because some processors—particularly older Athlon processors—can be destroyed in a few moments by a malfunctioning processor heatsink fan, this feature can help prevent a disaster inside your system.

If you need to purchase an active heatsink, be aware that some on the market are of poor quality. The bad ones have fan motors that use sleeve bearings, which freeze up after a short life. I recommend only fans with ball-bearing motors, which last about 10 times longer than the sleeve-bearing types. Of course, they cost more—but only about twice ...

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