Dust-busting for fun and profit: Your computer will thank you!

I was just reading Raymond's latest post, partially relating to computer heat (and how the symptoms it typically presents might not be heat-related after all).

I was going to comment with my own anecdote, but it's more of an aside, so I decided to post it here instead of spam Raymond's comment stream. Regardless, if you can't remember the last time you gave your computer an "air bath", this may help encourage you to give it some much-needed TLC.

My wife blasted a couple months' worth of accumulated dust out of her machine the other day - CPU temperature under load dropped six degrees, and case interior temperature by five (degrees Farenheit - sorry, I know, a number without units is a like a day without sunshine). Your results may not be this dramatic - it was so bad she had to remove the CPU fan to get all of the caked dust out of the heat sink - but if you have *any* pets, or (as Raymond said) you keep your computer in a less-than-ideal location, you should definitely pop the cover periodically and clean as necessary.

This stopped an intermittent application crash problem (if "EverQuest2.exe" counts as an application...), and let her turn the fans' RPMs down - the office sounds like an office (instead of a wind tunnel) again.

Now if someone would just get some foolproof water-cooling systems designed, we could seal (or at least more heavily filter) cases and really put this problem out to pasture...

It probably doesn't need to be said, but don't do this unless you know what you're doing (stick with compressed air, always hold the can upright, etc., and do not shake it first unless the can instructs you to do so).

Comments (4)

  1. Nawak says:

    Water in a watercooled system still needs to be aircooled!

    It generally involves a bigger radiator so it is more easily cooled and you gain silence, but air has to flow!

    Now I have recently seen passive radiators for watercooled computers, but they are even bigger and need to be fully external to the computer, which is not practical…

  2. Nawak says:

    Ah and some cases have air filters!

  3. Chris says:

    Thanks for the feedback.

    1) I agree that you still need to cool the water (or whatever liquid is actually used) – but I think the general idea is that you move the heat exchanger outside (or at least to the edge of) the case, so that no "unclean" air has to circulate over your bare components.

    As you said, a fully passive radiator probably won’t fly with most people due to the size.

    2) Our cases *do* have air filters – they’re just not the kind that will completely block particulates from entering the case (in fact, if they were, then you’d have to clean/replace them quite often – and case filter makers probably know people will forget to do this – air that’s not dirty but not circulating either is just as bad). But, the filters definitely cut down on how much gets in (and keeps out bigger stuff like pet hair almost entirely).

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