When it comes to cooling, I'm a fail at it. My PC is HOT! And no it isn't such a great PC, I mean my CPU usually runs at 45-50 C on a cool day. Now it's summer it nearly gets to 60. Ouch! My ATi HD4870 runs between 70 and 80. So sad...
I've never changed my cooling system. Always stuck with stop, because so far that's kept me going. Since my latest computer I've constantly been thinking about getting a Thermalright heatsink for my processor and graphics card. The problem is that I never really had too much money, and thought it wasn't really worth it... until today.
Some month or two ago a friend of mine's computer just stopped working, and today he gave me his processor to test (just in case maybe his motherboard was at fault, not his processor). It's a Core 2 Quad Q6600, which for me was a nice "upgrade" I was hoping to have for maybe a few days. Sure the processor works fine, but having swapped it out a little too hastily, I made a fatal mistake. (well, almost fatal)
For those of you who don't know, there is some substance between your processor and it's cooler. That stuff is called thermal paste. What it's made of, I have no clue, but it doesn't matter because it's absolutely necessary (Just don't brush your teeth with it). If you put a heatsink or some other kind of cooler on your processor, graphics card, northgate, or any other chip that gets hot, there has to be some thermal paste in between the surfaces. Without it, the cooler is a big piece of metal with a fan on it, blowing air and dust all over the place (i.e. not useful).
Silly me: when I swapped the processors, I neglected the whole thermal paste thing and just popped off my cooler, stuck in the new CPU, and popped the cooler back on. Simple right? Wrong! After switching my PC on with the new Core 2 Quad installed, I watched as the temperature slowly increased... 53... 66... 75... 89... oh crap that ain't right!
I'm glad I switched it off before it frizzed (My friend would have literally killed me if I returned him a dead processor).
So, if you're getting a new cooler or a new processor, always remember your thermal paste! :)