A Heat Sink is a component designed to lower the temperature of an electronic device by dissipating heat into the surrounding air. All modern CPUs require a heat sink and also require a fan. A Heat Sink without a fan is called a passive heat sink whereas a heat sink with a fan is called an active heat sink. Heat Sinks are generally made of a zinc alloy and often have cooling fins. The high thermal conductivity of the metal combined with its large surface area result in the rapid transfer of thermal energy to the surrounding, cooler, air. This not only cools the heat sink, but whatever it is in direct thermal contact with as well.
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