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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

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We're talking processors here, not the juvenile delinquent photo archive website

"Is my PC running too hot, or not?" A common query, especially in this age of power-guzzling Athlons and hair drier-class cooling units. As we said in the Sounds of Silence feature yesterday, you should never risk a trade off for volume that could put your CPU through some dangerous temperatures. The best way we have found of monitoring modern CPUs is with the aid of Motherboard Monitor (version 4 seems easiest); this little tool sits in your system tray giving a constant readout of your CPU's temperature based on the reading from its little thermal probe. If you CPU doesn't have a thermal probe, it's very easy to simply buy one from somewhere (e.g. Maplin) and install it to measure. You can even tell Motherboard Monitor how often it should check your temperature, and get it to play a sound (a Klaxxon is usually quite good) whenever your CPU reaches a certain temperature, above which you would prefer it not to venture. The trick is, of course, to find out where you should be drawing the line, and that, dear reader, is where The Heatsink Guide comes in. The Heatsink Guide, although also offering plenty of advice on which bits of metal to strap to your machine, includes a list of the highest operating temperatures you can reasonably use your processor at, based on documentation from the chip-makers themselves. Information it might take you hours to locate on vast websites like The guide covers everything, from modern day Athlons and Pentium IIIs, to old Pentium Pro chips and even the more recent Pentium 4 (or "Williamette") processors. If you're worried about your processor burning up under the stress of a late night Counter-Strike session, this is the place to turn. Related Feature - The Sounds of Silence