Yessur Yessur, your computer isn’t just a bundle of joy for your computer games, your movies, Internet browsing, 9gag-ing, Facebook-ing (are there such a terms?) and so on so forth. A computer is not without maintenance!
When was the last time you clean your computer? I didn’t clean mine for quite a bit, so I’d like to remind all to CLEAN your computer if you haven’t done it lately.
If your computer isn’t ON that often then the dust accumulation wouldn’t affect you that much. And if you’re using branded computers from brands like say Dell, HP, and various others, I don’t think it’s that much of a problem either.
In my experience, computer users with the fastest rate of dust accumulation would be users such as myself.
The only time I power-down my computer is when I’m doing some upgrade or maintenance, even if I did it once a month it still totals to less than 2 hours (estimated) of down time. And as if being ON nearly 24/7 wasn’t enough, my casings are generally wind-tunnels. My computers often have no less than 3 fans on the casing itself, not counting other fans within the casing.
How bad can the dust accumulation be?
Here’s one example.
This is the Cooler Master Hyper TX3 heatsink, as you can see the dust accumulation was at such a state that it blocks the airflow almost completely. In such cases, you’ll see a rise in temperature of your processor. My X6 1100T now idles at 41c after cleaning. 🙂
Here’s another example.
Those are filter fabric placed at the front of my Cooler Master Centurion 590 (product page, for those interested). The accumulation is yet again contributed by the fan.
How To Go About?
Firstly, you need to have some guts to open the casing. It’s not a pleasant sight but someone’s got to do it. After spending your (or someone else’s) hard earned money on this lovely baby, shouldn’t someone (you) make effort to clean it? 😀
Now opening the casing isn’t difficult, you just need to remove the screws that hold the casing panels. In some casings, the panels are cleverly held in place even without using of screws. Just don’t use brute force unless you’re certain.
With the casing removed, you’ll just have to apply some ‘dust logic’ to know where to clean. Dust accumulation are always on upward facing surfaces, dust has weight and they’ll need a place to rest. Dust are also accumulated where air is flowing, in you will find more dust on surfaces near the airflow.
*While graphic card face downwards, the fan is pushing air towards the heatsink, so the heatsink still accumulate dust despite facing downwards.
They key places to look for dust are …….
1. processor heatsink (a.k.a. cooler)
2. graphic card – check the heatsink, and also the surface on the back of the card.
3. hard disk bay – depending on your casing configuration, many people have a fan placed at the front bottom of the casing. Then they also have hard disks placed at that area so that the air-flow cools the hard disk as it enters the casing. You’ll see quite a lot of dust on top of the hard disks.
4. All other surfaces, eg the bottom panel of the casing, the surface of the PSU, the surface of optical drives, and even the cables.
What To Use?
I recommend using a paint brush. Any paint brush will do, they cost less than RM 5 and they can be acquired anywhere.
Here’s what my brush looks like.
Do I recommend or approve vacuum cleaner as a cleaning tool? No, the fast moving particles have been known to generate static. I’m no expert in this but I personally will stick to brush as you are able to apply force to clean the stubborn collection. Vacuum cleaners can’t do that.
I took precaution to use the vacuum cleaner only when my system is powered down. I would just brush the dust off every other area first and use the vacuum cleaner like the final clean-up tool but even so, I don’t use it every time I do cleaning.
Water? The only component that I actually run water through are my heatsinks. There are dust particles collected on the fins and they’re often hard to reach, so a good spray of high-pressure water and leave it to dry would suffice.
Alway Remember to Clean
HAVE FUN CLEANING! Remember, it’s not fun to have the system power down right in the middle of a good fragging time. 😀