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Thread: Clean the dust out of your computer

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    Andy101's Avatar
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    Clean the dust out of your computer

    Today I had a graphics card meltdown. I started seeing black rectangles on my screen so powered down the PC which was locked up by pressing and holding the power button.

    On opening up the case of the PC, I noticed that the graphics card felt very hot, so I removed it and took off the plastic cover over the heat sink. A few small + screws.

    Then I noticed a wall of thick dust over the intake to the heat sink next to the fan. This was obviously blocking air flow to cool the GPU of the graphics card. So I cleaned out all of the dust with a brush and air duster can.

    But when I re-fitted the graphics card it was dead. I tried re-seating it plus numerous re-boots, but to no avail. I guess that the GPU had melted?

    In the end I fitted another graphics card to get my PC working again.

    So be warned, regularly clean the inside of your computer box to flush out the dust. An air duster can is an easy option to blow out dust.

    For a quick check, you could put your hand near the outlet vent of the video card to detect air flow. If there is none, then reach for that air duster.

    Be careful of static when handling electronic boards, touch a radiator to discharge yourself and don't place the components on plastic surfaces. Hold them by the mounting bracket and direct the air blast only at the heat sink and fan blades to avoid static caused by the wind. I also avoid using a vacuum cleaner since it can generate static electricity. I know, I killed an electronic scale by vacuuming it!

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    iowadawg's Avatar
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    This goes back to the very start of having a personal computer.
    Back in time, microsoft always said to clean.
    For a while, HP and Dell would have a special note in the box of new computers telling you to clean the inside, and instructions on how to do this.

    Everyone should clean every 6 months.

    One reason I have my CPU off the floor (that way, no carpet lint, dust, etc from the floor).
    Does help to keep it a bit cleaner.
    Another is that I put a coffee filter (hey it works! and cheaper than anything else out there) over the intakes.

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    Andy101's Avatar
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    And every computer user should be aware of the need for air flow to cool the internals of a computer. I cringe when I see a laptop placed on a bed in movies. My Dell laptop has a ton of air vents on the underside.

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    iowadawg's Avatar
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    Movies never do the real things.
    In movies, anyone can get on any computer and within the time it takes to type some command, they rule the earth.

    But really, I have seen many laptops that are just put on any surface without thought to the air intake, etc.

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