Noisy computerJanuary 13, 2009
I noticed that my computer’s Intel Desktop Utilities software was showing “Processor Zone Temperature exceeded its recommended maximum temperature” messages more regularly on boot up. Even though it’s summer here, the mornings have been pretty cool so I figured the cause of the overheating was everything the computer was trying to do on boot up. I’d had these messages before, and when the PC Guru guys put in a new power supply, the messages went away. So I figured the power supply was the issue…
However, on really hot days — even with the air conditioner on — my computer was also making a LOT of noise, and I was getting the occasional message about overheating during the day. The whine would start mid-late afternoon and continue on into the evening. It got to the point that I was powering off my computer every night, just to shut the noise off!
I figured the noise was caused by a fan, so I rang my PC Guru guys to confirm, and to find out if there was anything I could do to stop the noise. Aaron suggested it was excessive dust on the fins of the fan and asked me to open the box and look. I regularly vacuum the inlet/outlet holes on the case, so had assumed that the dust was kept at a minimum.
How wrong I was! When I opened the case, the fins behind the fan were coasted in thick but very fine dust. Now, this is a PC that was cleaned professionally by the PC Guru guys less than 9 months ago. We don’t live in a dusty area, so this is just dust from a normal 2-person household with no kids and no pets… and no smokers.
Aaron suggested I use a combination of these tools to clean the dust off — small artists’ paintbrush, Dustbuster vacuum cleaner, canned compressed air, slightly damp soft non-fibrous cloth (I used a Chux). I first tackled the obvious stuff with the Dustbuster, then the soft cloth. But the only thing that could access the fins behind the fan was the small paintbrush. Wiping the brush each time on the slightly damp cloth was a good move too, as the very slight dampness transferred to the brush allowing it to pick up the dust instead of moving it somewhere else.
It was amazing how much dust was on these fins! Any loose dust that wafted down on to the boards I blew off with the compressed air. A final vacuum and wipe down and it was all done.
Verdict: It’s very hot the day I’m writing this, and it’s now well after 5:00 PM and you wouldn’t even know my computer was on. It’s that quiet!
So I guess I’ll be scheduling some time every few months to take the cases off and remove the dust from ALL our computers.