This is quite possibly a stupid question, but the GPU cooler I bought leaves me with little choice but to position heat sinks such that they straddle and join multiple voltage regulators. Is this a bad (ie. disastrous) path to take?

The heat sinks are standard aluminium so they will obviously conduct. However, the voltage regulators seem to have some kind of cover over them.

The instructions that came with the cooler are completely unhelpful in this regard.

Here is a picture of the voltage regulators on my board:

enter image description here

And here is how I was planning on configuring the heat sinks:

enter image description here

  • 2
    A picture would be nice. – James Mertz Jul 25 '12 at 13:21
  • 1
    Pictures added. – me-- Jul 25 '12 at 13:31

Those are actually inductors. The Voltage regulator is basically a LRC circuit with a mofset controller

enter image description here

The purpose of these are to:

The Voltage Regulator Module or VRM is a device that performs DC-DC conversion (DC = Direct Current). This conversion is fundamental because many chips, like the GPU in our case, do not operate at 12V or 5V but at lower voltages like 1V. Then devices to reduce the voltage are required and these devices are the famous VRMs. So a VRM is a DC-DC converter. The other goal of a VRM is to provide a constant DC output voltage as well as providing a lot of current (amperes) to the GPU.

Picture and quote courtesy of Geeks3d

The reason that I bring this up, is that adding a heatsink to the inductors, probably isn't going to be all that advantageous. Adding a heatsink to the mofset controllers, would probably prove more useful, especially if you plan on overclocking your GPU.

As far as your original concern, I don't think that there's an issue of spanning the heatsinks across the inductors, as they are typically in a protective covering that is of high resistance.

  • Thanks. Are you able to identify the VRs in my photo? Are they the square black components under the capacitor clusters near the bottom of my photo? – me-- Jul 25 '12 at 14:54
  • @user13414 imgur.com/o53wp – James Mertz Jul 25 '12 at 15:17
  • Turns out, putting heat sinks on any of those components wouldn't fit anyway, so I left them without. I just put sinks on the RAM chips. – me-- Jul 25 '12 at 17:11

My first concern would be one of introducing noise into the environment if you do this. Noise would come from alternating current though, and not direct current. The voltage regulators will be regulating DC, so there is no issue there. Based off of your picture you won't hurt anything. I thought you question was, "My GPU cooler will overhang the GPU and make contact with some voltage regulators." This will work without issue.

  • This is really a comment. I suggest either getting more facts and updating your answer or migrating this to an actual comment. – James Mertz Jul 25 '12 at 13:32
  • There, now it's an answer. – Everett Jul 25 '12 at 13:40
  • It doesn't really matter if the components are passing AC or DC. The only potential issue, with putting a conductive heatsink across components with a conductive case, would be creating a ground loop, if the cases were grounded. This still shouldn't be an issue, as heatsinks are often shared across components, even AC triacs, etc. – Jonathon Reinhart Jul 25 '12 at 14:25

Those aren't voltage regulators; they're far too big. I believe they are inductors, which should produce very little to no heat whatsoever. Have you run this, and seen if they even get warm?

That leads to the real question: Why do you think you need to put heat sinks on them? If the manufacturer didn't, and you're not causing them to operate any differently, this is a complete waste of time.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.