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LEARN HOW TO GIVE YOUR COMPUTER A HEALTHY CLEAN

Sometimes we take things for granted, even myself. I've had my PC now for a good 2-3 years, but have never once cleaned it. I befouled it and just left it sitting under the desk accumulating dust and allsorts. This page is designed to prove that caring for your PC and giving it a good overhaul every now and then can help prevent damage to it in the long run. A PC that is running hotter is working harder and suffers more chance of thermal damage than a PC within it's operating temperatures.

Dust that collects inside your PC hinders airflow and prevents air being properly channelled away from your case and traps it inside your PC. Oh, and if you think that's not a warning enough, dust can be a potential fire hazard. So clean it. You only need the most basic of tools and knowledge and it's easily a project you can do in a couple of hours.

If you aren't confident in the whole routine, then take it to a professional or someone more savvy with computers you know. Give em a few quid for their troubles or some beer tokens, it's better than your CPU overheating and forking out 3-4x that value in the long run.

PCS WITH DUST CAN PREMATURELY FAIL

ENEMY!
WEAPONS!

TIPS FOR CLEANING!

  • Completely disassemble computer and all components and lay them out methodically on desk
  • Work on 1 component at a time. Use the dust brush to scrape away as much of the initial dust as possible (except on RAM/CPU)
  • Once intial dust is away use compressed air to get in all the nooks and crannies, once clean put to one side
  • Repeat the process for all other components of the computer until everything is cleaned out
  • Use an alcohol / CPU grease solvent to thoroughly clean the CPU and heatsink. Once it's clean apply approx 1 pea size of good quality thermal grease to the CPU and using clingfilm over finger rub over CPU to completely cover it (or use equal pressure from heatsink)
  • Once this is done assemble the motherboard and put to one side
  • Clean out the case and reroute all components before hand
  • Once all components are rerouted. Assemble any additional parts and put inside case
  • Install cleaned motherboard and components then attach wires
  • Work in a methodical fashion so that wires are routed as much as possible
  • Use zip ties, vecro, insultation tape to tidy up case as much as possible
  • Try to maximise potential airflow in the computer

I've attached some pictures I took of my PC before and after to show the difference. I will be adding a link with the full high-res pictures later

temp_1_before
temp_1_after
temp_2_after
temp_2_after

It's a bit hard to make out these results, but they speak for themselves. Almost a 15'c drop in temperature and relocating the harddrives and putting in an additional cooling fan OK'd them aswell. To point out the numbers if they're hard to see for people. I think this proves you shoud spend the time to clean our your PC and it will look after you in the long run. If you have expensive components or graphics cards, CPU's that cost 1000's. Would you rather than a couple of hours cleaning yourself (or someone else for you), than spending £2000-3000 for a new super computer when the components burn out. It's a no brainer.

The temperature results above were taken with Prime95 doing a max thermal load test (think it's SmallFFT from memory) - I stopped at 65'c on the CPU - it also hit this temperature within about 5 mins and kept rising. it can run hotter but I get a bit panicky at those temps to be honest, I don't believe in them being good. The temperature was still climbing when I stopped and the workload on the CPU wasn't 100% between all cores, so there was some thermal loss going on somewhere too with the CPU paste. After I did the cleaning then temps never went above 50'c and I ran it like this for around 1 hr and continued surfing web etc.

Further things can be done to improve the cooling of your computer by adding more fans, lapping the computer cpu, adding waterblocks, heatsinks, etc.

Component Temp Before Temp After Variance Comments
Quad Core CPU (AMD Athlon X4 640) 65'c 50'c -15'c Less thermal stress and equal distribution of workload all CPU's core were maxed not alternating like in the first part of the video
GPU Card (Nvidia Geforce GT240) 33'c 34'c +1'c Slightly hotter but I don't think it's to do with the cleaning. As when I was doing these test results I was also surfing the web and updating this post so it was a bit more work on the card than in the first test
Motherboard (Gigabyte MA-770T-UD3) 33'c 30'c -3'c The components of the HDD are attached directly to the CPU and other parts, lower CPU temps means less thermal stress on the M/B, less chance of BSOD
HDD#1 (Hitachi 500GB) 41'c 27'c -14'c Relocating the HDD and maximising the efficiency of the airflow in the case aswell as adding an additional cooling fan to blow air across the HDD's has proved it can drastically lower the temperatures. A hot HDD can suffer from performance degradation aswell as thermal damage, resulting in more chance of BSOD's occuring aswell as loss of data.
HDD#2 (Seagate 160GB) 42'c 29'c -13'c
HDD#3 (Western Digital 250GB) 34'c 29'c -4'c
HDD#4 (Western Digital 160GB) 32'c 27'c -6'c